December 29, 2016      

In just one week, the Consumer Electronics Show will be held in Las Vegas. More than 165,000 people will be attending the conference, representing 150 countries. The international CES will feature exhibits, panels, and more in over 20 product categories, including robotics, drones, and vehicle technology.

With so much taking place, what should you pay attention to at CES 2017?

As a millennial geopolitical futurist, I’ll be focusing on how countries are using the conference to advance their strategies for global competition.

As in previous years, many nations will be sending delegations. However, the international CES demonstrations will matter more than ever because a large number of these same countries have recently introduced blueprints for innovation and developing their industries with robotics.

Business Takeaways:

  • Companies around the world are rapidly aligning with new government strategies for robotics. The international CES 2017 will be our first chance to get a look at this alignment.
  • The biggest unstated objective is to showcase innovations in order to export or attract talent. It is unlikely that the larger companies are there to raise funding or unveil beta products.
  • Companies that have been selected as part of a delegation are not there just because of their innovation but because a government wants to implement a technology-focused vision.

More than 100 international CES delegations will be present, including industry and government representatives from the following countries:

  • France
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands
  • Ukraine
  • Hong Kong
  • Czech Republic
  • Taiwan
  • Germany
  • Japan

French follow government strategy

How does CES 2017 tie into a country’s innovation strategy?

The international CES pavilions in Eureka Park include three from France.

Eureka Park’s startup area includes three French rows. (Click here to enlarge.)

Take France. It will have three separate pavilions in the Eureka Park startup area: Business France — La French Tech, Sud de France Development, and CCI Marseille Provence. France’s pavilions are the largest of the national delegations in Eureka Park.

Each of France’s three pavilions will have different objectives, but what ties them all together is the new strategy unveiled by the French secretary of state for industry to develop 3D printing and the Internet of Things (IoT).

This is the French government’s latest plan to become a global leader in digital technologies. And CES represents the first step in making this new strategy a reality.

Israel focuses on tech exports

Jump to Israel. The Israel Export Institute’s pavilion indicates a strong interest in trade, and there is no surprise as to why. Many of Israel’s biggest achievements in 2016 revolved around exporting or jointly developing technology with other countries.

Early this past year, Israel announced it will be delivering a “maritime intelligence system” to an “undisclosed” party in Southeast Asia. The “2C system” uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to identify threats in the water.

In July, Israeli and Dutch scientists developed a new way to produce materials for soft robotics.

By setting up a pavilion for for an export institute, Israel is ramping up its efforts to export newly developed technologies, many of which come from the robotics sector.

Taiwan hopes to become Asia’s Silicon Valley

Taiwan will have a delegation present through the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). A handful of leading Taiwanese companies will have booths, including ASUSTek Computer Inc. and Delta Electronics Inc. Academic innovations will also be unveiled.

International CES exhibitors include Taiwan-based ASUStek.

ASUStek Computer headquarters in Taiwan.

This presence is important because Taiwan unveiled a plan in October to establish itself as “Asia’s Silicon Valley.” The island nation wants to attract companies from around the world and is offering NT $10 billion ($309 million U.S.) in funding to 100 firms. AI is one of the areas Taiwan wants to develop.

By showing off a variety of technologies at CES 2017, Taiwan is showcasing what’s possible for partners that use it as a hub for innovation.

More on International Robotics Strategies:

Motivations behind international CES demoes

In addition, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) will be showcasing new technologies. Will we see a big emphasis on robotics, especially with Japan’s “New Robot Strategy,” which has goals like increasing the penetration of service robots to 30 percent by 2020?

Representatives from a robotics companies or government agencies at the international CES 2017 should remember that the gadgets being showcased are just only a piece of the puzzle. For this show and beyond, we should look at these innovations through a different filter: What is the government strategy behind them?

CES 2017 reflects a new reality for the global robotics industry. Innovations are no longer isolated, and trade associations no longer select exhibitors and attendees solely because of their products.

Forward-thinking governments have developed and are now promoting policies to diversify national economies, boost global competitiveness through automation, and build new industries through technologies such as robotics and AI.

Should the tagline of the international CES then be “The Re-Emergence of Government”?

Editor’s Note: See also our sister publication Robotics TrendsSpotlight on CES 2017, as well as our Robotics Marketplace and Robotics Conference in Las Vegas next week.