Digest this: an all-singing all-dancing company stand at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) can cost $10m. A pretty penny when times are lean. Nonetheless, there are 2,700 exhibitors here, the highest number since 2006. For them, it's worth shelling out to be seen.
Attendees too are at a six year high, with some 140,000 streaming through the doors. Visitors to CES will on average meet with 12 contacts each. That's a collective saving of around 700 million miles in business trips they no longer have to make.
The Consumer Electronics Association's Director of Industry Analysis, Steve Kroenig, says one of the chief reasons for CES's success is that "it brings every link in the supply chain together." And although this year's conference is bare of jaw-dropping announcements, there's mileage in the idea that relationships can count as much as products.
Connectivity is also an emerging theme of the show. Get your Nokia Lumia 800 talking to your XBOX 360, say Microsoft. One of the coolest things I've seen yet is an Ultrabook prototype (with detachable screen) that recharges your mobile phone battery via WiFi. Samsung's new range of WiFi-enabled cameras also promises to be a trend-setter. They connect to your smartphone and PC, no cable required, making posting photos to social networks easy as pie.
One participant even assured us your car is now well on the way to updating your Facebook status. That might be a bit OTT for some, but as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt says, we should start thinking of our handsets and tablets as "peer-to-peer devices". The ecosystem is hot to trot in 2012.