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Automotive and mobility technology suppliers seem to be chomping at the bit to return to CES2022, one of the most important shows for advanced automotive technology, slated for January 5-8, 2022 in Las Vegas.
Show host, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), said in May 2021 that the number of exhibitors signed up for the Transportation and Vehicle Technology category has already surpassed the record number from the last in-person event, CES2020, and that more suppliers and brands are continuing to sign up as the U.S. continues to open up post COVID19.
Over 175 automotive companies, a 12% increase over the 2020 number, have already committed to exhibit by the end of May – more than seven months before the show.
And with the opening of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall, where the vehicle tech section will be housed, there’s ample room for more automakers and vehicle technology suppliers of all kinds.
No other automotive expo or conference brings together such a critical mass of advanced-thinking, tech-oriented automotive and vehicle technology executives, analysts, and automotive journalists as CES. And this show – which contends as the largest business-to-business trade show on Earth – seems to ready to resume its role after a COVID-induced hiatus as an in-person show, though it will continue to offer a virtual component for those unable or unwilling to travel.
CES2020 racked up some impressive numbers during its last live version in 2020:
Prior to the 2020 event, Automotive News called CES “… the venue of choice for brands to prove to consumers, and each other, that they are embracing the future of mobility. More than 160 automotive technology companies, including 10 major automakers, will attend this year looking to forge partnerships and recruit hard-to-find tech and engineering talent.”
It appears that CES2022 could be even bigger and better for the vehicle technology and mobility space.
In 2020, many exhibitors from around the world displayed and demonstrated their latest component, software, sensor and service innovations which are enabling connected cars, autonomous driving, automated driving (ADAS) systems, electric vehicles, shared mobility and smart urban vehicles.
Way more than consumer electronics
Although CES was born more than 50 years ago as the Consumer Electronics Show and hosted only 250 exhibitors (including companies like Motorola, Phillips and LG) who were focused on consumer electronic products like small radios and TVs, it has expanded steadily in scope and size beyond electronics.
Rebranded as CES, today the juggernaut show is recognized globally as a – if not THE – major showplace for automotive and mobility technology.
So, whether your company is a tech start-up or a global manufacturer, if you’re involved in the automotive supplier/mobility technology space and you are considering participating in CES2022, here are our key takeaways:
1. CES expansion and momentum continues. The first show, held in New York City, had 250 exhibitors. CES2020 had grown to more than 4,500 exhibitors. As new automotive and mobility technology companies are created to satisfy the ever-growing needs of new mobility – the industry’s evolution toward connected, electric, autonomous and shared vehicles – more mobility-related exhibitors will be attracted to this remarkable event.
With the new West Hall of the LVCC adding 1.4 million square feet of new exhibit space, these exhibits should have ample room to participate.
2. CES is a great venue for vehicle technology companies to show their wares. At CES2020, more than a dozen automakers from around the globe exhibited their innovative products. Beyond that, hundreds of suppliers of various advanced vehicle technologies– ranging from major traditional top-tier suppliers like Bosch, Continental, Magna and ZF to brand new start-ups from Silicon Valley, Israel, Detroit and other mobility innovation hotspots – were showing their wares.
Their technologies spanned the whole spectrum of concepts that help make mobility safer, cleaner, greener, smarter, more convenient, more efficient and more economical – including products for autonomous driving, automated and assisted driving, electric vehicles, connected cars, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, ride sharing and more.
3. CES has created a ‘show-within-a-show’ for vehicle technology. Previously held at the North Hall of the LVCC and the nearby Westgate Hall, the transportation and vehicle technology exhibitors will be housed in the brand-new West Hall in 2022. This will create a convenient one-stop shop for all things mobility. And even more convenient automotive interaction will be offered nearby, with countless acres of outdoor demonstration and display space for technology ride & drive demonstrations hosted in nearby parking lots.
