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CES 2007-201610 Years in Reviewby David BerkowitzCMO, MRYDavid.Berkowitz@mry.com@dberkowitz
Table of Contents Overview 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Time Travel: 10 Years of CES Attending CES for ten years means traveling a total of 50,000 miles (from New York), navigating about 20 million square feet of exhibit space, mingling with some subset of more than 1.5 million attendees, and creating at least 1,000 slides for recap decks. I also know that one’s status as a rookie or veteran is determined by others; my familiarity with the Consumer Electronics Show is dwarfed by those who have been attending for decades. But, 10 CES’s is something, and attending my tenth one in 2016 has made me nostalgic for the early days, back when I wrote more blog posts than columns and presentations, and back when the snacks a tech company served mattered as much to me as the impact of that tech on my clients’ businesses. As I prepared for CES 2016, I looked back through all my files – blog posts, Flickr photos, recap decks, columns – and gathered highlights from what I’ve shared publicly (as opposed to anything presented solely to clients). I was repeatedly surprised by early mentions of topics such as drones, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. And yet, I had to wade through countless images of 3D TVs (which I sensed were a flop from the start) and 3D printers (which I was way too bullish on in terms of applications for mass market usage in the home). I noted rather loftily in Advertising Age in 2015, “CES, at its core, isn't a show about electronics. It's a show about time.” What you’ll find here takes a broader view of time than what we’re normally afforded in a typical column or deck or tweet. It offers the perspective that a single year’s analysis can’t provide. If it interests or moves or inspires you in any way, please let me know. Thanks for your time. David BerkowitzDavid.Berkowitz@mry.com
My first words written about CES (I miss that sense of wonder) “I'm laying low today in advance of CES… It's daunting – all the coverage talking about the #s, somewhere between 1.6 and 2 million square feet of exhibit space, 150,000-170,000 attendees, 984 dancing Elvises…”
A sign of the economic troubles to come? While representing my agency, my blog was a more personal project, and I covered some slices of life in Vegas that later disappeared. Here’s one surprising passage. I wonder how this couple fared during the recession and after. “The woman who helped [with registration] is here with her husband. She's an older woman, presumably here to retire, having lived across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and the South. She said between her husband and herself, they have three Masters degrees between them, and they're making $8.25 an hour.”
Go figure… my first photo from CES is a selfie (I was clearly far ahead of that trend)
One of my favorite photos from any CES, Yahoo serving the hot ice cream brand also merited a separate blog post entitled “Yahoo's Cold Stone Creamery Kids at CES”; the rest of the photos from that CES are on Flickr.
“[I’m] blogging away with the Dell blogger, and people from Minnesota, and, well, lots of dudes, most of whom are now blogging while intoxicated. One just said, ‘It was a blast, man,’ without a hint of irony. I get the sense that guy's a real big shot here, so he can say, ‘It was a blast, man,’ and people will think he's a god. That's what happens when you're A-list. If I said, ‘It was a blast, man,’ they'd rip up my Bloghaus credentials. It's tough on the bottom rungs.” – from “Midnight in the Vegas Blogosphere”
It’s a pleasant surprise reviewing photos from that first CES and seeing a number of familiar faces, including several I’ve become better friends with and some others who I stay connected to through social media. Pictured here from left to right: Jeremiah Owyang, Sandira Calviac, Jay Kolbe, and David Weiner.
Some things don’t change fast enough In 2008, my roundup included a note on panels that lacked 50-50 gender balance and 20/20 vision: “I was taking some notes during my panel at CES. I found that the audience was 85% male, compared to the panel which was 100% male. 20% of the audience wore glasses, compared to 43% of the panelists.” Image: http://influxis.com/app/uploads/2014/05/photo.jpg
Among the best marketing I’ve encountered at CES is this children’s book from Microsoft. I didn’t even appreciate at the time how the children’s book metaphor was all the more apt, turning the notion of stay-at-home mothers into stay-at-home servers. You can ‘read’ the book on YouTube.
