Managing communications for one of the most buzzed about conferences of the year with more than 100,000 attendees is no simple task. Now that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show has come to a close, PRNewser spoke with Laurie Ann Phillips, senior director of communications, for the Consumer Electronics Association, the trade group that puts on the annual industry mega-conference.
Indeed, tablets were a big trend this year; Phillips told us 80 new tablets launched at this conference. Another interesting factoid: more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 attend CES, according Phillips. Read on for the full interview.
What does the CES PR team look like? How many people do you have working on the team during the conference?
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which owns and produces CES, has 15 full-time staff in its communications department, plus spokespeople like Jim Barry, our national “Digital Answer Man.” To manage the more than 5,000 media who attend International CES, we increase our on-site staffing with individuals from other CEA departments, consultants from across the country, and others.
Our communications team is busy well before the attendees land in Las Vegas. There is a media-only “Unveiled” event on Tuesday evening, and “Press Day,” the day before the show opens when some of the larger exhibitors have their press events, is on Wednesday. Our team of spokespoeple began fielding calls about the show well before Christmas, and when we’re onsite the broadcast interview schedule can often begin before 4 am PT.
Everyone tries their best at CES to keep up with, or predict what will be the year’s trends. What are you seeing this year?
Internet over everything. Broadband connectivity, and thus new uses for existing products, is on display in new tech zones –such as sport and fitness, connected home appliances – and across the show floor with Internet-connected TVs and in-vehicle technologies.
In-vehicle Technology. With the heads of Audi and Ford as keynote speakers and a new electric vehicle tech zone, products like safe driving gadgets and in-vehicle multimedia side are going beyond navigation to built-in Bluetooth and iPod music playback.
Internet-Connected TV: In 2014 CEA projects U.S. consumers will purchase nearly 30 million Internet-connected TVs, and there will be 185 million sets worldwide. All the major display manufacturers have some version of apps and marketplaces on their displays, like Panasonic’s Viera Connect.
Sports and Fitness. We are seeing products that can monitor your weight, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns through tiny sensors that then send the data to your smartphone or computer for analysis and tracking.
Smart Appliances: This is a new category that CES added to the show this year, and it features everything from smart washing machines that connect to the grid and initiate a cycle when the time of energy use is at its lowest; to refrigerators that order products based on what has been removed from inside.
Tablets. Our “Access on the Go” tech zone, together with other exhibitors, are featuring more than 80 new tablets at CES, helping fill that screen size void between smart phones and net books.
Apple accessories. Our iLounge pavilion for Apple-related products doubled in size over last year from 25,000 to 50,000 net square feet of exhibitor space.
Entertainment Content: As consumers consume more content, and across more devices (many like to call it a three-screen strategy: smartphones, computers, and TVs), the types of content available, how, and in what format, is becoming more important. So we’re seeing content providers announcing more content, and other manufacturers introducing ways for consumers to create more content, through cameras and camcorders – even 3D camcorders!
Convince someone who as never attended CES to attend.
International CES is the one “must attend” events of the year for the global consumer electronics industry. It is a trade show, not open to the public, but it attracts more than 2,700 exhibitors and more than 125,000 attendees, and each attendee conducts an average of 12 meetings with buyers, investors, analysts, and media. International CES attendees cover the breadth of the global economy, encompassing everything from retail, manufacturing, automotive, broadcast and content, insurance, and financial, travel, hospitality, higher education and entertainment; top-tier leaders from federal, state and international governments; more than 5,000 media; and more than 1000 industry and market analysts.
More than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 companies attend International CES, and 45 percent of International CES attendees are a senior level executive (CEO, owner, president, vice president, director or general manager). CES is the only tradeshow ranked by CEOs as one of their top 10 most desired speaking opportunities, according to Burson-Marsteller’s Most Valued Podium survey.