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CES 2020, That’s a Wrap

Laura Macdonald

Hotwire has over 20 years of igniting possibilities for tech businesses. Hear our expert views and insights from our team on the latest developments in the industry.

While CES is still considered to be a tech show, it’s notable that the most talked about news from the show wouldn’t actually be considered by a regular person as tech. Our team on the ground wasn’t just there to make sure our clients were making waves, but also getting our fingers on the pulse of what’s hot for 2020.

The biggest trends we took away:

  • Everyone wants fake food. The launch of Impossible Pork was one of the most captivating events of the show, with media querying each other over whether they got to try it. The taste verdict? Impressive. The tech behind it? Similarly impressive. Expect to see more lab-grown food on the menu for tech events this year.
  • CES should stand for Cars & Entertainment Show. Yes, CES no longer stands for Consumer Electronics but those of us who’ve been going for years still think of it like that. But this year, cars and entertainment companies dominated over the traditional tech companies. The entirety of the North Hall of the LVCC was filled with cars – autonomous cars, smarter cars, connected cars, more connected features, cars that can pay for your drive-through and more. The future of cars was truly on display during CES… as was the entertainment industry. We thought wandering the Aria was actually the most exciting of all of the halls, particularly for media who got to geek out in the world of Westworld.
  • Fitness first. Not just for the many many miles that the team walked running from press conference to media briefing to booth demo, but also the increased boom in digital health, fitness and wellness products revealed and demoed during CES. From Samsung’s exo-skeleton that can correct posture to the Amazfit HomeStudio (our client!) that uses computer vision to correct running style, tech products are finally catching up and utilizing AI tech to make getting fit at home even easier.
  • Futuristic gimmicks are out, immediate innovation is in. While gimmicks like the Charmin RollBot may have got some coverage, there was definitely less of these products announced during CES – and those that did got a collective eye-roll from attending media. While in the past futuristic products that may or may not ever come to retail stores garnered headlines, this year the focus was on products that have genuine benefits for consumers and will be a part of their lives in the near term.
  • Minimized media. While CES is still a must for tech media, it was notable this year that outlets were sending smaller on-the-ground teams. What does this mean? Businesses need to get their announcements ready to go in the weeks leading up to CES – embargo pitching was key in 2020 ensuring media had stories squared away.

While these were the biggest trends we picked up, we did also want to highlight some of our own personal favorites from the show…

  • Award-winning work. This year we managed to get in front of 400 reporters for our six clients. A lot of work but it can pay off in a big way. Highlights this year include Sengled receiving a Critics Choice Award from USA Today and Amazfit HomeStudio getting named the coolest product of CES by DC Rainmaker.
  • Photobombing press. PRs spend most of their time hiding behind-the-scenes, but it’s always funny when we spot ourselves wrangling spokespeople, product and press in media pics and tweets such as TechRadar and Tom’s Guide (see if you can spot us!)
  • Practicing our language skills. While we might be focused on North American media, CES is a global show so being able to broker media interviews in our high school French and Spanish was a win for us – particularly when it results in Telemundo highlighting our client’s backpack as one of the most exciting products during the show.
  • Media running our opinions. We pride ourselves on our relationships with media. It’s always great to see that our respect for them is reciprocated when they quote our opinion in one of the biggest pre-show news
  • The house doesn’t always win. While CES is a lot of work, being hosted in Vegas means that there’s also a lot of fun to be had. Two of our team managed to come home richer than they left thanks to a lucky round of hands of Blackjack.

As CES wraps on another year, now is the time to actually start the work of 2020 and get those products announced at CES out into the real world. If you’d like to talk about any of our CES learnings or how to get your products into the hands of the right media and influencers, get in touch.