CES Live Blog: Updates for marketers

CES logo in neon letters
(Credit: Getty Images)

A continually updated list of announcements of interest for brands and marketers from the annual tech event.

The show will go on at CES 2022, despite a raft of cancellations from major companies who pulled their in-person presences over fears of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

While CES won’t have as many physical attendees as years past, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the organization that hosts CES, is still expecting more than 2,200 exhibitors at this year’s event. 

The hybrid event will take place in Las Vegas and be live streamed from Jan. 5 to 7. The event was supposed to run through Saturday, Jan. 8, but the CTA cut programming short by one day as a health precaution.

CES expanded its health protocols for the event, given the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Attendees must be fully vaccinated and will receive rapid test kits when picking up their  badges, which CES is “strongly encouraging” to take 24 hours before entering an official venue.

As for trending topics, everything from smart TVs, to self-driving vehicles to NFTs will be the buzz of the event, which marks the largest annual global consumer technology showcase. 

Campaign US will be tracking major announcements relevant to marketers and keeping you in the know with our regularly updated blog. 

Thursday, Jan. 6

Stagwell bets big on AR

Stagwell group unveiled ARound at CES on Thursday, an AR platform that helps retailers and venues create AR experiences around live events. Guests at the event can demo the new technology, announced in December, at Stagwell’s CES booth, to see how AR can scale audiences and allow people to interact and socialize in a hybrid virtual-physical environment. 

The experience is possible thanks to spatial computing, which Josh Beatty, ARound founder and CEO, called “the next major computing innovation…that will focus less on the way we receive information and more on the way we connect with what is around us.” So far, H&M and one Major League Baseball team are trialing the technology.

BMW turns the backseat into a theater

What’s an advertiser’s dream? Being able to catch consumer attention during a long car ride. BMW is getting closer to making that a reality with a new in-car technology called Theater Screen debuted at CES on Thursday. The 31-inch display can be fitted onto the roof of BMW’s luxury vehicles and drop down to create a theater experience for passengers in the back seat. The touchscreen has 8k resolution and comes equipped with surround sound audio and Fire TV, which can access streaming services with the vehicle’s 5G internet connection. The only catch: It's not clear when the product will actually be available to customers.

Samsung opens flagship store in the metaverse

Samsung is back, this time in the metaverse. Samsung Electronics Americas opened Samsung 837X on Thursday, an immersive virtual experience on Decetraland created with Razorfish. Guests will be transported to Samsung’s flagship store in New York City’s Meatpacking district, where they can play around with virtual gadgets and gawk at a three-story screen. People can also participate in “quests” for NFT badges and limited-supply wearables, and attend a mixed reality dance party with producer, DJ and Vibraphonist, Gamma Vibes. 

Samsung aims to bring the experience, which it claims is the largest brand takeover on Decetraland to date, to other metaverses throughout the year.

Wednesday, Jan. 5

Canon and FCB team up on hybrid work system 

Canon, FCB and the agency’s experiential practice, FCBX, have teamed up to debut the camera maker’s  latest hybrid work system: Activate My Line of Sight (AMLOS). The new system was unveiled in a virtual, real-time writers’ room featuring actor and producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Over the next three days, Gordon-Levitt and the team at his company HITRECORD team will use the AMLOS system to brainstorm film concepts and develop storyboards that will be used to produce and release an animated short film.

Hyundai introduces a robotic world 

Hyundai revealed its “Mobility of Things'' concept, which will lend mobility to a variety of inanimate objects. The automaker imagines a world where small items like household plants and tables, as well as bigger objects like ambulances and autonomous passenger pods, can all be mobilized. 

“Mobility of Things” will be possible through two different methods. The modular platform “Plug and Drive” will combine steering, electric driving and suspension hardware, while “Drive and Lift” will lift objects up and down. Both modular platforms will enable objects to move on their own. 

