It’s mid-January, which means it’s time for every ad agency, technology company, data firm, and armchair blogger to write their recap of what happened at CES and what it means for our industries and the world around us.
And while we at Ogilvy are here shamelessly contributing to that post-Vegas noise, our hope is to provide a bit of a unique point of view. Our perspective is not so much centered around the technologies of CES as artifacts of progress or innovation, but instead what all of the innovation that surrounds CES means for consumers and the brands they interact with.
On Day One of CES, we wandered around the convention center floor. There, we saw a layout very similar to CES of past years: We entered through a parking lot full of autonomous vehicles into a central hall of major TV, phone and computer manufacturers. There was an entire annex for drones. Another for earth-bound robots. We wandered past a notably empty and abandoned area that had been reserved for cryptocurrencies. Past that, a field of people watching TV screens in beanbag chairs—the telltale sign of eSports in action.
Of course, there were some areas that seemed new or larger than they had been. There was a ton of 5G technologies featured, and even a healthy contingent of…connected adult device companies…in a not-so-nondescript corner of the hall.
But as we wandered, we found ourselves talking more about the practical applications of the technologies featured, rather than their novelty. As we were taking a look at a machine-learning ping pong robot, Peter muttered, “Iteration. Not innovation.” And while we don’t think that’s an original phrase coinage (even when talking about CES), it was an extremely accurate description for almost everything we saw last week.