Attending conferences can sometimes be incredibly overwhelming. With a variety of things to accomplish in a short period of time, organization and prioritization are key. This rings especially true for CES, the world’s largest consumer technology show and a beast to navigate. It demands significant forward planning to maximize the value of what can be taken from the conference. Quality is more important than quantity. What sessions do I attend? What exhibitions are must-sees? What social events are the best for my company to be present?

I joined RedPeg’s President (John Piester) in braving the crowds and traffic of Las Vegas last month, where we agreed to divide and conquer in order to achieve our objectives. We mixed time on the show floor with off-site meetings, client dinners and industry events, ensuring we maximized every minute we could be on our feet (both figuratively and literally).

The result? Beyond the obvious new innovations that always make headlines, we identified three key takeaways that will directly impact the way we live, work and play in the coming years. These, along with other fresh thinking and intel, will be applied to our strategic thinking to better activate our clients and have them stand out in an often-times crowded marketing environment.

5G and AI are the two technology innovations that are going to change the way we live more than any others over the last 20 years 

With 5G racing towards reality and AI continuing to mature and expand its abilities, the already prevalent role that technology plays in our lives is going to increase exponentially in the coming years. This isn’t a secret or a surprise, but these two developments will change what is possible across nearly every industry, from sports, music, travel and healthcare to transportation, automotive and making our homes, cities and lives more connected than ever before. The day is fast approaching where our pockets will be connected to everything from our cars to our kitchens to our front doors. Specific to our industry, both the arrival of 5G and advancements in AI are going to open a world of possibilities in how we create, share and consume experiences, be it physically, digitally, socially, virtually or through mobile technology.

Experiential marketing at its core is all about creating experiences that leave positive memories in the minds of consumers, bringing them closer to the brands they encounter than is possible through any traditional advertisement. 5G will push the envelope around what can be accomplished by experiential marketers, while AI will change the way we live, bringing about the need for marketers to change the way they reach and engage with their target demographic.

The sports industry is (positively) changing, and both esports and legalized sports betting are only at the tip of a very large and rapidly growing iceberg in each of their respective areas

The way we consume sports and live events has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Technology’s growing role in stadiums, arenas and events has influenced our viewing habits, and leagues, festivals, events and rightsholders have had to adapt and innovate how they engage with their audiences. Perhaps nothing has had or will have as significant of an impact on the sports industry as the rise of esports and the impending legalization of sports gambling. Nearly every sports league and team has invested significant dollars in the esports space to ensure they can diversify their audience in an ever-changing (and cluttered) space, while every major sports league with the exception of one has already signed a major partnership with a betting house. These two areas have opened new doors and significant dollars in the sports landscape and will change the fan experience for decades to come. For anyone activating within the sports vertical, these areas present two platforms to reach new and equally valuable consumers in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. esports and legalized sports gambling will, in differing ways, dramatically improve the fan experience for casual and avid fans alike, and the future for both is incredibly bright.

Both electric and self-driving cars are the number one priorities in the transportation space and will positively impact our world for decades to come

The auto industry is in the midst of its biggest makeover, in perhaps, ever. Electric cars have already arrived and are here to stay. Self-driving cars have been a major focus of auto manufacturers for much of the last few years, and that will only increase in the future. Though some cars already have self-driving features, based on what auto manufacturers showed at CES, I feel very confident that we will, in my lifetime, live in a transportation world that will look more like The Jetsons than what we currently have available. With such dramatic changes to a product that has been operated in mainly the same way throughout its existence, electric and self-driving cars will significantly alter the future of every auto manufacturer. With brands like Volvo and Volkswagen, among others, already pledging to end production of combustion engine vehicles within the next decade, this auto-industry revolution will present a massive opportunity for brands to educate and engage with consumers. With products that naturally lend themselves to creating memorable user experiences, auto marketers have a new playing field in front of them filled with ample opportunities to reach new consumers in this race to innovation.

Three different takeaways, all with one common theme. Each of these verticals is going to open new doors for brand marketers, event marketers, digital marketers and sponsorship marketers, providing them with new platforms to reach new audiences and continue driving their brands forward. Given the amount of innovation that has taken in the consumer electronics space over the last decade, things that at one time seemed like pipe dreams are on the cusp of becoming normal. The next decade will bring about continued innovation, all impacting the way we live, work and play. Going on our 24th year as an independent brand engagement agency that focuses on making it mean more, the team at RedPeg welcomes the continued evolution of our connected world. With new opportunities on the horizon, we will continue to put our clients in first-mover positions as together we create lasting memories for the people that matter most.