LAS VEGAS — If you needed a reminder that the Consumer Electronics Show is the epicenter of the global technology industry, consider my first few moments on the massive show floor this morning.
Within the first 15 minutes, I said hello to AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega as we entered the Samsung booth and saw Comcast CEO Brian Roberts getting a demo from Ericsson.
Together, those two gentleman oversee companies with a combined market value of $316 billion.
Just another day at CES, I guess.
Oh yeah, until you realize that rapper 50 Cent also is hanging here — touting a new line of headphones.
Though I attended the now-defunct Comdex back in the day, this is my first CES.
Yes, it is huge. Yes, it is outrageous and over-the-top. Yes, the taxi cab lines are long with CES-badge-wearing geeks.
CES is so big that it generates a glossy daily magazine whose first-edition is a whopping 216-pages in length — reminiscent of those business magazines of the dot-com era. The sea of humanity is so overwhelming it makes me want to take a very, very long hike in the woods.
Everything (and everyone) is here —from TV manufacturers to smartphone makers to gaming vets to app developers to tech journalists. It’s a paradise for geeks. (Before a gaming panel this morning, I overheard two women from San Diego talking about their favorite science fiction writers and events for women coders).
Booths from the big consumer electronics companies are so huge, they look almost like modern-day cities. LG’s booth, which was so packed that I could barely move through it, showcased a huge panel of next-generation 4K TVs.
And some companies I’ve never even heard of before have sprawling well-appointed booths, spending tens of thousands of dollars for a few days of exposure on products we may never hear from again.
One thing that has not changed from the Comdex era? “Booth babes” are here in full force, using sex appeal to lure this largely male-dominated crowd. (Of the 67 people seated in a press room for lunch, just four were women).
Prime example of the “booth babe” culture: 808 Audio, a speaker and headphone maker, had this over-the-top exhibit.
Today, is the official first day of the show — though activities kicked off over the weekend with some pre-CES events.
Wish me luck as I navigate this crazy tech fest over the next few days. I’ll let you know if I bump into any other tech billionaires along the way.