Last time I was at CES was back in 2013. I remember a neat laser car headlight demo in the North Hall by a European car manufacturer. I distinctly remember this as this as the rest of the hall was mostly audio entertainment and other specialized aftermarket car products. The impression was that CES was no longer the show case event of years past but that it was still a useful gathering place.
Skip to January 2016. The North Hall was now bulging with the who’s who of the automotive world with car manufactures, tier-1 ECU vendors and selected component vendors who morphed into systems software players. Despite the dominance of the car vendors, it was distinctly different from those car shows in Frankfurt or Detroit as it did not display cars per se but was redefining what kind of services cars could offer customers.
Also noteworthy were the entire new halls devoted to smart heath and wearable devices. The main hall was redefining the household appliance by making it smarter: smart TV of course but smart washing machines, smart fridges, smart everything.
In the short three years, my take was that CES had morphed from a latest and greatest gadget showcase to a demonstration platform of gadgets that enable services connected through the internet. The electronics is no longer center stage. Welcome to the new reality.