Each year in the first week of January, Las Vegas holds what I am told is the casino-ringing city’s largest event of the year, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) with typically 150,000+ people from 150 countries attending. I have been attending this show for many years and each year people ask me what was the most exciting thing I saw.
First off the show is so huge that I would bet it is impossible to see everything. A staggering 3,000+ companies offering products with some connection to consumer electronics like televisions computers and handheld devices trotted out their newest, fanciest gear. The halls were chock full of household-name gadget makers, though a fair number of companies you have never heard of and never will again after this show because their products just didn’t click with the general public were also screaming for attention.
This year I have to admit I did not visit all of the show exhibit halls, or even see every booth in the halls I did roam. The most striking products I saw included television panels with curved screens and even 8K horizontal resolution, self-driving and laser headlight cars, wearable computing devices and 3D sensing cameras. So of all these things what did I think was the most amazing? What really blew my socks off?
None of these things. Yes. I can honestly say the most exciting spectacle I saw was the TSA expedited pre-screening line at the airport.
I had not heard of this program before this trip, but it was an incredible experience during a very hectic time at the airport leaving CES. I am still not sure how I got into the line, but the advantage over the normal security checkpoints is you no longer have to remove your:
- Light outerwear/jacket
- 3-1-1 compliant fluid bag
Ever since 9-11-2001, the increased security has made airline travel an exercise in extraordinary patience with all the undressing/redressing, unpacking/packing and re-screening. This new process resulted in an incredibly fast expedited security line with no fumbling with your stuff. Even the newbie travelers jetted through the lines. The short wait was welcome relief. The line felt like airline travel just 20 years ago.
For more information check out the TSA site for how the process works. But I suggest we all write our congressmen and congresswomen to ensure this new pre-check line is made available at every airport around the world. Trust me when I say that if you are a frequent traveler and you have not yet seen this screen, it will blow you away!