Las Vegas — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held its annual Industry Forum at the site of its most famous creation, International CES, outlining plans for the 2006 event, issuing predictions on Holiday retail sales, giving an analysis of specialty retailers and introducing the CE Hall of Fame Class of 2005.
Those were only a few of the events during the four-day event held this week at the Four Seasons Resort, here, which drew a record crowd of more than 500 manufacturers, retailers, industry suppliers and press.
For those preparing for the 2006 International CES, to be held here Jan. 5-8, Karen Chupka, events and conferences VP, said that 1.6 million square feet of exhibit space has been sold to date for the event, higher than last year’s 1.538 million square feet of this year’s show, and that probably another 100,000 square feet of space will be sold before CES kicks off in January. While Chupka conservatively estimated that there would be “over 130,000 attendees” for the upcoming CES, at the 2005 event around 145,000 attended.
Among the draws to the show are always the keynote speakers and panelists. Chupka, and CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro, reported at an informal press briefing here, added more speakers to the Industry Insider lineup: Ivan Steinberg, CEO of Verizon Communications; Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who will have a one-on-one interview with Shapiro; and Antonio M. Perez, president/CEO of Eastman Kodak.
The series will also feature a Retail Power Panel, again hosted by Shapiro. The panelists are Brad Anderson, vice-chairman/CEO of Best Buy; Dave Edmondson, president/CEO of RadioShack; Alan McCollough, chairman/CEO of Circuit City; and Larry Mondry, CEO of CompUSA.
As previously reported, the Sands Convention Center will be used to house the Innovations Plus product area as well as “TechZones” of emerging technologies, which include robotics, Bluetooth, Cardio Play, Consumer VoIP, Digital Living Network Alliance, IPTV, Launch, Portable Audio, Portable Power, Studio@Home, Wireless USB, Wired USB and Zigbee Alliance. Other Innovations Plus at the Sands features include the International CES Innovations 2006 Design and Engineering Awards Showcase; Industry Insider conference sessions; and a digital imaging event, Flash Forward 3.0, on Friday, Jan. 6.
To make sure that attendees reach the Sands Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) in a timely manner, CEA has come up with two bus routes to and from the hotels specifically for each venue. In addition, there will be shuttles to and from the Sands and the LVCC. CEA will reveal more information about CES plans during a press briefing in New York during mid-November.
Shapiro revealed that Microsoft founder and perennial CES keynoter Bill Gates will receive the second annual “Digital Patriots Award” during CEA’s Spring Break event from March 14-17 in Washington.
In other show related news, Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association (LVCVA), keynoted the Tuesday afternoon Industry Forum luncheon where he outlined the long term plans for Las Vegas, its Convention Center and the hotel industry. He said that Las Vegas current has “133,000 hotel rooms available” more than any other city in the world, and that with all the new building planned by various resorts, casinos and hotels Vegas will have 155,000 hotel rooms by 2009.
Ralenkotter also revealed plans to increase the size of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will be voted on by the LVCVA in a meeting of its board during mid-December. The plans include making it easier for “both attendees and vehicles to easily enter and leave the facility”; creating some new architecture to make the entrance of the Convention Center, which is now dominated by the monorail, more distinctive; and other improvements.