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Who Goes To CES? 78

itwbennett writes "The Consumer Electronics Association stopped letting actual consumers attend the gadget extravaganza years ago, but even so, plenty of attendees can't exactly be described 'industry affiliates'. IDG News Service turned up a motorcycle stuntman, a restorer of 8-track tapes, and a lot of folks who were there just for fun."
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Who Goes To CES?

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  • I started going to CES when Comdex stopped happening, but I haven't gone in years. No travel budget.

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      I started going to CES when Comdex stopped happening, but I haven't gone in years. No travel budget.

      About the same here. The worst was seeing stuff which was actually years from hitting the market -- which kinda dulls your enthusiasm a bit. On the other hand, I did manage to hear Bill Gates speak, which was more like some idiot-savant babble which appeared to threaten half the businesses at the show, with some sort of "and Microsoft will control it or be a part of ..." gee-whizzy thing. Honestly, I don't think they had a clue why they were there, aside being invited - Microsoft failed at so many CE app

  • Who wants to go? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 )

    No seriously.. who really wants to go to a dog and pony show?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It would be a lot more interesting if DEF CON was happening next door.

    • I live in Vegas and get a free pass every year. I can either go to CES or sit in a cubicle -- either way, I get paid.

      So I go to CES.
    • Because it is fun to see what type of stuff they are coming out with.
      I went to Linux World Expo back in the early 2000's and I had a general good time, going around watching the demos, being able to go around and asking all the people in one area questions and seeing what each company thinks is important and the next big thing.

      A lot of these products will never go out into production soon, or will not be popular, however you get to see what is currently possible with technology.
      • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

        A lot of these products will never go out into production soon, or will not be popular

        Exactly why i wouldn't want to bother.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yea, what the hell kind of geek would want to play around with a bunch of brand new, unreleased technology products?

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:29PM (#38677822)
    Those that go there are they with a product to hawk and the money to rent the space at the show. Nothing more really. Lots of crap-ware there from groups trying to get some quick bucks from investors or resellers.
  • ..., that's right, [complex.com] despite the fact that Apple did not officially attend.

  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:37PM (#38677912) Homepage Journal

    I've been attending "industry-only" events for decades. All you need is a business card, which as you know, you can have made at Staples for $20 or less. You tell then you're a "buyer" or something like that, and they let you in, no questions asked.

    Heck, last time I attended CES you were able to pick up your badge AT THE AIRPORT in Vegas. Hows that for convenience? I was able to have a badge handed to me before I could locate my luggage.

    • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Informative)

      by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:40PM (#38677946)
      Well, for E3 they're supposed to verify your company actually exists and is in the industry. Some years they try to enforce these regulations, most years they don't. In my experience, if you prepay they're check you, but if you get your ticket from a 3rd party, they don't check shit when you register.
    • Heck, last time I attended CES you were able to pick up your badge AT THE AIRPORT in Vegas. Hows that for convenience?

      Convention organizers are always looking for choke points as a place to set up shop. Ideally you want a place where everyone comes through, but not all at the same time. For a huge convention, the airport is pretty much perfect.

      • Yep. I got my CES badge at the airport 2 years ago. It was really convenient. They had a table setup by the baggage claim. The line stayed short since they generally only had people come up when a plane landed so it kind of went in surges that were mitigated by the time it took to get off the plane. Worked really well.
  • same as e3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:37PM (#38677918)
    It's the same thing that E3 devolved into, really. A big dog and pony show with 50% the population of attendees made up of people that shouldn't be there, 49% made up of press and pseudopress bloggers, and 1% made up of people that should actually be there.
    • It's the same thing that E3 devolved into

      And COMDEX.

  • Hookers are close by?
    • Quite an understatement. I was at Comdex years ago and they were all over the place. But maybe that's normal for Vegas.

  • by TaliesinWI ( 454205 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:50PM (#38678040) Journal

    Was able to get into the Winter CES in Chicago back in the early 90s just because I was a register drone at Babbage's (computer software and video game store for you youngn's.) I think they had me down as "buyer" even though I had nothing to do with what the company stocked. Hell a buddy of mine who built PCs in his basement got in with a "technician" badge. As long as you didn't show up with children in tow and could ask reasonably coherent questions they were mostly happy to deal with people that were a half step above "Joe Q. Public."

    • I think that is exactly what they wanted... No Kids/Teens. Yes they really want to attract the big buyers but just as long the average public behaves, they will be welcomed.
      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        I went to a computer/software industry trade show in the UK for several consecutive years when I was about 8-10. My dad took me.

