2013 International CES Breaks Records

January 10, 2013

The Consumer Electronic Association's 2013 International CES, the world's largest event for the global technology industry, got even bigger and brighter this year, if that's even possible, taking over the Las Vegas Convention Center and several other venues Jan. 8–11.

The show featured more than 3,250 exhibitors across 1.9 million net square feet of exhibit space, breaking the record of 1.865 net square feet and 3,239 exhibitors in 2012. Attendance was expected to surpass 150,000, with more than 35,000 from outside the U.S.

"We have so many great device makers, as well as cool apps, content and services in the cloud, and there's so much synergy for those relationships," said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of International CES and Corporate Business Strategy.

She added, "In the mid 90's, those were the big ideas that we thought could happen in the marketplace, and now they are happening. Considering how everything is connected, it's intriguing to see what's going to happen next."

Among the fastest-growing show segments were health and fitness technology, automotive and iLounge, and Chupka said she expects this trend to continue.

Health tech was up 23 percent from last year to 23,000 net sq. ft., while automotive electronics space featured seven of the top 10 auto manufacturers, with Subaru the newest addition, and was up to more than 100,000 net sq. ft. The iLounge Pavilion for all things Mac was at 150,000 net sq. ft.

At the Venetian, Eureka Park offered a launch pad for some 150 innovative startups looking for a big break. Each got the space at a reduced rate and with help from Startup America had a chance to impress the investors and the tech community.

The Social Media Command Center in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center was the epicenter of social media engagement, with several large screens streaming trending stories and showing the stats of who is talking about what in real time.

CEA recently invested in a full-scale social media team who drove the conversation and helped to get breaking news ou.t as well as offered real-time support on Twitter and other networks.

The show may be known for the coolest new gadgets but it's also a powerhouse of top minds at the same place at the same time.

"For so many years, trade shows have been about buying and selling," Chupka said. "Now there's more value placed on relationships and business opportunities. Companies that are not exhibiting are sending teams because they need to have relationships with those who are here."

Connecting with decision-makers is a major factor for attendee Mike Sjoblom, CEO of Runaware. "I'm not coming to the show to see something new,” he said.  “It's the biggest meeting arena in the world, and I'm here to meet people." While not too excited about the launches by big players, Sjoblom was interested in new products coming out of Asia and gave thumbs up to innovative startups willing to invest in the show.

Audio systems manufacturer Nyne had decided to upgrade from a suite and take up prime real estate in the heart of the LVCC's Central Hall for the first time this year.

"The show has surpassed my expectations of what I thought CES could do for us," said Nyne's President Arman Arami. "The traffic is heavy with retailers and distributors, and our products are very well received."

But what about the sensory overload that CES is famous for? "For us to engage on a deep level, a lot of sensory triage needs to happen, but it can be a good thing too," said Craig Dane Roberts, PhD, assistant professor of Education at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

He came to CES to attend HigherEdTECH Summit and to find devices that would facilitate real-time collaboration and instructor feedback in the classroom. "I heard it's the center of the universe when it comes to tech," he said. "I feel like I'll come away inspired."

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