CES 1967 was a show of many “firsts”. For the first time, consumer electronics companies finally had a unique event to showcase their latest products. The booths residing in the main halls of the introductory showcase were adorned with up and coming names like “Panasonic”, “Motorola”, “LG”, and “Philips”. Meanwhile, several new lines of television units, record players, and telephones were surrounded by fascinated showgoers; anticipating the products’ release dates.

CES: The Place to Be

Since the debut of the very first Consumer Electronics Showcase, several companies have selected the event as the one and only place to unveil their products. To name a few, CES 1967 was where Philips introduced the first mini-cassette. In 1970, the very first VCR was presented by Sony. And in 1981, CES showgoers witnessed JVC (and Sony’s) release of the very first camcorder as well as the first CD player developed by another Sony collaboration with Philips.

In the following years, inventions such as the Nintendo Electronics System, Tablets, and HDTVs were presented. Within a decade, CES became the platform for “anyone who was anyone” in the consumer electronics market to present their highly awaited products. It was the annual event where showgoers flocked to see the next big thing in electronics, and where companies like Sony, Atari, and Toshiba held a large share of the show’s spotlight. Yet, fast forward a few decades to 2018 and one can see who really owns the show.

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Today’s CES

Whether you’re physically attending this year’s CES, or watching the show’s live stream, anyone who’s keeping an eye on the event will notice the path the show and its exhibited technology are taking. Over time, CES has transformed from being a huge marketing opportunity, to being a spectacle inundated with consumer inspired experiences. Take the above pictures for example. While being mindful of the very fact that technology wasn’t what it is today, we can still pinpoint the differences between CES then and CES today. In the very beginning, the showcase was all about the companies and what they had to show their audience members. Whereas today, it’s all about the audience members and the experience a product can offer them.

Power to the Consumer

Of course, to think that CES is all about the consumers would be a bit of an oversight. It’s still very much about the exhibitors. However, the focus has shifted significantly away from the companies in favor of focusing on the showgoers; the consumers. Whether it’s become an industry standard for companies to concentrate more on consumer UX, or whether it’s today’s technology enabling greater consumer interactions with products, the spotlight is now on the consumers.

Companies spend much more time developing experiences like the tunnel of OLED TVs by LG, pictured above. Through this unique display, audience members were able to see the vivid colors and the product’s compelling HDR graphics, while most likely visualizing how the TV would look in their own living rooms.

Creating the Experience

At this year’s CES, the panels, conferences, and keynotes will also reflect the show’s latest direction. With an entire conference track dedicated to it, UX and the “connected consumer” is rapidly becoming a hot topic and major focal point in the tech industry. As more tools and gadgets come online and begin to communicate with one another, electronics manufacturers are looking for ways to create a more fluid and interactive encounter between several devices and one consumer.


At UniKey, UX and the pursuit of seamless, connected experiences has been a tenant of ours since day one. We’re happy to see that as more technology becomes connected, and more applications come online,  the rest of the tech industry is beginning to be heavily motivated by their consumers’ experiences. To learn more about UniKey and its pursuit of the ultimate, connected user experience visit www.unikey.com

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