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Your CES Survival Guide

Everyone knows that International CES is the greatest mob scene in January (sorry Super Bowl).

For weeks the industry has been feverishly pitching stories on the greatest new technologies that will be unveiled on Tuesday. “It’s the smart home!” “It’s smart wearables!” “It’s a smart, cloud-based, interactive, something-or-other!”

But with all this technology madness swirling around the show, we thought we would give you something a little more helpful: we are going to tell you what technology will help you survive CES. That’s right, there is actual technology today that will help you face the technology of tomorrow.

Let’s start with that one device you cannot live without: your phone. And we are not going to mince words here; your phone is going to be holding on for dear life during CES. First off, do not expect to be getting five bars on the floor of the show. In fact, if you can actually bear the thought of being off the grid for a few hours without shriveling up into a ball, then putting your phone into airplane mode will help extend your battery life.

However, let’s be honest and admit that almost none of us will actually do that. Which means your phone will be spending a ridiculous amount of time thrashing around trying to get a connection and obliterating your battery in the process. So yes, you are going to run out of power. And before you think you can just wander over to a wall to find an outlet, let me give you the following figure: more than 150,000 people attend CES every year, approximately half of whom will be looking for an outlet at the exact same time as you.

So that means you need to have a Plan B. One option is to make sure you have one of those phone cases that also double as a battery. Mophie makes great cases that are durable as well, although there are several other products on the market you can easily find.

The second option is one of the many USB battery chargers that are available from companies such as Kensington or Monoprice. These connect to your phone with a USB or mini-USB connector and keep you chugging along for the entire day.

Of course, the other thing that has to keep chugging along is you. CES involves a ton of walking around, and it can bring even the best attendees to their knees. Knowing how many miles (and we do mean miles) you are racking up can mean the difference between being on the floor come Thursday, or being in your room instead. Here is where those aforementioned wearables can help out. You don’t need to go crazy, but get a good, accurate exercise tracker before the show (we are fans of LifeTrak here at the studio). Can you safely up your normal step and calorie count by 50 percent? Probably, but tripling it may be setting you up for a world of hurt.

[TWICE senior editor Lisa Johnston tried this at 2013 International CES and logged over 44,000 steps in four days. — Ed.]

This of course leads to the final bit of technology help. To not wind up walking a marathon on the floor, you need to intelligently lay out your attack plan for the show. When we attend, we break sections of the day into different areas of CES so we are not running back and forth all the time. One morning we are in the North Hall, and that afternoon we check out the South Hall. The next day we may talk to some of our start up clients at the Bellagio, and then go meet our fellow marketing heathens at the Aria in the afternoon.

You need an app that can help you accomplish this, and the good news is that this idea won’t cost you anything. Many people wandering the floor helplessly have no idea that CES itself puts out a remarkably robust app every year to help you with the show. You can schedule all your meetings, identify all the booths you want to visit, and get updates on the inevitable schedule and speaker changes. The best part is the notifications, which can keep you on schedule when you are constantly getting distracted by the latest in smart, cloud-based, interactive, real-time something-or-others.

And the advantage of having all this on your phone is you can leave your laptop back in the hotel. No, seriously, leave the brick. After all, even at CES, you can sometimes have too much technology.

Christopher Caen is a partner at Theory Associates, a strategic branding agency that creates crave for some of the world’s leading technology brands.