CES 2021: I went to a keynote

Since this year, CES is supposed to be all about the keynote speeches, I went to one. I was hoping it wouldn’t be like that awful Verizon one I told you about yesterday. And, you know what, it wasn’t.

5G is the name of that tune

I thought it would be good to go to a meeting that had something to do with what we offer at Solid Signal. So, I hopped onto one hosted by Anne Chow. Anne Chow, in case you didn’t know, is the CEO of AT&T Business and happens to be an incredibly smart person. I have gone to other keynote speeches from her and I’ve been glad I did. She’s also the boss’s boss’s boss of a lot of folks I deal with from AT&T.

This one was called “5G’s First Year: From Insights to Innovation” and was hosted by Ms. Chow, along with Dan Littman from Deloitte Consulting and Alejandro Holcman from Qualcomm. The point of the meeting was to bring people up to speed with the adoption of 5G technologies. It went beyond the phone and into other ways that 5G can be used.

It wasn’t that bad, seriously

First of all the meeting was utterly devoid of the kind of overproduced, computer rendered hype that marked the Verizon keynote. This was a live meeting between three people. I could tell that there were some prepared remarks but mostly it was a discussion. A real discussion.

And that’s really what I enjoyed about it. These were knowledgeable people digging deep into a subject that they knew about. I understand that this wasn’t supposed to be an analog to a “big” keynote. I’d call this more like a breakout session.

I wasn’t put off so I tried another one.

Having been pleasantly surprised by this meeting, I decided to try “Next Generation Television in Focus,” with people from Fox, Samsung, and ATSC. It had the misfortune of being scheduled for 7:30 in the morning Eastern time (4:30am Pacific) so I have to imagine not a lot of people watched live.

This one didn’t have quite the deep amount of real information as the AT&T meeting. It was a little more of a “rah-rah” session to try to tell people how great Samsung is. There was also a component of trying to get people excited about ATSC 3.0.

But still, it was genuine information and the meeting had genuine people and not a sliver of over-engineered CGI.

I do think it was a little funny that the guy from Fox Sports was talking about how advanced his company is when they’re still producing in HD and then sampling up to 4K. But that’s a story for another article.

But was it worth the time?

I’ll — grudgingly — give the CES folks the credit for doing something to keep people interested. If I were walking the show floor, there’s no way I would have taken my time to watch either of these meetings. But if the CES folks decide to record all the meetings so members can watch anytime they want, there would be stuff I would definitely watch once I came back home.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.