The faces of CES

People-watching at the Consumer Electronics Show

People come to CES to see the newest and strangest gadgets — 170,000 people this year, according to CES itself. But that also means the annual convention makes for some really good people watching. There are retailers, entrepreneurs, and technology fans from around the world. I set out to learn about the experiences of a small sampling of visitors — those who would stop and talk to me, anyway, as they surveyed gadgets on the floor or rushed to events.

Cristina Cabanas, Spain

Why are you here at CES?

We [FerSay Electronics] are looking for new business partners and also looking for some new products. We distribute many accessories and spare parts for many brands in the south of Europe, and we want to be the first in finding something special.

What has stood out to you so far?

I saw a special bag — I think from Samsung — a bag with solar panels, and you can charge your mobile phone while you are wearing your bag.

What kinds of products are you looking for?

We are looking for accessories, mainly for mobile phones and also maybe spare parts for appliances and TVs.

Devita Seraf, India

What are you doing here an CES?

I am the CEO of Vu Televisions, which is a television brand back in India, and I am here at CES to see what’s the latest in the television world.

Is this your first CES?

Absolutely not. I have been here many many times in the past 10 years.

Do you have any impressions about how the TV industry has changed or how that technology has changed?

I think that a lot of people have been predicting that televisions are gonna be dead because there is so much entertainment available on mobile devices and consumer habits have changed, but I think it’s just the opposite.

What is your highlight of this trip so far?

My highlight is definitely to see how you have so much over-the-top content. There’s no more what they call 'appointment viewing,' and it’s becoming an ecosystem of bringing together all kinds of content available on the TV. Also just seeing how different companies are working together. I think that’s really cool.

Dr. Sangki Han, South Korea

What are you doing here at CES?

Actually, I am a tech journalist and a professor, so to see new products. I worked for Samsung Electronics 15 years ago, so at the time I was a regular visitor to CES. It’s my first visit in 10 years, I guess. It’s a very exciting time to see real products on the floor.

What has a highlight been for you so far?

Well, last year the IoT products were introduced as some kind of a new direction, ... but this year I have seen that most of them are very market oriented. Personally, I think that drones are hobby oriented ... but this time, I found that in every field drones can be applied. VR products are not satisfiable at this point. I have told my friends that we have to wait until E3 to see the real game software and other content to confirm whether VR will be real this year or if it needs more time. The third is that many automakers are showing autonomous vehicles, but I found that connected cars are more realistic.

Elena Thompson, Florida

Why are you here at CES?

I am here because I work with a company called Dual Electronics Corporation, and we show here. We are an exhibitor.

What kinds of products?

We do a lot of car audio and mobile electronics, like CD receivers, speakers, amplifiers — that kind of thing.

Any advice for first time CES-ers like myself?

I would say plan out where you want to go and be sure to get a lot of sleep, they are long days particularly if you are exhibiting. And just keep an open mind.

On that note, have you had anything in particular stand out to you this year?

I honestly haven't really gotten to see that much of it yet, so far some of the appliances for the home have seemed really neat, a lot of the self driving cars, 'cause that’s sort of similar to our industry in a certain sense. So far those are the things that I have seen and really appreciated. I am looking forward to seeing some of the 3D printing and robotics stuff, too.

Elise Tchen, Hong Kong

I work for a French company called Parrot doing drones.

What do you hope to get out of CES?

To present new products, to meet customers coming to visit us, and to see what is happening in the world in terms of innovation and technology.

Emilio Ramirez, Xalapa Veracruz, Mexico

What do you do?

We have some department stores in the southeast part of Mexico. This is our first time in CES.

Why are you here in particular, something you are looking for specifically?

In our stores we have an electronics area, so we are planning to distribute some brands from here. We also have a distribution called Price Market de Mexico. We are looking for products to bring to Mexico.

Is there any highlight so far? Any products you have seen?

Well, we have seen that a lot of products are about Apple. Everything is surrounded by iMac or Apple or Samsung, and I think those leaders are the ones that are marking the trends in this exposition.

Any particular device that caught your eye?

We saw a lot of chargers and wireless chargers, and that's really interesting.

