Back from Vegas

March 20, 2015 -- 3 minutes & 4 second read

I've been back for over a week but didn't write down anything yet. Instead of feeling shitty about that I've decided to write something now. Hurrah!

I went to Vegas for the DSE and overall it was a good trip. I can say for certain now that Vegas is not my type of place. It didn't match my expectations exactly but those expectations were fostered by Hollywood movies. The thing that disturbed me the most was how sad the gamblers were. I'm basing this entirely off of body language; I don't know the truth. I didn't see anyone playing slots and having fun. Nor did I see anyone win any money from slots. I'm sure if I stuck around long enough this would have happened. They need to feed the slot zombies a little snack to keep them hooked.

I didn't even spend a dollar gambling, which wasn't planned. I brought some extra cash but didn't feel compelled to spend it. I think if I was there with some friends my age it would have been more enticing. Oh well, I'll just have to earn my fortune with hard work, saving and bank robbery.

The Vegas architecture was amazing. And the scale of everything was overwhelming at times. My hotel balcony gave me a good view of the strip and everything seemed reasonably close. Not true though. By the time you emerge from the winding bellies of the casinos/hotels, you've spent 20 mins just to get to the nearest neighbour. Granted, I wasn't tracking actual time and distance but everyone I've talked to has shared a similar experience.

I was surprised to see a lot of outdoor drinking and NO weed. Not once was I offered drugs on the strip. But everything else is presented on a platter. Strange times we live in.

The DSE show was alright. I was there to find cool hardware to run digital signage screens and systems. There wasn't much to see in terms of players and computer boxes. It was mostly screens, touch panels, and the housing for said screens. LG had some really impressive displays. My favourite demo was three 90 something-inch displays sitting side-by-side. Each screen sells in the $20k range. They were also showing off some really neat see-through screen technology that was installed in a Coke fridge. It would animate the front door with Coke-centric content. You can still see the fridge contents and the screen doesn't affect the internal temperature of the fridge. Apparently that is a problem with existing solutions.

The Intel booth was the most disappointing showcase. I wanted to see something on the Intel Compute Stick, Intel Edison, or Intel RealSense. They had nothing to show for their latest hardware. Instead they had strange demos from companies using something Intel related. They were gimmicky and barely worked. The one guy demoing didn't even like the product and admitted that it shouldn't be on display!

I was really amused by our ID cards and how they were used by the people showing their products. Each ID had a QR code that must have contained some personal info, such as a name and email address. We would walk into an area and the people showing off a product would rush over to "scan" us before any interaction happened. I was a bit thrown off the first time someone asked to scan me. It took a moment to realize it wasn't a joke. In the larger booths there were attendants whose only role was to scan people. They often took the form of a professionally dressed booth babe. Think hot skirts, tight shirts with minimal (if any) cleavage. I'm OK with having professional booth babes at a digital signage expo. It was nice to see some beautiful people amongst the herd of khaki-wearing nerds.

I wonder what these companies will do with the harvested contact info? Maybe they just log it into Salesforce and link it to public profiles (LinkedIn, FB, Google+, etc). I imagine they would cold call people that may be potential customers or partners. Beyond this I'm not sure what value the info provides these people. They were very diligent and made sure you were scanned before any information (or beer) was exchanged so there must be value in harvesting attendee contact info.

So that was the DSE. It didn't leave much time for a proper Vegas experience. Other than a little pool time at the start of March Break + March Madness combo, I was mostly working, walking or eating. It was really nice to feel some warm sunlight after a terribly cold Toronto winter and that alone made the trip!

Tags: travel journal