CES 2014 Stand
I'm writing 3D printing news on my laptop with a cup of tea. The hallmarks of a normal working day, no? On the contrary, the news is about International CES 2014 in Las Vegas, my laptop is on a table at a bar in the MGM Grand and the cup of tea isn't strictly a cup of tea … I mean, there's tea in it according to the menu, but a Down-Home Punch isn't really a cup of tea, is it?
TCT + Personalize are in Las Vegas for International CES 2014 this week - you may have heard. Dan, Jim and I flew from Manchester via London (tense Heathrow-Gatwick connection made by the skin of our teeth as the flight was already boarding when we were heaving our cases on the carousel) and landed in Las Vegas at midday. We were reunited with fearless leader Duncan at breakfast this morning and sated with a hefty portion of eggs Benedict, we wended our circuitous way to the gigantic hangers of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
This is the first year 3D printing has been given its own designated space, the 3D Printing TechZone, and judging by the number and calibre of exhibitors, it seems to have been a long time coming. MakerBot were hard at work getting their stand together when we arrived, WhiteClouds was almost finished and the well-known signage of 3D Systems and Stratasys was floating over the scattering of startups, manufacturers and other 3D technology companies. More on the show floor later, though.
After grappling with our own signage, the portable magazine racks and rushing about looking for a pair of pliers (thanks MakerBot!) we collected our press packs and furnished with our new CES branded rucksacks and Gibson woolly hats it was back to Bally's for a quick costume change for an afternoon at Mandalay Bay for the CES keynotes and CES Unveiled.
Now, I've been to a few trade shows now, but CES 2014 is the first trade show I've visited in the US. I am aware CES is on the large end of the spectrum - but even though the event hasn't technically started yet that does not mean the CES/CEA staff and stewards haven't been helpful or friendly. Indeed, the level of genuine cheerfulness and the happy-to-help mentality of everybody has impressed me so much I am writing about it now and this is at every point on the event's vast map, which stretches across a huge portion of the city.
The CES keynote speeches kicked off with Shawn DuBravac, Director of Research at CEA, who set the tone for CES 2014 by announcing the key trend for mass customisation - something 3D printing is best positioned for in manufacturing. Team TCT + Personalize managed to get seats even though the conference room was stacked to the rafters. DuBravac was followed by Steve Koenig, Director of Industry Analysis, who discussed the pressing issue of how to navigate the tricky waters of the emerging markets.
A quick trip to the CES press room (very nice - regularly replenished supplies of hot drinks and plate-sized cookies) we popped downstairs to CES Unveiled for yet more nibbles and the company of what seemed to be thousands of media bods. Representing the 3D printing world amid the consumer tech universe was the Form 1 by Formlabs, winner of the CES Innovation Awards, and Sculpteo, who announced their new Batch Control feature just as we filed into the Unveiled room.
Well, that brings us just about up to date. The TCT editorial team bids you goodnight from our first full day at CES. More of this, the show and TCT + Personalize's conference track Don't Believe the Hype: 3D Printing Uncovered in the days to come!