The annual Consumer Electronics Show (called CES by everyone) is coming to Las Vegas first thing in the New Year. If you’re registered and have your hotel booked, now is the time to get ready for four days of nonstop tech product demos during the day and parties at night.
Here’s our survival guide for those new to the show.
- Pack for the weather and for walking: Las Vegas, Nevada, has a desert climate, so it will be very dry, but also tends to be cold this time of year. Bring a coat, plus prepare to stay hydrated with a refillable water bottle. You’ll be on your feet constantly, so wear comfortable shoes, and bring a second pair to alternate with each day.
- Plan what you want to see: With over 3,200 exhibitors, 300+ speakers and conference sessions, and more than 36,000 people, CES is gigantic, and you will never see it all. So make a plan by using the CES map, web planner, or mobile app to pick out what you want to do. You can prioritize exhibitors by their location in the halls. Conference sessions can be far from exhibits, so leave 15 minutes to get through the crowds.
- Bring your own power, hotspot, backup drive, and cash: Of course, you’re going to CES with a mobile phone and maybe a tablet or a digital camera. But your device’s battery may drain quickly on the show floor due to constant use and sketchy data signals. Bring your own battery pack because you can’t rely on finding a place to plug in. Wi-Fi is notoriously unreliable inside CES, so you might want your own mobile hotspot. If you’re taking lots of photos or video, you’ll need a portable backup drive too. Lastly, bring cash for food, as some snack vendors in the convention center don’t accept credit or debit cards.
- Take the shuttle or monorail, avoid taxis: Distances are deceptively far in Vegas, but you can walk if you want the exercise. Conveniently, CES provides a free shuttle service between the official hotels and the convention center, running every 10 minutes. If the shuttle is too crowded at peak times, a good alternative is the Las Vegas Monorail, which stops at most of the CES hotels and the convention center. A four-day pass is $36 — a better deal than taking taxis.
- Strategize when to get the best swag: Exhibitors have to “load balance” how they distribute their giveaways. They may be less free with handouts in the early days of the show than towards the end. If you’re not willing to stay through an entire demo or give your email address to get a cool T-shirt, come back on Thursday or Friday for another try.
Enjoy the show, drop by Seagate at the Vdara Hotel, check in with Seagate on Facebook for updates from CES all week, and get more from Seagate during CES.