CES Still the Place to Be to Glimpse TV and Advertising’s Future
I originally started writing this blog while sitting on a bench just outside the C-Suite venue at the Aria in Las Vegas, an area normally teeming with media and marketing industry leaders during the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which was held in the first week of January this year.
What was for decades a show about the latest in consumer electronics gadgets has, for the last 10 years, become a key go-to event for many of those in the world of advertising — eager to gain some rub-off buzz from being around the latest innovations in consumer technology.
For all of the right reasons — namely the recent surge of Omicron infections — the vast majority of those folks did not attend the show this year. Despite the absence of many friends, colleagues and industry market-makers, it was still a very good CES. I’m very glad that I went.
First, everyone was vaxxed, masked and respectful of each other’s space. I did not feel unsafe, even once, and I applaud the organizers and everyone in the Los Vegas hospitality industry for doing such an amazing job.
The consumer electronics companies were there to tell you just what you’re looking at. I had never been able to see as much on the show floor as I did this year. If you care about where the world of smart and connected TVs is going — and I do — this was the place to see it. The same for cloud gaming, personal headsets and device controllers.
The cool gadgets that you’d never otherwise spend time checking out were there. I saw Sony’s electric cars, some unbelievable drones and more innovations in digital healthcare devices than I could have imagined.
I also had many great conversations with fellow attendees. While there weren’t 180,000 people there this year, there were still many tens of thousands in attendance, with quality over quantity for the meetings taking place.
Even with fewer attendees, the networking was surprisingly strong. Longtime exhibitors like Prohaska Consulting still had its pop-up booth at the Starbucks in the Aria. And I had no shortage of serendipitous bumping-into conversations on the convention show floor and hotel walkways, and had a full slate of meetings at restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
The content sessions were strong as well, particularly those with in-person speakers. They were well-attended, whether in the C-Suite talking NFTs and electronic art, or at the convention floor meeting rooms, where folks heard about the future of ad measurement across linear TV and CTV.
This was a very different CES, but by no means a bad one. For anyone who cares about where consumer technology is going, it was still the place to be.
My only complaint: I didn’t stay long enough this year.
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An earlier version of this blog was originally published by MediaPost.