Industry Update
Opinion Article18 January 2021

Long Live CES!

By Terence Ronson, Hospitality Professional, Technology Consultant, Public Speaker and Inventor

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Traveling to Las Vegas at the start of the year to see what tomorrow looks like, has been something I've always looked forward to through the years. CES was that for me, opening my eyes to what the future holds. I would be one of some 200,000 walking around the stalls taking delight in inspecting and testing the various gadgets, appliances or the latest in technology of most things that touch our lives. This year, all these could only be enjoyed vicariously and virtually as a consequence of COVID. I admit I miss the hustle and bustle of the show, the glitz, and glamour of the stands, but not the endless walking while battling jetlag. But if there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it has forced us to embrace change and make the most of what our new way of life has to offer. So for five days, I was a WFH desk jockey, and all my walking was done through my keyboard.

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Being accredited by CES as a member of the Press, my inbox was flooded even more than normal with press releases about all manner of things tech, and invites to keynote presentations, many of which I have subsequently posted on social media. This format, of receiving soft copy materials about everything was far more helpful since I could watch broadcast-quality material and receive documents that would otherwise see me schlepping around in a backpack or wheelie bag. It helped me cover more ground, so to speak, and watch more presentations than would have been physically possible if I were in Las Vegas. In my opinion, this first virtual CES was a success and I suspect this will impact the way the exhibition industry handles these events in the future. 

When it comes to the kind of tech that was being released, whether as a prototype, or ready-to-roll consumer products, there were many items that would undoubtedly figure in anyone's wish list. Among them would have been: a flying car, super high-resolution TV, a robot that can cook and serve you and also do the washing up as you WFH, a mask that you can wear and is connected to your smartphone, a rollable tablet, a gaming station with immersive wrap-around screen, or a street door that you can open a portal via your phone to let your pet out or in when it "needs to go out" or a cuddly smart pet, there was pretty much something for everyone.

As far as hospitality is concerned, a few things caught my eye - such as the self-cleaning door handle, UV robots, smart masks, short-throw UHD projectors, delivery robots and of course the flying car. The latter would be ideal for getting from airport to hotel in those crowded cities, as well as the UAV's that we will most likely very soon see on our streets.

Without me going into detail on all these items, I encourage you to go online and explore the CES materials that were released, and a few of them can be found in a Dropbox that I have set up as a repository: https://tinyurl.com/pertlink

Also included in the file is an interview by REUTERS - The Future of Travel - How Airbnb is Changing Post-COVID with Brian Chesky, Chief Executive Officer, Airbnb - where Brian in my mind correctly forecasts how travel, and most especially business travel will look like in the future. Likewise, I strongly encourage you to watch the interview between Thomas Friedman of the NYT and Prof. Amnon Shashua about the rise of Ai and the smart machines.

Long Live CES!

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