In the EV space, conversations pivot from the traditional notes on engine power to understanding what the “EV” lifestyle is all about—how you manage the vehicle at home, what else it can do for you and what the broader implications are of embracing a more sustainable future.
The Kia Connected Home exhibit at CES 2024 welcomed attendees into this life and all the technologies behind it (like the brand’s “vehicle-to-home” charging capabilities) in a two-story modern home exhibit, complete with a permeable paver driveway, turf grass, sustainable landscaping, outdoor lounge space, observation deck, and VIP zone (Partner: EWI Worldwide).
“The best way to demonstrate the transformative power of Vehicle to Home technology is to bring it to life, which is why Kia built a home at CES,” says Sylvia Lopez-Navarro, national manager-brand experience, corporate events and shows at Kia America. “We made it easy for those at the vanguard of technology to understand the true consumer benefits, as well as Kia’s elevated branding and image. The Kia Connected Home isn’t just a vision of the future, it’s what is possible now.”
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Like many exhibitors throughout the show this year, Kia incentivized attendees to engage in activities on-site in order to earn points toward true premiums that industry professionals and the media, especially, would appreciate: noise reduction mini microphone for their devices, an auto face tracking camera holderfor recording, and a portable white noise Bluetooth speaker. But it was the escapism that Kia created (one brand always does it best at CES each year, and that was Kia this year) that we feel attendees appreciated most.
Here, we explore six standout features of this can’t-miss booth in Central Plaza, across the street from the doors to Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
A Day-to-Night Design
The structure’s matte black finish allowed key features of the design to pop, from the colorful concept vehicle displays out front to the 3D silver Kia logo positioned behind a flowing waterfall feature. Running along curves that mimicked the lines of the logo were white lighting tracks that at night lit up and encouraged attendees to look up. Bonus for the VIPs: the viewing deck offered stunning views of the Las Vegas sunsets each night.
“The main goal of this design is to sequentially show how the car is hooked up to the Wallbox Quasar 2, then hooked up to the home, and how electricity is interwoven throughout,” says Chris Petit, executive creative director, EWI Worldwide, who added that the build elements are reusable and are components that can be retrofitted for future builds.
The Kia team explained to us that the goal was to create an oasis. When we arrived, we could hear ambient spa-like music emanating from the space. Also, on rotation were sounds from a playlist (birds chirping, crackling fireplace, falling snow, etc.) to emulate the EV9’s roster of Sounds of Nature. From the soft turf under our feet to the sustainable plants, water features and sound, the experience certainly felt like an escape.
To get inside, attendees formed a queue at the “front door” that led to a kiosk to check in with a lead capture, and then right into a line for a complimentary coffee (espressos, lattes, mochas, you name it), as well as other beverages or snacks, to enjoy as they explored the space inside and out. This kind of service is typically offered within a footprint at a show like CES, but we thought it was smart that Kia offered an immediate reward for arriving and allowing attendees to have something refreshing to sip on while waiting for the experience inside.
“The first thing when someone comes into a home, you ask, ‘Can I offer you a drink? A snack?’ So, we wanted to be very intentional with that here,” says Lopez-Navarro.
A Low-Effort Immersive Test Drive
The centerpiece of the experience inside was an immersive test-drive simulation. Attendees hopped into the seats of an actual EV9 as first-person perspective 3D video displayed on the screens and created the sensation of driving as the vehicle rotated on a turntable. The approximately 15-minute experience walked attendees through Kia in-vehicle tech, like Highway Driving Assist 2 and Remote Smart Parking Assist 2, as narrators described the technology. It was effective and certainly less pressure (and commitment) than a traditional test drive experience for an attendee base obsessed with the technology pieces of it all.
“This entire home, really, is a simulation of that feeling of being able to drive Kia’s EVs, and here, you’re actually behind the wheel,” says Lopez-Navarro. “You’re focused on the features and all the advancements. You get to enjoy the design. And this is all part of, again that sensory oasis.”
All throughout CES this year, we saw more use of analog vignettes over touch-tables and digital displays. The Kia team leveraged a glass-encased “jewelry” box as part of the Innovative Materials showcase of materials that make up portions of the interior of the cars, from the paint to the fabric to the floor liners—and the innovative or sustainable materials that they’re composed of. It was interesting to see product features “dissected” in this way, right before your eyes.
The second-floor VIP space accommodated executives and other working members of the team, as well as dedicated influencers. And in a lounge space, industry press, including The Verge and Vox Media, conducted livestreams and broadcasts for different programming throughout the week. And the views out the windows toward the convention center provided just the right backdrop… and put Kia squarely at the center of all the action for those tuning in globally.
More Scenes from the Kia Connected Home Exhibit:
Photos: Courtesy of EWI Worldwide