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3 CES Themes That Business Leaders Should Pay Attention To

What do tech disruptors and middle market executives have in common? Quite a bit, actually.

The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) highlighted the shrinking gap between tech trends and business innovation. Thousands of companies, disruptors and industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas to explore a range of gadgets and software, from the practical to the fantastical.

Three major convention themes ran parallel to the results of our 2020 Business Leaders Outlook survey:

1. No industry is safe from disruption. Non-traditional tech companies, from Impossible Foods to John Deere and L’Oréal, dotted the showroom floor—demonstrating how consumer trends paired with innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to transform businesses in every sector.

Accordingly, 89 percent of our BLO respondents said they’re actively preparing for tech disruption by taking measures such as hiring external consultants to identify threats and opportunities. Others noted plans to ramp up employee training on new technologies and strategically acquire other companies.   

2. Cybersecurity risks are top of mind. The more interconnected our world becomes, the more entryways cybercriminals have to exploit. Several CES panels addressed this issue, and many products introduced novel measures to help ensure data privacy and stave off the rising threat of cyberattacks.

A high number of BLO respondents (94 percent) were also shoring up their company’s cyber defenses, with 54 percent purchasing cyber insurance and 52 percent designating an in-house person or team to help identify threats. The plurality of respondents (48 percent) said malware, including ransomware, is the greatest cyber threat in 2020.  

3. Preparing for the future of work. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the human impact at a circuit-centric event like CES, but one of the keynote addresses this year focused on the responsibility of employers to train their workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

The majority of business leaders surveyed for BLO agree—55 percent plan to increase hiring in the next year, yet nearly half said they’re facing a talent shortage due to a lack of unique skills. Technical and trade positions topped the list of hardest to fill. Reskilling workers, creating apprenticeships and developing K-12 STEM education programs were a few of the ideas discussed at CES that could perhaps help close this skills gap.

The bottom line: Gizmos and gadgets aside, CES 2020 provided more evidence of how business leaders and tech innovators are evolving in tandem.

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