The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) held its annual kickoff to CES on Thursday, with CES Unveiled New York once again held at the Metropolitan Pavilion.
But invoking the CTA’s infamous mantra of “Innovate or Die,” the organization mixed things up a bit this year, and the event was far from a carbon copy of the past. The introductory press conference was set up in a more casual setting across tables and couches, and the subsequent tabletop portion of the event was transformed into a more “experiential” environment, with attendees given the opportunity to get hands-on with new technology.
Gary Shapiro, CTA president/CEO, kicked things off by highlighting the global environment of CES, describing it both as “the coolest, funnest, greatest tech event in the world” and the “only venue in the entire world where the entire ecosystem comes together.”
On that note, he addressed the CTA’s well-known critical stance on the Trump-imposed tariffs, warning of the “serious ramifications for companies in our industries and many industries” if the tariffs on imports from China rise from the current 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1 as presently scheduled.
Shapiro also highlighted some of the upcoming new areas at CES, taking place Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas, including the expanded Smart Cities Marketplace and the new Resilience conference, focusing on technologies enabling countries, cities and people to respond to and rebound from calamities, both natural and otherwise.
He furthermore announced that the CTA’s next book, “Ninja Future,” will officially launch at CES and unveiled the organization’s inaugural Tech Media Trailblazers Class of 2019. This group is made up of new journalists who will have the opportunity to cover CES for the first time. (Among the participants: David Lumb of TechRadar, a TWICE sister publication.)
Karen Chupka, executive VP of CES, provided further details on the upcoming show, which will feature an expected 4,500 exhibitors from 155 countries, regions and territories. New exhibitors include John Deere, JD.com, Procter & Gamble, and Raytheon.
Eureka Park, the dedicated area for start-ups, will host a record 1,200 exhibitors from 40 different countries, Chupka said, while 150 auto exhibitors will be spread across a space larger than four football fields.
Artificial intelligence and robotics will also play prominent roles at this year’s show, as will digital health. As previously announced, CES 2019 will, for the first time, offer attendees the ability to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) Credits.