Digital Downtown shifted from a business-to-business conference on Thursday to a consumer playground on Friday. Thousands of curious consumers took their turns at hands-on demos, from electric drum kits to state-of-the-art razors at the 30 tech displays in the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.
“It’s nice to engage with consumers,” said Philips Consumer Lifestyle’s Lindsay Woods. “They’ll tell us, ‘I love this, but next time, can you put an HDMI cable on the side?’ or ‘Thank for adding that massage feature to my toothbrush!’”
Woods said some showcase visitors were so excited about the range of new personal tech products on display they were whipping out their wallets.
“Everyone wanted to buy the [energy-saving] light bulbs and the $149 iPod dock,” she said. “Luckily, I’ve been able to send them to J&R and other retailers close by,” she said.
Staff at the J&R booth said Friday morning was their busiest, as people rushed to get their names in a product raffle and scoop up store coupons.
As the workday hours ticked away Friday afternoon, the atmosphere grew weekend-festive. Pioneer DJs cranked up the music in their courtyard dome and Roland product specialist Ed Diaz started riffing on mic to a Mariah Carey tune, a spectacle which seemed to intrigue even an Amish family who’d come originally come downtown to visit the Ground Zero site.
Some families were walking around the show waiting for husbands, wives, and parents to get off work. Dana Ladd, 10, killed time by banging on an $800 electronic drum kit, much to her mother’s delight. “For my kids, this is the world they live in now,” Mrs. Ladd said. “I like for them to be exposed to all the latest gadgets.”
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