Exhibition News April 2019 - Page 23

Cover Feature It has become a topic for discussion and debate in the exhibition industry – is it better in the long run to be the giant tanker, powering ahead on its course, or the small, nippy sailboat, able to quickly move in whatever direction the wind blows? And, to possibly overstretch the metaphor, is it more about the quality of the experience you have on board? Not to mention, how does the CTA ensure that CES stays at the very forefront of an industry as fast-moving and ever-changing industry as consumer tech? To find out, EN sat down with executive vice president Karen Chupka to delve into the details and take a peek behind the scenes. The entire ecosystem “One of the benefits of CES is that the show itself represents so many different industries and technologies,” Chupka tells EN. “It’s the one place where everybody can come and see all of the ecosystem of technologies. That gives us a lot of opportunities to continually build out new voices, bring in new participants and create new areas that help keep the show fresh and exciting for everybody.” When the show launched in 1957 the world of consumer technology was of course drastically different to today. In those days, says Chupka, CES primarily consisted of technologies like stereo equipment, video equipment and audio equipment, while CES 2019 covered everything from 5G, augmented and virtual reality and robots to healthcare tech and agricultural equipment. “Each year we look at trying to have at least three new things that we’re bringing into the show,” continues Chupka. “If [the technology] is in the early stages “It’s the one place where everybody can come and see all of the ecosystem of technologies” we may start with conference programming, and then we continue to build as the market gets bigger with exhibits and showcases on the floor.” One of the relatively new sectors for 2019 was the world of tourism technology, with Carnival Cruise Line in attendance launching one of the first ‘smart ships’ onto the marketplace. “This year we had about 100 different products that were travel and tourism and potentially now for 2020 we will look to having something that’s a little bit more of a focused, dedicated area for tourism,” says Chupka. “We’re looking at making sure that we’re also promoting it to the right attendee base, so that they know this area is here at the show and something they can come and see.” One of the striking stats from CES 2019 is that international visitors made up around 35 per cent of the visitor base (if EN’s maths can be believed), coming from between 150 and 155 countries. “It’s unique in that it gives a global perspective of how Google tripled its presence for 2019 April — 23