So now that the dust has settled and CES has been done and over with for almost a week, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on this years’ experience and figure out how to best recap the event namely in the form of breaking down what I liked vs. what needs improvement. When looking at it in the long term, CES has completely changed (for the better, IMHO) from when I first started going in the early 2000s up until now. The perspective I’m briniging is more microfocused and are somewhat of a knee jerk reaction to what I felt the event brought to the table. With that being said, here’s my recap of CES 2019…
What I liked about CES:
- Eureka Park – without a doubt this was the highlight of my 3 day trek through CES. Filled with entrepreneurial startups and small businesses, it was great to visit their booths, get hands on with their products, and speak directly to them and their staff especially since they were the ones that possessed first hand knowledge of how it worked!
- Companies that rented their own private space and showcased products – this has become a growing trend at CES as many companies are now taking this path. For example, in the past couple of years, Dell has rented out a restaurant within the Venetian hotel and pretty much transformed it into their own personal exhibit. Couple that with complimentary appetizers and a coffee bar, smoothie bar, and even an open alcohol bar (not sure about the last one), they can pretty much guarantee that the “Dell Experience” is one to behold.
- Keynotes / book club interviews / breakout sessions – another highlight of my time at CES. It was great to hear discussions about key issues such as Cybersecurity, developing products, roadblocks for entrepreneurs and startups. My advise would be to continue expanding on this and maybe even have some informal meet and greets in different settings which leads me to…
- Vendor sponsored events – a special shout out to TCL for the event they hosted at Top Golf behind the MGM hotel. They took over the entire top floor and provided guests with tapas (small plates), a dessert bar, and (yes) an open bar all while overlooking the driving range made for a great experience.
- The CES App – compared to past years, their App has made great strides and while its not perfect, it came in handy when organizing and planning out my agenda.
- Other attendees – besides the two guys I happen to encounter that were on the verge of fighting one another (a CES first for me!), everyone was rather pleasant and in a great mood. I guess the “Dell Experience” was onto something when they decided to pay to have an open bar.
- Security – a special shot out to those responsible in making sure that all CES spaces were safe and secure. They managed to be very thorough and detailed in performing their tasks but yet still managed to not get in the way of conference goers…a thankless job indeed!
What I didn’t like about CES:
- The “Fortune 500” exhibits – I recognize that the big companies (i.e. your Intels, Samsungs, LGs, Panasonic, Sony, etc.) are always going to be the feature attraction no matter where they go but I’m starting to feel as if its all becoming redundant. Before walking through, I can already anticipate the “majestic TV display”, all of the flagship devices on display, the “home / kitchen” layout with their branded appliances, you get my drift. I really think that whichever big company breaks away from this and does a complete redesign of the way they present their products will be the ones that steal the show and gain the most attention.
- No more free stuff? – I remember in past years of attending CES, exhibitors were much more generous with giving away items to keep attendees engaged and want to view their exhibits in greater detail. Not saying that this should not be the top priority but it provides a bit of relief and satisfaction for those attendees spending hours upon hours walking all of the exhibit space.
- The traffic! – I was fortunate enough to stay at a hotel that was near both the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and the Sands Expo but even when I jumped on the complimentary shuttle buses to commute between sites, it was literally bumper to bumper traffic the whole way each time I rode. It got to a point where it was better for me to walk back to my hotel instead of losing time waiting and stuck in traffic. Hey at least I was able to get some exercise in!