By David Gill
International CES, the consumer-electronics market’s mega-trade show, is set to propel the industry into a New Year.
The 2012 show, which will take place from Jan. 10-13 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will have a hard act to follow. Last year’s International CES set a record in attendance from outside the United States—30,000, according to a statement by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the show’s owner and producer. All told, more than 140,000 people attended the 2011 CES, viewing the wares of more than 2,700 technology companies from across the globe.
CES has received kudos from the trade-show industry for several years. Last October, Trade Show Executive magazine cited it as both the largest trade show and the trade show with the greatest economic impact. The publication put the show at number one in its Gold 100 rankings for 2010, the fourth year in a row CES took this honor.
Even with these numbers, however, CEA has high expectations for the 2012 show. “We are expecting this to be one of our best shows yet,” said Tara Dunion, the association’s senior director of communications. Dunion said CES’ exhibitor tally will once again top 2,700, with the exhibitors spread over 1.8 million net square feet of space at the convention center.
The show will feature two new areas, Eureka Park and PMA@CES. Eureka Park will focus on more than 80 startup companies and emerging companies that are new to CES. PMA@CES will offer industry-specific content and product exhibits related to all aspects of digital imaging.
Also, the 2012 CES will present an expanded grouping of wireless exhibits. These will spread over two of the show’s TechZones: Access on the Go and the new MEMS TechZone.
The Access on the Go TechZone will highlight mobile devices, including tablet computers and e-Readers, that deliver content such as music, movies, television, books and magazines. The MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) area will offer up companies that are fueling the adoption of this technology in mobile phones, game consoles, tablet computers and other devices.
At the 2012 Sports and Fitness TechZone, fitness guru Jillian Michaels will underscore technology’s use in fitness products. Michaels will talk about the impact of digital innovation and about her recent partnership with BodyMedia, an on-body monitor company.
A recent CEA survey found that sports and fitness products garner annual sales of $70 billion in the United States alone. The Sports and Fitness TechZone will throw the spotlight on products such as activity-tracking armbands, waterproof MP3 players, GPS-enabled high-definition cameras, high-technology heart monitors, gesture-recognition and full-body tracking user interfaces for games and sports simulators, high-technology sports goggles and GPS locators, among others.
As usual, CES will feature keynote speeches from a number of consumer-electronic celebrities. On Jan. 9, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, will deliver the preshow keynote address at The Venetian. CEA noted that past Microsoft keynotes have focused on new-product introductions such as the Xbox and the Avatar Kinect.
The opening-day keynote will take place on the following day at The Venetian, and will be delivered by Dr. Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, and CEA’s president and CEO, Gary Shapiro. They will discuss the current state of the consumer electronics industry.
Later on Jan. 10 will be keynote speeches from Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. Zetsche, who will speak at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater, will talk about automotive technology; and Otellini, who will deliver his address at The Venetian, will speak on his vision for Intel and the future of consumer technology.
On Jan. 11, the keynote will be delivered by Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson Group. Vestberg, who will give his address at The Venetian, will speak about the future of mobile broadband.