Robots don’t yawn.
So the crowd compensated.
The atmosphere wasn’t exactly sleepy Friday, the final day of CES, even though there was plenty of sleeping. Attendees snoozed in massage chairs, on benches in the hallways or, in some cases, head-down on tables.
The vibe here was a crash-landing of the adrenal glands, energy levels going from blowout to brownout.
Pathways, earlier in the week snarled in a series of human traffic jams, were wide open.
Farewells among co-workers rivaled futuristic gadgets in number, as product spokespeople snapped pictures with one another and said their goodbyes.
If it was all over but for the shouting, though, that’s because shouting was no longer really possible for plenty of vendors who had spent the past four days hawking their wares.
“We’ve had over 18,000 people in our booth, and we’ve had to talk nonstop,” said Juandra Rollins, a brand ambassador for Japanese electronics company Omron.
In other words, pass the Sucrets.
“Talking to hundreds of people, maybe thousands of people, about the new products, it makes your voice go a bit crazy,” said affable redhead Vernon Kerswell, founder and hardware architect of the London-based Extreme Fliers aerial robotics company. “It’s tiring being on your feet all day. I think the concrete needs to be a bit softer.”
Still, if the voices were a bit lower and the heels a bit sorer Friday, there still was plenty of work to be done, though the tenor of the interactions between the crowd and the vendors had shifted.
“When it comes to Day 4 you get a more personal connection,” said Matthew Hansen, a booth worker from Las Vegas. “People are a lot calmer now. They’re kind of strolling through. They’re checking things out. They’re saying, ‘What can I grab before I leave? What’s going to be my last memory of CES 2019?’ ”
The people making those memories tended to differ from previous days as well.
“Most of the enterprise customers and the distributors, they’ve already left,” explained Alec Brasier, sales manager for Hexgears USA, a keyboard manufacturing company. “Now it’s consumers that are coming through.”
Were they coming through in the same numbers as in years past?
It didn’t feel that way for Charles Wells of Oklahoma’s Wells Satellite, a CES veteran.
“The last day is usually just packed because a lot of people are wanting to get as much information from the vendors as they can get,” he said. “Usually, it’s elbow to elbow. I’m not seeing that.”
What CES regulars were seeing, though, was more of an emphasis on the bottom line this go-round, according to some.
“It seems focused,” said Terry Schussler, lead AR/VR developer and architect of product innovation for the California-based Deutsche Telekom Inc. “It seems like there’s a lot more people not just kicking tires, checking out technology, but they’re here for business purposes. It’s more productive than I’ve seen in other years, where it was more about the flash and technology. There’s a little bit more maturity, I would say.”
Hansen seconded that observation.
“A lot of work is being involved here,” he said, “not just for the customer to come through and kind of shop and look at the future, but also for a lot of business growth that’s happening here. That’s the biggest thing I see.”
‘Future’ is always the operative word at CES.
And so as this year’s convention comes to a close, who knows what it will really hold.
More padding beneath the carpet?
“Here on the last day, my feet are sore,” Brasier said with a smile. “Maybe next year we’ll get more cushion on the carpets to help out in that regard.”
And ultimately that’s what CES is all about: daring to dream.