Tech shows are awesome and we need them more than ever

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Ilia Temelkov
Ilia Temelkov
Phonearena team
Original poster
• 1mo ago

For decades, trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Mobile World Congress (MWC) and Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) were the best places for anyone to show off their latest technology and devices. Along with the crazy concepts and the trade deals, these expos were the stage for the shiny keynotes presenting some of the most popular consumer tech products on the market. However, lately, many big brands decided to pull out of these events and make their own smaller shows focused only on their brand.

Of course, Apple was the pioneer of this approach. The company never had a booth at CES, and in 2009, it announced it would not participate in Macworld anymore. Since then, Apple has presented all its products during tightly controlled keynote events such as the now traditional September Event. If you want to check out any new Apple product, you cannot do it at a trade show.

Such a high level of control over the narrative is something every brand dreams of. So, others followed Apple’s lead and ditched the trade shows, at least partially. Samsung is probably the best example of this. The company started the Unpacked event series in 2009, tying them to the major industry events for a few years. Now, Unpacked feels like a brand itself separated from any trade show. Huawei and Xiaomi are just some of the other big brands which also seem to prefer to reveal their products in their separate events.

What everyone does differently than Apple is that they at least show up at the trade shows. Such participation is welcomed and important for the whole industry. Whenever big names show up at the trade shows, people’s attention follows them.

This attention is the most significant part of the trade shows as it gives a rare chance for the smaller companies and the weird concepts to go under the spotlight. Every year, CES and MWC are the stage for some of the wildest innovations and silliest ideas that make tech exciting. None of them could get the same level of attention by themselves, which would be bad for everyone. I mean, who’d rave about a smart toilet if it’s not at CES?

Big Tech companies already have the clout and the marketing budgets to make everybody talk about whatever they do. Smaller companies, especially startups, don’t. Considering how safe the big companies like to play, we need the tech shows to keep seeing meaningful innovation and crazy ideas. And the bigger the shows, the better the outcomes.

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