I really was obsessed with Yahoo’s snacks Could Yahoo have done more to court press if it just served better snacks at CES? In my second year at CES, I expected more from them: “Biggest letdowns: Yahoo – this year's tent had coffee and assorted nuts, but even the dark chocolate covered peanuts can't compare to last year when they had Cold Stone Creamery (maybe if the stock goes up they'll serve Sprinkles Cupcakes next year)” The same post further noted the value of the consumer packaged goods innovation known as 100-calorie snack packs.
“In January 2009, I did a horrible thing in Las Vegas: I stayed at the Luxor.” So begins my photo essay, the only review I’ve published on SlideShare.
I met Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, then Ford’s President and CEO, at Social Media Club’s Ultimate Blogger Dinner (thanks, Scott Monty). First impressions: “He didn’t know what social media was. He candidly noted that he just found out on the way down to the event.” But he was remarkably tech savvy. “I almost fell over when he started talking about the car as a platform. The conversation then got into open APIs.”
Ford launches Sync with Microsoft Doug VanDagens, Director of Connected Partnerships with Ford, shared his vision for Connected Cars. The full interview is on my blog (with text) and on YouTube. Doug VanDagens: What we're announcing here at the show is an ability to connect to the internet through a normal voice plan. So all you need is your phone, and we can take Sync through Bluetooth, connect to your phone, connect out to Tellme, which is a voice portal - a best in class voice portal, and Microsoft now owns those assets. From there we can direct you to a number of Internet data sources. We can send the GPS information from the vehicle, we can send health report diagnostic information over your voice plan, and then we have traffic, directions, business search, and information, all internet-based.
Going for the hat trick, I interviewed Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields, noting, “A car used to be about getting from Point A to Point B, but now new technologies have turned the car into an MP3 player, search engine, and social network.” The 7-minute interview is on YouTube. Fields succeeded Mulally as Ford’s CEO.
Robert Scoble on Reading Friends For a couple years, Jeff Pulver brought a phenomenal roster of speakers and attendees together for his Social Media Jungle events. I covered the 2009 sessions, including talks by Jeremiah Owyang and Chris Brogan. The remarks that stand out most today are from Robert Scoble, who was a mainstay in my coverage the first half of my CES decade. First, he noted Facebook was getting 450,000 new members a day - it grew by 10 million in 3 weeks. Granted, he also plugged FriendFeed, though I commented that he was “not ready to endorse FriendFeed for normal people yet.” He also described Google Reader. I noted Scoble “doesn’t read his feeds anymore; he reads his friends.” Today, that happens more than ever, though that behavior most prominently takes place on Facebook.
Remember ringtones? This was from my Digital Hollywood recap. Some of it proved smarter, such as discussing the importance of Android when having 20 handsets running that OS globally was a really big deal. Below, it’s funny seeing a discussion of payments that includes Google Checkout, as well as thoughts on Facebook monetization years before it ran mobile ads: Consumers still largely pay for ringtones, chat, and wallpaper. Carriers take a large chunk of micropayment transactions, as high as 30 to 60 percent. That’s fine for virtual goods with low overhead, but it doesn’t work as well for physical goods. iTunes has established itself in micropayments in a way that Google hasn’t with Google Checkout. Watch out for Facebook here as it turns on mobile monetization. Its online monetization methods such as advertising and virtual gift payments don’t exist yet in mobile, but they’ll need to turn that on.
From the blog: Technology that will make you look like the biggest idiot in front of your co-workers: Zyxio’s Sensawaft. [This] lets you control computing devices just by breathing. The guy was blowing into a mic and controlling flicking a website up and down. I got to do this too… the direction of the air blown can make a difference. [The URL for Zyxio now returns a 404 error.]
Beamz wins the award for the product from my first five years that I’m shocked is still around. I noted, “If your musical talents include banging a rock on the ground and almost kind of being able to whistle, you’ll love this.” While today Beamz promotes itself as a product for homes and schools, it also emphasizes its value for therapy and rehab.
3D TVs were eating up all the best real estate in the Central Hall of the Convention Center. Apparently, this is not how families actually watch TV today.
Here are lots of people gathered in Panasonic’s 3D TV theater (I’m in the upper center with a camera). Now, we’ll see versions of this with virtual reality headsets. What’s old is new again.
This collateral cracks me up now – especially the “Wow!” at the bottom. I’m not knocking Panasonic; I just had a connection giving me a booth tour so I took more photos there than at other booths, and all of those exhibits feel so antiquated now.
Drones started to become really prominent at CES in 2015, but back in 2010, Robert Scoble was having a blast filming this Parrot drone. I also love that my video of Scoble droning got 44,000 views.
Right concept, wrong screen: Panasonic showed off its Skype integration in this smart TV. Video chat has caught on, and mobile apps such as FaceTime have become mainstays. This isn’t how people are using their TVs though.
This screen from PlayOn looks like a Roku or Apple TV dashboard. It’s striking to see Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu there, along with CBS – which only announced a streaming service in late 2014, well over four years later. Also, remember when the Wii pictured here was the hot gaming console?
This image of the media storage and sharing device Pogoplug shows an option to publish to MySpace. Some snapshots of CES are stuck in the middle, showing in retrospect not just what’s on it’s way in, but what’s on its way out.
Get this – an e-reader (the Que by Plastic Logic) filmed on a Flip video camera. The one filming is Michael Learmonth, then editor with Advertising Age and now with International Business Times.
Another sighting earlier than expected: a demo of Square, founded in February 2009 and shown here in January 2010. I blogged, “The idea’s that you plug this little box – not more than a square centimeter (it’s TINY) – into your iPhone or other mobile device, and you become a mobile merchant.”
No CES recap is complete without celeb sightings. So, here’s LeVar Burton.
Foursquare launched in 2009. Come 2011, booths were promoting CES check-ins. I had noted about 500 people were checked into the main CES event at any given time, though that wasn’t a lot for an event attracting nearly 150,000 tech savvy attendees. And is the image on the left SCVNGR? Ahh, the memories.
From the “gone but not forgotten” field is Quirky, the crowdsourced product development company. I loved pretty much everything about them, from their business model to their design, and it was rough seeing them file for bankruptcy in September 2015.
In 2012, Nike launched FuelBand, but the year before, it used CES to promote its SportWatch GPS, which offered similar functionality and pioneering features such as the option to share runs on Facebook so that friends can cheer you on live.
Since my first year at CES, a lot of my best experiences were hanging out with bloggers and those at the forefront of social media. Pictured here is Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer, a generous host who had run some of my favorite events.
Why there are no tablet marketing agencies In Ad Age, I described fundamental differences between mobile devices and tablets. The stationary distinction excerpted here has become more important over the past year with Apple, Google, and Microsoft releasing high-end “pro” tablets that are increasingly laptop replacements. There's a difference between mobile and stationary. Mobile devices are designed to be used when you're in motion and physically moving. With tablets, you're sitting down somewhere – possibly out of the home or office, but in a stationary mode where you might have used a laptop or netbook before.
No, this isn’t another post commenting on snacks served at CES. Reese’s used central convention center real estate to launch a product that had nothing to do with tech. It did stand out, but the connection seemed too nebulous. A friend told me that as tech got smaller, so did Reese’s. The booth didn’t bother pointing that out.
Big brands, bigger ideas Each year, non-tech brands gained greater prominence. In this MediaLink-hosted keynote, Coca-Cola CMO Joe Tripodi (who just went to Subway) talked about community trumping advertising. But he also discussed being able to reach 20 million Facebook fans for $0 in media spend – a very quaint notion. I miss those days.
Complete 2011 roundup http://www.marketersstudio.com/2011/01/the-full-consumer-electronics-show-ces-multimedia-multiplatform-coverage-roundup-spectactular.html “Why We Go to CES,” created with Xtranormal, featured two marketers talking about the joys of CES. The satire mocked how none of the tablets that were announced would matter by the time the iPad 2 came out. This proved true, though Amazon has since made inroads selling functional enough tablets for $50.
CES often coincides with Elvis Presley’s birthday. The King’s memory lives on.
