The Tech is New, but CES 2019 Is Still About the Experience

CES 2019 officially ended last week. During our four days wandering around the 2.9 million net square feet of the convention center, we saw hundreds of exhibits. There were personal helper robots, self-driving cars, and screens that rolled up like a scroll.

But rather than point out the craziest tech or exhibits we saw at the event, we’re taking a different approach.

Instead, we’re talking about the underlying trend we noticed this year and in years past. Though the tech is new, the way we’re presenting it isn’t. Beautiful, engaging design is still the most important element of an exhibit.

Overall, our impression of this massive event is that some things never change.

Entrance to CES 2019 tech event

While the Tech Changes, CES Stays the Same

CES is “the global stage for innovation.” Over 4,500 companies from around the world come to show off their latest and greatest tech to thousands of attendees. Some of the most innovative technology has been released here – from DVDs to 3D printers and wearable smart devices.

Considering that CES is the place to show groundbreaking tech, it’s amazing that we still explore and celebrate these innovative companies by gathering in an enormous warehouse-like space and looking around at physical booths. Though some may seek out specific products, most of us wander around looking for something that catches our eye.

That is still the biggest challenge for companies who exhibit at events like CES. Trade shows haven’t changed, even in the year of smart beds that alert you to an oncoming heart attack. Regardless of a company’s size or reach, everyone faces the same challenge. How do you make yourself stand out over the crowd?

Give People An Experience to Remember at CES

Admittedly, it isn’t easy to hold people’s attention in a space filled with flying taxis and VR racing chairs. From the attendee’s perspective, CES is a chaotic event that quickly becomes overwhelming. Days later, it is hard to remember the specific products we saw. After all, we saw thousands of products and booths. But all of us will remember the experiences.

The way some of these companies represented themselves was so cool and engaging that people literally stopped in their tracks to look. We watched people record 9 minutes of an animated robot helper demo. We saw people crowding in a hallway to watch an array of natural scenes playing out on curved screens above their heads.

That’s what really matters at CES. It’s not about gimmicks or giveaways or putting a single innovative product in a glass case.

Success at CES means presenting visual experiences that leave a memorable, lasting impression. Even a single beautiful visual on a screen beats out small kiosks or an in-person product demo when you’re dealing with crowds like this.

Investing in High-Quality Visuals is Key, Even with A Smaller Budget

There’s no question that companies with bigger budgets have the upper hand at trade shows. Not every company can create a screen wall of cascading water or an immersive VR experience. But that doesn’t mean budgets should stand in the way of creating an exhibit that catches peoples’ attention.

It’s possible to compete as a smaller company with a smaller budget. What’s important is putting in the effort. Investing in beautiful visuals – whether it’s an animation, interactive content, or photoreal images – can make all the difference.

What matters is creating a visual experience at CES that represents your brand and separates you from others.

Incredible Design Always Wins Out at CES

When we go to CES, we’re not just looking for the latest tech. We’re there to support and assist our partner Sleep Number with their exhibit. FUSE has been creating visuals for their CES exhibit since their debut attendance at CES 2014. And each year they’ve won multiple Best of CES awards. Our team helps Sleep Number create a memorable, beautiful visual experience that draws crowds of people to their booth year after year.

CES is also an opportunity to watch for new or reoccurring design trends. Since many companies use CES as a platform to release their messaging for the year, it’s also when they introduce new branding. Paying attention to these trends helps us know what’s coming in the following year (and beyond).

Since trade shows aren’t changing anytime soon, understanding these design trends is incredibly valuable. After all, success at trade shows comes down to how you visually represent your brand, how you stand apart from competitors, and how you engage your audience.

Here are some of the companies we thought brought exceptional visual experiences to CES.

Two-story Sleep Number trade show exhibit at CES 2019
Sleep Number's massive two-story exhibit featuring a smart bed ride with 4K visual experience from FUSE.
Crowd of people looking at LG curved screens visual experience at CES
The LG OLED installation took up an entire hallway. Hundreds of curved screens stretch floor to ceiling.
Man drawing a zombie on a digital tablet at a trade show booth
After 3D scanning your face, an artist began sculpting your face onto a Zombie using Zbrush. Pretty cool interactivity.
White and silver Audi car on a trade show floor
Audi Aicon concept car with incredible design inside and out.

If you’re looking to leave a lasting impression at your next trade show or event, we’re here to help. Our team of talented artists can work with you to create a stunning experience that will set you apart.

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