John LaRegina and Chris DeSimone, New York P.C. Richard & Son

Why are you here?

JL: We are here to see all the new technologies.

CD: Sums it up.

Anything in particular?

JL: A lot of the new TV technologies interested us a lot, but we really enjoyed mostly going over to the Sands and seeing all the new start-up companies and seeing all the smart home products. It was really exciting over there.

Is this your first time at CES?

JL: This is my 35th visit to CES and Las Vegas.

CD: This is my 7th year here at CES.

Oh wow, so you guys are seasoned. What would your advice be to first time visitors to CES?

JL: Don’t bring a briefcase.

CD: Wear comfortable shoes.

Any other highlights?

CD: I guess the integration with flat panel TV and all the other devices surrounding it.

JL: Honestly, seeing the smart home and how now all the products and devices are starting to talk to each other to make the home lifestyle a lot more intelligent was really good to see.

John Moezzi, Georgia

What is it that you do?

I work with retailers on implementing technologies that are consumer facing and help them drive their business operationally.

Why are you here at CES

Just to see the latest technologies, especially around virtual reality and some of the autonomous driving vehicles — some convergence there.

What are you hoping especially to get out of this CES?

To see where future trends are taking technology and to have a pulse on it so that I can take it back to what I do.

Is there something in particular that’s been a highlight for you at this CES?

Yeah, just everything that’s happening with the automotive sector. The technology is just exploding on the scene.

Junko Ikari, California

Why are you here at CES?

I work in the motorcycle division [at Honda], and I am here to just pick up new trends and to see if there is any new technology that can be applied to the motorcycle concepts that’re coming up.

What’s been the highlight for you so far?

I really can’t think of anything quite yet. Yesterday I just kind of zoomed through the entire place, and I haven’t really hit the automotive section yet, the North Hall. I was just in the Central Plaza, saw a bunch of watches — I felt like I was at a watch convention. Apparently everyone has a smart watch, everything is about smart homes.

Liz Titchmarsh, UK

What do you do?

I work for one of the biggest electronics distributors in the UK. We started off in mobile accessories about 20 years ago. And then as technology has morphed, into tablets and mobile phones, ... anything that pairs up with your mobile device or your tablet is what we sell.

Has there been a highlight for you so far?

I went to see a company called HidrateSpark. They are a small start-up company making a water bottle that has an app with it that tells you how much water you need to drink and how much you’ve drunk every day. It’s like a smart water bottle. It’s a really exciting product. There’s about five or six of those particular types of vessels, but that one had the best consumer proposition and a really intelligent app.

Nelson Silva, New Jersey

Who are you with?

Clip-A-Phone, located in Netcong, New Jersey. It’s a new start up for 2016. We were actually voted the fourth best item at CES for 2016.

Oh wow, who voted you that?



Thank you!

What is it?

It’s a very simple item. It’s a plastic clip that slips onto the brim of the cap, and it comes with a Bluetooth remote that you sync to your phone. Once synced to your phone, you attach the phone onto the clip and it sits on the brim of the cap. So, essentially, it's viewing the world through your eyes. With the Bluetooth remote, you can one-click to take pictures, two clicks to take video, and it’s completely wireless. It’s the hottest new item of 2016.

So is this your first CES?

This is the first CES exhibiting this new product.

What has the highlight been for you so far?

The highlight has been the positive reaction from everyone. We have had every major retailer in the country interested in picking up the product, the reactions from people in general, they are very very positive. Everyone is excited.

Any tips for someone who is new to CES, maybe someone who is bringing a new product here for the first time?

Biggest tip I can say is reach for the stars, don’t ever give up on a dream, and it’s a simple concept. We said, 'Let’s just try it,' and it’s turned into a mega hit. We are very delighted to be voted number four best item at CES, and on top of that, don't ever give up on a dream.

Brian Zvaigzne and Patrick Sherman, Oregon

Roswell Flight Test Crew

Can you tell me a bit about your organization?

