Rookie’s View of CES with 5 Random Observations & 6 Tips For First Timers

January 23, 2012

by Clair Wyant
Editor’s note – Clair provided links to all his photos, you’re better served seeing all his great shots of CES over HERE ON FLICKR 

There is nothing like the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual event that brought 153,000 attendees to multiple convention halls in Las Vegas. Exhibits sizes range from the size of your closet to twice as big as your house.

Anyone with slightest interest in technology lists this show as a must attend at least once. How long that will last with Microsoft leaving remains to be seen. Many people go every year, but there is always the crowd who are first timers. This year, I was one of them.

There was not one area I was attracted to as I flew into Vegas, but I was interested on seeing the TVs, tablets and cell phones.

As a social media advocate, with a past in traditional media, and current blogger with a new media interest, I wanted to see the continuation of these areas are merging.

I walked away impressed with the internet connected TVs, where viewing online content, and social media is getting more integrated, interactive and seamless, as they were heavily shown, along with 3D TVs, as presented by LG at the entrance, for example.

Random CES observations:

• Every cell phone and computer company had a tablet (usually run on Android OS), most with the ability to watch live broadcast TV. Most cable, satellite providers and few individual cable stations already offer this (like ESPN, CNN).
• Cell phones are cell phones, only with faster processors and brighter screens.
• There were a million makers of “iCovers/Cases.” They all look the same (exactly the same). Saw one, you saw everyone that exists.
• A TV with an XBOX Kinect like device to digitally see what you look with various cloths
• There was also a really cool robot

If you have an interest on going, here are 6 tips from rookies:

• If you think there is a slight chance you will attend next year, sign up in the summer (it’s free then!). It’s $200 week before the show. Goes without saying to check with your hotel, and airline on cancelation information when booking reservations (Southwest Airlines endorsement here!). Stay on the strip as they have free shuttles to and from the convention to avoid $20 one-way cab fares.
• CES advised to wear comfortable shoes. I agree, but advise to wear sneakers if they are your comfortable shoes. There are so many people attending, no one will notice your shoes if they tried. It is business casual, but you will be walking in a crowd, not sitting in a semi-empty cubical office.
• Go to the registration booth day before the show (or day before your first day). Your badge is mailed to you if you register ahead of time, but will have to pick up your badge holder. There is a booth right at the airport baggage claim area! Lot less hassle on your first show day.
• Plan out what you might want to see, and go to the area most of the companies are located. You will save time by seeing a cluster of them in one area then hoping from hall to hall all day. Face it, as you explore, you will see interesting exhibits, and may discover other technologies you want to learn more about, depending on what is being shown (like internet connected TVs for me this year). Factor that in.
• Go to the convention hall as soon as it opens, and go right to the major companies. They have large exhibits, but everyone goes to those. See the smaller ones at peak attendance mid-day. Do not waste your time sleeping in or early morning gambling. There is of time in the evening and night for that.
• Just accept the reality you will not see everything, not to say anything about all you want to see. Time management is one thing, but your legs, and feet are another.