The best part of being in the tech industry is that you get to kickstart your new year with a trip to Las Vegas – the sin city which converts into a tech city where more than 1,80,000 visitors come down jacking up the hotel prices by 500% alongside insane airfares. I have been visiting CES for the last 9 years. Yes, it’s a tough life and along with Reliance Digital, we have covered the length and breadth of it along with two beautiful hosts who keep changing every year. We prefer taking fresh hosts, who have not been to Vegas before to keep the level of excitement at an all-time high. But if I am being completely honest, after walking more than 40,000 steps a day, covering all the halls, going booth to booth every CES; we don’t have the gall to ask them to join us again. This year too, we will do the rituals – all you need to do is give us (TheTechy and Exhibit) and Reliance Digital a follow on our grams and YouTube to get the curated versions of the hottest tech there.
If it’s your first time or if you have been going every year – here is how you should plan your trip. There are more than 1100 speakers, some insane keynotes and sessions and some of them coincide with each other. So, you certainly have to take your pick. It’s free for media personnel to attend and for anyone who’s not, you have to pay between U.S. $700-1500. But let me assure you, knowledge is more powerful than money and more often than not, knowledge triggers money. So don’t think and spend it.
Here is my list of recommended Conferences that I feel you should attend
(But feel free to browse because there are many more!)
In terms of halls and layout, CES is broadly classified as Tech East, Tech West and Tech South – why no North zone? I have no idea. When you drill down further Tech East – LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Centre) where all the big daddy like Samsung, Panasonic, Sony etc. have their huge booths spread across Central Hall, North Hall, South Hall while some are present at Renaissance Hotel in suites and meeting rooms.
Tech West is spread over the Sands Expo which is in Venetian Hotel with levels 1 to 4 and the hospitality suites at Wynn. Tech South is ARIA hotel, East level 1, 2, 3 & 4 and a few in Vdara and Park MGM.
Interesting place that you should not miss is the Eureka Park which is in Sands Expo. It’s where all the startups with their innovations put up their small shops and starts from all over the world come over. It is like a global stage for startups where new ideas are funded, new partnerships are formed and new acquisitions trigger or conclude. More than 1,200 startups are showcasing their products, and around $1.5 billion worth of funding has happened since 2012.
By now you must have realized how Las Vegas, the sin city, totally transforms into a tech city during the CES days. You have to be totally prepared and must have a plan in order to visit the booths that you wish to. Also, it all looks very close by but the distances are huge – Uber and taxi lines can make you wait for 30-45 minutes especially during lunch hours. So, the trick is to have an early lunch and stay in one part of the show during a day (that said, it does get difficult if meetings pop up!). There are great shopping areas in Vegas, especially from the outlet malls, but never wear a pair of new shoes, you should’ve broken into the shoes much before you start walking the show, or your feet will be wrinkling in pain. I prefer wearing sneakers – you simply won’t be able to walk the whole show. But the good news is that we have it all planned out and covered for you. All you have to do is stay tuned to the Instagram and Youtube of TheTechy, Exhibit and Reliance Digital while you take a bite of your hamburger.