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How CES 2024 Showcased AI and Immersive Tech for Personalized Experiences

There was increased anticipation and expectation for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) attendees this year, who were eager to see how AI (Artificial Intelligence) was implemented on the show floor and how it’s developing across industries. Since 2022, it’s been the trending topic that many brands are investing in and developing innovative solutions for their clients. It was clear that companies understood the assignment and came to CES this year with an impressive repertoire of activations where AI plays an integral role. 

CES 2024: By the Numbers

Trending Technologies on The Show Floor

Besides AI, I was pleasantly surprised to see more enhanced and implemented technologies for the trade show and experiential industries. Last year, I wrote about trending technologies from CES 2023, and many of them returned this year with an impressive demonstration of continued improvements and innovation. Transparent TVs (formerly referred to as Transparent LEDs or TLCDs), immersive experiences created with AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), touchscreens, LED tiles, projection mapping, attendee tracking sensors, and holograms all made an appearance on the show floor. So even though AI is in high demand as the conference’s focus, brands took the time to evaluate other technologies and elevate them for the consumer, which was brilliant. 

The use of experiential technologies at CES demonstrated how they all seamlessly work together and enhance each other. Throughout its history, CES has launched many technologies, including VCRs, DVDs, GPS devices, and printers, allowing them to integrate and evolve. After all, technologies take years to develop through prototypes, beta launches, and the release of new and improved versions, and we have yet to see the end of any of these technologies. 

In a recent survey, 26% of respondents were unsure of including digital activations in their exhibit and needed to understand more about the purpose and benefits. So, I’ve chosen the top trending technologies that stood out at CES. We’ll see much more implementation of these activations in 2024, and we believe they are excellent tools for exhibitors to connect with their audience.

1. Touchscreens 

Touchscreens provide a dynamic platform to showcase your brand, products, and services in your trade show exhibit. Attendees are drawn to the interactive nature of touchscreens, allowing them to explore and engage with content at their own pace.

Brand Storytelling:
One of the key advantages is the opportunity for compelling brand storytelling. Whether it's highlighting your company’s history, your mission and values, or providing an overview of capabilities and services, touchscreens are an impactful and immersive experience for attendees. 

Interactive Product Displays:
Attendees can interact with virtual product demos, explore features, and customize options to suit their preferences. This hands-on approach not only enhances the overall experience but also enables potential customers to gain a deeper understanding of your offerings. 

Increase Engagement:
The use of touchscreens can significantly increase engagement levels within your exhibit. From gamification to interactive quizzes or surveys, touchscreens allow attendees to participate actively, creating memorable interactions and meaningful connections. They also serve as a valuable tool to support conversations, providing visual aids and supplementary information that can enrich discussions between attendees and booth staff.

CES Digital Winner: Mobileye

  • Excellent Attendee Journey: easy for attendees to navigate through the exhibit and cohesively explore content.
  • Purposeful Content Display: dynamic content including videos and menus for attendees to navigate at their own pace.

2. Transparent TVs
Transparent TVs were a top trend in 2023 and continue to make a big splash this year. These innovative displays seamlessly integrate physical and digital environments, offering many benefits for exhibitors.

Brand Storytelling:
Transparent TVs are an excellent tool for brand storytelling, allowing you to blend digital and physical displays and create a unique viewing experience that elevates brand presence. 

Product Showcasing with Layering Content:
Create a captivating product display by layering dynamic content such as videos, animation, and graphics to keep your audience engaged. When content is not displayed, the screen seamlessly blends with the background.

CES Digital Winner: LG

  • Purposeful content and well-crafted attendee journey with open space for attendees to explore and interact with products.
  • Digital activations captured attention and seamlessly blend with brand stories.
  • It captured attention with a video display layered in front of products.

