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2008 CES Adds Keynoters, BMW Exhibit

More International CES keynote speakers, a special BMW extravaganza, a retail panel with Best Buy and Circuit City honchos, and an entertainment/technology panel hosted by TWICE sister publication Variety are among the additions to the agenda of 2008 International CES.

Gary Shapiro, president/CEO, and Karen Chupka, senior VP of events and conferences of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said at a press conference during its Fall Forum that Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child and the MIT Media Lab, have been added to the CES Industry Insider program, while Best Buy vice chairman/CEO Brad Anderson and Phil Schoonover, chairman, president/CEO, will be part of a retail panel.

Yang will deliver an Insider address during CES, to be held in Las Vegas, Jan, 7-10, 2008. He will speak Monday, Jan. 7, at 11 a.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater.

“Jerry Yang co-founded and leads one of the most influential and ground-breaking Internet navigational sites in history, making information instantaneously accessible for consumers across the globe,” said Shapiro in a prepared statement.

Negroponte’s address is slated to take place during the new CES program, Technology and Emerging Countries: Advancing Development Through Technology Investments, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The program consists of an opening and closing keynote address, several panel sessions and demonstrations of the technologies that are being used by developing nations. It will delve into the role consumer technology plays in long-term development and the future growth and sustainability of emerging markets. Negroponte will deliver the closing keynote address of the program.

Shapiro said, “As the International CES expands it reach globally and draws government leaders from across the globe, it creates an important forum for discussion on how best to leverage technology to foster long term growth and development in emerging countries. Nicholas’ One Laptop Per Child project is a terrific example of how technology can help educate and empower children in the developing world.”

Best Buy’s Brad Anderson and Circuit City’s Phil Schoonover will join Shapiro, who will moderate the International Retail Power Panel.

Also on the schedule is an Industry Insider event called Technology Impact: Five Things Technologists Don’t Get About Hollywood, slated for 2:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7, and sponsored by TWICE’s sister publication Variety. Panelists yet to be announced will discuss the collaborative relationship between consumer technology and the content and entertainment industries.

CES will also feature Pit Lane Park, a new destination by BMW and Intel, as part of an expanded in-vehicle technology presence at the show which includes the previously announced keynote by GM chairman/CEO Rick Wagoner at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

The key attraction is the BMW Sauber FI Team Pit Lane Park. Attendees can watch live racing and stunt action along a 90-meter track from both the BMW Sauber FI and Formula BMW race teams, plus experience race, game and technology zones. Formula One experts will also be on hand for questions.

As for the attendance and capacity numbers for the 2008 show, Shapiro and Chupka report there will be 2,700 exhibitors, 1.7 million square feet in exhibit space and 140,000 or so attendees. Shapiro said that CEA is looking to keep attendance to the 2007 level of 140,000, down from 150,000, to keep the show manageable, to keep consumers (mostly from California and Nevada) from attending the trade events, and due to a shortage of Las Vegas hotel rooms.

Chupka said that there are now “around 132,000 hotel rooms” in Las Vegas due to the closings of several old hotels and that there will be a meeting with major hotels this week between CEA and top exhibitors to engage in a “dialogue” about hotel rooms within the CES block and pricing. When asked if gouging is going on, Chupka said, “This is a matter of supply and demand. We want to continue to negotiate with hotels. We would want more rooms within the [CES] block” because pricing will get better for more attendees.

The hotel shortage for CES may continue through the 2009 show, but alleviate when 45,000 new hotel rooms are slated to be available by the 2010 show.