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CES celebrates 50 years of innovation

The 50th anniversary edition of CES® 2017 runs from January 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Because the event is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the technology trade association representing the US$287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, it attracts global business leaders and pioneering thinkers from around the world. CES keynotes feature top level industry executives and the show’s conference program hosts more than 300 conference sessions led by more than 1,000 highly sought-after speakers.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, how CES has evolved.

Shapiro: CES has adapted, evolved and changed to engage and create new industries and markets as the definition of technology has expanded. Since the show was launched in New York in 1967 our customers have changed. Fifty years ago, there were no personal computers and the only cars at CES were filled with audio products. Fast forward 50 years and we have computers in cars and cars that can drive by themselves. Products at the show now cover 20 categories including 3D printing, drones, fitness and sports, health and biotech, robotics, smart home, vehicle technology and wearables.

As the show expands with the industry, so does the audience that comes to CES. Our attendees, once just traditional consumer technology companies, now represent a wide array of global industries. The first CES featured 117 exhibitors and hosted 17,500 attendees. Fifty years later, CES will span across more than 2.4 million net square feet of exhibit space and will draw more than 3,800 exhibitors and over 165,000 attendees.

AI: How is CTA celebrating the 50th year of CES?

Shapiro: Only a select number of events and tradeshows have celebrated 50 years of success. CTA plans to promote this significant benchmark to illustrate the importance of the show and celebrate the incredible evolution of the consumer technology industry. Celebrations will include fun social media campaigns highlighting vintage CES swag and videos that look back on the show’s beginnings and anniversary celebrations on-site. Promotions will reinforce the value of CES, its impact across the entire industry and the vibrant future for both CES and the technology marketplace.

AI: With BMW celebrating its 100th year in 2017 is there a chance that the BMW CEO will be the keynote speaker?

Shapiro: Each year thought leaders from the tech industry take the CES keynote stage to share their visions for the collective future of the consumer technology industry. CTA works hard to ensure the speakers we select reflect current industry trends and represent companies who are devoted to driving the industry forward. Cars are more connected than ever before, and as a result CES has become an important show for the automotive industry. In fact, CES 2016 featured two automotive-focused keynote addresses. We are in the process of confirming the official


keynote schedule for CES 2017 and look forward to sharing the full line-up this fall.

AI: How important is the automotive sector to CES?

Shapiro: The automotive market continues to be a major driver for the consumer technology industry. Cars are becoming safer and drivers more connected with in-vehicle communications. The automotive category at CES continues to grow and wow attendees. At CES 2016, companies unveiled a complete infotainment experience for the car, with breakthroughs in active window displays, access notifications and navigation systems including gesture control and more. More than 115 automotive tech companies and nine automakers including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM (Chevy), Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes, Toyota and Volkswagen exhibited at CES 2016. As a result, the automotive footprint saw double digit growth, spanning 200 net square feet of exhibit space, up 25% from CES 2015.

Ten of the Tier 1 automotive suppliers exhibited at CES 2016, including Autoliv, Bosch, Continental, Delphi, Denso, Hyundai Mobis, Magna, Valeo, Visteon and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

AI: What technology breakthroughs were launched by automotive companies in 2016?

Shapiro: A sample of the major automotive innovations that were unveiled at CES 2016 includes:

  • Chevy Bolt EV: fully electric vehicle that travels an estimated 200 miles on a single charge
  • NVIDIA Drive PX2: liquid-cooled supercomputer for cars that uses deep learning to enable cars to sense surroundings and navigate autonomously
  • Faraday Future FFZero1: high-performance, 1,000-horsepower electric concept car
  • Volkswagen e-Golf Touch: zero emissions, all-electric car that acts as a “smartphone on wheels”

AI: What exciting automotive trends are you expecting at CES 2017?

Shapiro: CTA expects automotive technology to once again make a big splash at CES 2017, with many of the top auto manufacturers expected to return to the show floor. Chipset companies, like Qualcomm, Blackberry and NVIDIA will exhibit within the automotive section of the show. In line with our theme of tech changing the world and looking ahead to the next 50 years of CES, the Autonomous Vehicles Marketplace – formerly the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace – will showcase the car tech of the future, including the latest in electric and energy-efficient vehicles and car safety tech from parking assistance, collision avoidance and emergency braking. Some of the expected exhibitors in this space include Autoliv, Delphi and Chevrolet.

AI: How has the Gary’s Book Club evolved – what’s new for your book club in 2017?

Shapiro: My Book Club, presented by Barnes & Noble, kicked off at CES 2014. I’m proud of it, because it’s created a unique opportunity for CES attendees to interact with expert authors in the tech industry as they discuss their work and explore the themes we’re experiencing on the show floor and in our everyday lives. Over the past two years, the Book Club has evolved to feature new authors with unique perspectives on the technology industry.

CES attendees get to ask the authors questions about the tech trends which inspired their work during discussions and interviews on the CTA Stage in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Fans are encouraged to purchase books through Barnes & Noble on-site and have their copies signed as an added bonus. The selection process for the Book Club at CES 2017 is underway and we expect to highlight a diverse range of authors and discussion topics, with books covering the topics of technology, innovation and tech policy.

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