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Checking one off the bucket list: CES impresses tech enthusiast

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Michael Moroni2 / 2

Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE my technology.

Some may call it an addiction, but there's just something about opening a brand new box full of tech that is just exciting. So, when Consolidated Telecommunications Company announced it

would be sending employees to the CES show in Las Vegas, I was beyond excited to potentially have the opportunity to attend something that was on my bucket list.

Last year was the inaugural year of CTC sending employees to CES. You can imagine my dismay when I was not chosen to attend. However, the following year I was selected—my time had come! After being told I would be attending the event along with marketing manager Andy

Isackson, I was about as excited as a toddler with a new toy and called my wife with just as

much excitement. Unfortunately for her, this announcement came about four months prior to the

Show. As my wife states, "it was four months of non-stop talk about CES."

During these four months, I did all I could to prepare for the big event. I talked to previous attendees for tips and tricks to navigate the show, scoured the web for things to do while we were there, what to bring, what to wear—EVERYTHING! Fast forward a few months, "Whoa!" the 50th anniversary of CES and I was there! Bucket list item - CHECK!

On Day One of CES, I recall walking into one of the large exhibition halls. There were hundreds of people surrounding me, clamoring to be close to the doors as they opened to the public so they could have first glance at what was inside. When the doors finally opened, I felt like I was in a herd of cattle moving through the doors—everyone was as excited as I was to be there.

It did not disappoint, just like everything in Vegas, it was huge! As we walked in, all I could see were people flooding the endless aisles—forward, left, right—it was immense. Andy and I had to take a moment just to realign ourselves.

Over the few days we were there, we saw some of the latest in technology and innovation.

Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, drones, home automation and self-driving vehicles were

just a few of the hot items at the show. We also learned a lot about what to do and what not to

do at the show.

Here are some of those tips:

1. Have a comfortable pair of shoes, and break them in beforehand. You will walk many

miles during CES—to the show, around the show, back to your hotel, and doing other

activities throughout the day.

2. Bring some snacks. It was great to have some trail mix with nuts and almonds while

walking around to provide a boost of energy.

3. Take mini-breaks and a lunch break. Rest during the day is good. Not only does it give

you a moment to let your feet relax, but it gives you an opportunity to reflect back on

what you saw and allows time to make some additional notes.

4. If you see something that interests you, stop and ask questions. We did this at a

number of booths to learn about the technology. However, some booths were so full of

other attendees that we'd have to wait for a number of minutes to be able to see the

product, or to talk to anyone. Fearful that this time was limited, we often skipped

things. As it turned out, some of these booths we skipped were the most talked about items at CES. Now, we understand why there was a line to see and learn about that

tech.

5. Book your room early. Some of the hotels and resorts have special room blocks, but it's

always best to try to get your room as soon as you know you're going. Try some of the

resorts off the main strip as well.

6. Watch airfare. Airfare seems to be at a peek flying to Vegas from Minneapolis during

the CES show. You would think that Vegas flights would be cheap, but they are not the

most economical during CES.

7. While in Vegas, try Uber. Uber is the new taxi-like service. Often times cheaper and it's

great because it has predetermined rates for your to-and- from destinations.

8. Take the monorail. This is an economical way to travel and the monorail will run from

resorts on the main strip, to locations where CES is taking place, and all the way to the

convention center.

9. Plan your travel to the show accordingly. We made sure to arrive at the show well in

advance of opening doors to avoid congestion on the monorail. At the end of the day

when the show ended, we usually found a spot to grab a snack and a beverage while we

divulged all the things we saw and learned about that day.

When all was said and done, CES became a new yearly venture for me. Although it was a bit

overwhelming at times, it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to go back! In January of

2018, I'll be headed back to CES with Joe Buttweiler, partnership development manager for

CTC.

About CES

A gathering place for for those who thrive on the business of consumer electronics, CES describes itself a high level business event that touches all industries and a "platform for innovators of all sizes to build their brands, every major technology company on the planet participates in CES in some way — by exhibiting, speaking, sponsoring, attending or holding co-located events and business meetings."

The first CES took place in 1967, with 250 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees in New York City. Since then, CES has grown by more than 10-fold and now encompasses both traditional and non-traditional tech industries with major trends and innovations unveiled at the annual show now in Las Vegas.

Product categories include 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, drones, health, robotics, smart home and vehicle technology, and wearables among a host of others. The next CES show is Jan. 9-12.

CES by the numbers

• 3,900 exhibiting companies

• 170,000 people in attendance

• 7,000 members of the media

• 150 countries represented

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