CES 2016 – A recap of things to see and do.

CES 2016 just wrapped up and the whole team is heading back home as I type. The whole event was intense, especially for our first time out. I read a lot of articles on what to expect, but the event is ever-changing and fast-paced. CES 2016 broke a few records including over 2.4 million square feet and 173,000 people in attendance. The latter number is equal to the amount of residents our home town. So, it was quite over whelming to say the least.

I followed the advice of a few seasoned veterans of previous CES events. Some of the advice was spot on and a lot of it was maybe a little outdated or inaccurate. Let’s start with the the things that they got right.

The first time that you go, try not make to many appointments, and for the ones that you do make, make sure that they are in the same building on the same day.

Second, invest in the Las Vegas Monorail. It is your best mode of getting around to the separate venues. There are Trams provided, but the wait can be as much as an hour during rush hours. Cabs can take forever and with traffic a 5 block trip can be around as much as $20 plus a tip for the colorful drivers. The Monorail can get congested at times, but moves the crowd fast with an average of 6 minutes between different vehicles. At points you can be packed like sardines, but the longest trip is around 10 minutes end to end.

Third, but the most important to me, is footwear. I decided that I would buy a new pair of running shoes. The absolute worst decision I made in Vegas. While the Monorail gets you in the vicinity of most of the locations of the convention, it doesn’t usually drop you right at the entrance. If you add the distance just to travel to multiple venues and then add that to all of the walking thru CES and then whatever waking you do to explore at night you end up averaging around 10 to 12 miles per day. I had the CES shuffle like so many other people in attendance. It wasn’t hard to spot who made the terrible decision of poor footwear. I ended up with numerous blisters and severe aches and pains throughout my legs.

If you are going as press, scope out all of the press rooms and luncheons. It’s nice to have a place closed off from the hustle and bustle of the floor to unwind and write a quick piece or recharge your devices. All locations have coffee and tea set up to keep the press fueled during the long days. If you double check the times that food is provided, then you can eat a decent breakfast and lunch for free with out having to travel offsite. This saves you precious time and money, which disappears quickly with high mark-ups at the small concession areas spread through out the convention.

Sign up for the after hour conventions. The three to always check out are CES Unveiled, Pepcom, and Show Stoppers. You get to have a more intimate chat with the vendors and learn about the products that are easy to over look. There is some amazing food and free drinks provided which draws a lot of the free loaders. Grab a quick bite to eat and a drink on the house and use this time as wisely as possible. There are big names companies as well as startups that are waiting to break out into the market. There are quite a few other event out there with guest appearances by celebrities, but most of these are invite only, so make friends with the PR companies.

I am sure that there are more things to add, but as I said we are on our way back home as the airplane is lulling me to sleep. I will add to this list as soon a more things come to me. Feel free to drop some tips that I may have missed in the comment section below if you have been to CES before. We were all the Noobs once, and if it weren’t for the veterans helping us out, I’m not sure that we would have all made it through the convention.