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CES Asia Day 1: Chinese exhibitors dominate

The much awaited Asian edition of the immensely popular and most happening technology trade show, Consumer Electronic Show (CES) finally arrived in the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. The mecca of gadget-loving geeks, CES has evolved into a must attend tech show of recent times especially for the advertising and marketing industry, so naturally my curiosity had piqued for the maiden Asian edition.

Albeit, at the much smaller scale than its global sibling, the event did deliver the goods from over 250+ exhibitors across 15 categories to an audience of nearly 15,000 visitors.

While much of the major innovation in media and digital has previously arrived from Western markets, we have to acknowledge that the tide is slowly turning in favour of the East, led by BAT – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, Chinese internet giants. This observation was distinctly etched over CES Asia, where Chinese exhibitors dominated the event with innovation that are aimed not just for Chinese consumers. Given that the Chinese economy is on pace to become the largest in the world and the consumer electronics industry is growing at a rapid rate, it is only logical that the international trade show to don a local flavour.

The plethora of technologies and gadgets exhibited were united by a common denominator. Each gadget, app is designed to make life simpler, faster and better and can be embedded into everything from cars to home to watches, to ensure seamless connection between platforms – everything that you have is connected. Infact, convergence (and perhaps convenience) is probably the best thing about the new Internet economy that is moulding our experiences everyday.

While, the sheer volume of connected, customised devices of all forms and sizes on display, was just mind boggling, a few of them stood out for me on day 1.

The automobile section of the show was certainly impressive and the dazzling array of gorgeous vehicles exhibited could easily inspire and tempt a non-driver like me to take to the wheels. The FO15 – a new concept car from Daimler AG revolutionises the definition of a luxury car. Self-driving and equipped with high resolution 4K touch screens that line the insides, as well as swiveling chairs to face each other, the traditional car metamorphoses into a mobile living or work space.Welcome to world of immersive driving and a note that advertisers have to make their products and services into brand experiences that are non-intrusive and offer a clear utility to users.

If there is one area that the Internet of things scores high on value then it has to be the healthcare industry. The all-in-one mobile blood testing device literally takes a check on your heath through just a drop of blood. The sleek device connects to your smart phone and the diagnostic technology analyses 50 different health data for actionable insights.

A highly relevant utility for countries with aging problems as well as hospitals with operational challenges, this gadget enables healthcare at your fingertips, anywhere and anytime. The date that the innovation captures could potentially transform the healthcare industry as well as pharma companies on providing even more accurate solutions.

Virtual reality (VR) headsets are the future of gaming. Vid, a leading interactive technology player introduced a set that comes with a sensor that tracks 3D hand gestures, elevating the experience so that user can enjoy more control over and interactionwith their virtual surroundings.

Vid’s technology is an indicator of how brands can connect to their audiences. With human movement now applied to the virtual space, people can interact with a contextual environment. The application opportunities are endless, for example, imagine how powerful data insights can be from witnessing a person’s reactions to a virtual retail experience. The challenge is figuring a way to make it addictive and not disruptive.

In other happenings, Jun Yuan, Head of Accuen China, Derek Kwok, Head of Platform Solutions Greater China Google and Winder Chen, CEO of Kuaizi Technology presented an interesting panel discussion on how the maturing ecosystem in China poses some new challenges for future development and how advertisers need to be more open to new adoptions with the emphasis on media developing a more premium inventory. This coincided with a launch of a white paper on programmatic buying by Accuen. The study takes an in-depth look at the environment in China from development, current operations and future growth.

With a brain popping with 3D printing, robotics, sensors, the Internet of Things, wearables, and a pair of aching feet, and eventful first day of CES Asia came to a close with a promise of more excitement over the next two days. Stay tuned.

Arundhati Saha

Arundhati Saha is the Marketing Communications Director, APAC of the Omnicom Media Group.
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