Workers hustle to prepare convention sites for CES

Updated January 8, 2018 - 8:42 pm

It was the rush before the coming storm.

Outside the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday morning, wooden crates filled with goods were being hauled off white trucks and into partially completed pavilions.

Inside the Aria Convention Center, two workers stood on scissor lifts 20 feet above ground Monday afternoon to decorate a wall with a massive Samsung advertisement.

Less than 24 hours until the start of CES — the city’s largest convention by attendees and square feet — crews hustled to complete the last of the nearly 4,000 exhibition spaces as the first rain fell in nearly four months.

“The work is still going for many of us,” said Steve Anderson, executive vice president of Freeman, the expo’s general services contractor.

Speaking at 6 p.m. Monday, he said several companies will work most of the night.

“It has been a great last day despite the rain. Vegas is shining!”

While the Strip was relatively quiet Monday morning, more and more people arrived each hour from the airport in taxis. They slowly filled up the bars, restaurants and cafes by early evening.

Working on their laptops, they occupied whatever seats were available in cafes and lounges, sitting on hallway floors where that was the only option.

Media Days

About 180,000 people are expected to descend on Las Vegas this week for the technology expo, which launches Tuesday and runs through Friday at several locations around town including the Las Vegas Convention Center, Aria, Sands Expo and Convention Center, and Mandalay Bay.

While CES wasn’t officially open Monday, companies including LG, Samsung and Panasonic hosted media events at Mandalay Bay Convention Center to announce major product launches.

Thousands of media and company representatives filled the second and third floors of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, keeping the hotel busy after a slow December.

Guards checked bags and security patrolled with K-9 dogs. Media were given transparent bags to speed up their entrance through security, which will be tighter this year.

Google vs Amazon

While Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa was a major talking point at the 2017 CES show, Google seems intent on changing that this year.

The Silicon Valley-based giant has placed advertisements all around the Strip to promote its voice-activated personal assistant at this year’s show.

Google’s digital ads can be seen outside Caesars Palace, Aria, MGM Grand, Fashion Mall and Westgate. Google is also advertising on the Monorail.

Artificial intelligence like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant will be a major theme at this year’s show.

Las Vegas casinos are getting in on the AI action. Caesars Entertainment announced Monday it is expanding its AI-powered, virtual concierge service to Caesars Palace and The LINQ Hotel & Casino.

Power for 865 Homes

Preparations for the show started Dec. 18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and required significant manpower and equipment to complete on time.

A typical move-in day at the Las Vegas Convention Center requires 1,650 crew workers, said Anderson.

The Las Vegas Convention Center would receive about 1,400 trucks and 335 trailers filled with goods for the CES show and require the use of nearly 200 forklifts.

The total weight of goods and material at the Las Vegas Convention Center for CES will exceed 15 million pounds, according to Anderson. About 2.5 million pounds will be handing from the ceilings in the form of signs, sound equipment, lights and scenic structures.

The Las Vegas Convention Center will consume about 36 million watts of power, enough to supply 865 homes, during each day of the show, said Anderson.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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