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Big Revolution - The decline – but not death – of CES

Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. Take a seat and grab a biscuit. I'll be right with you... – Mart
January 8 · Issue #311 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. Take a seat and grab a biscuit. I’ll be right with you…

Big things you need to know today
  • First Apple, now Samsung has announced disappointing performance. Declining US/China relations are blamed for a decrease in the company’s memory chip sales, while it also sold fewer smartphones than it expected.
  • What if the Bluetooth chip in your devices helped you find them when they were lost? That’s what Tile is aiming for, integrating its tech into devices at chip level.
  • Google Assistant will soon be on a billion devices, The Verge reports. That’s mostly smartphones, but it’s still ten times the number of devices Amazon says its Alexa tech is built into.
The big thought
Las Vegas, home of CES
The decline – but not death – of CES
“This is by far the emptiest, deadest CES I’ve ever been to,” The Verge’s Nilay Patel wrote on Twitter yesterday. “No lines for events, barely even any traffic in Vegas. It’s eerie.” Now this was a press preview day, the calm before the storm perhaps, but when a CES veteran like Patel sees a difference, it’s worth noting.
It seems there’s a point a tech tradeshow reaches where the industry segment it serves evolves so dramatically that it must change radically or risk death.
Germany’s CeBIT tradeshow cancelled its 2019 standalone event after being widely criticised for falling to update its offering. And in the past we saw Macworld quickly lose its significance when Apple stopped announcing products there and the era of iOS devices took hold.
CES has its own challenges. Big tech companies no longer announce many products there. They hold their own dedicated event at a time of year that suits them. And in a world where a lot of the innovation happens at a software level, an event devoted to hardware is less important than it once was.
Last week I got asked to give a ‘trends from CES’ talk to a group of businesses later this month. I said “sure, but let’s make it 'trends for the year ahead, because you’re not going to see any new, definitive trends out of this year’s show.” And so it seems to be.
I’m not saying CES is going to die. Its shift to featuring more cars – where there’s lots of innovation right now – is an example of it changing with the times. But the days of CES being the show that shapes the year are long gone, and probably won’t come back.
One big read
Oracle and Palantir said diversity figures were trade secrets. The real secret: Embarrassing numbers Oracle and Palantir said diversity figures were trade secrets. The real secret: Embarrassing numbers
How some tech companies are hiding their poor diversity figures by claiming – ha! – that they’d be disclosing trade secrets and risk staff being poached if they made them public.
One big tweet
Tech marketer Shira Abel boils down the story above to its crux.
Shira Abel
All of the companies mentioned should be embarrassed. But realistically, they don't care and they won't change unless forced. Not even the bad PR aspect moves them. Let's face it, if they cared even the slightest the numbers would be better.
1:14 AM - 8 Jan 2019
That’s all for today...
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