In 2020, automotive and mobility technology companies made up almost 20 percent of all CES exhibitors and more than 10 percent of the show’s total 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space. You can expect vehicle tech’s role to increase at CES2022.
4. CES is where automotive and tech thought-leaders share their vision. Much more than just great demos and displays, CESbringstogether more than 1,000 thought leaders involved in the technology space to share their insights through various talks and panels throughout CES week. That group includes hundreds of speakers from leading automakers, suppliers, start-ups, government, think-tanks and other influencers – all offering new perspectives on a broad range of automotive and mobility topics.
One of the top CES conference tracks for vehicle technology attendees is SAE’s Connect2Car panel program, one of the show’s longest running series that explores the most important aspects and issues around new mobility and advanced connected vehicle technologies.
5. More “traditional” auto suppliers will come to CES. Over the past 15 years, the number of traditional auto suppliers participating in CES had steadily grown. And as they continue to shift and expand their product portfolios to offer the advanced technologies that are enabling electric vehicles, connected cars, autonomous driving and smart mobility, more will turn to CES to showcase and communicate their new mission to customers, analysts, media and shareholders.
Between 2016 and 2020, the number of automotive and vehicle technology companies exhibiting at CES jumped from 115 to over 800 – that’s a seven-fold increase. And this trend shows no sign of stopping.
6. CES will attract more new automotive tech startups, too. The multi-billion-dollar opportunity offered by automakers’ journey to develop electric, connected, autonomous, shared vehicles has sparked tech experts and entrepreneurs to create thousands of startups, with more created every day.
These new companies, coming from around the world, are eager to show their innovations on the wide range of specialized technologies – including LiDAR, radar, camera, 5G, facial recognition, IoT and other enabling technologies that they believe will enhance future vehicles. If and when travel restrictions are lifted, expect them to flock to CES2022 to demonstrate their viability, prove their credibility and gain marketplace and investor attention.
7. CES is an ultra-competitive venue when it comes to media attention. While it is true that more than 6,500 reporters and media representatives attend CES, automotive suppliers don’t automatically get media attention there. There’s just too much going on and too much competition. Consider that most of the journalists who attend the show are focused on covering consumer electronics products – such as high-definition TVs, virtual reality systems and smart appliances.
Only 200-300 of these 6,500+ journalists actually cover the automotive / vehicle technology space. And of these, most will be busy for two solid days attending the major automaker press conferences. This leaves precious little time for them to attempt to cover the hundreds of other vehicle technology suppliers who want to share their news. auto-related exhibitors that have technology news to share. To get media attention, you need a great story, an experienced PR partner and a compelling pitch.
8. Getting attendee attention at CES is getting more difficult, too. Of course,CES is not just about media relations. Most companies want to meet with customers, prospects, investors, potential partners and industry influencers. Yet as the show grows, and the automotive category continues to become a larger part of CES, you’ll have more competition for your visitors’ precious time. So, you’ll have to get started inviting them earlier and work harder and smarter to get a great turnout. CES is not “Field of Dreams.” Just because you built your display, does not mean they will come.
9. Act now. If you haven’t started your PR planning for CES already, you are already behind your competitors. And with each day that you delay, some of your options will fade away. To be a standout amidst the thousands of companies at CES2022, you need to prepare your PR strategy, develop your action plan, and start executing. If you need help, find a PR agency that has experience in helping vehicle tech suppliers shine at CES. We can offer some help here.
And here’s a final tip: Give yourself ample travel time during CES. The tidal wave of 170,000+ people that inundates Las Vegas during CES totally overtaxes all modes of transportation there. In fact, during peak times, the long lines for shuttle buses, monorail, and taxis can easily add 30-60 minutes to the commute between your hotel and the LVCC exhibit halls.
“The global stage for innovation” – that’s how CES bills itself. If you want your company’s performance to shine on this stage, pay attention to the nine lessons we’ve outlined above.
And if you’d like more insight on PR at CES2022, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1.248.269.1122.