At CES 2019, 5G wireless plays an increasing role

CES 2019 is coming in January, and increasingly we see wireless playing a more important and larger role at the show and in the marketplace, year after year. This year, 5G takes this to the next level. Let’s take a look at what I expect at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

5g wireless mobile data connection
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CES 2019 is coming to Las Vegas in early January and every year around this time, my email goes nuts. As a high-profile wireless analyst, I typically get more email every day than I have time to read, from a wide variety of competitors who want me to learn about them, write about them and talk about them. This time of year, it doubles. So, what’s coming in 2019?

As I have to explain to each company who wants to get on my radar, it’s not that easy. Over the last thirty years I have built a strong reputation as an independent wireless industry analyst, so I must take my time and learn about them before I consider talking or writing about them.

Wireless plays an increasingly larger role at the Consumer Electronics Show

I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics show for the last several decades and have watched it change dramatically and grow over time. When I attend, I meet with countless company executives either at their booth or in their hotel rooms where they give me a demonstration and briefing.

The wireless industry has grown and changed so much over the last decade with the iPhone, Android and app market exploding. That means the CES show has changed and grown as well.

Today, so much of the new technology at CES rides on wireless networks. That’s the exciting part for me because wireless and telecom is my playground.

5G wireless will play a more important role at the CES going forward

Going forward, as we move into 5G, wireless will become even more important to every company in every industry. As an example, think of the way Uber and Lyft have reinvented the taxi and limousine sector.

The same kind of change is about to be unleashed on the pay TV sector with 5G wireless pay TV. It will be a new service offered over the wireless networks by existing and new competitors. It will be a crazy zoo for the first several years, then after a wave of consolidation, there we will end up with a smaller group of very large, national competitors in this space.

That means wireless networks like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, KORE Wireless and others are busier than ever with both consumer and business technology. That also means wireless smartphones and other kinds of gear for consumers and business are in high gear as well.

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, KORE and other wireless networks continue to grow

Wireless is growing and changing. It has been doing so for the last several decades and is about to embark on another massive transformation with 5G. In the past, the jump from 2G to 3G to 4G was really only impacted the wireless industry.

The difference now is the jump to 5G is not only going to impact wireless, but every other industry as well. It will be the new highway system that will lead to the transformation of industry after industry, company after company.

That means every company, ever worker, every customer and every investor needs to get up to speed on what is coming if they want to remain relevant and a player.

The same way Uber and Lyft transformed the taxi and limousine industry, 5G will transform other industries. Pay TV started with cable TV and over the last decade we have seen it expand and change.

Today’s leaders in pay TV are AT&T DirecTV NOW, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and more. There are also a growing number of competitors moving into and changing this pay TV space. I expect to see Facebook, YouTube and so many others jumping in as well.

Going forward, 5G wireless will transform pay TV and every other industry

Going forward, the new world of 5G wireless is going to create an entirely new slice of the pay TV pie. Existing carriers and new players will offer 5G wireless pay TV.

At CES 2019, I will get many briefings from many companies who want to get on my radar. In fact, like always, I will get more invitations than I have time for. Chaos is the exciting part about the transforming wireless space and its connection to the consumer electronics space.

Every industry from automotive, healthcare, retail, travel and so much more is busy strategizing how they can be first to their marketplace with new ideas tied to wireless. Every industry and every company will transform in so many new ways over the next several years with 5G wireless.

The growth curve has both leaders and followers

Some companies will be leaders in this transformation. Others will be followers. Still others will do nothing. Unfortunately, they will eventually fail. We have seen this happen time and time again.

The growth curve travels up, crests then falls. Companies want to stay on the growth side of the growth curve. They must stay on the growth side in order to continue to grow. Companies are either growing or shrinking. There is no middle ground.

Early adopters are first. They have the innovative ideas. They change the direction of the industry. They take chances. They are sometimes successful and other times not, but they create the next growth map. The leaders always take the arrows, but they are the ones to follow.

Followers wait and see which direction the industry is heading in next. They are not first. They do not steer the direction of the industry. Their path is safer, but they do not have the ability to steer the direction.

Companies who are not leaders or followers ultimately fail. We have seen it countless times in countless industries.

That’s how I categorize companies. I’ll be looking at each company, each product line, each industry and looking to see where they are on the growth curve. Are they on the growing side, are they cresting, or are they on the way down?

Understanding that gives me a good understanding of where they were, where they are now, and the direction they are heading. So, who will be the leaders and the followers? These are the two types of companies who will continue to grow as the consumer electronics industry continues to change. Just make sure you are a worker for, customer of and investor in one of these type companies.

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