Officially opening in Las Vegas tomorrow, CES 2018 will showcase tech innovations and gadgets from more than 3,900 companies around the globe, with more than 170,000 visitors and over 300 conference sessions. Speakers for the ginormous event, which is operated by the Consumer Technology Association, include Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett, and Baidu vice chairman Qi Lu.
First held in 1967, the annual consumer technology trade show has become a mammoth event, now spanning 3 huge venues across Las Vegas. This year, topics will explore cutting-edge technologies ranging from artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality, to the Internet of Things (IoT), self-driving cars, smart energy, and digital health.
Expect to see consumer electronics of all types making their debut, including the latest smartphones, televisions, monitors, computers and tablets, as well as a host of new smart home devices.
Set to run Jan. 9-12, CES 2018 yesterday provided a sneak preview of some of this year's "Best of Innovation" award winners at the Unveiled Las Vegas media event. Robots and smart devices were among the headliners, including the ForwardX CX-1 AI-powered suitcase, the MyLiFi device for optical wireless networking, and the SGNL smart strap that provides audio connectivity using body conduction technology.
MeToo at CES
In light of the growing public acknowledgement of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination led by the #MeToo movement, it's probably not surprising that CES 2018 is already being criticized for not including more women as keynote speakers. After the advocacy group Gender Avenger pointed out the absence of headlining female speakers, CES organizers said in a letter on Friday that they will redouble their efforts to expand women's voices throughout the conference and as featured speakers.
"A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that 'there remains a persistent lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the technology workforce,'" CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro and CES senior VP Karen Chupka wrote in their response to Gender Avenger founder Gina Glantz.
"We agree, especially for women in leadership roles," Shapiro and Chupka wrote. "This is a global issue -- not just within the technology sector -- all industries and our society at large can and must do better. Those of us who produce events must do better too."
Keynotes Focus on Data, Connectivity, and Mobility
Tonight, on the eve of CES 2018's opening, Intel's CEO is scheduled to give the event's first keynote address: "How Data is Shaping Innovation of the Future" (Monday, Jan. 8, 6:30pm PST in the Tech South Center, Monte Carlo Hotel, Park Theater).
While the description of his keynote focuses on the power of technology and Intel's latest advances, Krzanich is also expected to address two key concerns that arose last week -- the "Meltdown" vulnerability and his personal sale of stock shortly before news of the vulnerability went public.
On Tuesday, Chengdong Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, is scheduled to talk about his company's work on "future connectivity" and its impact on artificial intelligence, the IoT, and smart devices (Jan. 9, 2pm in the Tech West Center, Venetian Hotel, Level 5, Palazzo Ballroom).
Ford Motors' CEO Jim Hackett is also slated for a keynote Tuesday in the same location, at 2pm, where he is set to focus on mobility solutions for smart cities.
Smart Devices for Every Purpose
In addition to cutting-edge consumer technologies, this year's CES attendees can also -- as usual -- expect to see offbeat, concept, and strange innovations.
For example, Slate today highlighted the return of a $980, clothes-folding robotic device called the FoldiMate, which it called "the most CES thing ever."
Other unusual tech on the CES 2018 show floor include the Moodo, a smart device for dispensing customized home fragrances; the Kolibree Magik AR toothbrush to help children learn proper brushing technique; and the Care OS smart mirror, which can take selfies, play music, and provide skin-care tips.
Navigating the Show
For those attending the show, here's a brief run-down from CES regarding what to find where:
CES Tech East: Located at the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center (LVCC), Westgate Hotel, and Renaissance Hotel. Here you'll find many international exhibitors as well as innovations in audio, drones, gaming, augmented and virtual reality, vehicle technology, video, wireless devices, wireless services, and digital imaging/photography.
CES Tech West: Located at the Sands Expo and Venetian Hotel, The Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn. This multi-hotel venue will feature the innovative power behind the industry's emerging technology, including revolutions in fitness and health, the Internet of Things, wearables, smart home, sensors and other high-growth technologies changing the world. Tech West is also home to Eureka Park, the startup community for new businesses and entrepreneurs at CES.
CES Tech South: Located at the ARIA Hotel, Park MGM, and Vdara. This is the CES epicenter for the advertising, content, marketing and entertainment communities, hosting a variety of C-Space activities, including conference sessions, networking events, exhibits and hospitality suites.
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