Following CES 2017 From Afar
While we traditionally send several SXSW staffers to the event, I have never personally attended CES in Las Vegas. The reason for not going is simply bandwidth — in early January, there are too many March-related items on my plate. But I have enjoyed reading various accounts of the event via ReCode, TechCrunch, Marketplace and assorted other outlets.
From reading this coverage, four of the bigger themes that I have noticed that came out of this year’s show were as follows:
- Startups. More and more entrepreneurs are making the trek to Las Vegas in January. This migration reflects a conscious decision by CES organizers to get more early stage companies involved in the event. This migration also reflects where the world has evolved to in 2017 — the startup approach / culture / vibe is everywhere.
- Automotive Innovation. More and more space at CES is being devoted to evolved mobility and the automotive experience of the future. To this end, the traditional boundaries between car shows and technology-focused exhibits are becoming more and more blurred. Said another way, one feels for the sanity of the many industries impacted by the back-to-back placement of CES and the Detroit Auto Show.
- Trump. As with many other sectors of the economy, the technology industry anxiously awaits how policies for the new administration will impact its future. It looks like these questions seeped into many of the formal / informal conversations at CES — we expect many similar discussions about technology policy in a few months at SXSW.
- Size and Scale. As in previous years, so many accounts focused on intense CES crowds. While I can’t give too much context on these reports. I do know that the impact of scale is always mitigated by pre-event planning. Create a strategy that covers what you want to achieve and a 100,000 person gathering is manageable. Try navigating a 100 person event with no gameplan, and you can easily be overwhelmed.
Many of these CES themes will also be points of emphasis at SXSW 2017 in Austin. Click here to read top trends we are predicting for March. What is different about SXSW (as compared to events like CES and Mobile World Congress) is the addition of so much Film and Music content — as well as an improved badge system that allows more access for more attendees.
Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.