CES show serves up story ideas beyond Vegas

by January 2, 2014
CES 2013 demonstration

Attendees of CES 2013 get a demonstration at Eureka Park TechZone. Photo: CES

In addition to “Auld Lang Syne,” the Rose Bowl and diet resolutions, one of the rituals of early January is the big gadget convention in Las Vegas produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The International CES (formerly known as the “Consumer Electronics Show”) is a four-day extravaganza of new product launches, hundreds of speeches and seminars, a giant expo and related events, attended last year by more than 150,000 people, including industry insiders, retailers, about 6,000 journalists and including 14,000 CEOs and owners, the event’s press room says.

Not a technophile? Don’t let the name fool you there’s something here for you no matter what sector you cover, from health care to real estate to personal finance.  Some 3,200 exhibitors will be showcasing wares ranging from radar detectors to home theater systems to security software to a smartphone-controlled paper airplane.  (Yes, check out the video of the PowerUp 3.0 in flight.)

And if you can’t make it to Vegas, no need to miss out on the news peg – CES tends to make headlines and you can tap in by mining interesting local story angles from information on the CES’s extensive website, from exhibitors attending from your region and by localizing the new product info that will emerge over the course of the Jan. 7-10 event.  You can peruse the speaker list or do an advanced search on the exhibitor directory (narrowing the results to your state if desired) to find participants with ties to your region.

Or, scan CES press releases, blog posts and other materials for angles connected to your beats.  Here’s an interesting article, for example, about “The connected home makeover,” including results of a CEA survey of consumers – who say they’re interested in connectivity (and presumably remote access) to their home’s sprinkler systems, thermostats, home entertainment devices and other gizmos.  You can naturally segue into a story about local trends in home automation and how area builders are incorporating technology and remote access into new models, or retrofitting it into older homes.  And what about providers like telecom and security companies; consumers increasingly expect smartphone access to their DVRs and other units while out of the house.

Do you cover health care?  How about “telecare” systems like the ones touted by exhibitor Independa?  They appear to offer reminders about daily living activities, and even a service that prompts seniors to tell their life stories, and records them “for generations to come.”   I’ve heard of systems tied to medicine chests that will notify family members if Grandpa forgets to take his blood pressure medication, and even a system that will send out an alert should it fail to detect motion when the live-alone person should be up and about.  Again, take advantage of the critical mass of resources gather in the CES virtual media room to investigate and plan stories you can do locally.  Transportation, entertainment, automotive, gaming – it’s all there – even the dancing party animals!