One could feel the tension mounting as the hours are beginning to draw near. The greatest spectacle in gadgets and gizmos, the Consumer Electronics Show is about to take place January 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada and with only hours left to spare before the great cattle call of incoming exhibitors, press and enthusiasts estimated at over 150,000 strong descend upon the city to check out the latest offerings that hundreds of vendors from all over the world are preparing to show off. But it is that preparation in this short time before the event take place that an individual truly sees the inner workings of how this huge monstrosity of an expo comes together.
While the event has now become too large to hold within one venue, as the Sands Expo and many hotel rooms and convention halls neatly packed within a small radius in and around the famous Las Vegas Strip now houses exhibitors and major events, it is still predominantly occupying the local convention center with teams numbering in the thousands quickly and efficiently (in most cases) trying to pull off the seemingly impossible and create an electronic haven for those willing to take on the challenge of discovering it. While passing by booths with completion rates in various stages in development, it was noticeable the amount of great work and care that goes into these temporary sources of pride and advertisement for each company as the attention goes on in full gear, from the largest structure (like the famous CES signs in and outside of the convention center) right down to painting the smallest corner in every listening or viewing room.
It was also plain to tell how as the start of CES draws near that the level of concentration and panic has now reached a fevered pitch. While some locations appeared close to being a show-ready strength, others when passing by (for at this stage before the show regular attendees and affiliates are not given access) are on their phones either exclaiming in disbelief to shipping companies why their products had yet to arrive or promising management and the higher ups that things were taking shape and were almost ready to go even though to the naked eye one could tell that they weren’t even close. What made matters more stressful were the overhead public address announcements by CES officials made in almost a “big brother is watching you” like tone in English and Mandarin that crates not broken down and off the show room floor within just a few hours would be taken outside by security, with product still in them or not. What had made this amusing was to see that virtually everywhere in the North and South halls of the convention center crates and boxes are all that could be seen.
With all that said, upon leaving the Las Vegas Convention Center there was still a great level of confidence after experiencing this great event myself for the past twenty plus years that construction and setup teams still would come together in the eleventh hour and find the inner strength and resources to bring everything together. As CES 2017 inches ever closer to showing off the latest robots, drones, audio, video, virtual reality, fitness trackers and many other consumer electronics that will become a feast for the eyes and ears of thousands of visitors, that madness that is well known once the show begins starts well before the convention ever gets going.