A massive playground of the most innovative technology on the planet, CES is an experience brimming with consumer technology trends. Yes, the Internet of Things was big. Health and fitness tech was hot, hot, hot. 3-D printed selfies, mind-blowingly cool holographic displays — it’s easy to get lost in a crowd of cool. What’s an eventprof to do? Luckily, our on-the-ground team found three perfect pairs of tech trends that event marketers should be focusing on this year.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
The pre-show buzz was on point. Virtual reality had its CES moment this year. Headsets will finally be in consumers’ hands in a big way —although maybe not as big as some had expected with the $500+ price point for Oculus Rift. That may push the tech just out of reach for some. It is, however, within reach for event marketers looking to give their attendees a “walkabout” experience using augmented reality to explore products, or an awesome immersive visual experience using virtual reality. One of the best applications we saw at CES combined the experience with a “suit” to provide supplemental sensory inputs. Our advice? It’s twofold: Focus on content, but keep in mind that these types of experiences are best experienced from stationary positions, as they can be very disorientating.
Video Technology & 360° Cameras
TV aficionados were not disappointed at CES this year. All the major players had a variety of gorgeous and innovative video technologies on display. From UltraHD, 8K, and Quantum Dot technology to curved, flexible, and enormous screens (we’re looking at you, Samsung, with your 170″ diagonal), the options were endless and impressive. As this type of video technology hits the consumer market, event marketers need to step up their game — attendees will expect to see video produced at resolution levels higher than HD, and with a more lifelike viewing experience, whether on general session screens or in exhibit booths, and possibly with massive video screens replacing walls. There were also a dozen or so exhibitors showcasing 360° cameras, simplifying what used to be a very complicated experience to create. While the technology has dropped in price, it’s still a bit pricey, meaning consumers won’t be creating viewing domes in their garage, and event marketers can still wow attendees with this type of tech.
Content & Data
A major through line at CES (and especially in the C Space, Storytellers Track, and Chief Digital Officer Forum) was the increased importance placed on the intersection of content and technology in marketing efforts. Nowhere does this come to life better than in brand experiences. Because of all the data available to marketers thanks to consumer technologies, there is a growing expectation and an onus on marketing to reach people with the right content and in the most convenient manner for them. As Gary Briggs, CMO and VP of Product Marketing for Facebook explained in his session, consumers are starting to question brands — “You have my data, so why are you showing me things that aren’t relevant to me?” This will increasingly ring true across the event marketing spectrum, so event marketers, organizers, and exhibitors (like AMEX Open and AMD at CES) are working hard to create customized, personalized experiences for their audiences.
Want more brand experience insights from CES? Check out our full CES recap.