3. LED: Tiles, Walls, and Curves

LED tiles and walls have become a trending feature in trade show exhibits, offering a dynamic and immersive way to capture attendees' attention. This top trend shows no signs of slowing down as LED technology continues to evolve and is becoming more affordable with rental and purchase options. One of the key advantages of LED tiles is their ability to seamlessly integrate with the environment on the trade show floor, allowing exhibitors to create stunning and creative displays that tell their brand story.

LED displays offer high visual impact and are a great tool to create an immersive environment that draws attendees in and captures their attention, even in a busy trade show environment. LED walls also allow for dynamic content display, giving exhibitors the flexibility to showcase various content and tell a cohesive story within their exhibit. As technology advances, we see more curved LED walls, including spheres and arches, further enhancing the creative possibilities. 

LED spheres offer a high visual impact, providing a 360-degree space for brand messaging. The spherical design allows for easy traffic flow on all sides, ensuring attendees can engage with the display from any angle.

CES Digital Winner: KIA

  • The open layout allowed attendees to easily interact with the activations and explore content throughout the exhibit.
  • LED walls supported the content strategy with clear messages that were easy to digest and kept the space from being overwhelming.
4. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

AI continues to transform industries and consumer experiences, and as we move further into 2024, the practical applications of AI are evolving and becoming more tangible. At CES, numerous brands successfully showcased new AI solutions and integrations with existing technology. Some brands displayed AI technology that has been tested and will launch this year for consumer use. In contrast, others included technology still under development that will be available in the future.

What Is AI? Generative Versus Predictive
I asked ChatGPT for a definition of AI and the difference between the two types: Generative and Predictive. Generative AI creates new content based on learned patterns, while Predictive AI is a forecasting tool that provides predictions based on existing data. A few examples of Generative AI are OpenAI’s GPT and DALL-E, and Predictive solutions include Google’s TensorFlow and IBM Watson Analytics.

First Wave of AI Marketing
There is a significant shift in how businesses create content and interact with customers. An example is HubSpot's ChatSpot, which is a marketing automation tool that assists with customer service, sales prospecting, content creation, and provides insights based on company data. Leonardo.ai leverages AI to generate images, graphics, and visuals based on a prompt. Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) goes beyond a traditional search engine to generate more in-depth responses. AI is an excellent tool to streamline many of our marketing processes, but it’s essential to maintain your unique brand voice. AI doesn’t replace human creativity and voice, but it’s a great starting point for a first draft of content creation and can increase efficiency.

Maximizing Event Success with AI
AI will play a significant role in activations and storytelling in the trade show and events industry as it evolves. However, AI will not remove the human experiences and face-to-face connections that are vital to our industry. But there are many ways that AI can assist us by enhancing attendee experiences, driving engagement, and increasing efficiency.

Opportunities to leverage AI include:

  • Personalized Experiences:
    One of the key benefits of AI is the ability to create customized experiences. AI enables brands to understand and connect with their audience on a deeper level and curate unique content based on their interests and preferences. AI can also anticipate customers' needs and provide personalized recommendations and messages.
  • Simplify Day-to-Day Tasks:
    AI personal assistants are streamlining simple tasks and processes to improve efficiency and productivity, freeing time for employees to focus on more strategic initiatives.
  • Increase Booth Traffic:
    AI is a powerful tool to generate interest and increase booth traffic by helping brands stand out in the crowd.
  • Sustainability:
    AI-powered solutions can increase sustainability by enabling more efficient use of resources and easily repurposing digital content for future events.

It’s important to define a clear purpose of digital activations within your exhibit to support your brand message and enhance the attendee journey. Technology should seamlessly blend with physical activations and your booth space to create an immersive experience for attendees.

Trade shows can be fatiguing for attendees' attention with so many technologies and activations, lots of people to talk to, and so much information to process. This is why purposeful content is key to delivering a thoughtful experience where attendees can connect with your brand and understand your message. It requires customization for unique attendee personas. With the help of AI, more solutions will evolve to craft stories and increase customization on a more sophisticated level for each attendee.

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