By Tom Otton
Tom Otton of Create Media Group attended the world’s largest tech show – International Consumer Electronics Show CES® 2016 in Las Vegas. He reveals what the experience was like.
First debuted in 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, has grown to become the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology.
Running from January 6 to January 9 this year, CES® 2016 reportedly saw 175,000 people in attendance and featured latest innovations of more than 3,600 exhibitors.
“Since it features every major technology company on the planet, attending CES was an absolute must for us,” says Tom Otton, managing director at Create Media Group, a Dubai-based digital agency.
Who’s who of the world’s tech industry, he says, was present at CES® 2016. From tech powerhouses to innovative start-ups, exhibitors launched and featured products from all facets of tech, from automotive and wireless to up-and-coming categories like 3D printing, drones and sensor technology.
“Manufacturers, developers and suppliers alike value CES as a place to showcase new products,” Otton adds. “For us it represented a perfect opportunity to strengthen existing business relationships and establish new ones with those in emerging industries.
“CES represented a truly unique networking experience for us, as it draws the global technology industry from 150 countries including Fortune 500 executives, manufacturers, content producers, entertainment executives, venture capitalists, government officials, financial analysts and the media from every corner of the globe.
“One thing, which was evident from everyone that we met with, is that interest in Dubai and the region in general is still huge. It is clearly still considered a growing market for many in this exciting space.
“Many of the conversations we had were around brands recognising the growth of the tech sector here, driven by the government’s appetite to create a ‘smart’ city.
“Inevitably there is an appetite for many in the new tech sector to expand to the region and for us as a business this is ideal – whilst many of them have their hands full developing the US market, we can offer them a route into this region.”
Talking about key industries that stood out at CES, Otton explains that the participation of a record number of drone manufacturers reflected the skyrocketing popularity and exponential growth of commercial and consumer drones.
“Incredibly there was a manned drone on display which featured a ‘fly through’ of Dubai as part of its sales video,” he says.
“Appropriate rules are now needed regarding the safe operation of unmanned aircraft in our airspace, and new systems for managing drones must account for security and privacy as this sector continues to take flight both regionally and globally.
“This was of particular interest to me as I will be using a 3DR ‘Solo’ drone on my next ultra marathon challenge in February as I set out to cross the Wahiba Sands desert in Oman . That is 165km or four marathons in three days, all in support of the UAE based charity Intisaar.”
Among other trends and products to be on the lookout in 2016, this year’s CES reflected the explosion of 3D printing. The industry projected sales for 2016 to be up 64 percent from last year.
“Most 3D printers are used for building prototypes for the medical, aerospace, engineering and automotive industries,” Otton explains.
“But with the advancement of digital technology supporting it, these machines are moving towards more compact units with affordable price-points for today’s commercial and home consumer alike.
“Whilst 3D printers are currently being used in schools around the UAE to assist in the art, design and technology departments, it is clear that as this technology progresses it will eventually become a common household item.”
Constantly searching for cutting edge innovative technology, Otton says, their trip to CES was well worth the travel time. “Enlightening in all the right ways,” he adds.
“In order to remain one step ahead in the local market it is crucial we look further afield, maintain a culture of constant learning and to bring best practices to our customers.
“As a business we have been implementing this from day one and it is one of the core attributes that has enabled us to grow consistently and to service some of the most exciting brands in the region.”