Mastering Your First CES

When I asked my colleagues about CES – they mentioned in unison their tips:

  • Layers!!
  • Chapstick, snacks, water, chargers
  • DO NOT wear heels!!

While a way longer Slack message between us ensued outlining all the need-to-know tips (and a few emojis and gifs) before attending my first CES, the real question was, could I even be prepared for everything I was seeing?

Realistically, I hadn’t been to Las Vegas in ten years. That said, my first entrance into the tech world would be attending the largest tech conference with 200,000 of my closest friends in the business. Any time I mentioned that I was going to CES to a family member or friend, the most common question I received, aside from asking if I had an extra pass, was what was I planning to see?

That’s the constant pro and con of CES – ask any reporter or industry expert how many times they attended and what they saw at each event. In the beginning of the week they’ll have a much sharper idea of the different products and events, but by day two, everything seems to blur together. Aside from the expo halls (which by the way, there were 11) CES spans more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space and features 33 product categories and 24 marketplaces. To get an idea how big we’re talking, the conference showcases more than 4,500 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than 250 conference sessions ranging from smart cities, to diversity and inclusion in the tech world.

Going into CES, I was hyper-focused on areas I wanted to learn more about. Auto tech was slated to dominate the conference, however, there were also smaller sub-industry areas which were growing exponentially that I was excited to learn about – health being one of them.

It’s fascinating to me to understand how health teach has the power to change so much about our daily lives – therefore, it’s no secret that sleep tech alone expanded by 22 percent this year. We often look at tech as a disruptor, but not always a good one. It’s something we spend too much time on, whether it be looking at screens for work or being glued to our phones at night. Health tech has the capability to develop processes and products that can enable us to live healthier lives, whether it be in sleep, medicine, or fitness. Tech facilitates access to all and it’s within our realm to understand, appreciate, and incorporate it into our daily routines.

If there’s anything I’ve learned as a CES novice, it’s that you should pick out the kinds of tech and industries that stand out to you prior to attending. Be strategic on how you stack your days and make sure to give yourself enough time to get from one point to another. Most importantly – don’t hesitate to walk! While my inner New Yorker sets in on any trip I go on, it’s sometimes best to familiarize yourself with the landscape and get your steps in!

The moral of the story is that no matter how many times you go to CES it will always be hectic, but it’s helpful to pick out a few panels and expos to visit to minimize the chaos that will most definitely ensue. Most importantly, it’s likely you won’t be the only one harried and confused – so enjoy the journey! And most of all, bring snacks.

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Marisa Semensohn
Marisa was an account supervisor at Gravitate PR. She has a diverse professional background in the healthcare, technology, nonprofit, government and real estate sectors. Marisa’s clients love her for her tenacity and remarkable ability to drive PR programs forward.

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