By Claire West
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today that the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest in the show's 44 year history, with 1.861 million net square feet of exhibit space.
The previous record was 1.857 million net square feet of space at the 2008 International CES. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2012 International CES, the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology, runs through Friday, January 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In other show news, a keynote address by Ericsson's Hans Vestberg, the Innovation Power Panel with leaders from Ford, Verizon and Xerox, a Brand keynote from executives from AT&T, Walmart, Facebook and GE, an LIT keynote from eBay's John Donohue and a keynote from YouTube's Robert Kyncl were mid-week highlights of the 2012 International CES.
The Innovation Power Panel on Wednesday morning featured Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns and Verizon Enterprise Solutions President John Stratton. The panelists discussed how innovation must be a strategy for their respective companies and for the United States. The conversation centered on how to stimulate innovation through investment and employment.
In his 2012 CES keynote, Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, discussed "The Networked Society" connecting everyone and everything through mobility. "We have a responsibility to build networks that can carry innovation," said Vestberg. Ericsson predicts there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020.
The CES Brand keynote panel featured the marketing minds of the world's top brands. The retail and branding effects of social media, healthcare-related technologies, connectivity and the explosion of wireless were all discussed during the session. The panelists agreed that people are becoming more connected to their devices, and because of this, to each other. “Our core belief is that the entire web is being rebuilt around people,” said Facebook's Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson.
In an afternoon SuperSession with CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stressed the importance of broadband, particularly wireless, in the future of consumer electronics. "The demand for spectrum has grown because people love these products," said Genachowski, stressing the need for Congress to pass incentive spectrum auction legislation. "We need to get it done now."
After touring the show floor, Genachowski noted the "endless rows of innovative new products," addressing fitness, education and healthcare, among other purposes. The session also covered net neutrality, antitrust issues and Genachowski's broadband-driven agenda at the FCC.
Wednesday's SuperSession with Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy, and CEA's Shapiro talked about hot selling products this holiday season and the retailer's strategy. "We'll have more doors and less square footage," Dunn told Shapiro in a question and answer session. "Stores have an important place in the ecosystem." When it comes to product trends, Dunn expects tablets and smartphones to stay hot while he opined that it was the "best time in the history of man to buy a TV."
Bringing the digital lifestyle safely into the car was the main topic at Wednesday SuperSession, “Connect2Car: Connecting Automotive and Consumer Electronics Lifestyles.” Several main trends were discussed including, driving green, driving connected, driving safe and driving cool. The panel agreed that collaboration is the key, when integrating apps and other technology into the car.
The Verge's Joshua Topolsky moderated an “Argue the Future” SuperSession on Wednesday that featured Drew Bamford of HTC, Ryan Bidan of Samsung, Nilay Patel of The Verge and Aaron Woodman of Microsoft. The participants debated the challenges of differentiation versus commodization, the goal of launching less phones but more consumer choice, perhaps by offering hardware customization options, and the best ways to curate and deliver personal content to the cloud.
On Wednesday evening, John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay, delivered the keynote address at the Leaders in Technology (LIT) dinner. Donahoe discussed how the intersection of technology and retail is having a profound impact on consumers' shopping experience and predicted that the next three years of "shopping and paying" will see more profound change then what we've seen over the past 10-15 years.
Thursday morning featured a keynote from Robert Kyncl, Vice President of Global Content Partnerships, YouTube. Kyncl described how content, distribution and marketing of video have come together to make it a transformative and accessible viewing option around the world. According to Kyncl, by 2020, 75 percent of all channels will be transmitted or born on the Internet, due to closed systems that have no opened up.
In other 2012 International CES news, Lytro won the Last Gadget Standing SuperSession competition, beating nine other finalists, including the Playstation Vita, Autom Robot, Cotton Candy, WIMM, Origami, Svivl, Basis Body Band, Lenovo Yoga and Samsung Note.
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