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One of the major tech conventions in the world set a first earlier this month by going digital. The massive CES event swapped the usual Las Vegas convention centre for an online experience that has raised the bar. Earlier this month the Forbes columnist Marty Swant1 wrote about the radical changes to this year’s event which was all digital and provided a unique platform for leveraging of new technologies to display emerging and trending technologies.

Swant commented about the new version of  LifeLab showcased by Procter & Gamble as a game-like experience complete with personalized avatars allowing users to browse through the company’s history before arriving in a futuristic lobby to begin the tour. The self-guided experience provided an i immersive introduction to P&G’s latest products and plans for the future. It lets attendees learn about and buy P&G products, explore ideas, conduct meetings, and hear talks from executives and others. Within the LifeLab, people are able to express emotions and mimic real-life actions—such as laughing, clapping, raising a hand, etc —through their avatars.

Swant was impressed with the different kind of networking provided by MediaLink and its associates in hosting a virtual concert complete with talkshow host and international performers. The SpatialWeb set-up used lets attendees float around a digital venue and chat with other parties in a very realistic experience. The system allowed users to navigate the space though the keyboard. It enabled them to zoom between sponsored rooms and browse the displays or attendees could hear the people around them as they passed. The system allowed for the use of video to chat even while surrounded by strangers.

Other innovative virtual experiences created by exhibitors include the GM option to use the virtual format to go more in-depth on the technical issues that were “interesting and engaging”. Swant reported that this led to the creation of than “46 pieces of content comprised of more than two dozen subject matter experts explaining topics ranging from battery technology and super grids to how products are being designed in virtual reality”. This platform enabled GM to reach more of the 52 million people within the automaker’s target market for electric vehicles.

Other tech reporters focused on the Humanoid hosts, AI pets and UV-C disinfecting bots at CES 2021. Dallon Adams2 reported on the seamless integration of UBTECH’s intelligent humanoid robots and AI. The company’s humanoid robot, Walker, has featured in previous editions of CES but in this year’s virtual event Walker is hosting UBTECH’s virtual booth. The company’s range of disinfecting robots showed how the integration of a 360-degree UV-C light on its ADIBOT-A could be used to disinfect surfaces in all sorts of environments, be they schools, hospitals, offices etc.

5G played a big role at CES 2021. Whilst the focus was on the new range of smartphones and laptops on the market, major players such as Verizon focused on the demonstration of its application in a range of scenarios such as work, learning healthcare, retail and streaming. Other companies developing %G tech introducing new 5G components to the market. 

1 Swant, Marty, 2021, “At CES and Beyond, CMOs see potential with new kinds of virtual events, Forbes, Jan 22

2 Dallon Adams, 2021, “Best robots at CES 2021: Humanoid hosts, AI pets and UV-C disinfecting bots, and more” Tech Republic, Innovation, Jan 13