Welcome to another episode of Event Tech Podcast. Our hosts Brandt Krueger of Event Technology Consulting & Will Curran of Endless Events will be talking about their favorite tech from CES 2019. If you aren’t familiar CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the largest annual show that provides a launching pad for the latest in consumer technology. Will and Brandt will guide you through the 2019 show, what tech they thought stood out and how that technology can be applied to events. From leaps in TV technology to smart toilets this is an episode you will want to catch!

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Audio Transcription –  Favorite Things From CES 2019 – Event Tech Podcast Episode 1 

Intro : Welcome to the Event Tech Podcast, where we explore the ever-evolving world of event technology every week. This show is brought to you by Endless Events, the event AV company that doesn’t suck. Now, let’s talk tech.

Will Curran : Hey ladies and gentlemen. This is Will Curran from Endless Events, and I’m joined by the lovely Brandt Krueger. Hey, Brandt.

Brandt Krueger : Hello.

Will Curran : And today, we are talking about our favorite tech from CES 2019. If you don’t know what CES is, it’s the computer … It’s the Consumer Electronics Show.

Brandt Krueger : If you don’t know CES is, you’d be the same as Will.

Will Curran : You’re the same as Will. It’s the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s really a post all the newest consumer tech and everything like that. We just thought it’d be a cool episode as we were talking about last time about how there’s so many technology trends coming out in the future. How do these apply to events? So basically, how does CES relate to the events industry? So we figured we’d talked about some of our favorite things we saw and just we kind of have some of it up in front of us and then go through it and just kinda talk about where everything’s going. So let’s just talk about like initial trends of what we thought about CES 2019 and I know you have some strong opinions about it.

Brandt Krueger : And not just me. I mean a lot of the kind of more senior tech media, you know, the folks that have been doing this awhile saw this CES as being very iterative. It was not a lot that was really new.

Will Curran : Yeah, nothing really new.

Brandt Krueger : It was like okay, there’s a roll-up TVs that we saw last year. There’s a piece of-

Will Curran : Don’t spoil all of it.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah. Fair enough. It was a lot of like little things that made a lot of news coverage that we’re like, okay, we saw that last year or they’ve been telling us it’s been coming for years to come. And so it was a lot. There was very little like wow. Like that’s truly innovative stuff.

Will Curran : What’s funny too is I mean like I watch a ton of videos on YouTube, like probably an unhealthy amount when I look at it like my rescue time app to tell me how much time I spend on Youtube.

Brandt Krueger : Well there’s your problem.

Will Curran : There’s my problem where my time’s going. And I just watched so many and so many people said the exact same thing. Some people I think tried to hide it by saying like well, here’s all the cool things coming up. But everyone who like really got a chance to comment was like look, there’s nothing really new this year at all. And I figured we’d talk about some of the stuff that kind of like caught our eye because we obviously haven’t done a CES coverage before.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, there’s still plenty of things to talk about. But yeah, it was really kind of a surprising year as like wow nothing really blew my mind.

Will Curran : Totally. Totally. So I figured I’ll just talk through some of the tech and then talk about some things after it. Start with the weirdest one, which is this Kohler Numi 2.0 toilet, which is basically a smart toilet, which how does that even relate to the events industry? I don’t know, but I figure we could probably just talk about that is a prime example of nothing exciting.

Brandt Krueger : It’s experiential.

Will Curran : Experiential for sure.

Brandt Krueger : No, I can totally see that, though. You think about like a high-end event where especially like a festival or something like that. So you’ve got the standard attendees.

Will Curran : Coachella.

Brandt Krueger : Right? But then you’ve got the VIP.

Will Curran : Oh, yeah. So good. All right, let’s try to find another piece of technology because I think we have to end it on that one for sure.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, but I think it is though, you know, it’s funny to elaborate. It’s an easy one where we can laugh about the smart toilet and stuff like that. But what it is is it’s an example of how technology is getting so commoditized with the radios, the WI-Fi radios, LEDs, color changing, all this kind of stuff. They’re able to put it in literal everything. So if you want to take away the overall trend from that, that’s what it is, is that everything is going to be color changeable.

Will Curran : Totally.

Brandt Krueger : Everything is going to be customizable. Everything is going to be “have AI in it.” You know, ’cause it’s not really AI, it’s just simple machine learning.

Will Curran : It’s learning how you pee.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah. It’s learning. Well, I mean to be honest, what it does is this kind of thing, and I don’t remember if this particular model has it or not, but what they’re talking about these things is it’ll recognize you as you come in-

Will Curran : Like the warmth that your butt.

