The Transformative Power of Technology Conferences

  • Web3, Metaverse, and Blockchain Take Center Stage at CES 2023

The Consumer Electronics Show, now known as CES and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, is a major industry event that showcases the latest in consumer technology. Although the conference is not open to the public, several media outlets report on the innovations unveiled at CES. Join me as I share how CES, and before that COMDEX, have shaped my career.

First Impressions: The Difference Between God And Larry Ellison

As I prepared to start my new job at Oracle Corporation, I had the chance to attend my first COMDEX conference in Las Vegas. This event, COMDEX Fall 2000, was my first opportunity to see the latest technology before the rest of the world. I was immediately struck by the innovative products and services at the event. The experience sparked my passion for attending technology conferences like WebSummit, SXSW, and CES.

I did not understand The Difference Between God And Larry Ellison*, and I can’t take credit for the clever book title from Mike Wilson (*God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison), but I remember being impressed by the combative keynote of my new CEO. Ellison’s “Software Powers the Internet” speech took aim at Microsoft and its CEO Bill Gates. But Microsoft was ready for Ellison. As I walked out of the Las Vegas Convention Center, I saw a team of people distributing coffee mugs with a list of reasons why Microsoft was better than Oracle. It was my first taste of the power of guerrilla marketing in action, and I wish I still had that coffee mug.

I don’t Know What It Is, But I Like It

In 2009, I became an early adopter of the Qik live video streaming app (before it was available on the Apps Store). I used it to capture videos from all over CES in 2010, including the unveiling of the Parrot AR. Drone and demonstrations of the iOS apps used to control it. You can watch my reaction to the drone in this video and notice the quality of the video.


I also captured Lady Gaga being named creative director for Polaroid at CES 2010; what do you think of the video quality from 2010?

Google Glass and Shaquille O’Neal

Four years later, I attended CES with a better device for capturing the conference: Google Glass. This voice and motion-controlled Android device resembles eyeglasses and displays information directly in the user’s field of vision. I remember NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal extending his long arms to borrow my Google Glass to record Nick Cannon during CES 2014; watch Shaq here.


Later that day, my friend Jeff Cutler and I were asked to leave the Wynn Casino for wearing the device while playing roulette.

Where Are They Now? 

Today, iPhone and Android users have many options for high-quality live streaming. “Cinematic mode” on the iPhone 14 series allows for 4K recording at 30 fps and 24 fps.

The Parrot AR. Drone received a CES Innovations award in 2010 for Electronic Gaming Hardware. By early 2013, around half a million units of the AR. Drone and its successor had been sold. The company has since shifted its focus to commercial drone solutions.

Instant film pioneer Polaroid was a cultural icon for decades, but the company could not withstand the shift to digital technology and shut down all production in 2008.

CES During the COVID Era

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CES featured over 4,000 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees from all over the world. Due to the pandemic, the show went entirely virtual in 2021. It returned in January 2022 as a hybrid live and digital event. However, a winter COVID surge caused CES 2022 to be a debacle, with exhibitors and journalists asking the Consumer Technology Association to cancel the show.

Looking Forward to CES 2023 

CES 2023 will take over Las Vegas Convention Center, with overflow at other venues, including the Venetian Expo and C Space at Aria. More than 1,300 confirmed exhibitors and 323 Fortune Global 500 companies have registered for the event. The Web3 Studio at LVCC’s Central Hall will be the hub of all things Web3, metaverse, and blockchain at CES. Industry leaders and visionaries will gather to discuss the most significant advancements in these areas across various industries, technologies, and capabilities.

One of the exhibitors I am looking forward to seeing is Magic Leap, a company founded by fellow University of Miami alumni Rony Abovitz. In the early 90s, Abovitz was responsible for the weekly cartoon for The Miami Hurricane student newspaper, where I was the business manager. In their two-story exhibit (Tech East, LVCC Central, Booth #15875), Magic Leap will showcase the power of their platform and eight of the latest AR solutions on Magic Leap 2, including Cisco’s Webex Hologram

Webex Hologram allows meeting participants to collaborate in more profoundly inclusive and engaging ways than ever before. By projecting the presenter and their content into the viewer’s physical space, Webex Hologram creates an unprecedented experience of co-presence.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to attend CES and witness firsthand its impact on the industry. It offers a glimpse into the future of technology and provides valuable insights into emerging trends and innovations.

As a technology enthusiast, I am always eager to share my experiences and insights with others. Please let me know if you have any specific topics or areas of interest that you would like me to cover in my next article. Whether you are a tech professional, an industry expert, or someone interested in staying up to date on the latest trends, I hope you will continue to follow my articles and join me in exploring the exciting world of consumer electronics.





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