Microsoft and Qualcomm build custom chips for AR glasses

The next generation of AR glasses could be the most accessible smart eyewear yet. Microsoft and Qualcomm are partnering to create custom chips for AR glasses that will combine Microsoft's mixed reality software with Qualcomm's phone-based AR platforms.

The AR glasses, which the companies promise will be “lightweight,” will also use 

Microsoft's Mesh virtual collaboration tool and Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spaces XR development system.

GM says autonomous vehicles will be mainstream mid-decade

General Motors CEO Mary Barra made a bold claim during her keynote speech at CES on Wednesday: fully autonomous personal vehicles will be available to advertisers by the middle of this decade. GM holds a controlling stake in autonomous vehicle company Cruise, which is currently testing shared electric AVs in San Francisco. It’s not clear whether Cruise will be behind the personal AV effort.

Merkle goes big on contactless shopping

Amid an ongoing pandemic, contactless takes on a new meaning. Merkle debuted two new contactless shopping products at CES on Wednesday. Scan & Know is an app-free product recognition tool that allows shoppers to scan items using their phones to learn about product details and prices, add to shopping wishlists, make purchases and have items shipped to their door. UnboxIt includes QR codes on packaging that shoppers can scan to access instructions, content and other support for their new products. 

Wunderman Thompson brings CES to the Metaverse

Canceled your trip to CES this year? You can still check out the action in the metaverse, thanks to Wunderman Thompson. The WPP agency built a virtual space where it is gathering brands and marketers for educational sessions on the new virtual frontier. Wunderman Thompson partnered with Odyssey to create the space, which will go live at 11am PST on Thursday Jan. 6, during a session led by Emma Chiu, global director of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. 

Tuesday, Jan. 4

CES panels disappear from schedule

CES programming changed at the eleventh hour as attendees continued to pull out of the event. Panels from companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, Twitter and IBM were wiped from the schedule. A session featuring WPP founder Martin Sorrell was also noticeably absent from the bill. The panels were part of CES’ media day programming, which takes place one day before the show’s opening on Wednesday. The cancellations come as multiple media outlets opted out of the in-person event.

Samsung brings gaming and NFTs to the living room

  • Samsung is the first major TV manufacturer to allow viewers to “browse, purchase, and display your favorite art” from the big screen via an NFT marketplace aggregator. NFT holders can see their purchases in high res and show them off to friends like physical works of art on their Samsung smart TVs. Buyers will be able to preview an NFT before purchasing and learn about its history through blockchain metadata. 
  • To fight streaming fatigue, Samsung has refined the software on its 2022 TV sets to aggregate content from streaming services into one easy to access hub. Running on its Tizen operating system, smart TVs will include a “continue watching” section that aggregates personalized content across providers, based on viewing behaviors. 
  • Speaking of content discovery, Samsung introduced the Samsung Gaming Hub, where viewers of its smart TVs can find cloud-based games from different providers — another sign that the worlds of gaming and entertainment are colliding.  
  • Samsung will also enable friends and family to co-stream content virtually by plugging in a USB video camera or using a smartphone or tablet to video chat while viewing. 

AT&T and Nvidia team up on gaming

Tech giant Nvidia is teaming up with AT&T to offer six months of its GeForce Now cloud gaming service for free to wireless customers with a 5G capable device, allowing gamers to stream and play on the go. 

Sony helps you Zoom from the TV

Sony unveiled the Bravia Cam, a webcam that comes with the manufacturer's highest-end smart TVs. In addition to being able to control your TV with hand gestures and receive an alert when you’re sitting too close to the screen, the Bravia Cam has a built-in webcam that automatically adjusts brightness and audio based on how far you sit from the TV for optimal video chatting. 

TCL tries to make wearables sexy

TCL’s next generation wearable glasses, NxtWear Air, are 30% lighter than the previous version and come with a sleek, sunglass-style design in an effort to make them more style-conscious. The glasses don’t offer VR or AR capabilities, but instead immerse the wearers in a large screen view. They also include a stereo audio feature and can be plugged into wireless or earbud headphones. 


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