Brandt Krueger : Right, right, but it’ll, yeah, it will remember how warm do you want it, what’s the water pressure, all that kind of stuff.

Will Curran : They better have a bidet, too. I think they quoted it out as something like a $10,000 toilet or something crazy.

Brandt Krueger : Oh, yeah. Yeah. These are insane. These are absolutely-

Will Curran : Well, what was interesting, and I pitched this as an idea. I hope we do this episode, but they actually have the a-word, Amazon’s Echo built into it. I’m going to it by the best, ’cause I know if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably own one of those and if I say the word, it’ll go beep off but-

Brandt Krueger : I’m trying to remember. So I think one of the podcasts it was Shlomo. So hey Shlomo. Guillermo for the other one. And I want to say it was Alicia.

Will Curran : Oh Gosh. Oh, my gosh.

Brandt Krueger : It was Shlomo, Guillermo, and Alicia instead of saying the hot words-

Will Curran : We should just like come up with our own word for this podcast. We’ll call it … I know a local guy who does smart home tech and he calls it lady A. But back to the smart system being built into it. Like we do a whole episode on this, but it’s like ridiculous. Why does this need? Like, what are you gonna do? Like, hey a-word, can you open the toilet for me? Or hey a-word flush the toilet?

Brandt Krueger : No, it’s more going to be the smart monitors-

Will Curran : Settings

Brandt Krueger : So it just sees you walk into the room. I saw one of the teasers for Phillips Hue doing their … Because they’re coming out with a bunch of bathroom stuff.

Will Curran : Yeah, totally the mirror and everything like that.

Brandt Krueger : That was the idea is like it recognizes hey, it’s six in the morning, I’m just going to go to like a red light glow, so I’m not hitting you with blue light and all that kind of stuff. But then when it comes time for makeup or something like that, then you’re hitting me with the full spectrum light.

Will Curran : You know, it’s interesting. I think it’s talking about lighting and like go a little bit on a tangent, but why don’t we in the events industry utilize like circadian rhythm lighting more often, right? Like so everyone knows kind of we were talking about like the idea that like at night, lights should be warmer, dimmer, white light. Like darker, orange-ish light. Right? Whereas during the day, you want this daylight sunlight temperature and it can wake you up and it could actually affect how you sleep. That’s what we were walking into the convention center today. And I said “This lighting doesn’t do it for me” ’cause it was like six o’clock in the morning. Still dark and whatever. It was seven o’clock in the morning. And I was like this needs to be like daylight temperature. Wake me up right now, right?

Brandt Krueger : Right. Yeah.

Will Curran : I’m just wondering why we don’t really do that much in the events industry.

Brandt Krueger : I mean that’s a whole other ball game, right? It’s another passion of mine is the psychology of events. And so, yeah, so getting into the psychology of color, psychology of light and yeah. You know we talked about, I think it was in our favorites episode on event icons. It was the color purple means somebody’s going to die. And so, I’m fascinated by a lot of that stuff and that’s actually a fantastic thing that I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody bring up is messing, not messing with, but messing with.

Will Curran : No, for sure.

Brandt Krueger : Not messing with, but you know, messing with people’s circadian rhythms. So shifting the colors from blues to red or something like that as the evening goes on. I think the only thing is though, would that be encouraging people to fall asleep as opposed to stay up late and party?

Will Curran : Yeah, totally. Well, I mean you think about it like, I mean for me as an AV event producer side of things, like you also don’t want to do daylight color temperature and you’re stage room. Everyone wants it theatrical. Darken the audience, brightly lit stage, right?

Brandt Krueger : Ambers.

Will Curran : Yeah, yeah, exactly. And don’t make it too bright, but they kind of get that conflicting side. But granted we are also only in a general session for two hours a day

Brandt Krueger : If you’re lucky.

Will Curran : If you’re lucky. But I guess so. You know, if you get locked into all day, then definitely hopefully daylight temperature for sure.

Brandt Krueger : All right. Back to CES.

Will Curran : Back to CES

Brandt Krueger : A good tangent, though.

Will Curran : Let’s talk about health products. One of my favorite products, and I think that was the only thing I got excited about at the end, was that Nokia came out with a watch that has ECG monitoring. And obviously, Apple Watch also had ECG monitoring and got launched whatever three or four months ago. And so now they’re coming out with their own version for Android obviously. And I think that’s just really exciting to talk about like health products and making it more exciting for you to wear these health products. But I’m curious what your opinion is. And then I read an article that I wanted to share and talk about when it comes to ECG monitoring that’s been really, really interesting. But that was one of the exciting things I think I saw. ‘Cause you have a smartwatch. I’m wearing a smart band right now and I’m curious how many other event professionals are also doing the same thing as well.

