Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

CES Teardown: The Day After...

Posted by Guest Writer - January 12, 2011

By Intel Free Press

When talk of tablets and 3-D TVs changes to stucco basecoats and acid staining, you know the International Consumer Electronics Show is over.


With CES 2011 all but a flash-based memory, the World of Concrete is about to move in. So that 55,000 representatives of the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries can have their show, every last trace of CES must be removed from the Las Vegas Convention Center by midnight Thursday.

So as the army of attendees estimated at 140,000 leaves town, another small army moves in to clean-up. This year's deadline is set in - ahem - concrete as many of the same Teamsters helping tear down CES will be back 6 hours later to build the city's second-largest trade show of winter. Goodbye in-car infotainment systems, hello cement mixers.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 2,700 technology companies occupied about 1.5 million square feet of exhibition space at this year's show. That equates to a massive effort to get everything packed up and ready for the next show. Intel alone, which used about 12,000 square feet of prime space, has about 26 to 30 truckloads to pack up. This tedious job requires about 40 Teamsters, movers, electricians, glass installers, air conditioning laborers and others working for a handful of Intel-hired agencies, according to Matt Lush of The Taylor Group, a Toronto-based exhibit design company.

"There are thousands of pieces on this booth, but no matter how massive it gets we've never missed deadline," Lush said.

The greatest challenge during teardown isn't time, but space.

"We have lots of large booths in Central Hall and we're all sharing aisle space and forklifts," Lush said as teardown activity was just as frenetic for Intel's immediate neighbors, Microsoft and Dolby.

The foreman of Intel's exhibition moving company agreed that wiggle room is the No. 1 hurdle to overcome as 2,700 companies are all trying to close shop at the same time.

"Space is at a premium, and it takes a lot of cooperation with our neighborhood," said Andy Ocon of San Francisco-based S&M Moving. "We work hand-in-hand with [event manager] GES to make sure that we all get equal amount of space, or space as we need it."

Familiarity is a plus, according to Ocon, adding that Intel and Microsoft being long-time next-door neighbors is mutually beneficial.

"We have grown an attachment to one another," Ocon said. "We know each other's systems."

Once the two dozen-plus 16-wheelers are loaded up, the dismantled Intel booth will be shipped "all over the place," noted Rick Holley of Georgia-based exhibit management company Nth Degree.

"Trucks will be headed for Intel campuses in Portland, Ore. and Santa Clara, Calif., while others are en route to Southern California, Chicago and various Canadian destinations," Holley said.

As for the contents of these trucks, Lush of The Taylor Group noted that about 90 percent will be refurbished or modified for future use. "We're completely recycling friendly," he said.

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