NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with tech journalist John Hendel about attending the Buyer Electronics Exhibit this year and what the long term of tech seems to be like.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The Purchaser Electronics Demonstrate, superior recognised as CES, wrapped up on Friday in Las Vegas. The yearly trade clearly show is 1 of the biggest tech functions of the calendar year, a time for corporations and inventors to show their most recent and biggest thoughts. And whilst the pandemic and politics place a damper on this year’s accumulating – attendance was way down, and lots of of the significant names stayed absent for worry of blowback – we nonetheless assumed it would be a good time to hear about the exhibit and what it tells us about the upcoming of tech. So we referred to as John Hendel, a tech reporter at Politico who attended CES in authentic existence, as they say. John Hendel, welcome. Thank you for joining us.
JOHN HENDEL: Thank you. Excellent to be listed here.
MARTIN: So first, what was it like to attend CES in person? As I stated, a whole lot of significant companies resolved to show up at just about this 12 months. A great deal of individuals did, much too. So – but what was it like and how did that impact the really feel of the conference?
HENDEL: That was the truly type of surprising thing in my intellect mainly because I assume I in the beginning envisioned just form of pure tumbleweeds and, you know, no a person definitely there even. You know, that was the initial kind of anxiety that, like, no one would come when you saw every big business from T-Cell to Facebook to Amazon, you know, form of pulling back from this. But there have been however hundreds of people just all about the trade present. I signify, I think about 40,000 attendees however arrived to this.
MARTIN: Effectively, 1 of the details that you created in your article about it in composing about it with your colleague – simply because a whole lot of the major names stayed away, some of the smaller vendors obtained a chance to shine – appropriate? – a minor little bit. So can you just tell us about one or two of the greatest developments that stood out to you from this 7 days?
HENDEL: You know, a person even larger concentrate we observed this yr usually was on health and fitness and wellness pretty significantly front and heart at the trade show. And you had overall health treatment providers like Abbott talking when you actually hadn’t had wellness treatment corporations at CES ahead of. You know, Abbott was on stage conversing about their techniques to take a look at and, you know, how they’ve been capable to help all through the COVID-19 pandemic with speedy tests and how that technologies could be made use of in other form of tests. And you noticed a good deal of other suppliers. There was one I remember on the trade demonstrate ground that talked about, you know, an AI private coach that you could have. And there were being diverse wearables that would be tracking wellness info. Those people new sectors like health, wellness, transportation, all of that was incredibly substantially form of at the forefront in a various form of way.
MARTIN: You outlined that the determination by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and other folks to sit out CES in particular person, we already talked about the fact that it variety of opened the doorway for other tech organizations to flex their muscle, but you also claimed that the absence of these large tech firms who, you know, have drawn a lot of Washington’s ire in new months and yrs, you mentioned it established a extra harmonious tone. Do you consider this convention tells us anything likely ahead about the relationship amongst Washington and tech businesses, particularly major tech, or was this just sort of a 1-off provided just the one of a kind conditions?
HENDEL: You clearly saw, even among the like some of the healthcare companies in this article, you know, they were being creating a position that even although you will find a ton of shopper data applied in some of their wellbeing, tech expert services, they are various from some of the social media products and services that would be making use of data. That is some thing that really appeared hanging and will be instructive when Congress does compose any legislation that may offer with this, irrespective of whether they are on facts privateness or other pieces of the variety of tech coverage arena. And again, you experienced senators who did arrive in individual, and they mentioned it is really extremely critical to be conversing to these organizations. You know, I saw the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee Maria Cantwell and Senator Jackie Rosen and Senator Blackburn. I observed them going for walks together – amid the exhibitors and truly seeking deep into that. So I imagine for them, you know, they say which is useful. And so, yeah, I am curious what is future and exactly where we are going to see that go.
MARTIN: That was John Hendel, a tech reporter at Politico, telling us what he observed at the Shopper Electronics Display, CES, that just wrapped up on Friday. John Hendel, many thanks so substantially for conversing to us.
HENDEL: Thank you.
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