Brandt Krueger : I mean a lot. I mean, just in anecdotal looking around, I’d say easily the number one watch that I see on event folks is the Apple Watch.

Will Curran : Interesting.

Brandt Krueger : I mean, maybe it’s just because I know it’s one of the things that like when you get a new car, you see that car everywhere. Maybe because I have a smartwatch, I see smartwatches everywhere. But I see the Apple Watch a lot on event folks, especially like venue, hotel folks. I see a lot of smartwatches. And of that smartwatches, 90% is Apple, easily.

Will Curran : So my theory is that we walk probably the most out of any profession. So we also want to destroy all of her friends in like our Fitbit challenges and everything like that. Some we’re like oh, it’s the one thing I can … Yeah, I’m trapped inside a venue all day, but at least I got my steps up.

Brandt Krueger : Oh yeah. I mean, I remember the first year that kind of Fitbit’s, were like really popular. And absolutely we’re all like I got 44,000 steps today. Oh yeah? I got 75,000. How did you get 75,000? You had the same call time.

Will Curran : It’s so true though. It’s so true. Well, what’s interesting too about this ECG monitoring, the idea is supposed to be tell like heart palpitations things. I’m not a doctor, so I’m qualified. I just think it’s a cool technology. But what’s interesting is that it was talking about how this technology actually is creating … It was basically an article I think, I’ll link it down below, I’m sure. Is that basically, I think The Verge did it on how the Apple Watch is creating more issues with hospitals then it’s helping because what happens is you have a bad reading, people freak out and think they’re really unhealthy.

And so, these people would go and be like oh my God, something’s wrong. And in reality, nothing’s wrong. You’re totally healthy. And the irony of it is the people who tend to wear ECG smartwatches and everything like that aren’t people who need ECG monitoring and have heart issues. They’re the perfectly healthy people. So it’s this irony of like we’re both wearing watches but we’re both pretty healthy dudes. And it’s just really funny because we want to have these healthy products all the time when reality do we really even need them? Sounds like CES in general.

Brandt Krueger : It’s tough. But again, take a step out to the larger trend there, right? It’s the quantification of everything, right? So it’s that trend of it started with how many steps and then it went to like very early on, I remember my Fitbit would do steps and it’s somehow it was figuring out stairs. So like it knew how many levels up and down I was doing. And then, when I moved onto the Android watch that I’ve got, it actually has a heart rate monitor in it, but I don’t usually turn it on ’cause it’s a killer on battery.

Brandt Krueger : But you know, every now and then if I’m working out or something like that, I run it, but it’s also got access to all of my other, you know, the steps and all that kind of stuff on it. And so it’s kind of the natural progression. It’s like okay, then now we’re going to measure, not from heart rate but then the EEG and then … So yes, there’s going to be benefits, there’s going to be … But this idea of just the being able to, if you are a person that wants to be able to measure something, there’s going to be something that lets you measure it.

Will Curran : Well, I mean brings a big challenge too of like data collection. I like data ’cause for data’s sake is sometimes crappy. And I think what we’re probably needing right now is like we’re doing, I think a bunch of apps are doing a good job connecting to each other to share like hey, wait, data across the board. Right? And becoming universal for everything. But I think one of the is that what are you gonna do with that data? Like I think myself, I track my sleep, I track all my food, I track all my steps. But then like if something’s not popping up and is like, you’re in the right direction after the last couple of weeks or something like that, I feel like it’s just data for data’s sake sometimes it feels like.

Brandt Krueger : So speaking of tracking food and things like that, one of the other big stories, it was so funny ’cause it was only barely a tech trend and yet it was a huge story was the Impossible Burger 2.0.

Will Curran : Total. I’m so proud you brought that up.

Brandt Krueger : And I love this idea. I truly do because I like a good hamburger, but I also appreciate the environmental impact of beef production around the world. I appreciate the fact that I could probably stand to lose a couple of pounds. I appreciate all of these things. And so the idea to me that they can actually develop a burger that has 100% vegetable protein, that looks and tastes like a real burger. Wow. I mean that’s so amazing. And I can’t wait to try one. And the fact that this one-

Will Curran : Oh, you haven’t tried to even the first one?

Brandt Krueger : No, no I hadn’t.

