Every year in early January, brands, marketers, and innovators gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), one of the biggest displays of new products and technologies in the consumer electronics industry. This year’s show took place from January 9th to 12th and Crispin leaders were on the ground touring the convention floor and interacting with the latest tech. North America President, Maggie Malek, and Managing Director of Delivery, Freddy Dabaghi, share what trends stood out and will set the tone for the year to come…
The AI of Everything
As predicted, AI dominated the conversation at CES 2024. Following the unparalleled buzz around generative AI in 2023, brands have been eager to find ways to jump on the bandwagon, giving rise what many are calling “AI washing.” This offers a caution around those that might claim their product or service incorporates AI, but actually only use the kind of AI sensors or recommendation technology that has been around for years rather than the latest gen AI. To wit, AI is nothing without actual use cases.
Another interesting discussion to come from this year’s AI craze is about at scale. Most everything currently out is promoting AI to empower at an individual/small setting level, but what about AI functionality being developed specifically for teams and groups? Since AI learns as it is used, how will scale use impact those learning mechanisms? Related, conversations around AI have moved beyond software into hardware with more advance chips and technology to support the scale benefits. While we know AI is not new and has, for example, been integral in media bidding strategies, this new frontier of AI opens even more doors.
AI has been the CES darling this year for a reason – the applications remain endless and exciting. CMOs will continue to have to find the magic middle of leveraging AI for efficiencies while re-investing those savings into areas to drive their business. The new iteration of AI comes at just the right time for marketers, as the formal end of cookies has shifted focus to automating the right creative to contextually personalize advertising in a cookieless world. Put more simply, generative AI can provide more efficient creative production to better reach specific consumers.
Every surface is a potential screen
Each year CES will invariably have some big-screen-related tech to showcase, but for 2024, the focus was on transparent screens and multi-surface projectors. There was much talk about Samsung’s OLED T screen, which goes completely transparent (like a window) when switched off. This reflects increasing efforts to make tech at home disappear into the background. German optics company Zeiss similarly unveiled its Multifunctional Smart Glass technology during the show.
Samsung also got buzz for debuting its Premiere projectors (with the Lightwarp feature) that turn any surface into an interactive display for your home theater. As consumers gain more options for ways and places to view content, so too do marketers gain ample opportunities to advertise.
Screens were also front-and-center in the gaming and wearable category. On the gaming front, we saw a variety of curved, extra wide, vertical and 3D screens to make your gaming experience even more immersive. Gaming headsets were all the rage on the convention floor. Apple, of course, owned the digital conversation without even exhibiting at CES with their announcement of Vision Pro expanding the conversation into spatial reality.
L’Oréal gave its first keynote at CES, this year, showcasing how it’s intersecting sustainability, inclusivity, accessibility and technology to innovate in the beauty industry. CEO Nicolas Hieronimus talked about tech that can elevate the beauty experience to empower every individual through new cutting-edge formulas, AR power, diagnostics, augmenting beauty devices, or developing new ways of bringing beauty, health and wellbeing to people around the world. An example of this commitment was HAPTA, a smart makeup applicator designed for people with limited arm mobility which helps them apply makeup at home. L’Oréal also announced the acquisition of tech firm Gjosa, which helped to develop the L’Oréal Professionnel Water Saver that allows hair salons to reduce water consumption at the backbar by up to 69%.
While CES events in the past have been more focused on concepts, the technology unveiled this year accompanied a much clearer benefit to consumers. Whether it was automating lawn care, pool cleaning, household chores or health sensors, the conversation shifted to utility. Especially as we look toward an aging population, this year saw an influx of healthcare tech driving inclusivity: Robots to help in rehab, health sensors to test for virtually everything, simplified UI and more. We also saw brands like EssilorLuxottica debut reading glasses with hearing aids built in, merging utility with fashion.
As Healthcare tech further advances, it will be interesting to see how consumer privacy and targeting advance with it. Moving data outside of healthcare facilities opens up more opportunities for marketers to leverage the data for personalized campaigns. And as consumers see more utility in providing these corporations with their personal data, we are interested to see if this extends into advertising.
Another key theme at CES this year was sustainability. While EV vehicles and electrified tech retained a role in the eco-conversation, much of the advances here were about a lighter experience: lighter vehicles, lighter computing power required and less electricity needed for things like TV and smart homes. Tech specs often focused on renewable resources and less reliance on plastics when possible. There were also notable advancements in the area of sustainable resources. One brand, Genesis Systems, debuted a device that could create water out of air. This larger system could be integral to areas in droughts or challenged with water scarcity and can provide clean drinking water at scale.
For more CES insights from Crispin leaders: