Want to know what gadgets and gizmos the latest tech innovators are working on #EventProfs? CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) is the show to watch. The global tech show lands in Las Vegas every January and is a hotbed of innovation, cutting-edge new products and weird and wonderful devices.

CES took place in LA last week. Aside from a now-infamous power outage at the show, there were plenty of other surprises in store too. 5G connectivity was expected to be one of the show’s biggest themes, but it didn’t really materialise as there is still a lot of work to do to get the hardware right before it becomes a reality. Maybe CES 2019 will be the one to watch for 5G products!

So what were the biggest announcements and how will they impact the event industry? Here’s our guide to the top 5 things #EventProfs need to know about what went down amongst the bright lights and big hype this year:

Voice Command

Just like CES 2017, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant were found embedded in products across the show, from TV’s and cars to mirrors and kitchen appliances. But there was another contender for top voice assistant too – LG have added their own CLOi voice-activated robot to their upcoming line of washing machines and fridges and they’re also planning to embed the CLOi into a series of robots that could help you whilst you’re out and about at hotels, supermarkets and airports (and presumably, live events too).

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

The race is on to capture the voice-command market and it looks like Amazon’s Alexa is in the winning position. As events move increasingly towards ‘bring your own device’, delegates will expect fully interactive environments that respond quickly and efficiently, whether through voice control or NFC technology that allows you to tap to activate. The boundary between physical space and digital world is becoming thinner and #EventProfs should create as many opportunities for people to connect as possible. The internet of things is about to increase our ability to interact with the world around us, and this could be a huge opportunity for the event industry.

Wireless Charging

CES was packed with wireless charging products. In 2017, Apple announced that iPhone will be moving towards wireless charging for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X models. Since then, tech companies have been increasing their production of wireless charging docks. At CES this year there was a wide range of Qi wireless chargers that are designed to look sleek and offer rapid charging times. Belkin offered a range of pastel coloured charging discs, whilst iOttie revealed their cloth-wrapped charging pads. But that wasn’t all, Belkin also revealed Qi chargers that could be embedded directly into surfaces, meaning you could charge your phone simply by placing it on the counter while you order a coffee.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

As the world of events moves increasingly towards ‘bring your own device’ and relies more and more on people interacting via their own smartphones, you will need to think carefully about making sure people have plenty of opportunities to power up. Wireless charging stations could make this process a lot smoother. Exhibitors could use wireless charging pads as a great hook to encourage people to stay a few moments at their stand.

Advanced TV Technology

As always, Television screens were big news at this year’s show, but this year, TV went big. Samsung revealed The Wall, a 146-inch TV that uses microLED technology for hyper-real colour and image. They also revealed an 8k display screen (twice the resolution of the current high-end 4k models). Meanwhile, LG rolled out (literally) their new rollable TV screen. It’s just a prototype at the moment, but it caused waves of excitement when the 64-inch, high-resolution screen rolled itself up into a base unit. In other news, Panasonic’s OLED TV screen led the way in terms of picture quality with an advanced processor and improved display panel

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

When it comes to exhibitions and events, a rollable TV screen could mean easier transportation and set up for your stand, whilst super high-resolution screens and larger screen sizes could be just what you need to capture the attention of browsing delegates.

VR Headsets

Virtual reality (VR) is a trend that looks set to stick around. This year’s CES was full of updated headsets and new tech releases. HTC revealed a new Vive Pro VR headset, whilst Lenovo debuted the first standalone Daydream VR headset, called the Mirage Solo.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

VR headsets just don’t seem to be disappearing. One of tech’s biggest trends over the last few years, this tech can be really useful for #EventProfs who are looking for some great entertainment or some experiential marketing opportunities. Take your visitors on a journey into your world, transport them to exotic locations, allow them to tour your venue or destination, or show them what it’s like to use your product. VR headsets are capturing the public imagination and could be a great tool for the live event industry.

