Why would a Seoul and Tokyo based CSP invest significant marketing budgets (read large booths) in an event outside their home markets where other geographical based CSPs like AT&T and Sprint were largely absent from the show?
I met with Dr. Jian Li who runs R&D for Cloud Labs and Moonyoung Chung Manager of Mobile Edge Computing both at SK Telecom. Both told me the primary focus was to create awareness with application developers and develop partnerships for onboarding opportunities to their cloud platform. The end goal is to drive more revenue and profits in their home market. It’s an acknowledgement from a leading 5G and edge compute telco to build a stronger ecosystem and move away from the walled garden model. This is the first time for Jian and Moonyoung attending CES. Both acknowledged that walking the trade show floor and conversations this week with visitors created more appreciation of where the money is flowing.
Rakuten has more ambitious goals to enter the U.S. market. Its more of an online merchant model and less about carving out a niche in a highly competitive mobile consumer and enterprise mobile broadband market.
CES has changed as an event from its humble beginnings in 1967. It is the largest consumer electronics show in the world. I attended it in the 1990’s but its not the same show. Technology advances in both computing and communication infrastructure is enabling a plethora of new services leading to new markets in connected cars, augmented reality, and immersive entertainment. For anyone plotting a digital consumer services strategy or seeking to understand how technology is shaping the potential for new markets it is a must attend event.