2014 Consumer Electronics Show overview

Danny Jacobs//January 8, 2014

2014 Consumer Electronics Show overview

By Danny Jacobs

//January 8, 2014

For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is guest blogging from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Given the deep freeze back East, the first thing you notice upon arrival in Las Vegas are the near-60 degrees temperature and the palm trees. At the Las Vegas Convention Center, more than 150,000 persons are gathering this week for CES 2014, where you are quickly consumed by the vast array of exhibitors, technologies and products.

There are 3,200 exhibitors filling almost 2 million square feet of space at the Convention Center, the adjacent Las Vegas Hotel and the Venetian. Most of the major players in consumer electronic products and services are here – Samsung, LG, Intel, Sony, Verizon, DISH, Yahoo, Monster and automobile manufacturers, to name a few. Several majors are absent, notably Apple, Microsoft and AT&T. The bulk of the exhibitors are smaller developers, manufacturers and sellers of everything from batteries to electronic guitars, satellite systems to sensors. There is a lot to see.

Jefferson Graham, Tim Westergren and Tom Conrad
Jefferson Graham, left, of USA Today interviews Pandora founder Tim Westergren, center, and Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad. (Photo by Frank Gorman)

CES 2014 is organized around 27 “techzones” that feature emerging products, services and companies centered in new technology markets. The new techzones this year are 3D Printing, Driverless Cars, FashionWare, Wrist Revolution and Academia TECH. Also, there are conference programs on a variety of topics including broadband, robotics, digital health and connecting to the cloud. With some advance planning, you can be sure to see and learn about the technologies and products of interest.

The keynote speakers on Tuesday were Kazuo Hirai of Sony, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo and John Chambers of Cisco. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will speak on economic growth and spurring innovation and research in the digital economy.

Most exciting was Tuesday’s presentation by Mayer and her team at Yahoo. She announced bold new plans for Yahoo, including a smart phone app that automatically brings up information tailored to the user and a twice-daily news feed (Yahoo News Digest) compiled by computer. Mayer is remaking Yahoo’s internet business and positioning Yahoo to compete with Google’s mobile search technology.

Finally, behind CES 2014 is the strength and scope of the Consumer Electronics Association located in Arlington, Virginia. Gary Shapiro has been president of the association for many years. The association promotes the consumer electronics industry, develops technical standards that insure products work and are compatible with other devices and takes on controversial issues like patent suits brought by “patent trolls.” The association has a staff of approximately 100 employees.

The next dispatch will address some of the market trends evident at CES 2014.

Frank Gorman is a partner at Gorman & Williams where he practices Intellectual Property law.


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