Will Curran : I can give you some feedback on what [inaudible 00:13:03].

Brandt Krueger : Well, I heard it was nyah.

Will Curran : I have an interesting perspective on it too.

Brandt Krueger : So why don’t you give me your perspective on 1.0 and then we’ll talk about 2.0.

Will Curran : Yeah, well I mean not a lot of people know this about me. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this on a podcast or even publicly on a media piece of ours, but I actually can’t eat beef anymore. So burgers used to be my favorite food. I love burgers and I had probably the best burger you’ve ever had in your entire life. And basically, I don’t know what happened. My body I think just started rejecting beef. I started feeling sick, have run to the bathroom really right after I eat beef. Too much information for a podcast, I’m sure. Thank God there’s no video.

Will Curran : And so, you know, it was interesting that the Impossible Burger kind of came out and I was in Denver of all places and a cool little rooftop bar place near that hotel that you stayed at too. And they had the Impossible Burger. And I was really interested. I said “Okay, I’m going to get this.” And I’m not going to lie. I probably would order it again. I could get used to it. I didn’t think it tasted 100% like beef, but I can’t eat soy or anything like that. That’s just not good. I don’t like that at all. This is the closest thing to it. So the 2.0 is the part I’m think I’m most excited for. I’m sure it’s even better.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah. And so for folks that don’t know, I mean it is, it is 100% vegetable protein. I think they flipped from wheat to soy and they’re using like beat proteins to try and simulate like the juices and things like that-

Will Curran : So it like bleeds like beef.

Brandt Krueger : It looks and tastes by all accounts like a real hamburger. So the 1.0 kind of came in patty form. And so 2.0 comes basically in like ground chuck form, where you can form it, you can do meatballs, you can do sliders. Yeah. It’s basically the same consistency. It’s everything. Chefs are also like digging it because it’s got the same consistency. You can do this stuff with it burger. And so, again, moving out to the bigger trend here, now think about your events. And so when you’re trying to be responsible or green responsible or things like that, not only offering a vegetarian option, but offering a vegetarian option that a meat lover would love. It’s going to be better for the environment. It’s going to be better for your attendees. This really has the power to shake things up.

Will Curran : Oh, for sure. I mean just in talking to people across food trends and on our show I’ve just learned that there’s just this movement of we have to cater to so many different people and I can see as being one of those things where like hey, we’re going to just do this and get rid of the beef option potentially altogether. And I would be totally fine with it. I mean, obviously I don’t eat beef, so I’m not sure if you would.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, I would love to try it. But it’s the kind of thing … Like people that have tried it said I would order it again as a burger replacement. It’s still a little expensive. Like they’re still sorting out the bucks, so it’s not ridiculous. Like version 0.01-

Will Curran : $25 Burger.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, it was like really expensive. But now it’s starting to get down to … My understanding is it’s kind of in the zone of a premium burger. So like if you go to like a, I dunno, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant or something like that where you’re like you’re getting a premium hamburger. It’s in that range.

Will Curran : Can you just do that voice for the rest of the podcast.

Brandt Krueger : Lovey and I are going to eat a premium hamburger.

Will Curran : Only Impossible Burger.

Brandt Krueger : All right, so what else do we got coming from CES?

Will Curran : Yeah, so display tech. So obviously it’s always a big TV. Like we went from 4K to 8K and then we have all these OLED is the big trend in TVs. And as an owner of a high end TV I love watching movies on, you know like I love watching this because I’m like what’s the next thing that I’m gonna wish I had, right? And it’s funny ’cause 8K comes out, right? And 8K is obviously, was it? Three times technically higher than 4K, but then we think to ourselves, and we say this is AV folks, people like we don’t even use 4K really that often in the AV world in events. So maybe 4K will now become cheap enough that it’s at events. Does it really even mean … Maybe we have a conversation about that in general. It’s like as we continue to go higher and higher resolutions, is it even worth continuing?

Brandt Krueger : And that’s what was funny about even HD is that most of the time nobody could tell the difference between 1920, 1080p versus 720. So even though it was quite a significant higher resolution of the two flavors of HD, I would always tell people just go ahead and render at 720 because nobody’ll tell the difference. And it renders so much faster when you’re doing it too. And I would just do it and not tell people. And the other thing is that the content is lagging behind. And so they keep coming out with these higher and higher resolution displays, but there’s no content to support it. And so, they’re just starting to put out some 4K content on Netflix and things like that. And some of the networks are starting to broadcast in 4K.

