While the words, “consumer electronics,” are likely to bring to mind an iPhone or widescreen TV, the auto industry is becoming a more and more powerful force in the field as motorists search for technology that will keep them informed and entertained while driving.
That convergence was underscored, in recent years, by Alan Mulally’s three-peat appearance as the keynote speaker at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, held each January in Las Vegas. The largest trade show in the country will once again turn to a member of the auto industry as keynoter for 2012, but this time to Daimler AG Chairman and Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche. Mulally will be back in Sin City, however, as a member of one of the annual event’s opening panels.
“Convergence is real,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, sponsor of CES, which is expected to draw at least 2,000 exhibitors and 150,000 attendees to Las Vegas next January. “Innovation,” he stressed, is critical to both the automotive and electronics industries because “growth comes only from innovation.”