Despite a brief power outage at one CES hall, global innovation persevered as more than 3,900 companies, including some 900 startups, spurred new business and partnerships across every major industry at CES® 2018. The second and third days of the world’s largest tech event focused on 5G innovation, the future of video and reimagining the world of television. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, CES 2018 runs through January 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The revolution of 5G connectivity has been ubiquitous throughout the CES 2018 show floor. During the keynote, Mobile Innovation: How 5G will Enable the Future, executives from Baidu, Qualcomm and Verizon discussed how 5G connectivity will transform industries, business models and society as a whole. All agreed that the technical revolution pales in comparison to what lies ahead for 5G mobility.
The Future of Video keynote panel, presented by MediaLink, featured leaders from 605, A+E Networks, Comcast, Discovery Communications, LionTree LLC, MARCO and YouTube discussing how the business of streaming content is changing the landscape of the entertainment industry. “We’re not in the business of today,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO, A&E Networks. “We’re always trying to guess – or second guess – what might be around the corner.” The panelists underscored the importance of mobile video and partnerships and the rapid changes in business models.
Wednesday’s keynote with John Martin, chairman and CEO of Turner, and Randy Freer, CEO of Hulu, featured a candid conversation with the content leaders and moderator, Matthew Garrahan, global editor of Financial Times. The conversation touched on several topics, including both companies’ pending mergers; competition among other networks and streaming services; other tech giants looking to enter the content creation space and how to best engage with millennials.
With some 300,000 NSF of automotive exhibit space, the vehicle footprint at CES makes it the fifth largest stand-alone automotive show in the U.S. and self-driving vehicles are at the show in a big way. The Self-Driving Cars: The Future of Personal Transportation SuperSession featured executives from Nissan, Allstate and Baidu, as well as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, spotlighting the changing attitudes and ideas on self-driving cars.
C Space Storytellers Series
The C Space Storytellers Series is where influencers and newsmakers share stories and case studies about the unique relationships among brands, entertainment and technology. Brand executives were on hand to highlight best practices in leveraging artificial intelligence, data and analytics and digital content to enhance the brand narrative.
Allan Thygesen, Google’s President of Americas, hosted Dean Evans, CMO of Hyundai Motors America and Keith Bryan, SVP Media, Engagement and Personalization of Best Buy on the C Space Storytellers stage to discuss how brands can win today’s consumers with more relevant, assistive and instant experiences.
Leaders from Knotch, Heineken, Belkin and Bank of America explored the pressing issue of industry standards for transparency. The group agreed that transparency standards need to continue for companies to create new expectations and trust with data agencies.
Executives from Disney expressed excitement about new creative content possibilities, following the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Disney is leveraging AI, AR, VR and robotics to transform the way stories are told. In 2017, the company introduced four new interactive experiences powered by the Google Home digital assistant using voice activation.
Executives from Oath: A Verizon Company announced its recent partnership with the NFL, allowing consumers to stream all four NFL playoff games beginning January 13, through the Yahoo Sports app regardless of carrier.
Sports Business Innovation
CES provides the perfect arena for sports technology advancements. The panel, Evolving the Content Ecosystem, featured prominent figures from some of the world’s top sport leagues and content producers. Moderated by Inside the NBA’s Ernie Johnson, the session explored different ways to deliver content to constituents and creative storytelling techniques to engage today’s fans.
Thursday’s session, Players Only: Bridging the Gap Between Fans and Athletes, featured former NBA players Chris Webber, Baron Davis, Isiah Thomas, Dennis Scott and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne. The session examined how athletes are using social media and other mediums to bring real conversations from the locker room to increase fandom and comradery.
Where Music and Technology Collide
During the session, Madison Avenue meets the Recording Studio, music, talent and venue executives discussed emerging partnerships between music and brands and how technology influences them. The panelists agreed that partnerships have now become a 360 storytelling opportunity.
The How Streaming Saved the Music Business panel, experts concurred that streaming music has increased revenue, the number of listeners, and the collection of consumer data. This increase in data allows for a more customized experience, as well as an opportunity for consumers to be exposed to new artists.
Awards and Events
Stuff announced its annual CES 2018 Wearable Tech Award winners Wednesday, with honorees spanning a range of categories, including watches, health and beauty gadgets and fitness devices. The full list of winners can be found at Stuff.tv.
Ten companies competed to be the Last Gadget Standing at CES 2018, a live session produced by Living in Digital Times and hosted by David Pogue of Yahoo Tech. The in-person audience voted the Play Impossible Gameball as the winner – a ball with embedded sensors to track speed, spin and height for points so you play connected games on your own or with friends. There was also an online vote that crowned the OrCam MyEye 2.0 as the winner – a smart sensor device that connects to eyeglasses to read text from any surface.
“Our job isn’t to pick winners, it’s to help people who would already be winners win a little faster” said XTC’s Bill Tai during the Xtreme Tech Challenge Semi-finals. Selected by judges Gary Shapiro of CTA, Young Sohn of Samsung, Koichi Narasaki of Sompo, Scott Robinson of Plug and Play and Lars Rasmussen of Weav Music – the startups moving to the final round of competition at Sir Richard Branson’s Nekar Island in October are Revl, a 360 action camera that also sells smart editing as a service; Owlet, a baby sock that tracks heart rate and oxygen levels to prevent SIDS; and Power Ledger, a centralized energy system that pays consumers for generating electricity.