Karen Chupka lives and breathes technology in her role as senior vice president of Consumer Technology Association. The mastermind behind Consumer Electronics Show (the event that introduced smartphones, the Xbox, 3-D printers and drones to the mainstream tech world) has gotten first glimpses of autonomous robots, virtual reality headsets, smart fridges, the Segway Robot and smart glasses—items the tech community waits year-round to see at the January show, held annually in Las Vegas.
Held across four days, CES features more than 3,600 companies and 1,000 speakers. It’s a logistical orchestra of space, production, people and technology, masterfully conducted by Chupka, who’s been with the organization for 27 years.
“We’re always having to reinvent what we’re doing because there [are] always new technologies coming out or new audience segments… It’s never been the same show twice,” she says. She often asks herself, “How do we use technology to help the attendee experience and make that better?” The answer is a blend of exhibitor experiences, integrated details, a focus on startups and a range of “super sessions” designed with an edgier feel. Another win? “We launched an area called Eureka Park and in year one we had 103 companies participate that were all startups. At the 2017 show we’ll have 600,” she says.