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CES 2016 gets ready to roll (pictures)

As the giant CES 2016 prepares to open in Las Vegas, the convention center buzzes with activity. See what it takes to prepare 2.4 million square feet of exhibit space.

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Kent_German.jpg

Kent German

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1 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

It's on

The South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center is just one part of a massive complex that houses CES. Two days before the show officially opens, the scene outside is relatively quiet. But come Wednesday, this sidewalk will be jammed.

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2 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Calm before the storm

Things are similarly quiet in front of the Central Hall. What's now a parking lot will be a busy loading bay for shuttles to hotels across Las Vegas. Good luck with the traffic and with finding a taxi.

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3 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Rain in the forecast

Under a grey and cold Vegas sky, a forklift motors its way past a row of palm trees. During CES, the parking lot in the background will house more exhibits and a huge registration tent.

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4 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

It's CNETland

Take the escalator from the South Hall lobby to find the CNET stage on the second floor. You really can't miss it.

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5 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Our stage

The CNET stage nears completion. Here the best team in tech will bring you the best of CES.

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6 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Where it all happens

Our video editors are hard at work, even as the control room behind the CNET stage is being built.

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7 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

And you think you hate unpacking

Back outside, piles of packing crates wait to be unpacked. Hotels on the famed Las Vegas Strip and the High Roller Ferris wheel are seen in the background.

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8 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Ready to register

If you've already registered to attend CES you can pick up your badge outside the convention or even at the airport.

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9 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

​Watch your step

If you're walking the halls during the setup take care of forklifts buzzing across the show floor with deliveries, sometimes at top speed.

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10 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Samsung's stage

Though it doesn't look like much now, this space will be Samsung's booth. Showing everything from phones to refrigerators, Samsung always has one of the biggest and grandest booths at CES.

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11 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Running man

A running figure towers above this still unsigned booth. It looks to be all about smartwatches or wearables.

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12 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Under construction

With a striking lattice work and soothing Earth tones, this could become one of the prettiest booths at CES.

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13 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Don't wait

Indeed, tomorrow and the start of CES won't wait. Here a crane adjusts a grid of lights hanging from the ceiling.

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14 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Got a job to do

An employee lugs a manual forklift down a typically long walkway on the show floor.

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15 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Smile (many times)

A huge ring of cameras stands center stage in the Nikon booth.

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16 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Booths large and small

Some booths are barely larger than a table in the middle of the floor.

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17 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Welcome to the show

The Grand Concourse runs between the Central and North Halls to a maze of meeting rooms. Its welcoming arch is more or less the center of CES.

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18 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Better than walking

Given how big the Las Vegas Convention Center is (the South Hall alone is a third of a mile long), riding a bike is a smart way to get around.

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19 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Undercover

At some booths, some exhibits stay covered until the show officially opens.

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20 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Look up

Sometimes the ceiling of a booth is just as interesting as what's on the floor.

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21 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Your booth is delivered

More packing crates stretch along the length of the South Hall. Inside the crates is all it takes to build a company booth.

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22 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Information please

Though empty now, these racks will hold stacks of show guides and magazines once CES opens.

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23 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

What's it called? (Monorail)

The convention center has its own station for the Las Vegas Monorail.

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24 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Know the rules

Due to heightened terrorism concerns, stricter security measure are in place at CES this year.

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25 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

The latest in saws?

No, this isn't part of an exhibit. But you can't build a booth without one.

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26 of 26 Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Power up

A busy day on the show floor will drain your phone's battery quickly. You can charge it up here.

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