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Tech Firms Converge in Vegas for CES

It’s an important roll of the dice for San Diego companies attending the lavish 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a city notorious for exhibitionism and long-shot odds.

The battle to become a fixture in the technology marketplace rages on with a slew of local vendors willing to invest heavily to put their newest ventures on display for a throng of attendees to see , evidence that opportunities exist even during bleak economic times.

Optimism trumps caution during the show running Jan. 8-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Longtime exhibitor Evertek Computer of Oceanside is eager to be taking part again.

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“CES generates great excitement within our company,” said Scott Kusel, president of Evertek, a wholesale computer distribution outfit. “It’s a great venue to interact with our wholesale customers and global vendors, and an opportunity to focus on personal interactions, not just sales transactions.”

Nurturing relationships with both customers and vendors is fully expected to have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

The event features 2,700 exhibitors, including more than 300 companies exhibiting for the first time, all unveiling their products as they fill nearly 2 million square feet of exhibit space. Nonetheless, 2009 CES will be smaller than last year, with 130,000 attendees, down 8 percent from the previous year, organizers noted. Exhibitor figures remain unchanged, however, with roughly 2,700 companies present, resilient and prepared.

“Everybody is being hit by the economy, but we are stronger than almost every industry,” said Gary Shapiro, executive director of the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs the show.

Innovation At A Glimpse

Thousands of tech companies, bloggers, journalists, corporate stalwarts, startups and industry analysts converge on the famous Vegas strip to showcase their allegiance to innovation and catch a glimpse of the trends and gadgets that could grow to dominate segments of the technology landscape in the months ahead.

UltraLast Batteries forged ahead as a participant but “scaled back a little bit,” said Marketing Manager Jennifer Adams. All the same, it was important to have a presence at the show, she said.

The company this year has opted for a less expensive private meeting room as opposed to a kiosk in the main exhibition area, so its station has moved from the main floor exhibit hall.

“This is a show where we have an opportunity to meet with prospective buyers, but perhaps not as many this year,” Adams said. “Every year attendance is slowing down. Obviously, we’re all just waiting to see what happens. But hopes are high, definitely, as we introduce a new line of products.”

That line of products showcases ultra long-lasting rechargeable batteries for everyday use that will give consumers expansive reuse and recharge options, in addition to “a contribution to better environmental effects.”

It’s a strong play to wedge into a tight market and at 500-hours-plus per battery, one that might just work. Company officials emphasize that their product line offers financial relief to companies that are scaling back line-item expenses.

Displays By Local Firms

Those in the vanguard of San Diego companies with rented space and ambitious plans at 2009 CES are plentiful.

– Avaak is previewing a live remote Web-based video system that enables consumers to view their family, home or business from anywhere, at any time. The Vue system was a finalist in the Consumer Electronics Association’s most innovative consumer technology products coming to market in 2009.

– Cherple is a new software from Globaltel Media that was launched at CES. Cherple allows two-way text communications between online computers and mobile wireless cellular devices.

– KidZui has created targeted searching and browsing features for kids with a design that revolves around some of the best features of social networks, all tailored to the younger set while offering security controls for adults.

– MediaFLO USA, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, offers entertainment including prime-time television shows, live sports, news, kids’ programming and original content to mobile phones 24/7. It had seasonal programming from the Food Network, HGTV, DIY Network and Fine Living.

Amid all the cutting-edge gadgetry on display at the event, CES wouldn’t be CES without a few brow-arching novelties such as skullcaps with built-in headphones, video games that rely on gesture-recognition and children’s toys with high-end components such as teddy bears equipped with MP3 players.


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