Key Takeaways from Wired’s HQ — CES Event

Consumer Electronics Show — CES was held on 11–14 January, all-digital for the first time in its history. Last year, more than 170,000 people attended CES. This year, over 80,000 attendees participated in the event over an online conferencing tool. According to CES, keynotes were viewed more than 3M.

CES showcased companies including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems, and more. There were many sub-events as well. One of our favorite ones was Wired Magazine’s. Here are key takeaways from our favorite panels of that event:

“The Virtual Workforce: The Shifting Paradigm of What it Means to Go to the Office”

First thing first: All the companies including Salesforce and Slack are trying to figure out the best framework for the post-pandemic world. So, do not feel frustrated if you have not figured it out yet.

In this session, Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor and Slack CEO and Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield answered questions moderated by Wired Interim Editor Megan Greenwell.

Stewart Butterfield, Slack:

If you had asked many chief executives whether it’s possible for us to just all start working from home the next weekend, that would have seemed impossible. Sometimes things that seem impossible happen when they need to happen, and you discover that you’re able to do them. I think with that discovery comes an era where we will have a little bit more thoughtfulness about how we can best leverage technologies at work.

Bret Taylor, Salesforce:

Once we are no longer required to be separated for health concerns, what is the new normal? We did a survey of our employees a few months back, and the vast majority wanted to work remotely. We redid the same survey recently, and 72 percent of our employees said they want to return to the workplace because of the fatigue from the pandemic. I think that’s really interesting because it shows you that the best companies will have to ask “how do I intentionally develop my culture in this all-digital, work anywhere world?”

The big question is, of the habits that we’ve developed in this pandemic, what will we retain on the other side? What does a company need to succeed in the all-digital, work anywhere world? The world collectively has now developed a beginner’s mind about the way we do work. So much of what we did before was because that’s the way we did it before. And now that we’ve been forced to reimagine the way we work, I think the opportunity is to say, okay, on the other side of this, how do we want to intentionally rebuild our culture?

How We’ll Travel

In this session, the effects of Covid-19 on travel trends and the future of travel were covered by Nicholas Thompson of Wired and industry veterans.

Gillian Tans, Booking.com:

We had the highest level of people traveling in 2019 and I think it will take years before we are back to these levels.

The trends that we see for 2021 are sustainability and local travels.

David Grace, Deem:

Personalization of travel will be at the forefront of what we need to deliver to change and transform the experience.

Amy Burr, JetBlue Technology Ventures:

We see some of the things that we have been trying to implement in the industry for a long time really coming to the forefront such as biometric, digital identity, and contactless technologies.

I think we’re probably a few years away from the fully electric airplanes. There is a lot of traction being made in the area but it is a little trickier from a certification perspective.

We had all the data we need. It is about collecting it, consolidating it and using it appropriately, and having the right tools in place to use that data better to address the needs of customers in a more personalized way. Our top three agenda items for 2021 are reimagining accommodations, sustainability, and contactless technologies.