CES on Track for January

From Dockers to Digital Hollywood, the show will go on.

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, is forecasting healthy attendance for its January 8 through 11 event in Las Vegas. The numbers are shaping up to be "on par with the last two shows, both of which had more than 110,000 attendees," according to Lisa Fasold, director of communications for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the organization that sponsors CES.

Nearly 2,000 exhibitors have signed up to wow the public with the latest and greatest in digital video, high-end audio, wireless communications, accessories, CE fashion, consumer technology networking, broadband, mobile electronics, content media, business technology, and Internet technology. The exhibitors list includes: America Online, Canon, Hitachi, Intel, JVC, Kenwood, Microsoft, Olympus, Palm, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sanyo Fisher, Sharp, Sony, Sprint, Toshiba, Verizon, and Zenith. CES booths will be in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton, the Riviera Hotel, and the Alexis Park Hotel.

Security will be tighter than in previous years, but not as restrictive as the measures taken at last months Comdex. The Comdex ban of bags in the convention center made news, but CES has no such plans. Before attendees enter the show floor, their bags will be searched, however. On-site baggage checking will be free. There will be tighter security for freight and packages coming to the floor. Also, attendees will need two forms of ID to pick up badges—personal ID, such as a drivers license, and business ID.

There are plans in place for CES to present several different 15-minute fashion shows throughout the day: one for cool new hardware designs, another for gadgets, and yet another that will feature clothing such as the new Dockers pants that offer a pocket for a Palm PDA.

Keynote speakers will include Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates, Hewlett-Packard chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, Samsung Digital Media Business president and CEO Daeje Chin, Sprint chairman and CEO Bill Esrey, and Royal Philips Electronics president and CEO Gerald Kleisterlee.

This years show will also feature the CES Innovation Awards, which honor great design and engineering and the Tech TV Best of CES Awards, which go to the "coolest, most hip products," says Fasold.

Other CES events will include Supersession panels featuring industry executives. The show will host a Retail Power Panel with the leaders of 800.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City, eBay, and Radio Shack, and there will be more than 100 educational conference sessions.