Consumer Electronics Show 2016: geeky gadgets on show

Published January 7th, 2016 - 09:45 GMT

The Consumer Electronics Show continues to stake its claim as one of the world's largest events in its field; last year was one for its record books with over 176,000 participants. (The IFA Berlin, however, with more than 240,000 in its 2015 edition, will definitely have something to say about that.)

Sad to say, however, that the CES isn't open to the public. Given that, imagine the attendee numbers if anyone could get in.

Anyway, the event - which opens today at the 3,200,000-sqft Las Vegas Convention Centre - began in June 1967 in New York City as a spinoff of the Chicago Music Show. Then-Motorola chairman Bob Galvin was its first-ever speaker.

The CES was held twice a year from 1978 to 1994, in Chicago as the Summer Consumer Electronics Show and in Las Vegas as the Winter Consumer Electronics Show. Organisers planned to have the show at different US cities; in 1995, however, the first Electronic Entertainment Expo - E3 to a lot of us - provided competition, prompting the CES in Philadelphia to be cancelled.

A summer show was held in Orlando in 1996, but with little success. The 1997 edition in Atlanta, which was to be held parallel with the Spring Computer Dealers' Exhibition, was cancelled due to poor attendance.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas version of the event continued to be successful, prompting its organisers to finally have the CES as a once-a-year event in Las Vegas.

Official audited data from the CES showed that in 2015 the total participation was 176,676 - 109,507 attendees, 60,217 exhibitor personnel and 6,952 from the media. Of the total, 44 per cent or 48,616 were senior-level executives, of which 16,770 were either the president, CEO or owner of a participating company.

Total international attendance was at 48,833, or 27.6 per cent, in which 153 countries were represented. There were 135 formal delegations, with China topping the list with 27, followed by South Korea (15), France (10), Japan (eight) and India (six). Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Pakistan had one each.

The UAE won't be left out, as Dubai-based Merlin Digital will be representing the country at this year's event.

The expo made history in May 2015 when the inaugural CES Asia was held in Shanghai. Dubai may not be far from hosting the event in the region; in 2011, a high-profile team from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry took a trade mission to the event, and the emirate is looking at the possibility of hosting the show in the future.

So much for the yapping; enjoy a stroll down memory lane with some glimpses of the CES' glorious past.

2005: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and former Intel chairman Craig Barrett lighting it up on-stage.

2003: This year was the start of Microsoft being the keynote performer, often with then-CEO Bill Gates as the presenter. The event has now swelled in attendance, exhibitors and, most importantly, star power.

1995: There were four CES events that year - two in Chicago and one each in Las Vegas and Mexico City. The Philadelphia show was cancelled in the same year. It was held in Orlando the following year with minimal success, and the 1997 event in Atlanta was also ditched.

1978: The CES makes its debut at its present-day home in Las Vegas.

1969: Check out what the folks back in the day were using to register attendees - typewriters.


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