Telling Your Innovation Story: Lessons from CES

February 28, 2023

Each year, while business leaders, politicians, and economists gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the biggest and most influential players in technology descend on Las Vegas for the Davos of tech—the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  This annual showcase features the latest and greatest in consumer electronics, where companies introduce reimagined, up-leveled, and never-before-seen product concepts, from the world’s largest wireless OLED TV to an AI- and machine-learning-enabled app that predicts health risks from a selfie.

CES has grown beyond a trade show for consumer electronics into one of the largest and most influential innovation convenings in the world and provides a platform for any company that is delivering innovation in service of sustainability and human security. With more than 3,200 exhibitors, 115,000 attendees, and 11 official venues, and over-2-million square feet of exhibition space, it is the strategic platform for innovation-focused businesses.

Everyone brings their A-game to this exciting and dynamic environment – it’s a must for the massive turnout of conglomerates, boutique start-ups, governments, trade associations, content creators, and R&D labs working in everything from media to AI, autonomy, 5G and smart cities, among others.

Here were some of the biggest conversations for the coming year:

Car companies continue blurring the lines between the automotive and technology industries. One of the standout announcements at CES 2023 was Sony’s strategic partnership with Honda to produce the Afeela electric vehicle (EV), which also runs Qualcomm tech on 5G. Driverless car interiors, AR-enabled head-up displays, and common computing platforms were other examples of how consumer electronics and automotive companies are working closer together than ever to accelerate innovation and develop new products and services for higher returns on investment.

It’s no longer the Internet of Things, it’s the Internet of Everything. Integration could be found across the board and showed no sign of slowing down. Smart home appliances and devices from any manufacturer (think home assistants, refrigerators, light bulbs, TVs, microwaves, locks, security cameras, coffee machines, sinks) will have an easier time “talking” to each other thanks to forthcoming interoperability standards like Matter, co-developed by Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, and more.

 Government pressure makes innovation diamonds. A surge of sustainable vehicle tech has been partly driven by laws like California’s ban on new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 and the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives to accelerate investment and adoption of clean energy solutions. Mercedes-Benz and Chargepoint, for example, announced their plan to apply for federal subsidies available to companies that build chargers for their new EV charging network. In health tech, thanks to an FDA ruling last August allowing over-the-counter hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, CES previewed a wave of affordable hearables to the 38 million Americans with no solution for their hearing loss.

As you think about how your business can show up and tell its story, here are some practical ways to make the most of CES as a platform:

  • Engage strategically. Plan how you will differentiate your capability and backstory when talking with your target audiences, be that investors, technology partners, journalists, or other stakeholders.
  • Create an experience. Visual interactive displays ignite conversation. The Autonomous Challenge at CES 2023, for example, had a Dallara AV-21 used by all the teams on display to draw people into discussions with the technology providers about how they were partnering to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving cars in high-speed highway settings.
  • Work the floor. Use the forum to create more networking opportunities and generate leads, and take advantage of the fact that exhibits are co-located by industry to map out your priorities for engagement.

With the right approach and storytelling, this event can open doors with partners, media, tech consumers, and other stakeholders. If you’re employing technology either to drive core business or to create external impact, there’s a place for you at CES.

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