CES 2019 Takeaways

January 15, 2019

By Bill Duggan

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

CES is many things; immersive, exhausting, a place to learn and network. Each of the 180 thousand attendees had their own unique experience, and the following are takeaways from mine.

 

Size

CES is massive. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, announced that the 2019 show had 180 thousand attendees from 155 countries with 4,500 exhibits and 1,200 startups.

 

Overall Trends

There was tremendous buzz about 5G — the fifth generation of mobile technology — which will enable internet speeds much faster than today. But I'm not sure how fast. I read in two separate places estimates of both 20 times faster and 200 times faster. Either way, that's fast! 5G will reignite categories such as wearables and VR.

AI and voice also were much hyped.

 

Data

In her opening keynote Ginny Rometty, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of IBM identified deep data on her shortlist of "what's next" for the industry. Deep data is data not yet connected or analyzed, and according to Ginny, only 1 percent of the word's data is collected and analyzed. Deep data can heighten predictions and forecasts.

Meanwhile, in a session at C-Space (with programming specifically for the advertising industry), Sir Martin Sorrell identified first-party data as a top trend, saying that brands need to develop their own direct-to-consumer relationships and use first-party data (their own data) to inform media and content. He said, "the control of data is the battleground."

 

In-Housing

In two separate sessions at C-Space, two industry executives spoke positively about the current industry trend of in-house agencies. Peter Kim, CEO of MightyHive, said that "advertisers need to be faster and more relevant than ever before. In-house teams allow faster learning and better performance." Mel Edwards, Global CEO at Wunderman, said, "it's right that clients want things closer to them, and in-housing provides a faster way to market."

 

Everyone Is Now a Tech Company

It's hard to believe, but the automotive industry has only been at CES for about ten years. Now, automotive takes up much of the North Hall, and space has doubled in the past three years alone. With connected and self-driving cars, automotive is now certainly a tech category.

This year, P&G was at CES for the first time. Their LifeLab exhibit illuminated six product experiences (including Gillette, Olay, and Oral-B) at the intersection between science and technology and touching the lives of consumers. And Allstate was at CES for the second time as "protection" now has important tech components —for example, personalized technology that transforms driving data information and predictive tips about the way drivers get around.

Every company now needs to consider if they should have a presence at CES.

 

Big Presence from China

Chinese brands had a big and growing presence at CES, including:

  • Haier: who acquired GE's appliance business
  • Hauwei: the #2 seller of phones in the world, ahead of Apple and behind only Samsung
  • Hisense: the number one television manufacturer in China and number three worldwide
  • Changhong – the number two television manufacturer in China

 

Notable Exhibits

Perhaps the two biggest and most crowded exhibits were from Samsung and LG.

Samsung is the number one consumer electronic company, including number one in both televisions and phones. AI is increasingly important for Samsung, and they now have seven AI centers, including four in North America. Samsung showcased their 8k resolution television. While there currently is not much native 8k content readily available, at a breakfast session, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America Tim Baxter noted that such content will catch-up soon.

LG's rollable TV can literally roll up like a yoga matt into its base when not in use, freeing consumers "to curate their own personal space, which no longer needs to be reserved full time for TV viewing." Another interesting product on display was the LG HomeBrew, which is like a Keurig or Nespresso machine for craft beer.

 

Celebrating Diversity

The Advancing Diversity Honors, held at CES from MediaVillage, is the media, marketing, and advertising community's event to recognize and honor best practices and solutions for advancing diversity and inclusion. Congratulations to all the honorees, including the ANA's CEO, Bob Liodice. The ANA was recognized for work on the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) and #SeeHer.

 

Best Prediction

According to Sir Martin Sorrell, Amazon will become as big as Google and Facebook (for advertising revenue) in a fairly short amount of time. I wouldn't bet against Sir Martin.

 

My Appreciation

Thanks to MDC for inviting me to go on their showroom floor tour, led by Michael Bassik. I learned a lot. Thanks to Innovid for the invitation to The Palmer Group's Innovation Series Breakfast. Events like these are crucial to maximizing the CES experience!


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