I don’t get this question as frequently as I did in 2011 and 2012, but it still pops up occasionally. Thought I’d take the time to explain a little about the why and the background on this conference.
When we first proposed this conference to the CTA (then, CEA) staff in 2010 our stated goal was to increase the attendance of smaller telecom companies and broadband ISPs to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The largest telecom ISPs were already attending CES, but many of the smaller companies were not and saw no reason to do so. This seems pretty silly today, but broadband has moved quickly. Now, nearly every CE device that you see on the show floor is Internet-enabled. Broadband has been a real boon to the consumer electronics industry. And as we move into the world of the Internet of Things, telecom and cable broadband networks are even more critical and valuable. It’s that old network effect, the more the network is used the more valuable it becomes.
Since the middle of the last decade many small telecom companies became aware that they needed to compete with the local cable system in terms of providing video. So, telco video was a big deal to many of these companies from about 2003 to 2007. BUT, then later in the decade there were rumors of Internet-enabled TV sets, so it was not enough to simply get video services to those TV sets but there also had to be Internet available.
Then, the explosion of Internet-enabled devices; the Internet of Things!!! And the dizzying explosion of broadband-enabled CE devices continued.
A colleague in another consulting firm regularly conducts seminars for CSRs at these smaller telecom companies to explain the Internet of Things and to train them on how to answer questions from customers about new devices being added to home networks. This is a fulltime job because so many new devices come out each year; our colleague has a good business training and educating customer service reps on how to answer questions from consumers.
Some of these smaller telecom companies have established businesses within their business that is akin to local IT specialists to help customers make the decisions about home networks, from broadband installation to distribution within the home to how to get these devices to work on their networks.
So back to our CES Broadband Conference. The attendees have changed dramatically over the years. We now have attendees from CE manufacturers and distributors. We have many analysts from all segments of the CE and broadband industry. We have a few VCs. We have some government regulators and very frequently government regulators from other countries where they are developing their own broadband infrastructure.
As broadband continues to expand and become more robust and is like air, we have more attendees come from diverse industries and backgrounds.
CES is absolutely the best place to see the newest technologies and the technology trends for the future. If your company or organization has anything to do with consumers and consumer technology, you need to attend CES.