Brandt Krueger : So fact that there’s already folks that are displaying 8K and beyond is ridiculous. Great. We’ve got people pushing the boundaries as far as what … Because eventually it’s going to be so fine of a resolution, it’ll look like reality.

Will Curran : For sure. It’s going to be so awesome.

Brandt Krueger : It’s going to happen in our lifetime. But I mean, as far as, again, as far as meetings and events go, there’s no real reason, in my opinion at this point to go over standard HD.

Will Curran : No, for sure. I mean I don’t think you’re ever going to be able to tell the difference for sure. I mean to be honest, when I got my 4K TV and went up from a 1080p TV, I barely could tell. The thing that made the difference for me though was HDR, high dynamic range. Getting the true blacks and the OLED where literally like when you have blacks, it’s in the middle of screen is completely black and there’s no glow into it or anything like that which I think is crazy.

Will Curran : But some other crazy things I think that we’ve kind of seen when it comes to the event tech is obviously like thinner displays and then flexible display. So last year we got the rollable TV as like a prototype and now LG is coming out saying we have a rollable TV that goes up and down and it’s coming out for sale.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, it rolls up like a window shade into a full TV.

Will Curran : And that costs you a quarter of your salary, but.

Brandt Krueger : The thing that’s fascinating to me, and I’ve been saying this for years and it’s going to happen is another one of those it’s going to happen in our lifetime, is that displays are getting so flexible and thin that you’re just going to be able to just slap display material on anything.

Brandt Krueger : And so, as you’re thinking about stages, I honestly think we’re going to reach a point where we don’t have projection anymore. It’s not going to be projection anymore ’cause it’s going to be display.

Will Curran : Totally. That’ll be cool.

Brandt Krueger : And so instead of having projection on 16 by whatever screen, it’ll actually be just thin, super ultra thin display material and then stage sets. So instead of embedding a television into the podium or lectern, depending on how you want to do it, I am, by the way, let’s just get this out in the open. I don’t give a crap whether you call it lectern or podium, right?

Will Curran : That’s when you should go back and watch #EventIcons a why you should make your events more theatrical. Do we even have that on air debate or was that before show?

Brandt Krueger : I don’t remember.

Will Curran : I just remember we got it really-

Brandt Krueger : I just don’t give a crap. Just call it whatever you want. So anyway, so if you’re embedding it into a podium or something like that, you don’t have to embed a TV into that. You can actually just like cover it in display materials. We’re going to get there because you think about the TV material. So you’ve got a roll-up TV. All right, great. So that means that display is capable of being that flexible. We’re not that far away now from that future that I’m just calling for for years.

Will Curran : I mean the curveable LED screens and things like that, right? Like, so for example, Michael Cerbelli, The Hot List this year, he like talks about this tunnel of LED screens. I mean, it’s like nothing fantastic. LED screens first came out. The first thing that people want to do is make them flexible. What’s interesting to me too is that I think we’re going to see lowering costs in LED screens as well. And when you have these like for example, I mean not even talk about the roll with you, that’s I think more of a parlor gimmick.

Will Curran : I mean it makes sense if you’re putting up against a window and you have a nice apartment, you want the window up and sometimes the TV down. Cool. Makes total sense. But I mean, be honest, there’s no difference between that and a retractable TV that could go up and down. But like the thing that was mind-blowing to me was that wallpaper TV that LG made that just slapped on the wall. Uses magnets, boom goes on wall. And you know, that TV compared to the rollable TV is much more affordable and I think, yeah, you’re right, it’s going to give us a point where it’s okay, you can do this flexibility.

Will Curran : But then LEDs are that kind of next steps. So we’ve obviously had LED screens for awhile. We’re seeing dropping technology costs and they’re still really expensive ’cause everyone wants more high resolution as the newest thing comes out. So it doesn’t feel like the price really changes.

Brandt Krueger : But projection is still advancing too. So we started seeing a lot of like ultra short throw projectors out there. So you’re able to just put something on the floor two inches away from the wall and four feet high. It projects this giant image. 90-inch television equivalent or bigger.

Will Curran : Well, the big change I think this year talking about projection for a split second. Definitely should come back to LEDs ’cause I want to talk about that Samsung Wall technology they were working on, but projection, we had laser projectors are the big new thing that are now stocked in almost every production company. And to give everyone idea, like it stinks because this isn’t really a benefit to anybody but the AV company. But before when you had big projection, there was chances the bulb was going to break if you didn’t take care of it. If it’s too hot and you turn it off and you unplugged it. Boom, bulb could blow. And the bulb was always the most expensive part of the projector. $60,000 projector could have a $20,000 bulb inside of it.

