January 22, 2020
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was originally the place where companies like Apple (Tii:AAPL) would unveil their newest technology. Today, attendees will see more than just your typical tech companies in the exhibitor halls, as the trade show has grown to highlight things like shared mobility and smart home amenities. Brands like Delta (Tii:DAL), Bell Helicopter (Tii:TXT) and Audi (Tii:AUDVF) have a large presence with massive booths and this year, Delta was the first airline ever to give a keynote speech, a “first” that intrigued many leading up to the address.
As a brand new CES attendee, I was blown away by the innovation and technology brought together under one umbrella. Aside from the obvious massive tech overload, it was fascinating to watch how much networking was done each day, from early morning breakfast to late evening cocktails and everything in between. Even companies who don’t pay to exhibit at CES will fly in, rent a block of hotel rooms on the strip and camp out in hotel conference rooms with a revolving door of meetings. Every high-level person from companies all over the world are in one central hub, making it easy to make targeted announcements to the right people and conduct business efficiently and centrally for a few days.
Brands use this hub as a jumping off point to display products or ideas, that aren’t even in production yet, to an elite audience from around the world. Delta, for example, showcased their vision for the future of air travel – customized boarding experiences, facial recognition, free Wi-Fi and robotics. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, noted that the company has spent billions of dollars to turn its technology from a vulnerability to an asset, with the hopes of offering a customized, seamless travel experience to each passenger. This was a big deal to companies and passengers alike.
While pageantry is a large part of the CES experience, companies are keenly aware of how newly debuted technologies reflect on their bottom line and deliver value to their shareholders. In fact, CES presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for individual shareholders to get to engage with companies in a way they otherwise could not. To be able to experience some of the world’s leading companies at eye level is invaluable to an investor. As technology continues to evolve as showcased by CES, maybe the perception of how individual investors can interact with the companies they own shares of will too.