As I head off to CES, this will be my 44th year of attending CES. I have actually attended around 50 CES shows as I also went to the Summer CES events in Chicago in the late 80’s and early 90’s too.
Given that I am a seasoned vet of CES shows, I am often asked how best to cover this show. This year there will be over 190,000 people attending CES with venues concentrated around the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Convention Center. And because the show has grown so large, exhibits have expanded to at least two other major hotel conference centers in other parts of the town.
My first suggestions on how to deal with CES are practical ones.
1-Wear very comfortable shoes. Do not break in new shows at the show. Trust me, that is a bad idea. You will be walking at least 5-7 miles a day while perusing the exhibits and going to meetings. Last year I averaged 15 miles each day.
2-Carry a small container of hand sanitizer. With an expected 190,000 people spreading germs right and left, you will want to use a hand sanitizer often.
3-Carry a small bottle of water if you can and sip from it often. Las Vegas is a dry climate and you can get dehydrated very fast with all of that walking.
4-Your rooms are almost all enclosed and only getting forced dry air from the hotel’s air systems. Ask you hotel to send up a humidifier to your room. (These are always complimentary) Your sinuses and respiratory system will thank me for that recommendation.
5-While cabs area available, cab lines can be long. Plan accordingly. If you have a Uber of Lyft account, they seem to be more plentiful during CES and are often a better option. In the past, Uber and Lyft could not pick up at the Las Vegas Airport but they now have been given permits to pick up in parking garages in both terminal 1 and 3.
6-Look closely at the bus schedules that CES attendees have been sent. This is also a good option although from most hotels not near LVCC or the Sands, it could take as much as 45 minutes to get to either LVCC or the Sands from places like MGM and Mandalay Bay. For media, there are buses running between the Sands and Mandalay Bay for the press days every 30 minutes.
As for covering the show, do go through the exhibitor map and find out who you want to see and develop a strategy of how to navigate to these locations in advance. Also, factor in the issue of thousands of people clogging the aisles at any given time, which means you move very slowly through these aisles to get to any location at any venue.
CES is now a highly diversified show. While it still has a consumer electronics theme, big auto companies like Ford, Mercedes, etc are there to show off how smart their cars have become. The health industry is represented by everything thing from HMO’s who are pushing health monitoring tools to keep their customers healthy to medical device companies like OMRON, who will show off their first blood pressure watch that just got FDA approval.
The big sports companies are there showing off all types of smart technologies they are embedding in their equipment and companies who make beds are there to introduce the latest and greatest smart beds.
One particular thing CES has done in designing their current exhibit areas is that the more established and larger consumer electronic exhibits are at the LVCC. This is where Sony, Samsung, LG, Hisense, Intel, Qualcomm and dozens of the bigger brands show off their wares in giant booths. Then over at the Sands you will find Eureka Park, where a great deal of the start ups and smaller companies introduce new products and various countries like France, Germany, UK, Israel, China and others have special areas where they highlight new technologies and CE based companies they want to show off to American audiences.
I will spend two days on the exhibit floor and will spend one full day at the Sands and the other day at LVCC.
Although the show will have just about everything that is new in technology represented, there will be some major themes and one important keynotes worth noting.
Keynotes- AMD’s CEO Lisa Su will give AMD’s first keynote in the history of CES on Wednesday at 9:00 AM at the Venetian Palazzo Ballroom.
AMD is has remerged as one of the major powers in semiconductors and with their new Ryzen PC chips are on target to challenge Intel in the PC arena in new ways. Their graphics chips already dominate the dedicated gaming console market and high end PC graphic processors are used in many of the major PC gaming platforms on the market today. Ms. Su’s keynote will be an important one as she outlines their updated processor strategies and give the audience a glimpse of new things to come.
As for Themes of this years CES, you can expect to see a lot of new 8K TV’s introduced as this is the next big thing in televisions. Although we don’t even have a lot of 4K programming, that has not kept the TV industry from advancing their technology and preparing for the new big wave in TV design.
On reason you will see more 8K TV’s at this years show is that all of the big TV vendors are preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan where much of that event will be broadcast in 8K. Sony has lead this charge as their recording and broadcast equipment will power these 8K broadcasts. Most TV vendors want to have models in place by end of 2019 so people can upgrade to 8K in time for the 2020 Olympics.
VR and AR will also be a big part of the show as new VR glasses and content will be unveiled and we should see at least two interesting AR goggle’s or glasses debuted in what could be the launch of the first AR style glasses aimed at a broad consumer market.
We will also see at least one foldable smartphone/tablet from Royole called the FlexPai. Samsung could also showcase their foldable smartphone that they debuted at their developers conference in Oct. Speaking of foldable screens, LG will reportedly show off their foldable TV screen that they gave a glimpse of at last year’s CES show.
Over at the Sands there will be dedicated areas for Fitness, Health, Robotics Drones, and IOT/Home Automation. I expect Alexa to be the star of all of these areas except robotics.
The one over used word that will permeate CES will be AI. Expect to hear it everywhere even though many who have ascribed AI in their products don’t even understand AI in depth. Never-the -less, AI will be added to all types of devices and their functions, some meaningful and others gimmicky, but AI will be every where you turn at this giant Consumer Electronics Show.