Reflections on CES
Over 150,000 attendees.
Over 2,500 exhibitors.
We'll try to do the math.
By Joe Paone
This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ran January 5 to 8 in Las Vegas, was—of no surprise to anyone—the largest CES to date. Projections originally called for about 130,000 attendees, but the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported after the show that more than 150,000 people attended this year.
CES truly has become one of those rare events that provides so many options and opportunities for learning and relationship-building that attendees owe it to themselves to carefully plot their show strategies and schedules, lest they become overwhelmed by all of the options available and everyone else's busy schedules when they arrive in Las Vegas and squander valuable time.
The Consumer Technology Publishing Group, publisher of Custom Retailer, took a sizable number of reporters and editors to the show and all of us agreed that while we accumulated a boatload of information and insight, we didn't feel we scratched the surface of what was at the show, and we couldn't believe anyone else did, either.
Just navigating one vendor's booth, in many cases, required a substantial investment in time. Companies like LG, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Samsung (25,000 square feet!) operated booths that were truly experiences unto themselves.
But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the brash, in-your-face, sensory-overloading vibe of CES, there were some brief and welcome oases of sanity that reminded show veterans of a simpler time. When we ducked into loudspeaker manufacturer Definitive Technology's booth, for example, we found a steady stream of happy dealers taking a load off, sitting down for a while and just listening to the vendor's latest offerings in an uncluttered, relaxed environment. Company President and Founder Sandy Gross calmly and fondly greeted his dealers and accepted cordial congratulations on his company's latest achievements.