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All the cool kids are headed to Las Vegas for CES

Trade show now has wide appeal and more advanced technology
Jan 02,2020
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Clockwise from top: the Kakao Friends HomeKit, CJ 4DPlex’s CES booth showcasing cinema technologies and Amorepacific’s LED skin patch. [KAKAO IX, CGV, AMOREPACIFIC]
International CES has long been the trade show of choice for major manufacturers of key consumer products. It’s where TVs debuted and phones were unveiled.

This year will be no different, with Samsung Electronics and LG Electronic anchoring Team Korea.

But increasingly, the Las Vegas consumer electronics blowout is becoming the platform for introducing just about any innovation vaguely related to consumer electronics, and it is beginning to gain almost celebrity appeal.

It’s becoming the Comic-Con of trade shows.

With technology invading almost every aspect of our lives, the scope of participation at the event next week is wider than ever - stretching from beauty devices to movie theaters.

The numbers also suggest a shift and an evolution. This year, 400 Korean companies are expected, the most ever and more than double 150 in 2017.

One company making its first-ever appearance at International CES 2020 is Amorepacific, Korea’s largest beauty company. It will showcase two beauty tech products at Tech West: a 3-D printer that prints face masks and a flexible LED patch that offers skin care through LED light.

The 3-D printer - which is scheduled to win a CES 2020 Innovation Award - produces hydro gel packs in real time according to a person’s face shape and skin type. Existing 3-D printers can take up to several hours to make a face mask. The beauty company claims the device reduced this time to 5 minutes, enabling immediate use at its stores.

Another newcomer this year is CJ 4DPlex, a subsidiary of the CGV cinema chain. CJ 4DPlex will introduce new technologies at an independent booth.

To showcase its technology, the entire booth will be set up like a cinema, where visitors can go inside to watch short videos. At the front will be four screens, a main screen and three smaller screens extending to both sides and the ceiling.

Upgraded 4DX seats will be available. The chairs blow wind, emit water and move at a range 10 times greater than existing 4DX seats matching the action on the screens.

“Converging new technology to the culture market is an establishing trend,” said CJ 4DPlex CEO Kim Jong-ryul. “For us, CES 2020 is an important opportunity to suggest a new model of future cinema and for our global expansion as a Korean leader in cinema technology.”

Kakao is also sending a subsidiary to CES for the first time. The debutant isn’t its famous messenger app or other mobile services but Kakao IX, the unit behind its character business.

At a booth set up inside Tech West’s Smart Home section, the company will showcase the Kakao Friends HomeKit composed of seven Internet of Things devices. The lineup includes a body scale, lamp, air purifier, humidifier and thermometer, all with accompanying mobile apps.

“Each product has a different app that matches its function - the lamp’s mobile app for example is mainly for controlling the amount or color of light, whereas the thermometer app can keep track of the body temperatures of different family members,” said a Kakao IX spokesman.

The first of the series to go on sale this week is the smart body weight offering. Its mobile app shows characters playing in different ways when the user loses body weight in order to boost motivation for exercise. The smart lamp, air purifier and dehumidifiers are planned for global release in this year’s first half.

Doosan Group is another conglomerate slated to make its first CES appearance next week. The conglomerate will feature the latest IT technologies related to construction, mobility, factories and energy.

Among them is Doosan Infracore’s Concept-X, which uses drones to 3-D scan construction sites to deliver an efficient work plan for unmanned excavators and wheel loaders. Doosan Mobility Innovation will announce plans to launch the hydrogen-battery-powered drones in the United States. The item is a winner of a CES 2020 Innovation Award.

“None of our subsidiaries had entered CES before, and now that the tech show is not reserved only for electronics, there were internal opinions that the event would be a good occasion to introduce the group’s vision for future technology,” said a Doosan spokesman.

The attendance rate for Korea’s top corporate executives is also expected to be higher than ever. Samsung Electronics President of Consumer Electronics Kim Hyun-suk will deliver a speech on Jan. 6. Kwon Bong-seok, the new CEO of LG Electronics, will be leading the company’s CES delegation for the first time as chief executive.

Hyundai Motor Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung may attend the event next and introduce the company’s vision for future mobility, industry sources say. SK Group will be attending for the second time, once again organizing a joint booth to promote mobility technologies from four subsidiaries. SK Networks Chair Choi Shin-won, SK Group Vice Chair Chey Jae-won and the CEOs of SK Innovation, SK Hynix, SK Telecom and SKC will attend. The four-day event starts Jan. 7.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]