I wrote this column sitting on a floor in a hallway of a big Vegas hotel, the Venetian, as members of the press and bloggers swarmed past me en route to one press conference or another. It was my seventh year covering the Consumer Electronics Show, a huge tradeshow that is both an endurance test and a massive festival of gadgetry and technological optimism.

CES is and always has been a buyer’s show, first and foremost. It’s where buyers for retail stores like Best Buy go to schmooze with sales reps for manufacturers like Panasonic and Sony. Sure, there are lots of new products here, but that’s hardly the point. The point is to put buyers and sellers together in one big, lavish, decadent city, get them all drunk, and then send them home with new purchase contracts in hand.

The press events are important, but they’re a sideshow, and I think that’s why members of the press like to complain about it: We’re not having our asses kissed quite enough.

Plus, CES is big, uncomfortable and noisy. It’s hard to get around the town, the hotels are all packed, the taxi lines are impossible, and you can barely walk a hundred yards without someone bumping into you or stepping on your foot.

Still, it’s where the electronics industry shows off its agenda for the coming year, and even with some significant missing players, CES still matters.

Read the whole story: Dylan’s Desk: 6 must-watch trends for 2012 | VentureBeat.