        It was great; there were at most about 5 pre-teenage children in the whole place, so I was a magnet for all the nicer free stuff (games, clothes, company branded sports equipment (?), etc). My dad just got pens and business cards.

        • by Oakey ( 311319 )

          There used to be an Amusement Arcade Exhibition held in Blackpool every Easter at the Winter Gardens where they demo'd all the upcoming arcade games. I went every year from the mid-80s to the mid-90s (I was going between 6yrs and 14yrs old) when they stopped holding them. Most memorable year was when Mortal Kombat was first shown, I took a friend that year and nobody believed us when we told them how violent it was. Then a few months later it was all the rage. We also got a lot of cool stuff from Capcom tha

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      The name on my friend's CIS badge a few years ago was "I. P. Freely". He registered online, and when he got there they gave him his badge, no question asked.

      Honestly, they *want* as many random people to show up as possible so they can say "this year CES attracted over 150,000 visitors." If those number drastically decline exhibitors may be less likely to attend and pay the absurd prices for booth space, equipment rentals, Internet access, private meeting rooms, ridiculous required union labor rates for s

  • The guy who runs the local photography store is there; I heard he's been going every year for a while. He might personally buy a new top-shelf Nikon or Canon, but it's nothing that gets carried at the store as far as I know. Helps me, though, since I can ask him what's there and get a better opinion on what fancy new tech is coming out.
  • At one time I went to CES every year. Other commitments have kept me from going the last two years and I was thinking about going again this year. Then I found out they were doing some new "heightened security" garbage and searching all bags at the door. They never did that before (at least the years I attended). Anyway, I said no thanks. I don't have time for that nonsense.

    Funny story: I was at CES the year the iPhone was announced. The morning after the announcement I was in one of the press rooms and ov

    • They say on their literature bags may be searched, but I've been walking around with my big vmworld 2011 backpack all week, never searched once. To the original question, I am a network admin at a non-profit religious denomination, not really in "the industry". I registered online, worked on my cover story, but in the end I didn't need it. They didn't even ask for my business card when I picked up my badge, just drivers license.
  • ...at least after this year.

  • CES has all the fun of going to Best Buy. Vast amounts of useless consumer junk, hawked by annoying sales people, in a big ugly box of a building. What's not to like?

    • Re:The joy of CES (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @06:14PM (#38678898)

      You are clearly not doing it right, then.

      Last time I went (technically as an exhibitor, but I was mostly setting up and mantaining hardware for demos) I ate for free at 4-5 ridiculously expensive restaurants. The final night we managed to spend over $200 per person at N9NE, hit two different clubs, hung out with some really interesting/bizarre "attendees" of the *other* conference (AVN) at the Venetian, and somehow managed to stumble back to the hotel room at 7am just in time to catch a cab to the airport. THAT'S how you do CES...

      • What, no free strip club visit? Lame.

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          No, but there was an interesting story about a demo/interview where Belladonna learned to use a "uniquely shaped" remote control [productwiki.com] (sadly I missed that year...)

      • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        Anime cons, comic cons, etc. are pretty much the same way.

        A third of the fun is the event itself.

        A third of the fun is being with your friends.

        And the last third of the fun is being far, far, far away from family and responsibility and being ever so close to wonderfully priced bars with fantastic beers and ales on tap.

      • I'm pretty sure you can go to restaurants and clubs in Vegas any time, you don't need to spend all week looking at TVs that are slightly thinner than the one you already have.

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          Yeah, but this way you can get free airfare, hotel room, meals, and be paid for looking at slightly thinner TVs...

    • by modecx ( 130548 )

      Unlike Best Buy, at any given trade show you're also guaranteed to run across hordes of Chinese men who pick up anything and everything resembling a brochure or catalog, so they can stuff it in the little cart they drag behind them (which is invariably filled with thousands of similar brochures totaling at least 50 lbs) so they can drag said cart over your toes, and otherwise trip you up as they try to simulate their daily, hurried commute through Shanghai right there on the trade show floor.

      So, you know, i

  • Past attendee (Score:4, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @05:53PM (#38678714) Journal
    I went in 2007 as an unemployed student. A group of us printed business cards labelled with our Computer Science club's name, made up positions for everyone, and drove to Vegas. Most of the others got "engineering" badges. I think it was required for at least one "sales" person to go...and I ended up with that badge.
    • by hitmark ( 640295 )

      I hope said card was properly disposed of, that is drenched in gasoline and set on fire, once the show was over.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If only 1% of the attendees that go to these kinds of tradeshows are the "right" attendees and the rest are a bunch of folks fibbing their way in or otherwise finding the loophole, is that not demonstrating a desire in the marketplace for the other 99% who attend (consumers?) who WANT to attend this type of show?

