'Twas the night before ESC and all through the house there are plenty of creatures stirring.
I snuck in, uh, visited the main exhibition floor today, Monday, the day before the show opens (even an ALL ACCESS pass—which I have-- doesn't get you in without some, to use a football term, trickeration). At this point the show floor is a mess, which I expected, with the whole area crowded with cardboard boxes, ladders, partially built displays and electricians, carpenters and other skilled worker plying their trade: setting up signage, adjusting illumination, unpacking products, laying carpet and performing all other manner of preparation in advance of welcoming guests tomorrow at 11:00.
Even without the exhibits in place there was plenty to see, do and learn at the Hynes Convention Center today. Day 0 of ESC Boston is Tutorial Day and I sat in on (didn't have to sneak in) one of the Build Your Own Embedded System (BYOES) sessions. This year, BYOES centers on the Intel Atom processor and Microsoft's Windows Embedded OS. At the end of the week engineers attending these sessions get to take the hardware home with them.
The session I attended was entitled "Building The Shelf of Your Device". Preston VanderWeyst was the instructor and he did a good job of walking the several dozen engineers attending through the session without dominating the proceedings (don't you hate instructors who insist on showing off, for no other reason than ego?). He demonstrated good patience with those who asked very basic questions or who tripped up somewhere along the way. Good job. BYOES sessions at ESC are well worth the time and I highly recommend them.
Tomorrow morning is likely to be even more hectic throughout Hynes. Before the exhibition opens, different people from various company departments will be gathering at each booth in preparation for the opening. Some will carefully check the demos to ensure all is in working order. Others are tasked with verifying the quality of multi-media presentations while MCs and models will be rehearsing their lines (and trying to understand a little bit of what they enthusiastically will be pitching to developers).
Technical staff will be making adjustments to products in each corner of each booth while other engineers and marketing/salespeople, those assigned to man the booth, will make sure they have enough datasheets, brochures and other collateral materials.
At the same time top execs will wander away from the hospitality suite for just long enough to make sure all is in order and that the company's message is being clearly conveyed to visitors.
All this activity taking place right before the doors open creates an atmosphere of energy and tension that is palpable, which is why when I go to ESC every year I try to borrow an exhibitor's badge (or use some more finesse and try not to run into the same guard) to get in and walk throughout the hall, taking it all in and feeling the excitement in anticipation of the opening of the show.
Can't wait until tomorrow.