PS: Certainly. We are a civilian drone demonstration team and educational non-profit. We basically try to demonstrate the safe, beneficial, and non-intrusive uses of drone aircraft, and we also try to keep the drone community informed about what the latest and greatest coming down the pipe is. That's what we are doing here today at CES.

So what are the highlights so far for you guys?

PS: A company called ProDrone has come out with a really cool folding drone, I mean you could almost fit it in a fanny pack when it folds down. But it has a heavy lift capability — that was pretty slick.

What are your favorite drones? What do you personally like to use?

PS: We fly drones of our own construction. We have been at this for five years now, so back when we started there were no off-the-shelf drones.

Any tips for newbies like myself?

PS: Tips for CES, come prepared, it’s a throng.

Reba Purdessy, South Carolina

Why are you here at CES?

To look at the new technology that’s coming.

What are you hoping to get out of CES?

To get a view into the future. To see where we are actually going and where my kids will be in the next five to ten years. Because, you know, it’s transforming so quickly.

Is this your first time here at CES?

First time, first time!

And what has the highlight been for you so far?

Let’s see. I went over to the Sands yesterday, over to the convention center, and loved the robotics, oh my goodness, and the 3D printing.

What is a good piece of advice for someone’s first time at CES?

Give yourself enough time to see everything. Everything is so innovative, it’s so exciting, it’s really good to have the time to see almost everything that you can. And I don’t think you can, (laughs) so we’re here for like five days to try to get it all in.

I noticed your tag says service provider, what does that mean?

I’m the computer consultant at Clemson University, and I do all the purchasing for our college. We look at networking, we look at tablets, the cloud, everything. So I am really into making sure that I procure the proper equipment and technology for our professors.

Rudee Smith, Alabama

What do you do?

We [Pharmacare] sell medication. We are looking to branch the two together, like we found a guy here who has a medical box that’s electronic, and you can do apps and stuff and control and decide which time the patient has to take their meds. Its pretty cool. We are looking to incorporate the medical box into our company as well.

What are you doing here at CES?

We came to view a few products and see what’s out here in terms of technology and see what’s coming out. That’s about it. See what we can see.

What kinds of products do you have your eye on?

Phones, cameras, the new fingertip gadgets with the little motion detector things, which you can move with your fingers — you know what I am talking about? The remote control fingertip thingies.

I haven’t seen that!

Sharon Coats, Nevada

I actually live locally, just down the road a ways in Henderson, Nevada.

What are you doing here at CES?

I am interested in technology, and I love to see what new is coming out.

Is there a particular sector you keep your eye on?

Not really, just looking for new things.

What has the highlight been for you so far?

Oh, the crowds!

Are you affiliated with a business, an organization, or do you do this strictly for you own...

It’s for my own enjoyment.

Warren Fernandez, Nevada

What are you doing here at CES?

I am in general just trying to find that surprise here. I just want to be surprised.

Are you here doing research for yourself or are you with business?

Researching for myself and also for my business as well.

What kind of business do you have?

We do, its an online radio station in both New York and Las Vegas

So what has the highlight been for you so far?

Right now, virtual reality. It’s really big, I think that’s going to be 2016’s hot item

What else are you looking forward to?

Audio wise, looking at turntables. I am seeing a demand, especially the announcement with Technics coming back. That was very stellar.

What is a good piece of advice for someone’s first time at CES?

You might want to exercise, ‘cause it’s a lot to see and there will be a lot of walking.Wear comfortable shoes, and eat a good meal before you go.

Tommy Godsay, Las Vegas

What are you doing here at CES?

I am helping set up booths.

How do you do that, what kind of work are you in?

Well, right now we had a press conference. So we’re in the South Hall, and I am moving all the material we used for the conference back over to the Westgate where it belongs. They are going to set the TVs back up.

Is this your first CES?

Yes ma’am.

Have you gotten to see any of the exhibits and stuff?

I have.

Anything stand out to you in particular?

To tell you the truth, I have a picture painted with acrylic paint on my TV at home. I don't even watch TV. I am kind of old fashioned.

So have you seen anything here that you have found interesting in terms of the tech stuff?

I was hoping to find a new case for my Note 4 because this one is all... but other than that, no ma’am.