Has the Consumer Electronics Show Lost its Way?


There is always a lot of buzz around the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the annual electronics industry extravaganza that opened its doors in Las Vegas on Monday.

Some of the buzz, however, isn't about the record 2,700 exhibitors and more than 150,000 people that organizers estimate will attend. No, it's about the fact that CES may be losing its mojo a bit—and by mojo we mean relevancy in the marketplace.

What brought about the negativity? First, Microsoft announced that it would no longer participate in CES after this year. In years past the software giant had provided the conference keynote speech and had a heavy overall presence at the event. Plus, several big brand have scaled back their CES presences, including Verizon Wireless, Motorola Mobility and T-Mobile.

So how can CES prop up its event to prevent it from going the way of COMDEX, the computer expo that flamed out in 2003? They'll need to re-evaluate and re-identify their target markets, says Joey Roberts, 
CEO of Roberts Event Group. "They may have to introduce more start-ups and tech innovators who are more nimble and willing to showcase upcoming technologies," he says.

Product launches are the life-blood of CES, and there's more ways today to introduce products, says Roberts. "Tech companies seem to be using Apple as a model for product launches," he says. Unfortunately for CES, Apple hasn't exhibited there since 1994.

While Roberts can only speculate on why Microsoft is leaving CES next year, he says that should be a wakeup call to the event's organizers. "It could be time to think about scaling down and starting all over again," he says.

Please click through to answer the PR News poll: In an increasingly connected world, have events like CES become less critical for companies looking to reach audiences with new products?


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