On my way to Las Vegas for CES 2016

4 January 2016 by Steve Blum

It’s kick off time for in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, excuse me, International CES, I’m sorry, CES. The name keeps changing, but its essential nature does not: a madhouse packed with flashing new products and a couple hundred thousand bewildered and bedraggled geeks. Including me.

My strategy this year is to take advantage of as many fast and furious mass showcase events as possible, take a deep dive into a handful of booths and spend more time wandering the ever growing exhibit floor. Panel sessions and such are valuable, and I’ll hit a few, but with new security measures in place – metal detectors and bag checks and, I’m sure, endless lines – time will be better spent doing a methodical tour of the exhibit halls and then catching up on the gab fests via the web.

I’m going to skip Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s so-called keynote this year, in favor of the Pepcom media event. Along with Startup Debut and CES unveiled tonight and Showstoppers on Wednesday, it offers an invaluable opportunity to see a lot of new products and companies at once, and talk to people who can actually answer questions. But to tell the truth, I’d have skipped Krzanich’s performance anyway. Like too many CES events, it’s turned into a lavishly produced showcase, pumped to bursting with sales hype. Good theater, if you like that sort of thing, but a bad use of time if you’re looking to learn.

A couple of other keynotes hold promise – Netflix’s Reed Hastings is a thinker and Samsung at least tries to give execs something original to say. Plenty to do this week, and the fun starts shortly.