Will Curran : With laser projectors, they cool down instantly. They turn on instantly, they last way longer. So now you shouldn’t have this insane cost with you on a really, really bright projector. It’s going to last way longer. So, therefore, if it lasts longer, it’s like audio. Audio is always the cheapest thing on AV because it lasts forever. It never breaks. And we’re using the same speakers we’ve been using for the last 10 years. My hope is that we see that same kind of trend in projection as well.

Brandt Krueger : So back to the wall you were talking. Tell us a little bit about that.

Will Curran : Yeah, so Samsung, I think it was Samsung, came out with basically what they called the Wall. And last year they came out with it. I think it was huge. It was like 80 feet by 20 feet or something like that. And it was this idea that hey, this is a single TV screen. It’s not just like an LED screen that we’re used to where you can tell, you can see the little pixels. It almost looks like a TV. And it basically was these component-level similar to an LED screen where you have panels that come together.

Will Curran : Well they basically want an even crazier this year. I’ll have to look up the size of it, but I think it was something like 120 feet by something like basically as big as most people’s projection screens I think. And I think it’s such a cool technology-

Brandt Krueger : Or an entire wall.

Will Curran : An entire wall. It looks like a TV. And I think that’s the important part about it is that everyone’s craving for higher resolution, more clear and crisp. So how can we deliver that to them because, I mean, to be honest, like clients come to us all the time ask for gigantic LED screens. They don’t realize that thing cost $2,500 a panel. So you take $250 to rent that panel times two foot by two foot. So you know, we want to do an 80-foot screen by a 10-foot screen, boom, like you’re looking at hundreds of panels right there.

Will Curran : And so I think as we start to see that technology drop in the consumer side, it should also drop on the event side as well. It especially should.

Brandt Krueger : All right. So I mean like we talked about from the beginning, there wasn’t a whole lot of innovation. So let’s kind of just round it out.

Will Curran : But this I want to talk about. Yeah, this is really cool. So actually I realized I forgot about this until I pulled it up just now. But I’m huge into VR stuff. I have an HTC Vive at home and when the Pro came out, we all thought, meh, you know, it’s not a big improvement. It makes it so you can barely see the screen door effect. Well, I can talk more about that all day long. But I never felt the need to pay the money to go to Pro.

Will Curran : The wireless unit came out and made wireless. That was a huge innovation. That was last year CES. This year though, they dropped some new things and to be honest, their second announcement about their other unit, it’s meh. It’s not a big deal. But this Vive pro, have you heard about this yet?

Brandt Krueger : Lay it on me.

Will Curran : All right, so here we go. So basically instead of them trying to make a higher resolution screen, they said what if we can eye track inside of VR? So smart, right? So you can do things like for example, do marketing tasks and things like that. See where people are looking. That’s kind of like the obvious eye tracking. So you can do that right now without VR. But what’s great about this, and this is where I saw great demo of this, is that now does eye tracking, it can put the parts of the screen that you’re looking at in higher resolution than the outside, which is how our eyes work right now.

Will Curran : Like if I’m looking at you sitting across from me right now, you’re in focus but everything else is kind of blurry. This basically replicates that same fact. So the thing I’ll be looking at is insanely high resolution and on the outside and everyone who demoed this said it looked creepily real. If you haven’t done full room scale VR with an HTC Vive, you have to do it. I know it sounds like overhype, but you have to do. It’s so cool. It’s so much fun. Even if it’s just for a couple of shooting zombie games.

Will Curran : But this could be really game-changing because now people can get clarity of what they’re looking at. And someone said that they tried the Vive Pro versus the Vive Pro Eye, they’re calling it with the eye tracking, and they said like you could read, look at all the details on this BMW logo for this test that they were doing.

Will Curran : So cool. And I don’t know how this is really, again, applies the events industry, we can do our anecdotal talking about VR doesn’t really do much for the events industry, but I think this is just a really cool piece of technology. Of how we’re, again, improving slight improvements. Like most people hear about this and like, oh, does eye tracking. I’m not putting money into that. I’m not going to get upgrade. But-

Brandt Krueger : Well, I mean the VR and AR, we’ve talked about this on Event Icons before, is that that one of the things that’s coming down the way is an influx of cash. So, the various governments and various corporations have decided to invest in this technology this coming year basically. And so US government is buying a bunch of HoloLens for some experimental army purposes and things like that. And then I think it was Walmart is using it heavily in training.

