Normally at this time of year, I head out to Las Vegas to attend CES, the world's largest consumer electronic show. Every year, more than 185,000 people descend on Sin City to see the new gadgets that companies have to offer. And for the past several years, Fred and Paul Jacobs have taken radio industry executives on a private tour of the conference floor while I have interviewed various exhibitors for the CES for Radio podcast.
This year, of course, things are different. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented such a large in-person gathering. So Fred and Paul have pivoted by offering a virtual tour of CES 2021, which will allow you to see how new trends, from voice commands to self-driving cars, will impact the radio industry.
To get you ready for this virtual tour of CES, I've compiled five of my favorite CES interviews from the last few years:
1. An overview of the tech trends at CES
Best-selling author and trendcaster Dr. Shawn DuBravac will join Fred for the virtual tour of CES on Wednesday. Shawn has led some of our VIP tours in past years, and works with many of the companies that showcase their wares at the event. He has broad knowledge of the many different technological trends on display at CES, from smart cities and 5G to robots and virtual reality. This interview is a great starting part for anyone who wants to know what CES is all about.
2. The future of urban transportation
Radio's fate has long been tied to the vehicles that people use to get around. After all, more radio listening happens in the car than anywhere else. So what happens when those cars begin to drive themselves? Or when people move to ride sharing, car sharing, scooters, public transportation, or even helicopters? I explore these questions with Hugues Despres of UJet, Terry Duncan of GenZe, and Scott Drennan of Bell Helicopter.
3. The world of eSports
While I was lucky enough to score myself a Nintendo Switch for Christmas, I am the furthest thing from a hardcore gamer. But eSports has become a billion-dollar industry. Persia, a groundbreaking eSports gamer-turned-commentator, walked me through the basics of the videogaming industry and was nice enough to indulge all of my newbie questions.
4. How new technologies are impacting real sports
It's not just eSports that's being impacted by technological innovations — so are regular sports. Of course, we've seen the important role technology has played in enabling the sports industry to adapt to the pandemic. But even before that, tech was shaping the sports landscape. Last year, I sat down with David Meltzer, the Co-Founder of Sports 1 Marketing (the firm that Jerry Maguire was based on) and a best-selling author, to talk about the intersection of tech and sports.
5. Data collection at live events
Wandering around Eureka Park — the section of CES that's reserved for small, scrappy startups — is like shopping at a flea market: You never know what you're going to find. If you're lucky, you'll discover a real gem among the lot, as I did when I found Hurdl in 2017. Betsy McHugh founded Hurdl to solve a decidedly pre-pandemic problem: the collection of data at large live events, such as concerts and festivals. The solution she came up with is simple but brilliant.
Bonus: A hearing solution in a mobile app
Not everything at CES is big and flashy. Sometimes, the best finds are small, practical solutions to common problems. As a radio broadcaster and former club DJ, I've accepted the notion that hearing loss will be an inevitable part of my future, as it is for so many of my colleagues. So when I discovered Bruce Sharpe, the CEO of Singular Hearing, demonstrating his Heard That mobile app for the hearing impaired, I was truly impressed with his achievement.