For four days in January, the world's leading innovators and companies descend on Las Vegas to share and discover the next generation of technology. We spoke to some of the companies attending in 2014 to find out what makes CES so special.
A glimpse of the future
Time can often be your worst enemy when visiting Las Vegas. There's simply not enough hours in the day to take in the countless shows, casinos, restaurants and attractions. Just how are you meant to choose what to do in a city where fun, glitz and extravagance lurks around every corner? Well there's no such problem for the over 150,000 people who will flock to Vegas this month when the International CES Exhibit becomes the biggest show in town, featuring the very latest in technological advancement.
Running between 7-10 January, CES attracts over 3,200 major companies and industry professionals from around the globe, all of whom are keen to showcase their latest innovations. Since the show is only open to trade members, keep your eyes out for our next post in which we'll be offering a chance to win some of the products showcased at this year's event.
The trade show has provided people with a glimpse of the future since its first ever event in New York City back in 1967. Having moved to Las Vegas in 1978, it has hosted the unveiling of some of the most popular modern day innovations such as the VCR, Camcorder, Mini Disc, Microsoft Xbox and Plasma TV.
According to a recent study by Future plc, 69 per cent of people in the UK consider themselves to be an expert in at least one area of technology. It's also becoming more accessible, with more than half of those aged 65 and over revealing they find it easier to use.
We also happen to know that people who fly Virgin Atlantic are 36 per cent more likely to keep up with developments in technology, but CES 2014 will enable you to go one better by discovering the technology that will shape your future. Many of the innovations on display will also be of great benefit to travellers; the new Ford Mustang, for instance, is the official car of CES 2014 and is the perfect way to cruise around Vegas or hit the desert road out to the Grand Canyon in style.
Interested in technology? Then you'll love it here. Love technology? Well, prepare to enter techie heaven.
One company looking to stand out at CES is Veho, a UK based manufacturer of lifestyle consumer electronics. Veho has previously delivered wireless sound systems and gadgets such as portable smartphone batteries. There's fresh technology in every detail, such as earphones with 'anti tangle' cords – meaning no more endless fiddling with wires on your travels enabling you to kick back and relax with your favourite tunes, be it on a plane, car, hotel room or beach. It's about evolving, improving and creating.
"CES is an important date in the calendar for us and we will be launching around a dozen new products this year," said Veho's sales director Ben Vallance. "There's no better place for us to showcase this than at the CES. These days everyone loves gadgets!"
Veho certainly aren't alone in being excited about the January tech extravaganza. Powerstick.com, an award-winning designer of cutting edge portable charging technology, view the trade show as a great opportunity to connect with the most influential people in the industry.
"CES showcases all the things we strive for at Powerstick.com: leadership, innovation, creativity and excellence in design, all on an international stage. It is always very interesting to see where others are headed and what trends emerge."
Previous Powerstick products include memory sticks and portable charging stations, which could prove very handy on your travels. Imagine the disappointment of seeing your mobile device or camera run out of battery just as you reach Hoover Dam? Not a problem with a portable charger in your bag!
CES is also home to a host of prototypes which have yet to be fully developed into a finished product. That in itself, however, is part of the attraction; a futuristic blend of ideas, creation and vision.
Stepping into the trade show is in some ways the closest you'll get to exploring the lab belonging to Q; the infamous inventor who supplies 007's gadgets in the James Bond movies. With 15 different product categories, you just never know which mind bogglingly brilliant ideas and products will be unveiled.
Of course, it wouldn't be Las Vegas without a bit of glamour thrown into the mix. To celebrate the best breakthrough technology, a red carpet event will be held on January 9 in the Las Vegas Hotel Theatre, featuring musical and comedic performances as well as the winners of the 'Breakthrough of the Year Awards'.
One company looking to make an impact in 2014 is telescope maker Celestron, who intend to use CES as a platform from which to launch their wireless revolution, with a particular focus on two landmark products that tap into the power of smart phone devices.
"Celestron's highest ambition is to inspire a sense of wonder, knowledge and fun with every product we make. We make optical products to satisfy every intellectually curious mind."
Celestron will use CES to launch a new licenced product that promises to take you on 'a journey deep into the origins of the universe'. Like so many other innovations at CES, the product is a closely guarded secret. If you want to see it, you'll have to be there.
Another great example of the type of innovative companies that head to the world renowned CES trade show is 3D Systems, a leading provider of 3D content-to-print solutions. One of its latest releases enables physical photography with 3D scanning. Imagine going home and printing your holiday snaps of Vegas landmarks or the Grand Canyon into 3D images. Impossible you say? They don't know the meaning of the word at CES.
In addition to showcasing their own products, 3D Systems believe CES offers invaluable insight into the future: "CES is our opportunity to unveil our plans for the year from major products to new ventures and technological advances, and where we see the future of our products and technologies heading beyond the first season of the year."
Over the course of the four days, over 300 keynote speeches and conference sessions will enable attendees to share knowledge, ideas and seek inspiration.
2013 was the year of Smart TVs, tablets and 4G smartphones. This is your chance to find out what 2014 has in store. The future of technology awaits in Las Vegas!
Attending CES will enable you to explore the technology of the future, but you could also be in with a chance of winning some of the cutting edge products on display. Stay tuned for our upcoming CES 2014 competition.
Header photo: Las Vegas skyline © Robert S. Donovan
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.