CTA Gears Up for An Expanded CES Amid Tariff Concerns
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) gave a preview of its 2020 CES in a press event last week in New York City, where Association executives talked up category coverage expansion, a planned Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, and the challenges the industry faces while trying to navigate its direction within the context of fluid trade policies.
Karen Chupka, executive vice president of CES, noted that the convention space addition was on track for CES 2021 and that the show currently attracts 61 percent of the top 500 global brands. And while the lion’s share of the 4,500 exhibitors and 1,200 startups in the Eureka Park are consumer electronics companies who show their wares, the show is deepening its coverage of a host of CE-related categories. These include vehicle technology, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, digital health, smart cities, sports tech, and travel and tourism – the latter, with a new, dedicated exhibit space and the scheduling of Delta CEO Ed Bastian as a keynoter.
CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro alluded at this event in his remarks to fluctuations in trade policies that are top of mind for both his vendor members and the dealers who visit the show every year. He noted the difficulties presented for all parties in planning “weeks and months out” due to uncertainty about tariffs. Referencing President Trump’s method of communication about the issue, he also noted its negative impact in terms of its disruption of vendors’ focus on research and development: “It’s one tweet forward and two tweets backwards.”
CTA, for its part, is training its focus on some of the things it is empowered to influence. To that end, Shapiro announced the organization’s partnership, starting at CES 2020, with the World Bank Group. The emphasis will be on three main areas, according to the CTA announcement: health, gender barriers and technologies that enable communities to be more resilient in the face of disasters and climate change. The groups together are presenting what is called the Global Tech Challenge, a contest inviting tech entrepreneurs to come up with approaches to tackling these issues. Details are to be provided at CES 2020 and finalists will be announced at the following year’s show.