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Reading IT Trends at CES 2012

Reading IT Trends at CES 2012

JANG Sung-Won

Mar. 13, 2012


Welcome to our video program. I'm Sung-Won Jang from the Industry and Strategy Department I.

At the beginning of each year, Las Vegas, the city of tourism and casinos, is crowded with more than 100,000 people worldwide from the IT industry, including leading global electronics and IT companies. The destination is the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest of its kind. And since the first show in 1967, the CES is hosted for four days every year. This year, a total of 3,100 companies participated in the show, attracting an audience of about 140,000.

This installment will cover the characteristics and trends seen at CES 2012.

The most prominent aspect of CES 2012 for Korea was that leading electronics giants, Samsung and LG, gained the spotlight and made waves among participants. A month prior to the exhibition, attention was already drawn to the announcement of their strategic products which include organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) TVs, smart TVs, smartphones, tablet PCs, notebook computers and home appliances. Also, during the exhibition, both made headlines, becoming Best of Innovations honorees. Indeed, so many people visited the Samsung and LG booths that it was difficult to even pass through the area.

The two Korean firms excelled their rivals in every aspect including the size and location of their booths, the size of audience, and the number and performance of exhibition products.

Korea's rival Japan also had many companies including Sony, Sharp and Panasonic at the CES. However, as demonstrated by their faltering business performances, their booths were not quite as energetic.

China made the challenge to join the fray and displayed new products mainly by Changhong Electrics and Haier. However, they still lagged far behind the global leaders in features and quality.

At the 2012 CES, televisions gained the most attention. Samsung and LG showcased their 55-inch OLED TVs, implying that next-generation gadgets after LED would be released soon. Also introduced were 70-80 inch ultra definition (UD) TVs, speech and gesture recognition TVs and glassless 3D TVs.

“Connectivity” was also one of the hottest issues at CES 2012. Connectivity eliminates boundaries between individual devices, enabling compatibility of content and services. To take advantage of the feature, consumer electronics companies such as Samsung, LG, Sony and Sharp as well as IT companies such as Microsoft and Intel are in competition, displaying similar products including TVs, smartphones and tablet PCs, crossing boundaries based on connectivity.

In PCs, ultrabooks attracted the most attention. They are a new platform in the notebook family and earned their name due to their portability, reduced size and weight, and remarkable performance. Ultrabooks are embedded with the second generation Intel Core “Sandy Bridge” processor and solid-state drive (SSD), weigh about 1.3kilograms and are less than 20 millimeters thick. Initiated by Intel, many computer makers including Samsung, LG, HP, Dell and Acer have released more than 10 kinds of ultrabooks.

Many models of cars were also exhibited at the show. Indeed, the integration of cars and IT technology is essential in the improvement of car performance and driver safety, together with wireless Internet and infotainment systems.

A special area was allocated exclusively to cars with Ford unveiling its new vehicle “Fusion” at the show. Also, the CEOs of Ford and Benz delivered keynote speeches, despite their tight schedules due to the North American International Auto Show. Along with the new cars, infotainment systems that work on speech and augmented reality systems with motion detection provided fresh amusement to the audience.

CES 2012 had two main characteristics.

First, although little was known about the small and medium-sized enterprises involved as media reports were mostly about large companies and state of the art products, most of the participants were in fact SMEs. In addition, conferences on recent technologies and issues were popular during the exhibition period. As such, CES provides SMEs with an opportunity to network with large companies, and state of the art technologies and products to lead the development of the IT industry.

Second, such a large international show can be hosted in Las Vegas thanks to the city's large infrastructure which includes a large convention center, hotels, an international airport as well as a well-established transit system that provides rental cars, shuttle services, a monorail and a parking lot.

Furthermore, the city on the whole did not suffer from any major complications despite the huge number of tourists and visitors due to the superior operating system based on the city's infrastructure. Hopefully, Korea will be able to host such prestigious large international exhibitions commensurate with the rising status of Korean companies.

Thank you for watching. I'm Sung-Won Jang.

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