27 Jul CES 2023
CES show is the largest event in Vegas, each year it transforms a city focused on entertainment into a city focused on electronics, for a week and it happens during the first week of the year. In 2020, they had about 171,000 people attend in person, that number dropped to 45,000 last year but jumped back to 115,000 this year. Every major consumer electronics company has a significant presence at the show; Sony, Samsung, Amazon, AMD, Panasonic, Microsoft, LG, Nikon, Canon, GM, BMW, Google, Lenovo, Hyundai, Bosch all had large booths and most of them also had entire floors at various hotels reserved for meeting space and demos. The exhibits take up most of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the startups are at the Venetian Expo (the old convention center). About 3200 exhibitors from large ones that occupy over 100,000 sq ft to small ones that are in a 100 sq ft booths showed off their wares. This is in addition to hundreds of private suites and meeting rooms that also had smaller demos. The big themes were transportation, metaverse, sustainability, crypto/blockchain, smart homes and cities, digital health; there were lots of AI and Robotics demos, lots of AR/VR demos and tons of automobile demos particularly autonomous driving and related technologies. The show was open for 4 days and there are media only events that occur two days prior, including Unveiled, PepCom and ShowStoppers where a couple of hundred exhibitors give you their elevator pitch in a 3 hours period using a tiny table top exhibit, its hectic but one does not have to wade thru a large booth to find what you are looking for.
Displays were everywhere, most were OLED and there were quite a few private demonstrations of Mini and MicroLEDs. They were in TVs and large electronic signs, they were in automobiles, they were in AR/VR headsets, in 3D displays, in wearables, even in Robots. Most of the exhibitors irrespective of their product, had displays in their booth that showed off the features of their product. And the display companies like LG, TCL, Samsung and others showed off their best display technologies booth at their public booths as well as in private suites. LG focused on large area OLED products, demonstrated a wireless TV; TCL showed off MiniLED TV, Samsung and others showed off MicroLED TV’s and large area signage; there were also many laptops featuring OLED technology, there were MiniLED based LCD monitors, several car makers and others showed curved displays that covered the entire dashboard.
For Smartkem, there were existing customers that we met as well as new potentials that we pitched to. Our technology has a place in LCD, OLED and Micro and MiniLED, our value proposition is even greater with emerging technologies like MicroLED due to our low temperature processing, ability to drive high currents as well as enabling plastic and flexible substrates vs rigid glass. While the CES show was hectic, for each hour of customer meeting there are probably several more hours of post-CES work in followup calls, meetings, technical discussions and prototype demonstrations. It was a show worth attending.