Bruce Pechman, “The Muscleman of Technology"
There’s no better thrill than starting the 1st week of the new year with a road trip to Las Vegas for 5 days of insanity to cover the Consumer Electronics Show. This is my 15th CES, and although I wouldn’t consider myself a CES veteran, I do know the ropes and shortcuts quite well.
A highlight for me on the trip to Vegas is passing the world-famous Zzyzx Road; Population:
1 person (see photo below).
A big thank you to South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa (www.SouthPointCasino.com) for their awesome hospitality, gym, buffet, and immaculate room during my Vegas escapades.
A Little CES Nostalgia History
So, the official Consumer Technology Association (CTA) attendance tally for the CES 2023 show is listed at 115,000—a far cry from the hey days between 2014 and 2019 when attendance averaged about 160,000, but respectable after the COVID years nonetheless. Just for the record, before CES became a “thing” circa 2005 to 2011, most average folks didn’t know what CES was— then all h*ll broke loose around 2012 to 2018 when just about
every major media news outlet from online to broadcast started covering the show. Major celebrities from TV, movies, sports, pop stars started attending and collaborating with exhibitors; heck even the Jeopardy TV game show taped live from CES one year!
NOTE: With the CTA now offering digital/virtual CES options, plus attrition of the old dudes (me being one of them), I’m not sure CES will see those lofty attendance numbers for a while.
As an on-air consumer correspondent for Good Morning San Diego, I always have an eye out for the simple, quirky, and off beat products at CES. I leave the flying cars, EV’s, AI, VR, AR, connected services, Apps, etc. to the mainstream reporters. I’m “The Muscleman of Technology,” a freelance TV personality who mostly focuses on the “entertainment factor” for my 4–5-minute weekly TV segments.
The most impressive exhibitor IMHO was Harmon/JBL who took over the entire exhibit hall at the Virgin Hotel complete with a 747-airline interior cut-out—with true authentic airline engine roar to demonstrate their new noise cancelling earbuds & headphones. Their separate listening rooms for TV
soundbars, headphones, and speakers were legendary not to mention the 4 or 5 new cars outfitted with sound systems worthy of any major celebrity.
What’s Old Becomes New Again
At CES 2023 two things became very apparent, big brands are collaborating and partnering with each other, and old names like RCA, Gateway Computers, Studebaker, AWIA, Emerson, Victor, and more are making a comeback in a big way with consumer products from popcorn makers to computers.
I noticed this on the show floor in Central Hall and the cow wallpaper is what caught my eye. I loved my Gateway computer way back in 1999. I asked the rep and she said yes, the Gateway brand will be back in 2023 and sold at Walmart stores. This one is an AIO (All-in-One) computer complete with integrated webcam at the top, updated with all the modern specs, keyboard & mouse all for under $500, and will be releasing shortly. Ignore the Pizza sign in the upper right, it does not come with the Gateway computer.
But the Future Has Also Arrived
Interactive 3D Holograms were all the rage this year—what the heck, I used my VIP muscle to cut the line and get a Mr. Bicep avatar made! The results are below. I’m sure there will be practical applications for this commercially, but I just wanted to see myself as a hologram.
Solar power devices are certainly one of the fastest growing sectors of our industry. It’s just so “Eco- Friendly” but I didn’t expect to see headphones with a solar strip integrated into the headband on the show floor. Their hereee: The just released adidas RPT-02 SOL powered by Powerfoyle uses ambient light for all the playtime you need! The box says up to 80 hours of stored playtime; it’s also made from recycled plastics…but make no mistake Self-Charging wireless headphones are hot and they are available now. I snagged a set and a box shot—see the pics below. Another solar product that really impressed me was by Targus (www.Targus.com)—their new Energy Harvesting EcoSmart™ Keyboard,
which also includes Targus DefenseGuard Antimicrobial Protection for you germaphobe’s like me. This full-sized keyboard packs a lot of power, including a 104-key layout, ultra-low-power Bluetooth technology, and multi-device plug-and-play compatibility.
Good Times in Las Vegas
I absolutely loved the show this year, probably because the last show I attended feels like an eternity ago (thanks COVID). In 2023 no masks or vax papers were needed, and very few were wearing them. It was great catching up with all my old contacts and making new ones. Before leaving Vegas I always take a day for myself for a little R&R. After averaging 25,000 steps a day for 4 days it’s nice to sit back and relax…and that’s exactly what I did. I took in the flagship new show “AWAKENING” at Wynn Las Vegas and it was fabulous. The decorative set pieces in conjunction computerized LED lights will blow you away along with the human stunts!
Before the night show, I experienced “Fly Over Las Vegas” (www.FlyOverLasVegas.com) and that was a way more fun and exhilarating ride than I could have imagined. It’s computer controlled with smells, mist and fans to ensure you have an immersive experience. Just to let you know, I would totally do it again if I had the time—it was that fantastic, and will make you forget about your reality for every minute of the ride! The “Wonders of the American West” ride will take your breath away!
That’s a Wrap
I checked out of South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa at exactly 5:50 am on Sunday 1/8 and was back home by 11:15 am. I did pass the beautiful snow-dusted mountains along the route via the Cajon Pass (mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains) and took a few pics.
With hardly time to unwind, unpack, and capture my show notes, I almost forgot I had back-to-back segments on Good Morning San Diego on 1/14 and 1/15 to prepare for. CES 2023 was a delight of sights, sounds, and a blur of crazy high-energy excitement. I’m looking forward to CES 2024…until then enjoy a few pics from the show floor.