Reporting From Upper South Hall

droneYou’ve seen them at the show before, but UAVs are here on an entirely different scale, and in all sizes, colors and features. The rear of South Upper is drone central.

It’s day one at the NAB Show exhibits, and I’m enjoying the company of a few thousand of my closest friends as we queue up outside the LVCC’s South Upper doors. Despite the later 10 a.m. curtain time this year, there’s no lack of enthusiasm for being part of this annual running of the bulls to check out what’s behind the big locked doors.

Carr & Ferrell

You can learn what you need to know about protecting your intellectual property at this year’s NAB Show. The law firm of Carr & Ferrell is here to assist.

The magic numbers finally appear on our synchronized smartphones and watches, but the security guards aren’t on Verizon standard time and hold their position. Numerous big screen devices are held high for the security guards’ benefit, and they finally get the message and give each other a “let ‘em through” nod.

Even after doing NAB Shows for longer than many in the crowd have been alive, I still get that old adrenaline rush, and I’m charging along with the best of them into the vastness of South Upper, sidestepping crowds already starting to clog the perimeter of some of the bigger exhibits. As usual, I elect to save the major players for later, and start pacing off the 600 or so steps that will take me to the very back of the long hall. Over time, I’ve found this always a good place to start the show, as I like to make new acquaintances, and it’s here that I usually find first-time exhibitors.

I’m not disappointed this year. The first booth I stop at is that of law firm Carr & Ferrell LLP, which specializes in protecting the intellectual property of technology inventors. This is the company’s first NAB Show and also a first for me — I don’t recall ever running into a law firm on the exhibit floor. I exchange pleasantries briefly and head off to discover other newbies, but not before learning that this firm has been around since 1992 and handled the first 50 or so Face- book patents.

This year, the rear of South Upper is home to the Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion, a watering hole for anyone interested in unmanned aerial vehicles. There’s a large cage for flying them, and unmanned aerial vehicle players are busy eyeing each other’s devices and talking shop. Even the big New York City electronics/photographic retailer B&H has a booth there. (I’m told this is one of three for B&H at this year’s show.)

The “drone” here is real, and I soon head out to a beckoning maple leaf off in the distance. Pretty soon I’m speaking with Mauricio Ospina, who’s in charge of a pavilion for promoting smaller Ontario broadcast technology firms. This year’s NAB Show is a first for both Ospina and “Ontario, Canada,” the official name of that province’s operation to boost its smaller (20 to 100 employee) tech businesses. There are 10 under the canopy today: Yangaroo, Coveloz, Providius, Bubl Technology, Stage Ten, Tablo, SOC Technologies, ISU Corp., Eliptic Technologies and Synapop. I press the flesh with some of the players and wish them well before looking at my watch and realizing that once again time has been racing, and I need to head back to the press room and file this story. However, I can’t help but spot some old friends on the way — Karl Kuhn at the Tektronix booth and Carl Dempsey at Wohler — and bid them a quick greeting and the message that I’ll be back.