HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

January 15, 2007, Herald Journal

40th anniversary for Consumer Electronics Show


Sarah Szabo is the Public Relations Event Manager for the Consumer Electronics Association, which is showcasing the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that was held January 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Sarah some questions about this year’s show.

Bits & Bytes: What in your opinion will be some of the more popular new consumer electronic items for 2007?

Sarah S.: At the 2007 International CES, expect to see the next level of products and technologies emerge in the consumer electronics world. Connectivity and portability will be the two big trends on the show floor and throughout 2007.

Attendees at the show and consumers worldwide will begin to see a new convergence, which will combine consumer electronics products and services in new ways. The consumer technology and content worlds will truly intertwine in 2007.

On the show floor, CES attendees will see first-hand this evolution of convergence with products such as flash drives and storage devices increasing in size – reaching 8-16 GB – that change the way we use our portable content devices.

Consumers in 2007 will see a surge in portable content devices, created to make their lives more convenient and provide their content anywhere they want – in the home, in the car or on the go. And of course, with HDTVs hot on the market, expect to see larger HDTVs emerge with even greater resolution.

Bits & Bytes: Being that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the CES, will any of the original folks be there to reminisce or talk about the consumer electronics from 1967 that made an important impact that is seen even today in 2007? Will any displays from 1967 be seen?

Sarah S.: Celebrating the 40 years of CES symbolizes not only the growth of our show, but also the strength of the CE industry. Over the past four decades, CES has been the launch pad for life-changing innovations. The VCR, DVD player, CD player, HDTV – all have launched from the show floor.

Throughout the show this year, attendees will see images of the products and technologies that have shaped our industry for the past forty years, and made the International CES into the global event for consumer technology.There are 14 companies who have participated in CES throughout the past 40 years and we are honoring them throughout this year’s show with commemorative plaques, to be presented at the CES 40th Anniversary Bash on opening day, and with special 40-year exhibitor ribbons given to each company.

These companies, along with all our exhibitors, have significantly contributed to the success of our show and we are truly grateful for their support.The 14 exhibitors who have participated in the first CES and are here again with us in 2007 are:

• Harman Consumer Group (formerly Jensen Manufacturing)

• Hitachi

• LG Electronics USA, Inc. (formerly Zenith Sales Corp.)

• Motorola

• Panasonic (formerly Matsushita Electric Corp.)

• Philips Consumer Electronics

• Sanyo Fisher Co. (formerly Fisher Radio Corp.)

• Sharp Electronics Corp.

• Sony Corp. of America

• TEAC America, Inc.

• Thomson (formerly RCA Sales Corp.)

• Toshiba America Consumer Products

• Unisonic/US Electronics (formerly North American Foreign Trading Corp.)

• Westinghouse Digital Electronics.

Bits & Bytes: Who are some of the well-known names in consumer electronics that will be speak? Will there be any “surprise” guests?

Sarah S.: We have an explosive line-up of speakers this year, including several industry heavy-hitters slated for keynote addresses including, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Motorola’s Ed Zander, Disney’s Robert Iger, Dell’s Michael Dell and CBS’ Leslie Moonves.

In addition, the CES Industry Insider Series, which features a keynote-type format, but in a more casual setting, will host Nokia’s Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Cisco’s John Chambers and several leaders from major broadcast, cable, satellite and telco companies.

The 2007 International CES also will feature several key government officials, from the U.S. and around the globe. On Tuesday, January 9, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrez, will deliver keynote remarks at the International SuperSession, which will be directly followed by an International panel featuring government officials from Japan, Brazil and the U.S.

Bits & Bytes: Has the CES always been held in Las Vegas?

Sarah S.: The first CES took place in 1967 at the Americana and Hilton Hotels in New York City. The summer show moved to Chicago in 1971, with the winter show relocating to Chicago in 1973.

In 1978 the winter CES moved to Las Vegas, and was the first major business conference hosted in the city

Bits & Bytes:  Are you aware of any representation from Minnesota?

Sarah S.: There are 17 exhibiting companies that are either based in Minnesota, or have branches located in Minnesota, including Microboards Technology and Linds Electronics.(For a list of exhibitors representing Minnesota, please visit our online directory at https://myces2007.bdmetrics.com/Portal/GeneralSearch.aspx. This will allow you to search for companies specific to Minnesota.)

Bits & Bytes: What do you and the people from CES want visitors to the CES to take away with them when they leave the show, in-so-far as learning or what they will be talking about?

Sarah S.: CES attendees will see and feel the convergence of new technologies, products and services while on the show floor this year. There will be many major announcements and partnerships made at CES focused on this new convergence that will ‘wow’ the entire CE industry and better the lives of consumers around the world.

Bits & Bytes: Thank you Sarah for giving my readers and myself some very informative and fabulous inside information and thoughts about this year’s CES. I am sure we will be hearing much more in the coming days about the new products and technologies that will be presented.

Sarah S.: Thanks, Mark. We’re excited for another extraordinary show and for the new products and technologies emerging at this year’s International CES.

I encourage my readers to visit the web link for the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show at: www.cesweb.org for more information. Also, be sure to read next weeks Bits & Bytes as we will look at some of the highlights from the CES.