CES Highlights 2019

I’m not your typical tech enthusiast or hobbyist. As a creative, my interests in technology are primarily dependent on the cross section where art meets science. CES, the annual conference of all new consumer technologies, is not my typical playground. With only two days to explore it, surrounded by 4,500 companies trying to impress me with their products at CES 2019, I’m most likely to be pulled in with a visually captivating presentation. As one of almost 200,000 people to traverse the nearly 2.9 million square feet of exhibition space there was one proven fact that stood out, smart technology has infiltrated every square inch of our lives. I explored this wondrous world of exhibition through that lens and was at times overwhelmed by how much technology there was to absorb. From Lamborghini massage chairs, to robots that selected your groceries, or a voice command washing machine inspired by the moon’s reflection on midnight waters, there seemed to be an endless array of creatively integrated AI into everyday home products, the most exciting of which for me, was a toothbrush.

As I gallivanted around the convention floor, I noticed a swarm of people holding their phones above their heads as they walked into the LG exhibit. Once in the swarm I too joined the movement by raising my phone and filmed the most magnificent display of over 50’ of curved LG Oled monitors. An overhead immersive landscape had been created where an ocean tide crashed down as it transitioned into constellations in the night sky into the deepest realms of space, all made out of 260 flat and curved Oled monitors positioned to flow down from the ceiling like an undulating water fall. I was enveloped and transported to another world of space and sound that was more incredible than nature itself. The resolution seemed clearer in detail than my human eyes could comprehend. It was by far the artistic highlight of installation display at CES. Simple, well placed signage outside the room but in eyeline from the central viewpoint ensured that the singular branding moment was at the forefront of the experience .

Hey Google! had a theme park ride. Yes, a full on Small World type coaster ride! The buzz about its thrill was being gossiped about while I stood in line on the opposite side of the attraction. Realizing this was a must see, my colleague and I headed over to the Google Assistant Ride and weren’t disappointed when we found an interactive adventure ride based around the necessity and ease of life that Google Assistant provides. We were astonished and stunned by the imagination and time employed in creating an experience so elaborate, with the signature bold color palette synonymous with the Google brand was used to create arresting scenes. We were literally twisting and turning through one man’s day in a real life story that was incredibly relatable, while clearly defining the way the product can be used. Once the ride was over it was clear how easy it was for Google to have tripled the size of its’ presence from previous years.

Oh yeah, the most fun camera ever created, Polaroid, made its come back! Polaroid created a massive display of larger than life primary color blocked stacks of nostalgia that was so invigorating, I found myself almost giddy. I couldn’t wait to take a polaroid photo on the larger than life prototype of the new OneStep Plus on display. Such a burst of color and spirit energized the entire convention floor, it stood out to me as the most exciting analog exhibit at CES, maybe that’s just the creative in me. Brand ambassadors in blue lab coats showed off the “more ways to play” with the new light painting and double exposure features as well as the Bluetooth phone pairing option that turn your phone into a remote camera control. I was thrilled to explore the new ways that analog and digital photography are being married.

These standout experiences were so captivating I couldn’t wait to share them on my social media feeds to see the reactions from friends, family, and colleagues and all of the new technologies and immersive experiences I had encountered. As expected, the reactions I received were through the roof. The content was beyond and the social interactions I received made my experience at the event much more enjoyable, allowing me to share with my friends from afar.

Of all the things I desired to write about, it was by a landslide the toothbrush, and a genius one at that. My favorite iteration of AI’s presence was found in what I discovered to be the most mind-blowing product demonstration as CES. A tool so brilliant the folks at Proctor and Gamble decided not to just call it a “Smart toothbrush” they went for a more grandiose display of endearment, the Oral B-Genius X”. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know how this sounds. CES has set the bar so far beyond the common [persons] wildest imaginations of what you can expect from technology. How can a toothbrush be the thing I want to write about? Well, let me explain how I came to this conclusion.

This wasn’t just any toothbrush, this one is equipped with AI technology to scan my teeth to such a degree it would prepare its own calculation and score how well I brushed, gamifying my daily dental experience. It would then create a PDF record of my personal performance at how well I brushed and the overall health of my mouth. Running through my mind was the thought of how a toothbrush would now be connected to my cell phone, making the phone an even more perplexing necessity and presence in the everyday routine of our lives. Steve Jobs poured our personal collection of music onto devices, then paired it to our cellphones. Forever changing our lives and how we experience music. Now a toothbrush was demanding the same access to the data analytical landscape of our dental health (mind blown emoji here) and cementing itself as a contender in the future of smart health.

Immersive experiences, imaginative design, and the buzz of what’s next garners enormous lasting impressions on social media feeds and delivers on ROI. The most exciting part of CES for me, was peering into the world of big brands from every industry and how they’ve plunged into future. As a creative, there’s nothing more exciting to me than discovering something new and letting my imagination run wild with the different ways to interpret and communicate its story.

To feel so inspired from the design of a great product, it spawns into an immersive design of technological wonder is exactly what inspired me to get into this business. The example of LG, Polaroid and Hey Google! is the happy marriage of one great idea that leads to the next, one great product matched with a great experience. The second I was introduced to the Oral B genius X, I immediately began ideating the future retail experience of this great product.

From now on, when I have a new revolutionary thought or stroke of genius, instead of calling it a “lightbulb moment,” I think I’ll call it a “toothbrush moment”.

About The Author:

Meet Heather Ashley Carr, top-tier, A-wonder, prizefighting designer of anything under the sun or over the moon and everything in between. Experiential. Production. Moving images, moving people, moving visions, whether you have one or not. She once built Rome in one day just to tear it down by sun-up the next.