Consumer Electronics Show 2020, reflections on the largest trade show on Earth!

Bolser were selected by the Department for International Trade to be part of the Northern Powerhouse trade delegation to CES in Las Vegas. So we were lucky enough to have access to all the UK pavilion space and the help of the DiT. A big shout out to Karl Susol and Ilya Taho for working so hard to make the show a success for all UK attendees!

Where to start on CES2020?

The show is massive with 4,000 exhibitors and 175,000 delegates in 4 huge venues across central Las Vegas. The size and breadth of coverage can be overwhelming, so having a base on the UK trade stand helped enormously.

We soon realised that good planning is vital and so are a pair of comfortable shoes! We walked nearly 15 miles on day one and only covered a quarter of the event

The show organisers have an app that will help guide you round and point to interesting areas and notify you of the hot topics, download it.

Ash and Dom at the Northern Powerhouse pavilion

Main takeouts?

There is a vast array of consumer technology on display, but the main trends for me were:

Display screens - at CES these come in all shapes and sizes from bendy displays on mock trees and handbags, to sixty foot, curved, hi-definition screens.Worryingly, wall sized, super high light output, 8K resolution home TV screens seem to be the future.

Start-ups – there were thousands of small start-up businesses all competing very hard for attention. Some were great and some not so great. Intelligent socks and sticks vied for attention with portable hydrogen power cells and huge, John Deere tractors.

Major electronics companies - almost all the major manufacturers were at CES2020, some with stands so big they were like exhibitions themselves. These proved so popular that crowd control was needed to contain the masses attempting to see inside.

The show is enormous - it's in 4 huge venues across central Las Vegas. The size and breadth of coverage can be overwhelming, so make a plan of the places and people you want to see before you go.

Robots, robots, robots - so many as to be commonplace at the show; these came in a huge number of shapes, styles and purposes. Some incredibly polished and others looking like they came “straight from the shed” There were still few signs of the “general purpose domestic robot” much loved in science fiction, most of the robots on display performed one single task, some appeared to have no purpose but to look cute.

Health tech – from intelligent toilets to toothbrushes, it was all covered. Biometric measurement and integration with mobile apps stood out for me. Heart health, so important in this day and age was covered on many stands, along with tech to sample blood and report via your mobile device. A strong theme this year was mental health, with mood monitors being strongly represented in the halls.

Home automation - intelligent devices ran amok at the show, intelligent kitchens, bathrooms, gardens and garages. It became hard to distinguish the good from the bad, but I liked the concept of a clothes dryer that used vacuum freezing to remove moisture rather than heat, especially as it claimed to use far less electricity than the usual machines. I also liked the UK based Meeter, their device sent you a real time temperature readout of your cooking, no more guesswork there!

Scale - given the size of CES, there are a huge number of areas I have missed out completely, (photography, automotive, speakers, music) but honestly there is so much to see in so many places, I can only say you should visit yourself next January.

A small snapshot of how popular CES is!

CES 2021 - ten top tips for success:

  1. Register early, it costs almost nothing if you do it now.
  2. Plan visits/events/presentations in advance, a good plan is essential.
  3. Give yourself time, everything is further away than you think.
  4. Schedule regular breaks to keep the energy levels up.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes - you walk everywhere.
  6. Read and get to grips with the free coach timetable and routes.
  7. Beware of jet lag and drink plenty of water throughout your stay.
  8. Security is taken seriously; bags are searched and badges checked regularly. 
  9. Ask for help and directions, the staff are great and can save you a lot of time.
  10. Go, but check with the DiT team for help and advice.
One of many CES robots, Canbot danced in time to Despacito
Ash, Managing Director

Ash set up Bolser in 2001 and is renowned for innovation in digital marketing and cycling to work most days!