The prospect of returning to CES ignites in many an unmistakable sense of dread and excitement.
Each year, the square footage of the show floor creeps upwards so that there’s now over 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space to potentially navigate through and get thoroughly immersed (or lost) in.
The act of purposeful curiosity
Each year, the predictions touting what we can expect to see start flooding our social feeds about a month out. Already I can expect to hear about driverless cars (again), different realities (virtual, augmented, and mixed), and we’ll see the latest developments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence. We’ll also see more connected devices and wearables that promise to churn out more data streams about our bodies than ever before. And of course, there will be enormous TV screens.
After all, it wouldn’t be CES without those gigantic booths containing massive, shiny, pixel-packed TV screens that would dwarf a large conference room wall. But as we scan these articles and start to pack our bags for Vegas (don’t forget your flat shoes and mobile phone portable charger), it seems to me that the most important part of going to CES is the act of purposeful curiosity. To actively and consistently question how the latest whirring and blinking gadgets affect our clients and their business goals, and whether those flashing, oddly-named devices are significantly changing the way we live and work must be our goal as we move through the many halls of the convention center.
At OMD, we believe that it is critically important to question everything that we do in order to make our clients’ marketing ever more powerful, effective, and accountable. CES represents a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration for jump-starting how to think differently about the year ahead, and so we go with an open mind and a desire for disruption. Interestingly, it’s been said CES 2017 will be another year of incremental improvements rather than grand revolution. But isn’t that the very definition of ‘innovation’ and the goal of so many marketers?
When I hear that CES is going to reveal the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence, it’s the potentially transformative impact on businesses that I’m most interested in learning about. When I read about the continued expansion of wearables and lifestyle accessories, I want to understand what this means for brand authenticity and purpose; how can I harness and blend different data sets to create the kind of value and utility that builds brand fans? And finally, when I put on yet another VR headset or see the next iteration of AR, I ask myself ‘how this is deepening the emotional connection and quality of brand storytelling?’
Take a tour
CES is only as rewarding as you make it. My advice to those venturing to CES for the first time: take a tour. Curation is key to making sense of the vastness of the various Tech Halls and it takes effort to extract the insights and lessons that will power your brand thinking in 2017. Personally, I’m putting myself in the hands in the expert curators; OMD’s Ignition Factory will guide me through the latest innovations that are changing the way we create and distribute content, so that I can then decide what are the inventions and improvements that I should weave into my clients’ future marketing and communications programs.
Ultimately, we go to CES to see things first, to stay ahead of the competition by asking the smarter questions, and we guide our clients on the innovations that matters most.