Notes From the Consumer Electronics Show blog graphic

Notes From the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

I recently attended CES 2023, the largest show of its type in the world. Over 100,000 people attend a show that spans nearly a dozen very large venues in Las Vegas over the course of four days. I drop in for two.

Here are some of my takeaways from the show.

Why do I attend CES?

  • Because my clientele typically can’t break away to attend something slightly outside their daily lane.
  • There are benefits of getting outside of the beltway bubble and the defense echo chamber found in so many trade shows and in the press.
  • CES focuses on truly emerging tech in the commercial space. Companies at CES are years ahead of what any defensewerx or the innovation command.
    • Examples: Cyber, personal security, blockchain, IoT, autonomy, robotics, metaverse, Web 3.0
  • My awareness and ability to observe these early trends helps clients interpret their own unfolding challenges and strategic opportunities 

What appears new to me?

  • Forms of communication, flow of information, and how platforms are monetized are changing before our eyes. Think of how you move among streaming platforms as a simple example. Doing so seamlessly requires an intense understanding of data, users, habits, the ability to forecast, and the requirement to get it right.
  • Entertainment, news, speed, and the degree of segmentation and channelization of information are affecting many aspects of your daily and work life. Are you reacting to it or preparing for how to integrate it?
  • Transformation of work using digital tools, training, and remote work management in 3D vice 2D. The metaverse is not a cartoon, and it is not gaming. It will be a new way to integrate communications among a distributed workforce.
  • Search, discovery, and use of metadata. The commercial world is investing heavily and again, will only invest when they can mitigate risk.

Trade show management and conduct

  • The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) that runs CES can run circles around any industry trade show I have ever attended. 
  • CES is highly organized and extremely well executed.
    • Attending CES is a completely frictionless experience—registration, ticketing at the airport, transportation, and the use of a mobile app. 
  • The content is world-class, mostly free, and accessible to all attendees. 

Some tips from CES panelists for small businesses with big business dreams

  • Curiosity—ingrain it in your people
  • Questioning—this, too, is a mindset
  • Find the Loophole—“there is always another way”
  • Resilience—If it were easy, everyone would be doing it
  • Billion-dollar connections are within your reach
  • Pivot—If the customer isn’t responding to your product, it’s your product.
  • Say Yes—when people reach out, say yes. Don’t make it a transaction, just say yes.


  • The industry clearly leading the policy.
  • The international standards organization (ISO) completely relies on the inputs of industry.
  • Personal protection mindset. Think of cyber the way you think of your own personal and physical security. 

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