The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the biggest events when it comes to revealing cutting edge technology. We look forward to getting a sneak peek at the awe-inspiring innovations every year, and this year’s show certainly didn’t disappoint. As trade show professionals, we thought we’d recap some of the CES tech that will have the biggest influence on modern marketing and the trade show industry.
Mobile devices are no longer a hype—they are a norm. While some companies have been reluctant to adjust to this “mobile-first” mindset, CES proves that they may not have a choice if they want to keep their marketing efforts relevant. Many brands are beginning to flip TV monitors in their spaces to mimic the way digital content appears on mobile phones. If CES is a precursor to other marketing trends, we can expect to see this trend pop up in other trade shows as well. Brands may start developing more videos and presentations to fit on vertical screens, which they may later incorporate into their trade show booths.
Virtual reality: just the beginning
Okay, okay. We’ve been talking about virtual reality technology for a long time now. But VR was a hot, trending topic on the CES floor this year—reporters and bloggers at the event have even (appropriately so) dubbed 2016 the “year of virtual reality.” Ben Evans, tech analyst for Andreessen Horowitz, predicts that VR has the potential for becoming mainstream in the foreseeable future—once it is integrated with smartphones. If so, marketers will soon have the opportunity to reach audiences virtually anywhere on an entirely unprecedented level. While this technology also offers brands innovative ways to engage with visitors in their trade show booths, it is important to look at the bigger picture. Marketers are avidly seeking newer channels to reach audiences on. Attractive signs or banners, by themselves, are no longer sufficient in capturing audiences; rather, consumers and buyers demand an integration of technology when engaging with companies. We first saw this phenomenon with the addition of QR codes to marketing material, but it’s still rapidly evolving. While virtual reality isn’t for every brand, there is still a lot of potential for other ways to capture audiences on a digital level. We are likely to see a surge of fresh, creative marketing efforts in the near future, both on and off the trade show floor.
Reducing the carbon footprint
Remember when we cited sustainability as a top trend for 2016? It turns out that CES is no exception. The show served as a stage for new green technology, such as Hydrao, a smart showerhead that uses soft LED lights to notify users as they approach water usage targets. While sustainability-centric tech like this was abundant, CES as a whole committed itself to the cause as well. Freeman, the event planning organization that supports CES for the Consumer Technology Organization, pledged to take initiatives to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. A campaign was started to educate vendors and exhibitors on repurposing leftover products and materials. As a result, participating exhibitors donated their flooring, furniture, fixtures, and other display materials to several partnered charities after the event.
Social responsibility is an increasing asset to marketers. Successful brands are enthusiastically searching for ways to give back to their communities and are committing themselves to sustainable practices, benefitting both their bottom line and trust among their buyers and consumers. The “green” example set by CES this year reflects on what may be to come with other trade shows and corporate events in the upcoming months.