Hosting In-Vehicle Driving Demos at My First CES

Early this month, I took off with a couple other members of the Caster team for my first trip to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES—one of the biggest technology tradeshows in the world—may have been a bit daunting for my first ever tradeshow experience, but what other venue could have been a better classroom for me?  

While other members of my team were traveling for the Z-Wave AllianceAbode, and Fibaro, I was primarily in Vegas to assist AdaSky with press meetings for in-vehicle driving demonstrations of their automotive sensing technology.  

Here’s what went down:  

What I expected 

Getting ready for CES was a flurry of activity around the office, but it was hard to predict what would happen once I touched down on the show floor. Having never been to Vegas before nor CES, nor any tradeshow in general, I couldn’t imagine how hectic the scene would be—despite my team’s many prescient warnings and bits of advice.  

I was also eager to finally meet the AdaSky team face-to-face, as they were a client with whom I’ve spoken and worked closely for over a year but had never met in person.  


Doing driving demos of AdaSky tech

Playing around with AdaSky’s FIR thermal sensor

AdaSky’s Viper

What I did 

Like my thousands of other CES compatriots, I started the mornings a lot earlier than I naturally would have liked but was hyped up on coffee and a full schedule of meetings. I spent my days at the Westgate Hotel, where I helped orchestrate meetings between AdaSky and the press.  

AdaSky makes a far infrared thermal sensor for autonomous vehicles. Their product is named Viper, which, by passively sensing the thermal radiation from both living and non-living objects on the road, gives vehicles complete coverage of their surroundings at day or night.  

For all the many hours I had spent pitching the press, this week was my chance to finally meet them and connect them with the AdaSky team. It was my job to rendezvous with them at the hotel, brief the AdaSky team on the press’s background, and help them out with any questions during the driving demonstration.  

Selfishly, I was also really excited to sit in on the in-vehicle driving demos myself; I have been writing and talking about AdaSky and Viper for over a year now, and it was thrilling to finally see the technology in person and the copy I had written come to life in big, roll-up posters. I love that, at Caster, I have the opportunity to play even a tiny part in the gargantuan movement that is autonomous vehicle technology. 

What I learned  

The scant four days that I was in Vegas felt, at once, like a long getaway from reality and, at the same time, like one verlong day of sleep deprivation and hyperactivity. (Yes, I did fall victim to the curse of CES, as I came back with a nasty cold that still hasn’t quite quit.)  

As I left, working on writing follow-ups with the press and compiling the big coverage report from the week of the show reminded me that small, consistent steps really do come together in a big picture that can be striking and so impactful for our clients. 

While there are always exciting wins along the way when working with a client (like scoring a great quote in a piece of good coverage), nothing can beat seeing months of work realized in a living, breathing encounter as massive and magnificent as CES.  

And finally holding the product that you’ve been writing about for months in your hands? That’s a priceless feeling.  

Now I know how the small steps come together into one week of hectic fervor—and I am ready to do it again for next year.  

Do you remember what your first CES experience was like? I’d love to know—hit me up on Twitter @merryshoebell 

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