Notes from Las Vegas, city of sin, but also of digital and connected devices – thanks to CES 2019, the excellent fair of consumer electronics

Andrea Di Camillo, Managing Partner of P101 SGR | January 21st, 2019

Foldable monitors, technology’s “pink quotas” and beautifully crafted Made-in-Italy products that can gain their space in a China-dominated world

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the most important and long-living (since 1967) consumer electronics fair ended last week. More than 4,000 exhibitors had their spot at the Las Vegas Convention Center: developers, hardware and new tech manufacturers. More than 200 conferences were held and products in the order of the tens of thousands were presented to an audience of 180,000 people.

An event with some unique characteristics: first of all, its size and sparkling allure, like the city hosting it. And some highlights that resulted from an ongoing evolution in the world of consumer electronics:

  • This is an increasingly, probably almost exclusively, Chinese industry. Everyone knows it, but when walking through the Las Vegas fair exhibitors it becomes indisputably clear.
  • We are witnessing a new convergence that will lead us towards a real Internet of everything. This trend is becoming particularly clear as not just device manufacturers, but also car companies and aircraft manufacturers and the ubiquitous Google and Amazon voice assistants presented their products in a connected modality.
  • This hyper-connection will irremediably lead to increasingly seamless (so less and less “voluntary”) data access.

Year after year, in Las Vegas you can see the innovations that are yet to come, the ones that Europe hasn’t seen yet. Such as:

  • Foldable monitors: LG’s roll-up television is impressive especially in terms of image quality but it is still a television. Among the pavilions, however, you could spot some monitors that had different shapes, set on three dimensions. Which makes us think that objects of any shape and nature could become interactive media with a yet unimaginable potential to create new contents and forms of communication.
  • Among the thousands stands, you could find more than one that showed devices for women. The surprising thing is that among the new products, the “women-only” ones were those attracting the highest attention. Therefore, we can think that there’s a still unexplored, underestimated target in the tech market.
  • An entire wing was reserved to non-US start-ups. If France Tech occupied half the area, Italy had its worthy representation with very sophisticated and especially high-quality products. This is perhaps a legacy that we take for granted, however it confirms that beauty and quality craftmanship (when we want and have the money to go in this direction) are still the hallmarks of the Italian production.

In short, there is much food for thought. And we should ask ourselves what role Italy can have in this world, since it seems to be geographically cut off from the game, but actually, in some market niches, Italy has more than enough voice to speak out loud.