CES: Consumer Electronics Socialization In 2012, I wrote my strangest column about CES, which was also perhaps the most prescient. It took the vantage point of hardware devices to show how they are starting to communicate with each other and with various media. A few excerpts: Nest: We’ve got a new thermostat that adapts to people’s lifestyles and adjusts energy usage to fit with their consumption patterns. You can then access the thermostat via mobile apps. Whirlpool: I’ve come out with new washing machines and dryers that allow people to monitor the status of their laundry cycle on their mobile devices. Ford SYNC: I’m an actual platform, so I can become a search engine, an entertainment console, or just about anything else. When you pair your phone with me, I make communicating even easier. Mercedes: I’m also pairing with Facebook, Yelp, and others. Just think of all the ways you can rationalize buying me now. Pay $50,000 for Facebook, and the car is free! Android: From early on, I’ve been designed to sync up with the Chrome browser and other Web-based services.
3D TV This is a reminder that what works in the movie theater doesn’t work in the living room. When I’m at home, I’m not going to eat $25 worth of snacks drowning in butter with more calories than two supersized Big Mac meals, nor will I do anything like this. But for Avatar 2? You bet.
3D TV One of my favorite 3D TV shots, this guy looks like he’s watching a football fly straight into his groin.
Virtual reality headgear by Sensics(proof that the movie “Disclosure” was infinitely ahead of its time) Come 2012, more VR headsets populated CES, bringing back memories of the movie “Disclosure” from 1994.
Drones were mentioned again in the 2012 recap. Note here, as in 2010 when Robert Scoble was flying the same kind of Parrot drone around a blogger party, drones are cited as a toy, in the same slide as Discovery Bay Games (top left) and WowWee (bottom left). Their potential to be used in business and war wasn’t yet top of mind.
3D printing was a hot topic by 2012, extending from plastic to applications such as this unit from Essential Dynamics which can also print with food such as chocolate and cheese. The holding company still seems to specialize in “nanomaterials,” but the Imagine 3D printer product page is a dead link.
Scoring 5 predictions for CES 2013 The Prediction The Result
BOX CEO Aaron Levie sums up CEO in a tweet.
Business Insider promoted one of the worst buzzwords ever. Fortunately, this word never caught on.
By now, CES emerged as a tentpole event for marketers – a far cry from how it was when a few brands and agencies sent bloggers and some token execs back in 2007.
Don’t ask. This stuff just happens at CES.
CES is a show made for some weird selfies. I managed not to buy this headset. As of December 2015, it’s still on the market, going for $299.
One of the stranger products featured at CES were these Necomimi cat ears that read your brainwaves and move based on your emotions. Stranger still, they’re still on sale, going for $50 on Amazon. I may need to finally buy these. Brainwave scanners would wind up getting hotter over the years.
The Qualcomm keynote, remembered most for its Big Bird scene, was by far the most lambasted CES talk during the decade I’ve attended. Read The Verge to try to understand how bad it was, or just watch the thing.
Colbert on HAPIfork “ The HAPIfork remains one of the stranger products to gain attention at CES, as it flies in the face most consumer behaviors, and it’s a symbol for when the Internet of Things craze turns absurd. But, you can still buy one of these for about $100. Stephen Colbert said it best: “What is the point of consumer technology that stops you from consuming?”
Time Warner Cable comes to Roku (but you still need cable) In 2013, Time Warner Cable announced it was coming to the Roku. Only in the past few months have I come to appreciate this, thanks to TWC offering more programs on demand, and the interface for both Roku and the TWC app getting much better. While I still have a cable subscription, I’m watching TWC far more through my Roku than my TWC box.
Google announced Glass (right) in the spring of 2012. It hadn’t shipped until its developer model was made available for $1,500 in April 2013, but it had come to symbolize the whole wearables field. Vuzix (left) had been in the smart headset and eyewear business for years and used CES to one-up Glass. Vuzix continues to be one of the more interesting CES stalwarts.
Long before there was Apple Watch, Pebble raised $10 million, setting crowdfunding records. While I loved my first version of the watch and even bought a second, Pebble’s destined to be remembered at best as a pioneer that paved the way for Apple, Samsung, and others.
ODB enables an API CES is now one of the best car shows, and many companies are piggybacking on that trend of cars becoming a more central focus. Dash, which continues to show its wares at CES, featured its software that provides safety, financial, and social functions by tapping into auto data generated by hardware that plugs into cars’ on-board diagnostics (OBD) ports.
