The day after New Year’s, I heard one well-known Las Vegan say, “I’m really through with all this (the holidays), aren’t you?”
The same thing might be said today. Las Vegans may indeed be glad the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has left town. For the past week, traffic and crowds were horrendous as more than 170,000 “extra folks” were in town for CES 2016, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association).
On the other hand, CES brings a great deal of excitement, publicity and business to Las Vegas. CES itself mentioned that parts of its event (including hospitality suites and conferences) were at the Las Vegas Convention Center, The Sands Expo & Convention Center, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Renaissance Las Vegas, World Trade Center, Westgate Las Vegas, the Venetian, The Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore at Wynn, Aria, Cosmopolitan and Vdara. Shuttle buses, cabs, Ubers, restaurants, casinos and shows all were busy.
I have attended CES in the past, but this year, I also attended a morning of press conferences on Tuesday, January 5, the day before the official CES trade show opening. The press conferences, part of a “press day”, were at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. I was astounded at the number of press representatives who attended the early morning briefings. (Last year, CES drew 7,000 press representatives.) The audiences came for the news, but they could also come for breakfast. The 7:30 a.m. Fitbit press briefing, for example, featured everything from yogurt cups and coffee to fancy juices. The attached video gives just a brief idea of what a room full of reporters could see that morning. Though I listened to the briefings, I have to admit some of the tech language is way beyond my pay grade, especially as a writer. I definitely envy those technical writers who truly understand all the initials associated with today’s electronics.
Still in awe of those smart reporters in the electronics industry, I visited the Mandalay Bay Press Room where, in addition to lounges and wi-fi hookups, more breakfast-type goodies were available. Bagels and cream cheese were one of the offerings and right in front of the cream cheese was a sign that read: “Cream Cheese; Contains Dairy”. Excuse me? I asked a food service worker about the sign and she agreed it was silly adding, “We have one for butter, too.”
The week of CES, the stock market fell (a lot), the Middle East was full of intrigue and the President talked about gun violence. At the same time, folks at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the largest show floor in its history, were looking at cars of the future that would even “remember” a favorite route and take passengers there. Photographers saw they could easily get overhead shots using drones, and folks involved in fitness could track their every movement with sensors on their wrists, their clothing or even in their water bottles. Yep, a “gift” from the Fitbit folks was a new “connected hydration bottle” by Thermos. The bottle works with Fitbit to “measure the intake of liquids while providing real-time temperature readings”, “charts and graphs daily, weekly and monthly hydration programs” and “records your daily hydration with a line of sight range of up to 75 feet”. In addition, “Water intake will automatically be synced from your Thermos Smart Lid app to your Fitbit account”.
Note to self: Set daily, weekly and monthly hydration goals; lose track of the counts, so purchase a smart water bottle, get an app and the batteries, then spend all my spare time looking at the data. OR, just drink a glass of water when I’m thirsty.
And finally: One of the events associated with CES is the Canon U.S.A. Customer Appreciation Event at the Bellagio. This event is free to attendees, and the food and drink offerings are quite nice. Fundraising for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is also part of the event, primarily through auction items.
A number of celebrities are invited to the event, so attendees can always return home saying, “Guess what? I had dinner with Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers!” This year, among the celebrities in attendance were all three “Property Brothers” of the HGTV show. Because their TV shows are currently on the air, the brothers were clearly THE popular celebrities to meet. They were gracious and handsome and several members of the audience (including me) now have souvenir photos.
The attached video gives just a hint at the activities at the press briefings and the CES tradeshow at the Las Vegas Convention Center.