The Las Vegas Convention Center, a 3.2-million-square-foot piece of world-class commercial real estate, plays host to numerous high-end trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. And, with a draw of more than 100,000 attendees, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the convention center’s most important recurring events.
But, despite the years of planning, millions in investment and thousands of dedicated staff, CES 2018 hit a bit of snag this week when the power went out in parts of the Central Hall and South Hall.
In a joint statement, the Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority, NV Energy and the Consumer Technology Association explained the situation: “[Wednesday] at approximately 11:15 a.m., the Central Hall and South Hall bridge meeting rooms at the Las Vegas Convention Center lost power. Power in the South Hall was restored within minutes, and power has now been fully restored to all areas. A preliminary assessment indicates that condensation from heavy rainfall caused a flashover on one of the facility’s transformers. We are grateful to NV Energy for their swift assistance, to our customers and their clients for their patience and to the staff for ensuring the safety and security of all attendees and exhibitors.”
As usual, Twitter was rife with excellent commentary. Logitech weighed in, “The sun is out at #CES2018 and so is the power.” CNET cheekily opined, “The best gadget at #CES2018 turned out to be a flashlight.” Intel got into the mix with “Introducing Blackout: The biggest thing to hit #CES2018 since #5G.” And, making the best out of the situation, CES’ official Twitter account got a good one in with, “We have confirmation that #CES2018 is indeed lit.”
Brian Heater from TechCrunch summed it up: “The big story of this year’s CES isn’t smart assistants or autonomous cars. Hell, it’s not even giant TVs….This morning, it’s a power outage that’s impacting the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, leaving CES 2018 looking like something out of a disaster film in some dystopian future in which mankind is left to partner with smart speakers and Bluetooth headphones.”
Not to belabor the point, but, in an age where cellular and wireless connectivity is regarded as the fourth utility, it’s important to remember the importance of the other three utilities. As Heater put it, “Feel free to point out all of the applicable metaphors to the current state of the electronics industry.”
That’s it on CES power outage jokes; despite the hiccup there’s a good deal of impactful news coming out of the show. For instance, communications powerhouse Comcast announced plans to begin offering smart home services, across its entire product portfolio including voice-activated television remotes, home security, Wi-Fi and mobile networks, for free to more than 15 million customers.
For instance, a Comcast subscriber using the product suite could say aloud “Good night,” which would automatically lock doors, turn off lights, adjust the thermostat and turn on the security system. “Xfinity will be the home operating system that integrates every IoT device and transforms a connected home into an intelligent home,” Comcast EVP and Chief Product Officer Chris Satchell said.
All of these services fall under the broad umbrella of home automation, which further includes things like energy-saving, voice controlled lighting systems, thermostats that collect data and anticipate usage patterns and other internet of things-type devices that are seeing increasing interest and adoption from consumers.
So, what does that mean for the commercial real estate industry? It means major companies like Comcast–and many others–are investing in the idea that people want building automation solutions to improve the way they live and work. So, if you own a piece of Class A real estate, a hotel, interest in a convention center or work in residential development, make it easy. Take a proactive approach to enabling current and future IoT-related services by thoroughly understanding the important role of cellular connectivity in delivering these new experiences. And power. Don’t forget about the power.