- 4 Jan 07, 01:55 PM
The Consumer Electronics Show is a marathon run at the pace of a 100-metre sprint.
Each year more than 140,000 industry professionals - from engineers to analysts, and from buyers to sellers - gather in the desert in Nevada for a celebration of technology.
No-one doubts that the scale of the event is absurd - 2,700 exhibitors and tens of thousands of products spread over 3.2 million square feet and spilling over further to almost every hotel suite in the city.
But every major player in the consumer electronics world will be present and somewhere amidst the copycat products, the hair-brained ideas and the over-optimistic visionaries are products and trends which will dictate how we live our digital lives in the coming years.
Last year Google and Yahoo made waves at CES as they demonstrated the obvious - that gadgets without content, services or application are pretty useless. All too often at CES products are prematurely launched, offering little value to the ordinary consumer.
The themes of the digital home and the ubiquitous net made up of billions of connected devices from phones to PCs, fridges and TVs, as well as products taking advantage of high definition and wi-fi have been the talk of CES for many years and little will change this year.
In many ways CES is a mirror of the industry itself - a marathon full of competitors more suited to the sprint.
No-one really knows which products, which services and which models of consumption will emerge triumphant in the 21st Century - every one is gambling.
The conference launches officially on Monday but the event has gotten so big that pre-show events kick off on Saturday with a rota of press conferences, culminating in Microsoft boss Bill Gates delivering a keynote speech on Sunday.
In past years Gates has used his speech to unveil the Xbox, the Tablet PC and the eBook, three products with varying degrees of success. It goes to show that not even visionaries like Gates really know where the industry is heading.
Over the next week BBC News journalists will be trying to navigate this race but we want to hear about which products or ideas interest you most. What are the key issues for you? Is this orgy of consumerism a positive or negative influence in your life.
Feel free to comment.
Let the race begin.