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Showgoers wait before the Panasonic opening day keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2013. (RICK WILKING/REUTERS)
Showgoers wait before the Panasonic opening day keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2013. (RICK WILKING/REUTERS)

COMMENTARY

How a trade show can live in real world and online Add to ...

On Sunday, I landed in Las Vegas to attend the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. At the world’s largest technology trade show, I was looking forward to a jam-packed week of announcements and innovation, as CES sets the tone for technology this year.

With more than 3,250 exhibitors and about 20,000 new products, ranging from ultrahigh-definition televisions to self-driving cars and brain-controlled helicopters, I haven’t been disappointed.

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Attending press conferences and testing out some of the world’s most innovative products have offered an authentic experience that can’t be matched.

But CES has done an incredible job of offering secondary social experiences that have provided added value for attendees, and great insight for anyone unable to attend.

Consumers and media have been given an all-access pass, influencing digital coverage of the event. With a mix of actual conference activity and digital experiences, CES 2013 has demonstrated how trade shows can simultaneously live in the real world and online.

Here are some great examples:

CES TV

CES TV, the official home for video from the 2013 conference, offered a sneak peek of the show and the chance to catch up on highlights, including keynotes and press conferences. With so much news coming out of CES, this is a valuable resource to keep up-to-speed on coverage that might have been missed throughout the week.

Videos are organized by content and cater to individual needs. For example, one video is dedicated to helping CES first-timers prepare for and navigate the conference. Others are categorized by new products and show footage from the exhibitor’s booth, offering an up-close look at the product and its key features.

To complement this resource, other social media tools are being leveraged to share CES TV content more broadly.

Social sharing

Not everyone has access to experience the showroom floor first-hand. With so many social media tools available, brands and other attendees shared experiences as they happened, and provided access in ways that weren’t previously possible. By day two, CES reported 3.4 million CES-related mentions through social media, as compared with 1.4 million last year in total.

With an official #2013CES hashtag and social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Flickr and Instagram, CES has made it easy to track and engage in online conversations around the conference. These tools have also been used in collaboration with CES TV.

In addition to CES’s own social media activity, exhibitors at the conference have provided insight throughout the week using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to give live updates. Media at CES not only shared their experiences in real time on personal social accounts, but also reported live through their respective outlets. The Globe and Mail has been streaming live coverage from its on-site technology reporter all week.

Mashable has also been reporting live throughout the week, even creating the CES Mashable Challenge, tracking its reporters’ activity racing from one conference to the next. The challenge is to move as fast as they can to cover as much as possible. This is a great example of a creative way that one outlet is working to bring consumers as much insight as quickly as they can.

Live streaming

One of the biggest issues I’ve noticed at CES is how packed the press conferences are. This has become frustrating for some media personnel, who fly in from out of town only to wait in line for hours, or don’t get into a press conference altogether.

Many brands, including Samsung , Sony and Pebble, have live-streamed their press conferences this year, offering inside access to those who couldn’t be there in person. Everyone wants the news first, but the fact is, not everyone can attend. Live streaming is a valuable resource for media and consumers who can’t make it out, and a great solution to the overcrowding issue.

While nothing beats experiencing CES first-hand, technology has found cool ways to make sure everyone gets their fix.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is the co-founder ofNorth Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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