Brandt Krueger : And so, getting an influx of cash into this technology is going to do these … I mean you describe it as incremental, but that’s a pretty big step. Being able to do that kind of stuff on the fly is going to be huge. It’s just as far as increasing the overall quality of the experience. And so as more of this money kind of comes into this industry, you’re going to see more of those improvements. You won’t see it on the high end. That’s going to be reserved for those that are paying the money, but it filters down just like a car. What was the new feature this year is standard equipment in 10 years.

Will Curran : Yeah, totally. Totally. Yeah. I think it will be really, really interesting to see where it goes, but I mean if you haven’t done VR before and you’re listening to this podcast, definitely go try out room scale VR at like an arcade or something like that. But I think there’s a lot of value in that portion. I think we’re a lot of people get disdain for VR is definitely, I think I was talking about this today too, is that like you just put on that Daydream headset using your phone. Cool, you can call that VR technically as VR, but that’s like telling someone like, yeah, you have a smartphone, but really you have a flip phone compared to like have you seen the iPhone? Right? That sort of thing.

Brandt Krueger : I mean there’s definitely event applications for VR and AR both on frontend and backend. And we’ve talked about some of that in the past as well and I’m excited to start to see some of the backend stuff. But today we’re talking about CES.

Will Curran : CES all day long. I’m trying to think of other cool things.

Brandt Krueger : Well, there was a lot of the kitschy stuff. So there was a lot of coverage about the smart luggage that wanders around.

Will Curran : That Brandt really wants to kick over and tip over.

Brandt Krueger : That’s one of the better quotes that I heard was it was like, oh yeah, that’s the guy I’m going to be trying to get around in New York airport. So I could absolutely see this being something more to be ridiculed for rather than ooh, he’s got smart luggage that follows him around.

Will Curran : Totally. Totally. And can’t even take it on the plane anyways.

Brandt Krueger : Well yeah. How’s that going to work? I mean, you’re not going to be able to check in. It’s got a giant lithium-ion battery in it. You’re not going to be able to check it underneath. And the first time one of those things explodes, it’s going to be announced, the pre-plane announcements for the next two years, like the Samsung was where it’s like if you have a smart bag, please make sure that it doesn’t follow you around the airplane because it might catch on fire and explode.

Will Curran : Yeah, totally. Or it’d be funny too ’cause then it’s like, you know, they was talking about like Skynet and robots taking over, right. It’s going to be the luggage that takes over the plane.

Brandt Krueger : This vision of luggage wandering up and down the aisle unattended.

Will Curran : Well, better serve me some drinks at least, too, right?

Brandt Krueger : And that was part of the problem is that a lot of the news coverage centered around kind of the kitschy stuff that was like just inside the door. So like you kind of go in and you get your four top products and then you file your report. So there was the smart luggage. I think the smart toilet was in a lot of the coverage that was right there. The roll up screen that we’d already seen the year before. Yeah.

Will Curran : You know what was cool. I mean this is … Sorry to go back on display tech, but there was something actually really cool, I mean, that people can incorporate in the design, but LG did this gigantic curving wall. Just showing off their flexible OLED displays. It’s huge. And people said like when you go to this display village inside of this, I think it’s in the actual Las Vegas Convention Center. Like these TV manufacturers just go big and sometimes it’s impressive from just an AV standpoint. Look at all the screens they brought together and just doing like space imagery and you’re just like, whoa.

Brandt Krueger : Yeah, what media server is running all that. Geeking out on it, I tell you what, some of those LG screens are such ridiculous resolution. I saw a couple of … They’ve got these like strips that are making maybe a foot, foot and a half wide and maybe six to eight feet tall, designed for like kiosks and signage and stuff like that. I honestly I thought it was like a lit from behind LED print. So like a bus stop, things like that where it’s lit from behind. And all of a sudden I realized it was slowly changing and I was like oh crap, that’s a screen.

Brandt Krueger : Again, going back to what you were talking about, the insane resolutions, maybe we’re not ready for it from a content standpoint, but in that high traffic, high visibility areas, it looks like signage. It looks like permanent signage rather than that kind of pixelated stuff that you see because it’s always changing. Yeah. It’ll look like a physical signage.

Will Curran : Totally. Totally. I think people will come to expect it for sure too. Yeah, I was just kind of scrolling through some more like gadgets and things like that that we found and to be honest, we covered a lot. Again, like I said at the beginning, the one interesting trend that I kind of wanted to bring up was this idea of like electric vehicles as well.

