Reflections from Vegas: What We Learned at CES 16

Blog authored by Alex Taylor, Senior Business Development Manager for AED

Arlington Economic Development started the new year in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest annual reveal of innovative technology in the country. The event featured more than 3,500 companies and 170,000 attendees, and included exhibits, seminars, interviews, pitch competitions, and everything in between. AED was there to meet the tech companies of the future and the innovative entrepreneurs who could be in the process of creating the next big thing. We went in with confidence and a feeling that we would come away with some impactful interactions and insight, and those expectations were certainly met and even exceeded!


The long-term play for the mission to CES was to increase the branding of Arlington, VA. Our re-charging lounge was located in the midst of Eureka Park, the main exhibition hall for start-ups and emerging companies. That lounge turned out to be the hot spot in which to be, constantly buzzing with people stopping by for snacks, water, electronic recharging and conversation. It featured a 20 foot by 10 foot banner with the Arlington skyline and the message: “Arlington, VA I Home to CTA.” The lounge was staffed by three members of the AED team, who were constantly interacting with visitors and explaining the benefits of locating a business to Arlington. We handed out branded light-up YoYos, portable USB chargers, and flyers with creative “Top 5 Things You Already Know” and “Top 5 Things You Need to Know” messages about Arlington to further emphasize these points.


Five Things You Already Know:

  1. WE ARE MORE THAN A CEMETERY: Arlington has more private office space than the downtowns of Los Angeles, Denver, or Seattle
  2. WE ARE NOT LOCATED IN TEXAS: Located in business-friendly Virginia, Arlington is just minutes from the nation’s capital
  3. OUR LARGEST BUILDING HAS 5 SIDES: The headquarters of our nation’s Department of Defense is located right in the heart of Arlington
  4. PLANES, TRAINS & ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION: With 11 metro stops and Reagan National Airport, our ease of transportation is unparalleled
  5. BRAIN POWER: Over 70% of residents possess a bachelor’s degree and more than 36% have an advanced degree


Five Things You Need to Know:

  1. LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF FEDERAL RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS: With DARPA, ONR & the National Science Foundation, we lead the country in scientific research
  2. NOT JUST A GOVERNMENT TOWN: Home to a diverse employment base – Lidl, 1776, CEB, Evolent Health & OPower, to name a few
  3. MILLENNIALS, MILLENNIALS, MILLENNIALS: At 40% of the population, Arlington has the highest percentage of millennials in the U.S.
  4. MOTIVATED MARKET: Operating at a 20% vacancy rate, brokers are eager to get tenants into Class A office space
  5. LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Arlington County and the Commonwealth are ready and willing to discuss incentive packages


The ultimate goal of going to CES was to bring companies to Arlington County and help reduce the vacancy rate in the commercial market by increasing the number of companies AED meets and recruits to Arlington. At CES, we had the unique opportunity to interact with innovators in emerging technology sectors, tell them about the benefits of Arlington, and ultimately, recruit them to our community. Some of these may be immediate. Others might not matriculate until 2, 3 or even 5 years down the line. But the goal is to increase the pipeline … interact with as many growing businesses as possible, and ultimately increase the number of businesses looking to locate to the area from the outside.  After all, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the host of the CES extravaganza, is located here. These innovative tech companies should be too.  

Topic: BIG Update
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