Ah, what a fantastic experience CES 2012 was! Now that it is over, here are the five most important things I learned from my first CES experience. I had always dreamed of attending this event, which became a reality this year. Attending CES was as amazing as I ever imagined.
1. Plan way ahead in advance.
I think, both the locals and cabbies of Las Vegas will agree with me on this that CES is probably the biggest show which happens in the city during this time of the year. Hotel and airplane ticket prices are increased significantly, and prices everywhere are much increased.. My advice would be that you should plan your trip months in advance and find a nice hotel to stay in. Word of advice: Don’t stay at “Circus Circus.” The place has lost its charm and it is pretty far away from where all the CES events happen. Luckily, I had booked my plane tickets and hotel room months in advance so it really made a difference financially.
2. Plan out your time wisely.
Not only is planning way ahead in advance important for CES, but planning out what you want to do at CES is crucial. At CES, there is simply too much to see and not enough time. The CES Expo itself is huge and the amount of people traffic-jam you encounter is insane! In addition, while the Expo is going on, press conferences and keynotes also occur during the same time.
If you are a blogger, setting up your appointments should be done as early as possible and try your best to make a day without any appointments. By doing so, you are ensured to meet some great people, but more importantly, you get a hands on experience without anyone else around to interrupt. Also, have any questions and comments ready beforehand since they only have so much time.
One mistake I made was not to plan out my schedule beforehand. I was just making up my schedule on the spot, which resulted in me not getting a hands on experience at a lot of the booths and missing a couple of events.
3. Know the layout of CES beforehand!
Did you notice something different with this piece of advice? Yeah, that “!.” Turns out, getting around CES is a super confusing maze! Not only a lot of walking to do, but when you are inside a hotel, every entrance looks the same so it is very easy to get lost. While I was on the expo floor, I was getting lost too because it was difficult reading the paper maps they provide. Becoming familiar with the layout of both CES and Vegas is very important beforehand.
Getting around in Vegas usually consists of waiting in long cab lines or for the bus. CES usually does provide a few shuttles that run on the strip to get you to and from the show. Oh, and travel time should be counted too. Sometimes it can take an hour just to get from hotel to hotel or from your hotel to the show.
4. Things to bring.
I carried around my Nikon D3100 DSLR to take some fantastic shots. While an iPhone 4S would have been sufficient, I needed to save battery. Turns out a DSLR’s battery last for an entire day or more! I think carrying around a good camera with you at all times is important. You can view the picture I took from CES 2012 here. In addition, battery packs for all your devices is a must. You may think your devices may last the entire day, but in reality they will only last a few hours due to the amount of usage you’ll be doing on them. I also brought a power strip since hotel rooms don’t provide enough power outlets.
In addition, I brought five extra battery packs for my devices (iPhone 4S and iPad). The battery packs weren’t needed for my iPad 2 since the battery goes on and on, but my iPhone 4S’s battery would only last me a few hours since I was using it a lot.
One device I should have brought this year but didn’t bring was a mobile WiFi hotspot. Since the number of people trying to access the WiFi network available at CES at once is tremendous, the networks crashed instantly. However, it seemed that Verizon’s MiFi was working out well for many.
5. Have fun.
It seems that this year there was an increase in the amount of people that didn’t want to be at CES. Even though CES is a hectic experience, it is important to have fun at CES. Luckily for me, I had the time of my life. My entire trip consisted of having a blast and by choice got very little sleep.
CES is an amazing experience and you should at attend it at least once. But with that being said, it is important to plan out the trip carefully. I got to meet a ton of new people in Vegas, attend keynotes and hangout with friends, and learned a lot regarding where the market is headed. Oh, and I smoked a Windows Phone at the Microsoft booth! It really was all I hoped for and more.