Reason & Remarks: Nailing It At CES

The attention to detail in regard to accessible transportation by the event’s organizers is nothing short of amazing

By Tom Fjerstad

Are you into gadgets and technology? I have to admit that I am.

I’ve always found new technology intriguing, and while I’m not one of those fanatics who must have the latest and greatest computer or TV, I do look at new ideas through the eyes of, “Can that make my life better?”

This month, PN will make its annual trip to Las Vegas for the mega consumer electronics and technology show called CES. This massive event involves more than 175,000 attendees from over 160 countries invading the city to see the latest products from more than 4,500 exhibitors. The show covers more than 50 football fields of exhibition space at multiple venues. Needless to say, hotels are sold out, restaurants are packed and traffic on the famed Las Vegas Strip is even worse than usual.

When you combine this frantic anticipation with crowd sizes that seem like New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, I’m always amazed by the well-planned logistics that make this event happen with incredible fluidity.

From an accessibility standpoint, they truly have it nailed. I drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas for the show, but I wouldn’t even consider driving the few short miles up and down The Strip from where I’m staying at the Luxor Hotel & Casino to the Las Vegas Convention Center or the other venues that make up
the event.

The attention to detail in regard to accessible transportation by the event’s organizers is nothing short of amazing. If you require lift-equipped transportation, they have a special number to call. The first time I used this service, I was prepared to waste half my day attempting to get from my hotel to the convention center.

I had just finished breakfast, dialed the number and was greeted by a pleasant voice asking how she could help. I told the woman I was in need of wheelchair lift-equipped transportation, and she replied that she’d arrange a pickup time and call me right back.

Pessimistic me is thinking, “Right, I’ve heard that before.” In less than two minutes, my phone rang, and I was told to be out front in five minutes, was given the bus number and the driver’s name. The bus arrived perfectly on time, and I had a private chauffeur to the event. This was the story for virtually every aspect of CES.

CES isn’t open to the public, and all attendees are classified by their purpose for being there. As the editorial staff of a magazine, we are classified as media members and, as such, are extended privileges not enjoyed by many other attendees.

From complimentary breakfast and lunch to a large media center to happy hour cocktails, they really take care of those who are going to tell their story. These amenities help simplify some of life’s basic needs, allowing you to focus on the reason you’re there — finding those breakthrough products that may have an impact on your target market. For us, that market is you.

CES also realizes the importance of our niche market and has gone so far as to create specific sections of the show that focus on accessible technology. This is good, and we always find something in this area. However, my greatest pleasure comes in finding those products that were developed with absolutely no intent to affect the lives of those with disabilities but do so in a profound way.

I always approach CES filled with excitement and anticipation, hoping to find that special something that allows us to conquer some of the challenges we all face in day-to-day life. 

Make sure to watch for our discoveries on pnonline.com and in the coming issues of PN magazine.  

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