Android Phones

One of the most anticipated releases of the show, the Galaxy S9 has had tech bloggers and journalists speculating for months – but they’ll have to keep speculating. In the days before the event began, a leaked video claimed to show the specs of the phone, but was later proved to be a fake. In fact, Samsung stuck to tradition and used their CES press conference to talk about TVs and smart home technology. The S9 is now being tipped for release in February. Huawei were quicker to deliver on Android news, revealing that their much anticipated Porsche designed Mate 10 Pro handset will be available in the US from mid-February. Blackberry also announced the release of their KEYone handset in a new bronze edition and revealed that their Motion handset would soon be on sale in the US.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Samsung’s popularity is continuing to grow year on year and as consumers gradually turn away from iPhones, #EventProfs will need to think about catering for an increase in Android devices at events.

Electric and Driverless Cars

No mention of CES would be complete without reference to the huge numbers of cars on display at the event in recent years. 2018 was no exception, with even smarter, safer and more interactive transport devices on display all over the show. Bosch revealed plans to tackle parking issues with cars that report on empty parking spaces they drive past. They can then send instructions to the Automated Valet Parking service, which allows the cars to park themselves. Panasonic have also been working on technology that allows cars to talk to each other and exchange information about potential traffic and hazards. Amazon Alexa was embedded in several car dashboards this year to allow for hands free control of the entertainment system. Amazon also developed a way to allow Alexa to run offline, so that basic commands can still be performed when out of internet range. Electric cars were also on trend at CES 2018, with Mercedes, Nissan and Smart all debuting new electric concept cars.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Smarter cars means safer transport options to and from events. The future of car technology is undoubtedly driverless, which could offer #EventProfs the opportunity to create travelling pods that second as micro-event spaces. Why not create an experiential activity pod to demonstrate your brand message whilst getting someone to their destination? If transport time becomes hands-free leisure time, there are endless opportunities to create experiences and travelling event environments that respond to that shift.

Furrion Prosthesis

We couldn’t not include this piece of futuristic tech. Weighing in at 8,000 lbs and able to hit speeds of up to 20mph, Furrion revealed a mech that made all of our transformer dreams come true. Mere humans can wear this suit and transform into robot warriors instantly. Check out the video to find out more.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Imagine your delegates getting the chance to ride around in this incredible mech! This is event entertainment on a whole new level.

Drones

The flying robots have well and truly taken over. At this year’s CES we saw the release of the AirSelfie 2. Originally a Kickstarter project, the upgraded model features upgrades to the camera and field of view. Ryze Tech also debuted their new kids drone, Tello. It features a 360-degree camera and live streaming and is tipped to be around the $99 price mark when it hits the shelves in March. Yuneec also released the Typhoon H Plus. It’s a seriously high spec photography drone that can capture 4k video whilst managing stable flight in winds of up to 30mph.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Drones have gone mainstream and there are now specific laws regulating their use. Photography drones are great news for #EventProfs, whilst entertainment drones are still big crowd pleasers.

It feels like the tech industry is moving faster than ever, so the real skill these days is being able to sort the next big thing from the next big hype. #EventProfs should only focus on the tech products that can actually help them to solve problems at events and to reach their goals and targets. A lot of the tech on display at CES will never make it to the mainstream, so stay focused on the tech that serves you and your event.


Clemi Hardie founded Noodle Live in 2013 and is now the Managing Director. With a background in digital marketing, Clemi’s experience working with integrated campaigns allows her to view the deployment of event technology as a strategic exercise, from providing recommendations for effective promotion of event apps to identifying opportunities for the creation of new revenue streams through the use of technology. 

Noodle Live believe in providing event technology that can deliver. Alongside our RFID badging systems and NFC-enabled event apps, Noodle Live are also able to draw on the varied skills of their employees to offer bespoke consultancy, helping #EventProfs identify the best tech tools for their specific needs. Clemi is able to use her marketing background to offer valuable insights on data collection, demonstrating ROI and finding the best tech packages to meet the aims of the event. 

Clemi is passionate about ‘hack’ thinking and is constantly on the lookout for new technology that could improve the delegate experience, streamline common processes, open up new revenue streams, and help to quantify the success of events and demonstrate ROI.

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