5 Showstopping CES Exhibits That Transformed the Attendee Experience Through Tech
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has always been a showcase of thought leadership in exhibit design, and CES 2022, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in January, delivered next-level brand experiences that prove the value of in-person engagement.
From highly interactive installations to customizable activations that blended metaverse with reality, there was no shortage of creativity and revolutionary tech to help brands and attendees build meaningful connections.
If the entire show served as a blueprint for holding trade shows in the current climate, many of the exhibit designs at CES 2022 could certainly be an inspiration for brand experiences of the future.
Here are five CES exhibits that were bona fide attention-grabbers:
A color-changing BMW iX Flow may have been the initial draw to the brand’s massive outdoor pavilion, but the flawless and breathtaking journey through art and space made it hard to leave.
With the overarching concept of From Soul to Soul, the exhibit illustrated how the brand transforms technical barriers to intuitive experiences in its new electric models.
One of the features attendees could test was My Modes, personalized cockpit settings with music by Hans Zimmer and art by Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fe.
The same artistic inspiration set the groundwork for Dimensions of Real, a multi-sensory installation designed to redefine the notion of a concept vehicle. Here, attendees could make their way through four zones—Calm, Confidence, Joy and Surreal—engage with imagery on the screen and watch particles morph into new vehicles, or step into space in a mirror-filled “infinity room.”
“We see the future where there can be more co-creation between the human and the vehicle, and we ask ourselves, ‘What if the design of the vehicle wasn’t bound by the physical,’” commented Paola Meraz, senior designer with BMW Designworks, which created the installation.
Since every interaction is unique, it can yield unexpected creative results, Meraz noted.
“In the Calm [zone], the idea is to stay still,” he said. “But some TikTokers hacked it—they noticed that the particles are reflected on their bodies, and it created a completely different experience.”
The Green Forest Pavilion was an immersive representation of how a group of South Korean companies under the SK umbrella are contributing to global carbon reduction.
Inspired by an actual forest around Korea’s Indeung Mountain, the exhibit took attendees on “the path to net zero” and showcased the various tech advancements, including electric vehicle batteries and the concept of the Net Zero City. Coffee drinkers particularly appreciated the Happy Habit machine, explaining the collaborative conservation effort of reusable cups.
The journey started with displays along Green Avenue, lined with dozens of birch trees, and led to the Tree of Life, an immersive space turned into a vibrant, constantly changing forest with 360-degree projection mapping. It felt real and surreal at the same time.
SK hopes its CES exhibit can play a part in helping kick-start a broader movement in the global business community to take ambitious actions to achieve a net zero world.
The South Korean vehicle technology company invited attendees to test-drive its electric concept vehicles in real-life situations within a metaverse experience dubbed JOYTOWN. When entering the exhibit, attendees could build their avatars on available tablets and watch them come alive on the screens throughout the colorful fictional town. There could be a version of you with red flowy hair finishing a jam session and getting a ride from the market, all while learning about the features of the company’s futuristic cars.
"It's exciting to see the faces of those that visit our booth light up as they see their avatars enter an M.Vision POP or M.Vision 2GO [vehicle] and navigate our JOYTOWN metaverse," said Jin-ho Park, vice president of communication at Hyundai Mobis.
The future of healthcare is digital, and a perfect illustration of that was the exhibit by Dassault Systèmes, a French software company. It invited attendees to “meet” their digital twin and see the possibilities that virtual twins can bring to healthcare, such as visualizing, testing and predicting a variety of scenarios from drug effect to surgical outcomes.
Virtual twins, created from attendees’ photos, participated in augmented reality experiences that demonstrated the Living Heart and the Living Brain initiatives currently being used by doctors and researchers to develop highly accurate virtual models. Attendees could watch their twin’s heartrate match theirs, explore the brain hemispheres to learn more about their function, as well as move to interact with their twin before it dissolved into a data cloud.
People Matter was the theme of this HR company’s attention-grabbing exhibit in Eureka Park, the buzzworthy “idea” area at CES.
There were lots of ways to engage. Attendees could get complimentary professional headshots, which became part of the real-time mosaic, with attendees' faces instantly displayed on a giant LED; paint with famous acrylics artist Tadaomi Kawasaki; and get their groove on with DJ Greko. It was a colorful, resonating experience without a giant footprint but with real fun and tangible value.
Main photo: From Soul to Soul, BMW