Kid Reporter returns to technology convention
Five years ago, I stepped onto the floor of the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the first time. I was the youngest reporter to ever cover the convention.
Also, that year was the 40th anniversary of the show. Everyone was talking about wireless technology, smaller and more intelligent cell phones, and bigger and better TVs. Everyone is still talking about all of those things (although people care more about whether or not TVs have three dimensions than if they have large dimensions), but other hot topics have risen and fallen over the past five years. Here are two things that I've noticed over my years covering this convention.
The Recession and CES
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which runs CES, says that the recession still hasn't affected the show much. This year the show floor is 100,000 square feet larger than it was last year. But even as the numbers remain strong, there's evidence that even the biggest convention in the CE industry hasn't been left untouched by the global economic crisis.
In 2009, only 110,000 people attended, a drop of more than 30,000 people from the previous year. Although there was an increase in 2010, it still doesn’t match the pre-recession numbers.
In addition, while big companies like Microsoft continue to have huge booths with lots of exhibits, smaller companies have cut back.
The first year I wrote about CES, Bill Gates gave a keynote speech about one of Microsoft's key strategies moving forward: an integration of services between Windows, Windows Mobile, and Xbox. This integration of technology is a trend that continues today on a much greater scale.
Every year, in the days leading up to CES, the CEA hosts a State of the Consumer Electronics Industry speech that discusses the trends to watch. Last year as well as this year, there's been an increasing tendency for these trends to overlap.
One trend, the "Sensorization" of technology, fills ordinary technology with a lot of sensors that take data from the real world. This leads directly to objects that are able to respond to one another and their environment, or "Intelligence of Things”—another trend that was listed in this year's talk.
Shawn DuBravac, the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Consumer Electronics Association who helped give the presentation, thinks this growing overlap isn't a coincidence.
"There probably is an underlying trend at work,” he said. “I think it highlights how interconnected things are becoming. These trends play off each other, [and] even feed off each other."
As CES continues, I will be blogging about everything I learn at this year's convention. Check back for daily updates!
PHOTOS: (Top) Kid Reporter Aaron Broder at his first CES five years ago. (Bottom) This year at the convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photos Sue Broder)