The Most Important Thing I Saw at the World’s Largest Trade Show: CES2016

Posted January 9, 2016 by jimhigley

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I just arrived home from the largest trade show in the world: CES2016.

Held in Las Vegas, CES – The International Consumer Electronics Show – is ridiculously big:

  • 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space
  • Over 170,000 attendees
  • Nearly 50,000 international attendees
  • Over 3,500 exhibitors
  • Over 150 countries exhibiting

I’ve had the pleasure of attending CES for many years. And the word “big” simply doesn’t begin to describe how overwhelming this gathering of fantastic, interesting and – state-of-the-art companies this really is. I always leave with a stronger understanding of the incredible technological breakthroughs that will soon impact my life is an everyday consumer.

And this year, CES206, was no different.

Technology is moving at lightning speed.

But what was my main take-away this year?

It was this sign – which I saw several times in the Whirlpool booth.

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The sign was over a washer-dryer combo from Whirlpool (and disclosure – I was a compensated media spokesperson for Whirlpool…but this post comes 100% from my heart – read on).

It was a sign you could have easily missed. Considering the 2.2 million square feet of competing coolness.

But it was this sign that spoke to me the most at CES2016. More than the fun and crazy drones. More than all of the new gizmos to help protect your house, locate a lost child or dog, or new technology to stay fit, get fit or think you’re fit.

And certainly more than the bagillion vendors pimping 3-D printers (which I still don’t understand, sorry).

If any of you can explain what the heck 3-D Printers are all about, I'll gladly buy you a cup of coffee so you can explain it to me. :-)

If any of you can explain what the heck 3-D Printers are all about, I’ll gladly buy you a cup of coffee so you can explain it to me. :-)

Technology was everywhere.

But it was the sign in the Whirlpool booth that spoke to me the most.

Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to understand that – in spite of all the fantastic benefits that technology brings – at the end of the day, what matters most in life are the relationships…and memories…we create with the people we love.

I tweeted a picture of the sign. And it clearly resonated with many.

More so. Than any of the other things I posted while I was at CES. So I knew – as I’ve long known – that what people care most about centers on the act of caring and loving others.

It’s pretty simple.

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One of the things I enjoy most about being at the CES show is the opportunity to hang around with the people behind the technology. The minds who make the magic. The folks who are – clearly – so much smarter than I.

But what I’m always amazed at – when hanging out with the smart and savvy Whirlpool folks – is what actually motivates them. Sure, they are techy-smart and motivated people. But what motivates them most – and I know this because I know them – is helping people care for people.

And I like that. A lot.

I like that because it reminds me that – in spite of technological coolness – the future is being influenced by people who understand the value of human relationships. And that’s what I experienced hanging around the Whirlpool booth at CES2016 for a couple of days: People who understand the value of human relationships and the importance of caring for each other.

“Out of the 20,000 gadgets introduced at CES, we believe the ones that are the most powerful fill a human need. The best technology should allow us to be more human, helping us care for the people, the community and the world around us,” said Chelsey Lindstrom, brand manager or Whirlpool.

It’s no wonder that sign is more than just a few clever words to look good on Pinterest.

It’s for real.

The best memories memories end with the dirtiest of clothes.

Yes.

And the best memories always include the people we care most for.

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Stay tuned for future posts about some of the great new products coming to market from Whirlpool. And thanks Whirlpool , for sponsoring this story as part of my my CES series. Check out the CES section of their website to see what they’re planning for the kitchen of the future. #EveryDayCare