CES: From an Non-Attendee Perspective Wayne Dixon January 13, 2013 Tech The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 has come and gone. CES is hosted and organized by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The primary intention of CES is to allow manufacturers and purchasers to come together and see what products are being planned. Many of these items will be manufactured, while some of the products shown are merely concepts for possible products. I have not attended CES and I question just how important it is for media outlets to attend. Yes, it can be beneficial to see what manufacturers are planning to release in the coming year. However, what does a consumer really gain, from the media, attending CES. In the age of instant information, wouldn’t some pictures and a press release just be sufficient? To many it would be a sufficient way to see all of the gadgets. Let’s take a look at different aspects of CES and why it may not be a good idea to go. Media As an outsider, I do not see why the CEA could not just provide a list of all the press releases on a website. It seems like overkill to have the media attend the show. Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying that ALL media should not attend. I understand that the big players like CNET, The Verge, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN, and others do need to attend as it is their realm. But it just seems like overkill to me. Manufacturers The presence of the manufacturers makes complete sense. They need to be able to get with the purchasing agents for the retailers to be able to sell their product. Having the purchasing agents appear at each manufacturer’s plant is infeasible. Therefore, having these two groups get together in one place makes sense. Health Let’s look at the attendees and what they are subjected to every time that they go to CES. First is the flight, or drive. So there is the packing, getting to the airport, dealing with TSA lines, and the possible theft by the TSA agents. Once they arrive in Las Vegas, then they are subjected to long taxi lines since there are only 153,000 attendees to the conference. There have been reports of up to two hour wait times to get from their hotel to the Airport. That can only lead to frustration. With so many attendees, the possibility of getting a cold or flu is very high. It is not uncommon to see, on the various social networks, many attendees of CES becoming sick during the show; more commonly immediately after the show. The last part is the amount of walking. Yes, walking is healthy and I’m not opposed to walking. But the sheer amount of walking that one has to do can leave somebody completely worn out after just one day. Let alone having to go through it for three days. It just seems a bit strange to subject yourself to the possible health consequences. Connectivity One of the issues at almost any trade show, convention, or any mass gathering, is the lack of any sort of Wifi or cellular connectivity. CES is no exception to this problem. CES contains a significant number of journalists who are all attempting to file their stories, check email, and just keep up with general communications. With so many people concentrated in such a confined location it’s amazing that any tweets, Facebook posts, or instant messages can be sent at all. Sure, there are four carriers with cell towers, but how many people can be on each tower? Not many. This would just add to the frustration of having to attend CES. Conclusion I do also understand that CES is an opportunity for colleagues, who do not get to see each other all the time, to meet up, hang out, and catch up with one another. I’m not saying that all trade shows are bad. They do serve their purpose. I do not expect CES to stop being hosted nor do I expect anybody to stop attending. It just seems strange that people are willing to subject themselves to hours upon hours of walking. Thereby possibly risking physical injury, catching the latest virus that is going around, deal with the ludicrous lines for taxis and horrible connectivity in both the hotels and convention center. I can see just about everything just by following a few blogs. Sure, it’s a deluge of articles, but I can look at everything from the comfort of my home or office without subjecting myself to the frustrations and potential issues after the show. I’m not sure why anybody, who does not absolutely need to, would attend the conference. Just seems like too many possible issues for the rewards.