CES is one of the biggest tradeshows in the world and, aside from the pandemic years, it always pulls in a massive crowd.
The recent 2023 event in Las Vegas reportedly drew 115,000 attendees — and that doesn’t begin to take account of people who don’t attend the show but are in town to meet clients and prospects, make business deals, and find new partnerships. Arguably, it’s these countless fringe meetings in the hotels of Las Vegas that are the real lifeblood of CES.
So, what were the hot topics of conversation in the backrooms, boardrooms, and bars surrounding the event this year? Three themes stood out to me as either major concerns or significant trends among the wide array of folk I connected with.
1. Cost Concerns Affecting Business Planning
It seems everybody is experiencing the compression of rising costs with trying to still deliver the best experience for their clients. We found so many companies at a CES who are not forward-focused on research and development, but rather asking the question, “What can I do to increase my revenue right now, or decrease my expenses?” Almost everyone we spoke to was in that mode in some form.
One reason this is so interesting is because here we are at a show that’s focused on the future, whereas a lot of the attendees and businesses are just trying to figure out how to get through the next 12 months. That’s the real world right now.
2. Big Players Putting Dollars into R&D
On the flip side, we did see some of the bigger players flexing how much they’re investing in R&D, and coming out with impressive, futuristic products. This is where R&D and being at the cutting edge is obviously a part of a core competency of their organization.
One example is what BMW showed up with: the i Vision Dee, an intelligent “car that cares” and changes color, which stole the show when it was launched on stage by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the chair of BMW. Plus Dodge RAM came in with its new electric truck, John Deere announced its new smart and autonomous agricultural vehicles, Amazon kitted out the new Grand Wagoneer, in addition to many other impressive smart vehicles.
Then there’s all the smart home tech — a wide range from Amazon, all the Samsung Smart Things, LG’s array of smart home products (pictured below), and other hot new technology like Ring home security. The future of tech and growth from all these major organizations is very clear.
3. Everybody Looking for New Partnerships
Another fascinating part of the CES conversations was that everyone seemed to be thinking about who they need to be a partner with. Not all partners are necessarily going to drive monetization in the short term, and maybe you don’t know why you need to partner with them. But when you think about the future of tech and the telecom sector, we can’t always predict what the next term looks like. So it’s a matter of asking, “Do I have the right strategic relationship with other enterprises in order to be most successful?”
This was a wider trend on the show floor, too — among the thousands of booths, there were many companies partnering or collaborating with each other to lift each other up. Maybe in those partnerships they found an upside that they don’t currently offer their clients or customers, or maybe they don’t have whole-house ecosystems with their own brands, so they need to work with other businesses to fill out that offering.
As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.
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Jason Raymer is Senior Vice President of Revenue and Client Experiences at iQmetrix, North America’s leading telecom retail experience platform. Jason is a well-established executive in the wireless industry with previous operations experience at Tier 1 and 2 North American carriers. He currently specializes in SaaS solutions that enable new sales channels for wireless retailers.