Reality can still be virtual and not just augmented In 2012, I first featured virtual reality, but 2013 included a nod to Oculus, which ran its Kickstarter campaign for the Rift in the summer of 2012.
Yes, robots are fun, and I guess this model from RoboteX was some kind of telepresence model. But my original caption for this photo was, “Careful: you may step on robots trying to Snapchat you.” While January 2013 feels like early days for Snapchat, by November 2012, peopled were sharing more than 20 million photos daily through its iOS app, and the total photos shared passed one billion.
“The new world order is complete collaboration, and CES is a great showcase for that.” Carolyn Everson,Facebook As CES keeps evolving into a show designed for marketers, sellers courting ad dollars send their leaders to shake hands, kiss babies, and provide good quotes to use in decks like this. You can find the full 2014 recap on SlideShare.
Here’s one framework I’ve used to describe CES announcements in a single slide. Note that this can be customized for every brand or audience, as what’s applicable or innovative to one isn’t necessarily so to another. Innovative Applicable Breakthrough Useful Underwhelming Exciting 4K
The 12 Principles of CES Every device should be able to connect to other devices, and the cloud Every surface can be a screen Sensors are getting small and cheap enough that it will be cost effective to incorporate them into practically every kind of product and package within the next several years. Your car can drive and park itself (and far better than you can drive and park it) Your car is another connected home Your home and your car have operating systems Your home and car operating systems will soon sport app stores far more robust than what you have today on your phone Wearable technology will scale when the emphasis shifts from technology to fashion 3D printing has expanded well beyond plastics to ceramics, metals, food, and even human organs Within the next 5 years, 3D printers will be cheap enough that they expand from the hobbyist market to the mass market, with people paying a nominal amount for the printer and more, over the course of its use, for the ‘toner’ – whether plastics or other materials Within the next 5 years, mass market 3D printers will be able to print common household goods, of the same quality that consumers would expect from local stores TVs will always get bigger and thinner, with the picture more captivating. The quality of the screens will always outpace the content available to take advantage of that quality. It’s an arms race ad infinitum
I was way too bulling on the speed at which 3D printers would become home office equipment. The potential for the fields that 3D printing can change remains tremendous (my Binghamton University Commencement Address from December 2013 further discusses this), but we’re not exactly printing our own buckles at home en masse.
Fitbit’s partnership with Tory Burch, where the designer would create accessories for wearables rather than compete with the technology, epitomized much of how any kind of brand can be a part of CES and the trends represented there.
Overhyped T-Mobile CEO who crashed AT&T party This wasn’t even bigger? Christopher Lloyd is back! Meet your overlords Ubiquitous presence there Looking ahead to February Instead of just featuring some published reports from research firms analyzing the buzz around CES, this time, I took a report from Kontera and added some speech bubbles with my own context.
Any doubt CES has become a major car show? The most popular posts shared about CES were all cars, based on data from Keyhole.
With Google Glass still a hot topic, an exhibit featured smart eyewear through the years.
Wearable tech took new turns at CES with new kinds of value propositions, such as the Sensible Baby senor that alerts caretakers to changes in a baby’s breathing, temperature and position.
The virtual reality drumbeat sounded louder in 2014 as Oculus Rift won top honors from The Verge and Engadget. The real killer apps for it are still to be determined.
Don’t always believe ‘best of’ awards if you’re looking for a cheat sheet on what products you’ll still hear about a year later (or a day later). When Engadget featured the wireless connectivity dongle Airtame, it was offered on Indiegogo for $90 – three times the price of Google Chromecast, and Chromecast was already improving. Google and Apple really deserve ‘best of’ honors in this field.
Yahoo gallantly returned to my coverage, and for a change, I wasn’t covering their snacks. Their keynote announced its ad platform and Tumblr integration, but none of this seemed newsworthy; it’s what they should have been doing already. As opposed to Qualcomm’s memorably weird ‘Big Bird’ keynote, Yahoo missed an opportunity to show off an innovative vision and strategy.
CES 2015: 50+ Highlights for Marketers David Weinstock, creative chief at MRY, is the cover model for what has to be among the all-time greatest conference recap deck cover photos.
