CES 2023: What We Saw & What We're Doing About It

February 13th, 2023

CES is back from its pandemic lull, with this year’s event proving why it’s one of the best trade shows in the world in terms of energy and ideas. In keeping with the heavy showing of automotive tech, here are our Green Light/Yellow Light/Red Light reactions to what we saw and why they matter:

Green Light

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality is the application we’re most excited to take from the showroom to real world. AR glasses are still in the distance, but we saw mobile apps that are ready for immediate use. We liked how AR can bring print ads and trade show spaces to life with a wave of your phone. There were also tools for “trying on” everything from clothes to makeup. Plus, projected overlays that we’ll use to add everything from a pop of wonder to enhancing social engagement and e-commerce. And all without bulky, face-eating head pieces.

Web 3

If we’re being honest, right now Web 3.0 is probably more Web 2.5. Nevertheless, we saw opportunities for clients who want to engage with the public in new ways. We’re exploring building custom blockchains to execute loyalty programs. Instead of relying on Big Tech to engage with fans, Web 3.0 will allow brands to create digital playgrounds for everything from music to food to content. An added bonus? Bespoke Web 3.0 activations allow brands to circumvent the vulnerabilities and uncertainties of today’s internet. We’re building a future where our brands will have both more options and more control.

Yellow Light

Generative AI

Generative AI was one of the most buzzworthy parts of the show, but also carried with it the most caution. We’re excited to experiment with AI for our clients who would benefit from a public-facing, AI-driven interface. We can also see opportunities for behind-the-scenes applications (imagine the next generation of product recommendation). And yet for every exciting conversation there were undercurrents of concern about everything from brand safety to copyright infringement. You’ve never heard so many technologists calling for regulation. Which is why we're striking a balance between upside and exposure to risk.

The Metaverse

You’ve heard the buzz, but where’s the beehive? From our perspective, our caution is less about the downside of the metaverse than addressing the confusion around what it even is. Does the metaverse mean Meta’s vision of a virtual meeting space? Is there only one metaverse or are there multiples? Is it always on or something you engage with sporadically? We’re looking for more concrete use cases before we advise clients to invest precious time and resources.

Red Light

Massage chairs

Why were there so many massage chairs at CES? The massage-enabled seats in high-end cars were a treat, but the stand-alone products had us wondering why? Hit us up if you can help us understand. Meanwhile, we’ll be working on our post-CES To Do list. From normal chairs, thank you very much.