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The most important thing to check out at CES this year is the robot vacuum video chat/gaming system. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to stream Netflix and play Fortnite on your Roomba while it cleans your house and watches your kids.

Ok, so maybe not exactly. However, most mid- to high-end robotic vacuums are already voice-activated and some new, very high-end ones (such as the Trifo) are now equipped with cameras instead of sensors. Yes, more of us are quietly adding robots to our lives and the enhancements are coming quickly.

Thinking about these significant changes within consumers’ lives is exactly what makes the Consumer Electronics Show so valuable to marketers and advertisers, said Jeff Tan, Innovation Solutions Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network USA. “CES is really about looking into a crystal ball as to how consumers will live their lives three to four years down the road.”

Yes, there will be loads of uber giant TVs and super fast mobile devices among the 4,400 exhibiting companies - but there are also dozens of panels and exhibits scheduled this year on smart cities, smart homes, sustainability, yes, robotics.

Tan cautions that while there is much business to be done, the real action is on the massive convention space, not in the meeting rooms. He implores brands to not miss out. “I’m amazed at how many people don’t go to the floor,” he said. “It’s a big mistake. Most people see it as just a deal place. But you can have all these meetings in New York. The value of CES is to get inspired by entrepreneurs, emerging tech and the trends that will directly impact your future.”

The future isn’t always easy to see. Last year, many arrived at CES anticipating a brave new world buoyed by 5G technology. They are still waiting and 2020 is unlikely to serve as 5G’s breakout year either, according to many experts.

Yet it’s also risky to prejudge tech innovations. Consider that a few years ago, many ad industry attendees were underwhelmed by a slew of virtual reality demos, but came away captivated by the possibilities afforded by voice. Since then, voice assistants have become ubiquitous, though voice-marketing is still fairly nascent. Meanwhile, VR seemed to stagnate, yet all of a sudden this holiday season people were buzzing about fighting a virtual Darth Vader.

“Innovation and consumer adoption of new tech doesn’t follow a linear path,” said Isobar US CEO Deb Boyda. “That’s why it's crucial to constantly look ahead, to experiment and be prepared for what different technologies capture the consumer’s imagination. Those that make their lives better in some way are the innovations that are likely to get stickiest.”

“This means marketers and advertisers should go into the show with an open mind and futurist point of view,” per Brad Alperin, SVP, Integrated Strategy lead at the Dentsu Aegis Network. “CES is less about immediate branding opportunities. It’s much more about making unlikely do we find different ways to relate to consumers. Emerging technology requires a different flavor of creativity.”
That’s not to say that you want to just wander into going into CES without a plan. Attendees need to do a little research to maximize their time beforehand. Tan is keenly interested in checking out startups such as NEXT MIND, which is one of many companies building brain-sensing devices - which theoretically will let people control computer interfaces with thoughts (no, really). “The opportunities for brands there are immense,” he said.

Overall, there will be more than 1,200 startups in attendance, most of which will be featured at Eureka Park at Sands Expo Hall G. For more, click here.

Another area worth watching closely is artificial intelligence, and how it may impact society - let alone marketing and advertising (such as the “Myth and Reality in Today’s AI” session). For more about all of the keynote sessions, click here.

Other key peeks into the future will include what’s next for eGamingautomotiveaccessibility and, even, blockchain. (Remember when that was the flavor of the month? There are still many big applications to come.)

Yes, there is plenty to take in, but with a little planning, most brands should come away from CES feeling far better informed, and hopefully inspired.

Sign Up Now for Actionable Insights from Dentsu

We know you won’t be able to catch everything at CES, that’s why we are dispatching our top strategists and other key contributors to pen five, key blue-sky takeaways. The brief, but insightful, Dentsu Aegis Network CES 2020 ‘Rewind’ will be available after the conclusion of the conference. 

And, to start your day off right at CES, join us at Dentsu Aegis Network’s thought leadership “Brunch Briefings.” They will be held Tuesday, Jan. 7 and Wednesday, Jan. 8 between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. at Bellagio’s Spago restaurant. These informative sessions will feature C-level executives and innovation leaders from major brands, VC, media and tech firms, including Marriott, Forrester, Google, Microsoft, Andreessen Horowitz and more.

Check out the details and request an invite at:

Valuable Resources for Planning a Successful Week

Here are additional prep resources to get the most out of this year’s CES. Dig in and enjoy the show!

1. The CES site is the first starting point. It is updated regularly. Make sure to download the app before you arrive.

2. CNET is consistently on top of all the broad consumer news from the show.

3. For some additional pre-reading: TechradarVenturebeat and Entrepreneur offer an in-depth look at this year’s show.

4. Top trades, including AdweekAd AgeAdExchanger and Digiday, will publish daily CES previews and news.

5. And, to learn more about what’s going on around town, here is the Visit Las Vegas site.