CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the international showcase for the newest electronic products that will be available to retailers and the general public soon. This event allows everyone to see and talk to the movers and shakers for all types of electronic devices. Everything you can think of is being displayed. From the smallest memory chips to 120 inch plasma TV, children toys to cable connectors. The best part is being able to see stuff that is in-the-works or pre-production.
The first CES took place in New York City in June of 1967 with 200 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees. Since then, CES has grown more than eleven-fold. Nearly 2,700 exhibitors, filling 1.6 million net square feet of exhibit space, showcased their latest products and services to more than 140,000 attendees at the 2006 International CES.
Products That Debuted at CES
Videocassette Recorder (VCR), 1970
Hard-disc VCR (PVR), 1999
Laserdisc Player, 1974
Digital Audio Radio (DAR), 2000
Microsoft Xbox, 2001
Compact Disc Player, 1981
Plasma TV, 2001
Digital Audio Technology, 1990
Home Media Server, 2002
Compact Disc – Interactive, 1991
HD Radio, 2003
Mini Disc, 1993
Blu-Ray DVD, 2003
Radio Data System, 1993
HDTV PVR, 2003
Digital Satellite System, 1994
HD Radio, 2004
Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), 1996
IP TV, 2005
High Definition Television (HDTV), 1998
An explosion of digital content services, 2006
As in the past CES 2007 was held in the city of Las Vegas at the begin of January. Las Vegas is just about the only city large enough to hold such an event with its millions of square foot of meeting space and thousands of hotel rooms. Speaking of hotel rooms; trying to get a room somewhere near the convention center is close to impossible unless you book the room many months in advance. If you do get a room you end up paying a lot more than a normal room rate because rooms are at a premium. Last year with 150,000 plus people trying to make it through CES for four days just about every room is taken. Even the floor space for manufactures to display their products is hard to come by. Some exhibitors, while at this years show, are already picking there spots for the following year. Many companies rent suites in the nearby hotels to showcase their goods and send out emails weeks ahead of time to others telling them where they will be. What’s amazing about this is there is 1.8 (up from 1.6) million net square foot of floor space available that span over two different convention centers and there is still not enough room.
Making your way too and from the event is like going to a Super Bowl each day. Thousands of people are all trying to make there way, in one direction, to or from the Las Vegas Convention Center. A never ending stream of taxis clog the roads packed with event goers. Buses are coming and going in there designated spots. People are walking from nearby hotels to get their chance to see all the new and yet released products. Shuttle buses are provided to take you to the Sands Convention Center which is a few miles away. A good majority of the computer hardware companies are located in this building, so this is a good place to check out.
Every electronic device you can think of is either on display, in production, or being planned. New cellular phones are every where, audio equipment galore, plasma and LCD TV’s are shown in all their glory. Ipod stuff is everywhere and you can get all kinds from skins, attachments, or things to plug them into. Millions and millions of dollars worth of products are here to be seen and played with. Even millions more will be talked about with deals about products being supplied to retailers. Factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics are projected to exceed $155 billion in 2007, or seven percent growth, according to the semi-annual industry forecast released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®). Just thinking about what goes on here is just mind blowing.
There are no special sections for the elite (well none that I could find for Modders-Inc), but you can book press rooms to have one on ones. As you are standing there talking to someone about their products, right next to you is the owner of a major company listen and then starts talking to you and what you like or dislike about that product or even theirs. The only thing that separates you from the others is a colored coded badge. I am guessing this is for the benefit of the exhibitors, so that they can see from a glance, what you do in the industry. They are many different colored badges that go with what “class” you are in. There are Buyer badges, Engineers, Affiliates, Manufactures, and more. I was able to obtain a Press Pass because of the website and it does have some benefits.
Having a press pass does have its advantages with access to press only events that start as early as 2 days before the actually doors open, dozens of free information booklets, free press bag (this year it was a huge backpack), free internet access and lounge with refreshments, when vendors see Press they automatically talk to you, lets not forget about a free lunch each day. It may not sound like much, a free lunch that is, but try standing in a line for 45 minutes for an overcooked hamburger and cold fries. Now if they only had a Press line at the Starbucks.