Highlights from CES 2014 - Top Tech and Conference Survival Tips
By Linda Descano, Managing Director and Head, Content & Social, North America, Citi January 21, 2014 02:00 PM
Earlier this month, several Citi colleagues and I attended International CES, more commonly referred to as CES, the global electronics and consumer technology tradeshow held every January in Las Vegas. Our reason for attending was simple: to experience first-hand the various ways technology is being used to make life easier for consumers and explore how we can continue to tap technology to make it easier for customers to manage their financial lives.
Over our four-day immersion in all things tech, we had the opportunity to see, feel and touch gadgets and devices large and small from the gee-whiz to the genius, cool to creepy, useless to useful. We were excited, inspired, amazed and energized by the possibilities. Here's a roundup of the products that captured the imagination of Citi's CES envoys, including Elyssa Gray, Geoffrey Sanders, Paul Michaud and Romulo Caballeros:
Automated Cars: We're talking smart, connected cars that self-drive, self-park, and actively assist in the driving experience, such as warning you about lane shifts or crossing pedestrians. Paul's most spectacular highlight was the demonstration of what can happen when technologies combine: a car that can find a nearby parking space and then park itself while you watch. While it may be a few years before these vehicles can be purchased, all of us were ready to take one out for a spin!
Curved TVs: Ultra HD TVs, which have 4-8x the resolution and clarity of today's HD video, were "gorgeous" (Elyssa) and "stunning" (Paul). I was dazzled by the immersive, 3D-like experience of the oversize 85-inch and 105-inch curved models. As Elyssa pointed out, in order for these TVs to mean anything to consumers, programming in this new format will be key.
Wearable Technology: From onesies and gloves to toothbrushes and mugs to goggles and watches and headbands - all are designed to help us track our health, fitness and other daily activities.
Smart appliances, connected home: Sensor-equipped appliances allow you to send text messages to large appliances, even monitor them with an app. Cisco's "Internet of Everything" demonstration illustrated ways the network connectivity of sensor-equipped devices, appliances and objects at work and at home can reshape our daily life.
With 3,000+ exhibitors, 300+ sessions and 150,000+ participants spread across 2MM square feet of space around Las Vegas, the sheer size of CES can be daunting especially to a crowd-averse introvert like me. For those thinking of attending next year, here is my guide to surviving CES:
Lessons for Surviving CES (or any major conference!)
1. Think ahead - and pace yourself. Advance planning via the CES mobile app, along with lots of advice from conference veterans, helped me prioritize and plan my time.
2. Bring your own back-up power supply - as your battery will drain quickly; it's also not a bad idea to bring your own hotspot.
3. Carry a refillable water bottle, moisturizer and lip balm with you at all times to keep your body and skin hydrated.
4. Boost your intake of vitamins B and C to help maintain your energy and counter the effects of travel and unfamiliar germs.
5. Wear comfortable shoes - you will be on your feet constantly.
6. Opt for a cross-body bag or backpack to keep your hands free so that you can play with as well as snap and tweet about all the great gadgets you inevitably will come across.
7. Choose outfits that can transition from day to night as getting back to your hotel for a "costume change" from conference sessions to festive evening events can be a challenge.
8. Find your personal oasis to "center" yourself. For me, it was the beauty bar at The Ipsos Girls' Lounge.