By Tali Chen
On the first day of CES everything was a bit different – no traffic, no huge crowds, or long taxi lines.
While walking towards the show, a police officer greeted us; we greeted him back and said, “It’s probably not what you had expected, so little crowd.” He replied, “What are you talking about? It’s way better than what we had last year.” (For the ones of you that are not regular attendees to CES – the in-person show was canceled due to COVID concerns in 2020).
It’s all a matter of perspective and what you are comparing it to.
Now that the show ended, I can say that for me, even when compared to the last dozen I attended, it was an excellent one.
Let’s talk in numbers – instead of the regular 200K+ participants that typically attend the biggest technology event of the year – only 60K actually came. If I need to judge by my own interactions, I would say that a lot fewer people from Europe, China, Taiwan attended. It was also a bit less condensed in terms of spread – no exhibition on the south hall of the convention center, and I am also not sure regarding other hotels on the periphery.
When talking to friends that exhibited, they all said it’s not about the quantity but the quality, and the ones that arrived were high quality. It was the professionals of the industry. You didn’t see a lot of families roaming the show, but all very relevant, focused, and well-prepared attendees.
For me this year was also different, it’s the first time I attended the show as a visitor and not as an exhibitor – so I was really able to roam the floors and network, instead of busy in back-to-back meetings. Also here, unlike past years, I met the actual technology people in the booths and was able to create very meaningful dialogs, as it was way easier to get attention.
During the show, I had the pleasure to speak at the Connections Summit. For anyone that is part of the Smart Home/Security Industry, this is one of the best events. I know that Elizabeth and Mindi and the entire Parks team had to face so many last-minute changes in order to keep this conference but it was so worth it. In the conference rooms or at the reception, you didn’t feel what I was describing in the first paragraph, you felt as if almost all the industry attended. If I am not mistaken, it was the first in-person event after two years of only virtual. And altogether, both CES and Connections prove to me what I knew before- there is no real substitute for face-to-face meetings, interactions with people, and with technology.
For the industry to progress, it relies on a lot on successful partnerships where shows like CES are crucial.
I think Steve Jobs was quoted in the past, “There’s a temptation in our network age to think that ideas can be developed by emails and iChats – it’s crazy, creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say, ‘wow,’ and soon enough you’re kicking all sorts of ideas.” This is the essence of CES for me.