The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the mainstay and cornerstone of the consumer technology world since its inception in 1967, some 52 years ago. Today at CES 2020, CTA President Gary Shapiro shared insights into the show and its future with journalists and analysts from the world over.
Despite being half a decade old, the show continues to innovate in multiple dimensions. CES 2020 is the first to showcase segments dedicated to sex technology, and travel and tourism.
Shapiro touched on the progress made in this year’s show. Non-traditional companies like Delta featured in Travel & Tourism, while Impossible’s premiere of Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage served as examples of food tech. John Deere also showcased agricultural tech, in addition to other non-tech companies like Unilever and P&G.
Like most years, China was high on the agenda list at the Q&A with CTA officials. This year, CTA representatives admitted to a slight fall-off in terms of Chinese attendees, but maintained that the total floor area dedicated to Chinese companies had not decreased.
This was attributed not only to the “trade difficulties” between the countries, but also to the softness of the Chinese economy and a strengthening of the dollar. Expectations, however, were optimistic for the phase one agreements to be signed by Presidents Trump and Xi.
Elon Musk & Hyperloop
When asked about the construction of the Allegiant Stadium and its impact as a potential venue for future iterations of CES, Shapiro acknowledged the widening scale of the show which this year covered locations spreading miles across Las Vegas.
He also implicitly noted that the vast scale of the show means inefficiencies in terms of travel time and environmental cost of the ground transport required to move hundreds of thousands of attendees in the dense Las Vegas traffic.
The solution? Elon Musk’s upcoming Hyperloop development in Las Vegas that would cover three quarters of a mile in terms of displacement or about one and half miles in total ground travel distance. Musk had indicated that the high-speed underground transport will be completed in time for CES 2021, but only time will tell.
More Sex Tech?
Shapiro was forthcoming in sharing regret for the organisation’s move to ban sex tech at CES in 2019. Controversy struck when the show revoked an award Lora DiCarlo’s Osé personal massager – a sex toy.
It also went so far as to ban Lora DiCarlo from exhibiting at future shows, claiming it maintains the prerogative to disqualify “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane” entries that are “not in keeping with CTA’s image”.
After widespread outcries against the perceived act of gender bias, CES reversed its decision and reinstated the award. To go one up, the conference officially designated a category for sex toys for the 2020 show this year.
Shapiro said that he cannot comment on the show’s continued stand to allow sex toys prior to an extensive review after the show ends today (Friday, 10th January 2020). He did maintain that other restrictions are still in place governing the exhibitors allowed at CES: no pornography, no guns, no vaping; limited restrictions on marijuana-related products.
“Society changes, and laws change,” continued Shapiro. Innovation takes place in relation to the environment and culture it is situated in.