Will Curran : So for example, at this show, Harley Davidson launched their first electric bicycle and it was like something like $22,000 or something crazy. Sorry, $29,000. Purchase price of a car, but that’s hardly for you. But I think the big thing that we saw and we started last year at CES was that like for example, Kia announced their e-Nero, which is now on sale as of today and we’re just seeing more and more electric cars that can go to the 300 miles plus range. I think it’s just fantastic because I mean from an event transportation standpoint-

Brandt Krueger : Ford’s going to do an F-150.

Will Curran : An F-150 electric. Awesome. I’m just excited for when we start to see like those charter vans and things of that are electric. Right? And I think that’s when we start to see like the major, major change as well. I mean we kind of are going to be that last hold offer, the electric side of things. But then also the big trend in transportation as I’m jumping all over the place too. It was like a last mile transportation. Like your Bird scooters or Lime scooters, things like that. Right? Like huge trend of this last year. It was said like on Product Hunt, it was the number one product of the year because it changed everything. I remember seeing scooters on the ground looking around out the hotel window see-

Brandt Krueger : I don’t think they have them here.

Will Curran : I don’t think they have them here. It’s too cold.

Brandt Krueger : Did you hear that they were having an outage in like, I think I want to say it was Switzerland or something like that. They were starting to shut off randomly. So people would be going 20 miles an hour and just turns off. So they were like, oh, we better shut down the system because they didn’t know what was causing it. And so then they gave people like a $20 credit. That’s like dude, I was going 20 miles an hour and this scooter just stopped.

Will Curran : They had to like run up to after it. But I think that’s the new cool trend, too. I think that we’re seeing in that … I think there was some announcements too with Lime. I think they came out with a bike during the show. And I think that’s changing also the events industry as well though, because now it’s not oh, I have to Uber this place, which was Uber was huge to our industry, but now scooters are totally more common. But I think what’s going to be interesting though, that I haven’t quite seen and maybe it does exist, but like for example, if I have a big event and I want people to go like five or six blocks, is there a way for me to order the Lime scooter to be able to go and deliver a ton of Lime scooters. Just ride to my venue. That would be really cool.

Brandt Krueger : Alright, well I think that’s pretty much getting down there for what we saw from CES 2019. So we hope you kind of enjoyed our recap of what we had going on. It was an interesting year, not from so much the what was seen, but maybe what didn’t come down the way and what wasn’t new. That’s kind of what we had for CES.

Will Curran : Yeah, totally. It’s totally I know, that was it. That was cool. I hope you guys really enjoyed this conversation.

Brandt Krueger : Iterative laptop stuff we were joking about like the Dell XPS moved the nose cam from the bottom to the top, that kind of stuff.

Will Curran : And like someone came out with like a thousand lumen light bulb that has like a vent on top, I think. I forgot what company came out with it, but that was crazy ’cause there’s a bright light bulb.

Brandt Krueger : Built-in fan.

Will Curran : You guys don’t care about this stuff. Yeah. Yeah, with the little fan in it.

Brandt Krueger : It’s brighter than the sun.

Will Curran : Everyone’s like you can’t tell on video, but this thing’s really bright.

Brandt Krueger : Hey Guilermo, turn on the sunlight.

Will Curran : I need a tan.

Brandt Krueger : All right folks, thank you so much for joining us on the Event Tech podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. Please be sure to subscribe on all your favorite platforms out there. Get the word out, share the word. Let us know that we’re firing. Let folks know that we’re firing this things up. And check out us on all the platforms, iTunes, podcasts, all the fun things like that. We’re using a hashtag #eventtechpodcasts, so let us know who you want to see on the show, who you want to talk to, what the top trends that you want to hear us talking about. Maybe you want to hear us break down blockchain or something along those … I keep threatening to do that. Oh, we’re going to get stuck the super blockchain episode.

Will Curran : Oh God, that’d be the episode I find a guest host instead of me.

Brandt Krueger : Exactly. So thanks so much for joining us on the Event Tech podcast.

Outro:  Thanks again for listening to the Event Tech podcast. Be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting app. Also, be sure to head to eventtechpodcast.com and leave us a comment about this week’s episode. We’ll see you next week on the Event Tech podcast.

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Brandt Krueger

Author Brandt Krueger

With over 20 years experience in the meetings and events industry, Brandt has spoken at industry events and seminars all over the world, been published in numerous magazines and websites, and teaches public and private classes on meeting and event technology and production. He provides freelance technical production services, and is the owner of Event Technology Consulting.

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