CES is a hot bed of consumer technology, of course. But it’s also a bellwether of what’s to come in experiential technology across the event marketing landscape. This year’s show, Jan. 5-8, produced a range of high-tech booth engagements designed to create a little drama on the ground IRL and then drive attendees into virtual worlds via friction-free access points, like the almighty QR code. Here’s a look at how brands engaged attendees in-booth and virtually through robot greeters, motion-simulated experiences, metaverse meetings and beyond.
More CES 2023 Coverage:
- CES 2023 Recap: 18 Brand Experiences from Across the Show Floor
- Gaming, AR and Theaters Drive Attendees to CES 2023’s Automotive Booths
- SXM Media ‘Passes the Mic’ to Women Executives at its CES Podcast Studio Activation
QR Codes Linking to Virtual Booth Replicas
QR codes were on display at just about every booth we visited at CES 2023, whether they were printed on tabletop signs, projected onto vehicles, incorporated into large wall displays or distributed on business cards (those were still a thing at the show, too).
Turkish automotive company Togg created a “Digital Mobility Garden” with four experiences that demonstrated its solutions for sustainable and connected mobility. A free-standing sign at each exhibit outlined the activity with Togg’s integrated solution, and a QR code at the top led users to the brand’s CES page. In addition to breaking down all four experiences, the site also offered a 360-degree animated version of Togg’s CES booth with five clickable zones, which could be used to further explore the space or share with those who couldn’t make it to the show. (Learn more about Togg’s booth in our automotive roundup.)
Panasonic built a “smart, ecological world” with four booth areas: Park, Town, Mobility and Home. Like Togg, the Panasonic GREEN IMPACT Experience, an interactive online tour, accompanied the booth’s physical features and elaborated on the company’s vision for a sustainable future. Promoted with “Scan Me” messaging, a Panasonic-branded QR code, in which the company’s logo was integrated into the middle of the code image, was displayed on long, angled boards that summarized each area’s components and technologies.
Interactions with Robots and Holograms
ADT attracted passersby into its Safer City with its smiling EvoGuard humanoid robot on wheels that waved to and interacted with attendees. And several other booths took advantage of the robots’ cool factor, bringing them in as special guests. Mitsubishi Electric used two robots to show off its platforms. Boston Dynamics’ Spot agile mobile robot entertained attendees by trampling around a glass-enclosed, graveled exhibit to illustrate its ability to autonomously patrol electrical facilities through integration with Mitsubishi Electric Power Products’ Power-I platform. Nearby, attendees rooted for the endearing autonomous Cartken Delivery Robot as it rolled around a circular path, stopping to assess the exhibit space’s inclines, declines, smooth surfaces and stone-textured floors before venturing forward.
British tech company HYPERVSN stood out with its holographic displays, including a 16-foot-tall SmartV Holographic Human. The display was like a magnet to attendees as they gathered around to see it rotate through a woman singing, a Transformer, a dancing android and even billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, a HYPERVSN investor, addressing the crowd. The company offered a glimpse of the future, particularly with the SmartV Digital Avatar equipped with two-way chat interactivity, a “human touch” for customer engagement.
Connecting with Consumers in the Metaverse
The metaverse is still an evolving concept, and brands put their own spin on it—in a physical space. Microsoft caught our attention in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall with a live demonstration of the FIAT Metaverse Store, one of the world’s first metaverse-powered interactive showrooms. Attendees gathered around a tall, wide screen presenting a rose gold electric FIAT 500 in a virtual hue-matching showroom. Light wood flooring extended from the virtual showroom into the booth space, bridging the rose gold metaverse and the real world.
Inside the metaverse showroom, a sales associate at a podium stationed next to the car spoke to the in-person presenter who was explaining Touchcast’s Metaverse-as-a-Service platform. The presenter asked the onscreen sales associate, “I’ve never owned an electric car, Tim. How do I charge it?” And attendees marveled at Tim’s immediate reply, seeing him speak on the screen while the showroom shifted to a new perspective initiating a graphic that showed how to charge the EV. Window panels around the corner of the footprint gave attendees a peek at Tim himself standing in a small office connected to the metaverse through a computer, webcam, microphone and headphones.
Canon, known for its camera products, went in a different direction for its CES presence, partnering with filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan on four interactive experiences that transported attendees into the story of his recently released thriller, “Knock at the Cabin.” The brand used its latest VR, mixed-reality and imaging technologies to connect attendees with characters from the film and place them in the middle of the action. Attendees previewed Kokomo, Canon’s first VR platform application for face-to-face communication in virtual spaces, by stepping into a pod and donning a VR headset to have a one-on-one conversation with a character from the film. An actor in Philadelphia connected to CES participants in real time in a metaverse environment replicating the movie’s setting—read on here. (Agency: FCBX.)
Photo credit: FIAT
Screens Simulating Motion
With limited space on the show floor, automotive and mobility exhibitors can’t always physically demonstrate the power and capabilities of their vehicles or transport attendees to an outdoor environment. Some automotive brands extended their footprint outside the convention center with test tracks allowing attendees to drive their latest EVs. But inside, exhibitors got creative with stationary vehicles and screens (several extending floor to ceiling) that created a dynamic, immersive experience.
Hyundai Mobis unveiled its M.VISION TO, an electric autonomous vehicle concept model, in a large open space surrounded by tall screens on three sides. Attendees could climb into the vehicle to explore its roomy interior and look out from its various windows (a few of which featured animated AR effects of sea life) to watch as the screens simulated a journey down a cartoony city street. While the vehicle itself didn’t move, its futuristic tire rims spun forward, adding to the illusion of motion to onlookers. During the demonstrations, video from inside the vehicle was projected onto the two side screens to show attendees the view from inside.
Brunswick Corporation, a recreational boating and technology company, made waves with its i-Jet Future Helm Concept, demonstrating obstacle correction, directional control and auto-docking features. Attendees entered a recreation of a boat’s interior, complete with hardwood flooring and an angled windshield, and took the wheel to maneuver the boat in a simulated water environment. Surrounding screens replicated the ocean’s natural rocking motion and matched the forward speed from the user’s throttle controls. Talk about making a splash.
Photo credit: Brunswick Corporation