CES 2015 Las Vegas Recap: Sony, Mercedes-Benz, Startups Impress

CES 2015 was last week, but I needed some time to rest and process all that I had seen, events I attended, and people I met. Considering that I left for Las Vegas on Sunday January 4th and returned the night of Friday, January 9th, that time span encompassed a lot of activities. You know you’re off to a great week when you meet Guy Fieri of The Food Network and my favorite show of their’s, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives:

And on the plane to Vegas, I made this vlog about the United Airlines 757-300ER (which I said was a 737):

Once in Vegas, I made a personal decision which resulted in my most satisfying International CES, yet: I skipped attending the panel discussions.

That was not my intention going in; the ‘Digital Hollywood’ track at CES consists of panel talks on tech matters related to the entertainment industry. I was also really interested in YouTube-related discussions, since I’m both a YouTube Partner and fan of the organization (It’s possible to one one and not the other). But what got to me at the 2014 International CES was a YouTube panel discussion where the moderator, an investment banker with no YouTube experience, was completely uninformed about the latest issues that YouTubers were talking about – in this case, fair use and copyright matters. I emailed her before CES 2014, but when I met her she was a bit short, and tried to ignore my raised hand to ask a question about the matter, until I said “Oh, come on, now.”

So, my coverage of startups started with CES Unveiled on Sunday. CES Unveiled is a preview of what to see at CES 2015 (though some companies come just for CES Unveiled and then leave town). Here are videos from that event featuring Activite Pop, Siemens, and First Alert:

Later that night, I had a great impromptu tech talks, the first with Robert Scoble:

And then I met the Lionsharp team in the ballroom hallway:

On Monday, I met more interesting people with interesting tech, like this powered skateboard by a company called Boosted:

Then there was the iSelfieStick by SelfieStick.com:

Sony’s Most Important Presser In It’s 21st Century History

So this year, once I landed in Vegas and thought about it, I figured I’d skip all of that garbage and go to the heart of what CES is really all about: emerging technology and news related to that. And what drove me to that decision wasn’t just 2014’s experience, but the fact that if I went to one of the Monday Digital Hollywood panels, I’d miss getting a good seat for the Sony Press Conference. Arguably, the most important one in its 21st Century history.

The reason for that is, the hacker actions dumping thousands of emails from Sony execs really rocked the company. The action, done to intimidate Sony into not releasing the movie The Interview, revealed Sony Pictures President Amy Pascal to have a point of view that’s racist to a degree. And that was the tip of the iceberg. Sony knuckled under and started to cave in to hacker pressure, but then found relief in YouTube and in digital marketing. It was a good thing as the hacker attack, like the murder of Charlie Hebdo executives in Paris, were both moves against free speech. Would Kaz Hirah, Sony CEO, mention The Interview? I rushed over to the Sony booth and scored a direct front row seat and posted these video accounts:

After I posted that, the conversation with others sitting next to me leaned to the idea that Kaz would not say anything about The Interview. Wrong:

That was huge, and it set the stage for an introduction of Sony’s new products, particularly the ActionCam, which is the firm’s answer to the Go Pro line. The Sony ActionCam is a small, palm-held camcorder that ranges in price between $200 and $400:

I was also impressed with the Sony Tennis Sensor App, and this presentation by Sony’s Travis Blitz:

Mercedes Car Of The Future

After the Sony Presser, I went over to The Cosmopolitan LV for the Mercedes-Benz Press Event and Keynote, and wound up scoring a front row seat, yet again! Here’s what I saw:

And once the press was able to get close…

Fun With Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas is the best PR person covering CES, and has done so for 15 years. She was kind enough to bring me to a couple of parties she was invited to:

iStabilizer Visit At CES

iStabilizer makes the iStabilizer Dolly and has a range of products for the Go Pro camera. Here’s my interview at CES:

I’m Tired Of The Subtle Racism At Some CES Booths

What happened was that I was walking around the new Chrysler 200, and not one of the booth attendants bothered to ask if I was interested in seeing the Oculous-enabled presentation, or anything – that as they’re reaching out to people who are white and Asian. And I’m wearing a press badge.

That I ignored; but when I elected to stand in line to see the Chrysler 200 presentation (after overhearing what was going on) an Asian female booth attendant asked for information from all of the people in line in front of me, and then went past me and asked the person behind me. Just plain skipped over me even though she was within eight inches of me.

So, as she walked away and looked back, I gave her a look as if to say ‘what’s going on?’ – she looked the other way. Then, she went over to chase down more CES show attendees, white or Asian and male – save for one black woman she talked to after she realized she wasn’t treating me correctly. I’m serious. All she had to do was come over and say something – it’s not my job to do that.

So, I finally signed up, as I had progressed in the line to where I was next, and had to sign what turned out to be a waver form on an iPad. The other booth attendee asked me how things were going, and so I told her about what happened. Then I saw the presentation, which was cool.

Afterward, I mentioned it again to another worker at the booth in conversation about what they were doing.

So as I’m leaving, two women chase me down and asked if something went wrong – I said that it did, but I put in up on YouTube, so it’s Ok. The older white woman proceeded to tell me I didn’t see what I thought I saw. I told her I know racism when it happens to me. The younger white woman was a great contrast: she listened to me and felt my pain. The older woman was trying to get me to go and take down the video.

They then asked me to talk to the Asian woman, and I did, and she apologized, but after saying that she thought I was signed in. When I pointed out that she went past me and never bothered to even talk to me, and that she was going after white and Asian patrons, she said “I do go to Asians because of the language barrier.” I said “So, you do see race.” She stared blankly.

I was going to take it down, the video, but I told my CES press friends what happened, and they encouraged me to leave it up. After all, it’s my story and I don’t want my story to be squashed. I want people to stop that kind of behavior at events like CES – it’s bad for business and ruins my day.

WiTricity, DART Laptop Power, Smart Pill Dispenser, BURG Smart Watch, Pony Music Impress Most Of All

In all, I made 88 CES-related videos, and that was due to another decision I made: to use my iPhone exclusively and not my camcorder, and upload all of my videos using the YouTube Studio App. It was an awesome experience and has forever changed how I vlog in the future! I was able to cover tech like WiTricity, DART Laptop Power, And Smart Pill Dispenser and push out the content fast. Here are those videos:

And I have to give a shout out to Olivia Johnson, a EE student who’s in two of my videos, as she worked at the LG Booth and for the DJ Tiestro:

There are many other products to see, as well. Here’s my playlist with most of my CES 2015 videos:

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.

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