CES 2015 Top 10 Takeaways & Trends Non-tech brands are taking more of the CES spotlight, and that will be a theme the rest of the decade Big screens get thinner and prettier, but brands should focus on viewing shifting to smaller screens RIP 3D (for now); momentum has shifted virtual reality, which could offer people a more enticing reason to wear such headsets Drones and versatile cameras such as GoPro are opening up new photo and video production possibilities that give consumers completely new perspectives Every product that doesn’t have a sensor in it might within a few years The Internet of Things (IoT) could face new walled garden hurdles with devices only working with their proprietary operating systems (eg another Apple vs. Google battle) For wearables, success will hinge on what’s affordable, fashionable, and offers a clear value proposition 3D printing is still mostly for industrial and professional use cases, but partnerships between hardware manufacturers and consumer brands may help popularize the technology As cars and other experimental vehicles get smarter (while also getting greener), brands will have more ways to reach consumers while in transit Many of the best technologies are designed to let people have fun, or even create a sense of wonder. Tap into that however possible to create new kinds of emotional connections with consumers.
The caption: “What other show can serve up every single tech buzzword in a single room?” 3D printing, drones, selfies, connected cars, VR… this show has it all!
Column: The Future of CES belongs to marketers A column in Ad Age expressed why marketers need to embrace CES en masse: “CES, at its core, isn't a show about electronics. It's a show about time. Products unveiled there reflect bets on how people will spend their time.” The column went on to describe just how well marketers understand time, and recaps some of the more impactful brand partnerships coming out of CES.
There are now sensors for everything. This one scares me. What if we start relying on sensors for everything? What if we get a sensor like this and stop checking ourselves if our baby’s in the car? We can’t outsource all of our most important responsibilities to technology.
The Belfie Stick got more buzz than some of the CES keynotes, and it has one of the best logos ever. Now that’s category innovation.
Google Cardboard’s minimalist headsets sold 500,000 units by CES 2015, hinting at a way to bring VR to the mass market.
This was a big year for big announcements from big brands. Under Airmour announced its social network, built on its $150 million acquisition of MapMyFitness in late 2013. Hershey announced the CocoJet 3D printer for custom chocolate in conjunction with 3D Systems. Misfit, later acquired by Fossil for $260 million, announced its Swarovski Shine Collection for crystal-studded wearables. Makerbot showed off its Martha Stewart Trellis Collection, with designs available in the 3D printer manufacturer’s digital store.
Nixie debuted a wearable selfie drone prototype. Way to cram so many buzzwords into a tiny device. They haven’t released the product yet.
Shadow CES Already getting nostalgic at the start of 2015, I wrote a LinkedIn Pulse column describing the experience of attending CES my first few years: This was my ninth straight year attending CES representing a marketing agency. It was a strange experience in earlier days. Clients weren’t there, unless consumer electronics brands happened to be clients. I’d spend time hitting up side events of some digital pioneers I admired like Chris Heuer’s Social Media Club and Jeff Pulver’s 140conf. I was the only person representing my agency, and most places I went, I was the only person representing any agency…. Then, I got to the meat of the story, discussing the differences between Public CES (the one everyone talks about) and Shadow CES (which is where most of marketers’ education and deal-making happen). The other CES is the Shadow CES. This is the one that tends not to get as much attention, but for some brands, it’s more productive. It happens at places like the Cosmopolitan or Four Seasons. A more official version of the Shadow CES took place at the Aria this year. Dubbed the C-Space, it was where marketers could meet up with established media companies like NBC Universal and emerging ones like Samba TV. They could also meet with each other. I joined one private discussion with select executives from an advertising trade association. While it had little to do with CES directly, it was a terrific opportunity to learn from these people who I wouldn’t have readily met otherwise.
For 2016, I published my first preview of CES a full month before the show. It was more fun to create than recap decks, as I could make everything up, while in turn skewering pundits like myself who have to make up the supposed themes of any given CES.
The CES 2016 Preview included a few Bingo boards, such as this one for drones
Highlights and final thoughts from 2016 will be added to this deck soon. Follow me on SlideShare to receive updates whenever this deck is updated.
Thanks for the memories; keep in touch David BerkowitzCMO, MRY @mry / @dberkowitzwww.mry.com www.marketersstudio.com David.Berkowitz@mry.com