    In my opinion, maybe they are missing an opportunity to host purely consumer facing tradeshows as contrasted with "industry only" ones.

    I for one think CES' policy has been beneficial - they've gotte

    • If only 1% of the attendees that go to these kinds of tradeshows are the "right" attendees and the rest are a bunch of folks fibbing their way in or otherwise finding the loophole, is that not demonstrating a desire in the marketplace for the other 99% who attend (consumers?) who WANT to attend this type of show?

      That may be true.

      In my opinion, maybe they are missing an opportunity to host purely consumer facing tradeshows as contrasted with "industry only" ones.

      For there to be a "purely consumer facing tradeshow", you need two things. First, consumers who want to come. You appear to have that.

      But more important, you need vendors who want to spend the time and money displaying wares TO THE CONSUMERS at such a show. That's what you don't have.

      But let's say you find a bunch of vendors who would come to such a show. Since the intended target has changed, their presentation would change, and you'd lose the interest of the consumers in attending a "

  • NAB is better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by soundguy ( 415780 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @06:01PM (#38678784) Homepage
    CES is mainly a bunch of useless consumer crap. The high end of that market, plus all the professional gear is at NAB. It's the same megavendors and the display spaces are almost identical for both shows, but NAB has much cooler stuff on display.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's the same megavendors


      Really? Most of the megavendors are absent... In fact, the NAB is mostly irrelevant.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Mod GP up.

        That list the parent linked is a who's fucking who of the content creation and distribution industry. Players like Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Canon, RED, Avid, Christie, Grass Valley, etc. These guys make the cameras that capture and record the content. They make the post-production systems that edit and finish it. They make the high-end displays and broadcast monitors that common televisions that you see at CES are derived from.

        Without the content generation industry and the $BIG BUCKS$ behind it,

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        Relevance depends on industry. If you're a consumer wanting to buy a camera then you're going to care far more about CES than NAB. If you're a broadcaster looking for an HD studio camera that outputs in some studio-specific format with attachments for teleprompters, monitors, and 47 remote control features, then you're going to care far more about NAB. The former sells $500-5000 gadgets to yuppies, and the latter sells $20k-$20M solutions to industry. Maybe at the intermediate price ranges there might b

  • by sco_robinso ( 749990 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @06:37PM (#38679074)
    I went in Jan 2007, since I was going to be in Vegas the whole week anyways on vacation... I thought it would be really cool to see something as big as CES. It was indeed impressive. It's just so big and lively that I would consider it bucket-list material for any techy type.

    But I'm just a lowly ol' sysadmin - I have nothing to do with the consumer electronics industry, other than working with a lot of the stuff in my day to day IT life. I just went to the CEA's website, signed myself up as a 'product buyer', and that was it - registration was auto-accepted and got in no problem. I even skipped the $99 fee because I registered early.

    When I was there, my nametag said 'Buyer', so sometimes people would ask me what kind of industry/company I was a buyer for, so I just spewed a bit of BS. Depending on the booth or gadget in question, this actually worked to my favor. I got a lot of good info on some products I was interested in. I even came right at doors-open on the first day, and entered myself into a bunch of earlybird draws. I went to the slingbox exhibit and I my business card was one of two that got drawn for the (at the time) highest-end slingbox device. Despite the 50/50 odds, I lost. True story though!

    tl;dr - I BS'd and got in no problem.
  • CES come to YOU!

  • by Albert Sandberg ( 315235 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @06:58PM (#38679248) Homepage

    I think MicroSoft actually got more from the fuzz of not going to CES than any other company actually being there is going to get.

    Proof: The only thing I know about CES this year is that MicroSoft won't be there...

    • Microsoft is there this year, large booth, opening night keynote. NEXT year they won't be there, at least not in such a large way.
    • It is kind of telling that the only thing you know about CES this year is wrong. If you're part of their target audience, they have a problem.

  • 99% of what CES is for is salesmen to sell product to distribute to their customers though their sales force, so the people working the booth are salesmen selling to salesmen

  • I just returned from the CES and can report that when I'm in Las Vegas, I'm very handsome to very pretty blonde women who want to meet me later for a drink. Which is to say, they let hookers into the CES.

  • Better than the last few years. Generally a better mood by everyone (vendors, attendees, etc.) Swags were decent this year. Booth babes are trashier than previous years. Maybe this is a result of the adult convention following CES this year instead of it happening at the same time or some overlapping as in other years. Usually, the booth babes are pretty models, this year they look like strippers with duck lips. Nothing really caught my eyes, the 8K display was nice but I don't know when I can have that

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