We Went to CES 2016 For the First Time, & Here’s What We Learned

They’ve taken selfies with llamas at Outdoor Retailer. They’ve test-driven tractors at the Farm Progress Show. Now the paragons of excellence that comprise our biz dev department have gone and braved CES 2016, starting the year off right with a week-long technology binge in Las Vegas.

The Consumer Electronics Show is the be-all, end-all of technological innovation. Imagine walking into a 2-million-square-foot Best Buy/IMAX theater/rock concert/Millenium Falcon cockpit with 200,000 of your closest friends, all of whom are taking pictures with their phones while live streaming on hover boards. This was the experience in a nutshell, and it’s barely the tip of the CES iceberg. Here’s a little by-the-numbers of action to put you in the right mindset:

Number of exhibitors: 3,800+
Number of attendees: 170,000+
Number of international attendees: 50,000+
Number of selfie sticks: Too many to count

Understandably, you don’t walk away from an experience like this without more than a few nuggets of wisdom. So here’s a little breakdown on what was gathered:

1. Everything is happening.

From autonomous driving (shout out to ZF Automotive Technologies) to virtual reality gaming (Virtuix Omni)—from drones to fitness wearables—the world is about one step away from becoming a sci-fi movie.

2. Your whole life is going to be integrated.

That’s just where we’re headed as a society. Your house will talk to your car, your car will talk to your watch, your phone will talk to your house, and your bed will talk to you. Also, your sprinkler system will know the weather better than you do.

3. New technology = new ways to harness real-time data.

As tech becomes more integrated, more immersive, and more experiential, we’ll have veritable goldmines of data to work with going forward.

4. Marketers are already working out how best to use new technology to communicate with consumers.

The marketing landscape is always shifting. In recent years, things like Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and live streaming have revolutionized it; new innovations always dictate the way the tide is turning. So if the name of the marketing game becomes VR, smart gadgets, and 360-degree videos, then we’d better buckle up and get ready.

5. Hover boards still aren’t hover boards.

As in, they don’t hover. For now, we’ve got the segway-looking apparatuses that harken back to the days of Gob on Arrested Development. Well, maybe next year.

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