When the Consumer Electronics Show began in 1967 in New York City, it had just over 100 exhibitors and about 17,500 attendees. Fast forward to 2016 where the trade show has 3,600 registered exhibitors and expects to have between 150,000 - 170,000 attendees this coming week. A brief look into history reveals that though the trade show has been around for decades, and in recent years, attendance and participation from varying fields has spiked. The show has been centered in Las Vegas since 1998 and is only held once a year now instead of having a winter and summer show like it had prior to such popularity.
With over 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space, CES 2016 is the largest yet and has begun to include many more categories than in years past.
And while the growth is good for exhibitors, some are starting to worry about getting around Las Vegas. Last year's record attendance of 176,000 technology professionals left hotels and taxi availability sparse and generally limited the ability to get around the show floor. We can only imagine what space and attendance would be like if the public were allowed access to this event. CES is internationally recognized and has sparked the launch of similar events in other countries, such as CES Asia, which was held in Shangai for the first time in May of 2015. Promoters for this year's event have tightened entry requirements and CEO Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Technology Association says that, "It should appear a little less dense" this time around. The event has outgrown the Las Vegas Convention Center and is also housed in the nearby Sands Expo Center, dubbed "Eureka Park", which is where you'll find a slew of start ups ready to present their stuff, according to Tech Crunch.
With over 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space, CES 2016 is the largest yet and has begun to include many more categories than in years past. Some would argue that it is quickly becoming an auto show with so many of the top presenters, like BMW, stealing the spotlight. But it all depends on what you're there to see. One of the biggest changes over the past few years has been the presence of start ups. Start ups have long attended the event with relevance to their developing worlds, but now, with the increased space, you'll also find them presenting.
The problem with the increasing success of CES? The event may get a little to big for it's own good, possibly making it inconvenient for people to attend in Las Vegas. Not to mention, it may be sparking competition in other international markets, which could decrease attendance over time. I have to hand it to them though, at a time when trade shows in general are decreasing due to transportation costs for both exhibitors and attendees, CES is keeping the tradition alive and integrating new technology with an old presentation style. Ironic as it is, the best way to see some of the latest emerging technology is to watch someone stand in front of a booth and present it face to face.
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