As a starter, I am not at CES this year. I don't have anything against the show, I simply had a lot of travel in the early part of 2016 and this show was the "odd man out". I have attended many times in the past, including the last four or five in a row, so I do speak of this show from experience.
And, based on initial numbers, I may not be the only one who is not there. It looks like traffic may be slightly lower this year, although this could be more related to the show's crackdown on passes than on actual interest.
What always struck me about the show was the obvious link between the host city and the show. Vegas is a place that offers something in a vacation that you don't get in most places....the chance to come home much richer than when you went there. Sure, the odds of making "a killing" in Vegas are stacked against you (no pun intended), but it is possible. I think the same holds true for many of the vendors at CES.
It is a pretty safe bet that established companies will get some business from the show. I am sure that FitBit's new toy will result in some sales, as will LG's new fridge. However, these are established, publicly traded companies that won't be using this show as a method of raising money to stay alive or to vault the owners into a new tax bracket. It is just an important show to show new products, but products that really could be launched at any time with solid success.
However, for some start-up companies, this year's CES may be either the pinnacle event of their company's existence or the last chance before the company packs it in. Many companies here are spending virtually their last dollar to get the attention of key people....the media (who may promote their product for free), key buyers (who may be willing to pre-pay for the next "big thing") and investors (who may offer money to keep their business going another day).
This is kind of similar to Vegas for some... going there to risk some (or all) with the goal of coming home much richer than when they came. Now, I am not trying to compare a company to a gambler, but in some ways, there are some peculiar similarities. Both parties may be risking their financial future on the longshot that their "hand" makes them wealthy.
Millions of dollars will be spent gambling, drinking and eating enough food to feed most African countries for all of 2016 this week in Vegas. It will be a show that will shape the future for many in the world of electronics. There will be winners and losers when the dust settles....good luck to everyone!