Do we still need CES? (TheNextWeb)
I COMMENTED… Twenty years ago I predicted the demise of COMDEX & CES, but it keeps growing in size albeit slowly and with less importance. I first noticed the trend while still working at IBM, where I attended each year as a market analyst and strategist. The trigger for me was “Internet Time” — the shortening of product development cycles from a few years from concept-to-launch to just a few months. That shortened timeframe caused companies to rely on the Internet to launch new products and create market demand. They no longer needed to rely on CES and print news, or at least less so.
Apple was one of the first to abandon CES and promote its products instead at its own show – MacWorld. Compaq Computer was next to pull out. They realized it was cheaper to fly corporate decision makers to its Houston HQ for a days-long private event and wine & dine them and actually close deals. Contrast that with the high cost of rising above the CES clutter and getting noticed on the show floor – briefly, with just 2-5 minutes of average face-time.
And then there was Microsoft – long a staple of CES with one of the largest exhibits. As an IBMer promoting the OS/2 operating system against Windows, I saw lots of efficiency in how Microsoft used CES, but I wasn’t surprised when they pulled out too. The handwriting was on the wall.
Pulling out of CES didn’t mean big companies no longer attended; they just didn’t have the same presence on the show floor. Those big flashy demos often shifted to smaller and focused ones in private suites off the show floor or in a nearby hotel where they could host news media and corporate executives and devote more time to selling to them.
That was well over a decade ago, but even now it’s important for big companies to attend CES, even if it’s just for meetings with key customers, potential partners, and news media, or to evaluate trends and scope out new competition. After retiring from IBM in 1999, I still attend CES for years on my own dime as a market analyst and digital home consultant, for that very purpose. But these days I’m able to keep up with the industry without the travel cost, and from the comfort of my home office, where I can watch video demos and read & critique articles written by others – like the collection compiled below. Read More …