CES is one of the largest consumer electronics shows of the year. Consumers and media come together to discover the latest innovations on the market, to touch, feel and demo the products, and to hear first-hand how the sector is evolving. Due to COVID, the 2021 live event was cancelled, and a virtual version was confirmed in its place. 

Category  :    Best Use of Technology Event

Sponsor   :    Cvent

Winner      :    Philips

Event        :    Philips at Virtual CES 2021

Location   :   Virtual

The Objectives
In a year where everyone in the world was sitting behind computers, the events team at Philips knew that people were struggling with screen fatigue and they needed to create an experience that cut through all of the digital noise.

With only 6 weeks to go before the show, they needed to find a way to transform all of the normal live touchpoints into an engaging virtual space to give visitors the same breadth and depth of content in an immersive, inviting environment whilst achieving the same interactions, dwell times, and media coverage as with a live event. 

The Challenges
A traditional website wasn’t going to deliver a compelling experience, so the team needed to try something far more innovative which also had a realistic feel. They also considered the visitor journey and the length of content. 

In order to make the content consumable it needed to be both short and sharp whilst also still being informative and the scripts were carefully crafted to relay all the necessary information but in bitesize chunks. 

Having piloted a new virtual platform 3DVista for a B2B radiology event the team had created in November 2020, they decided they would use the same technology but rethink their approach to appeal to a consumer audience. 

3DVista is a technology that can create multimedia virtual tours that captivate with interactivity and an impressive range of features such as hotspots, immersive video and audio.

The Experience
By taking inspiration from the gaming and high-quality 360 architecture world, the team decided to create a real-life environment in a virtual platform.  

They developed a persona-based storytelling approach to educate, inform and inspire visitors and put them at the heart of their stories and experience, by welcoming them as ‘returning friends’ to the neighbourhood. 

The team developed a suite of custom features and functionalities which were integrated into 3DVista which included info boxes for when a visitor is interested in a particular product they can click on the relevant hotspot which will then launch an info box with more information, custom UI which provided quick access buttons to ‘Connect with Philips’ and schedule a meeting. It also included a map that expands and enables the visitor to jump to different scenes in the exhibition. 

Interactive personas were included which automatically played when the visitor first enters the scene and floating tool tips of short descriptions and names of products displayed in the space so a visitor can easily navigate to relevant content. 

As the visitor first arrived in the experience, they were immediately immersed into suburban utopia. They saw the backdrop of a beautiful neighbourhood and were greeted by Maureen the friendly neighbour in-the-know who invites them to drop in on the neighbours homes to ‘catch up’ with the other persona couples and hear their news. 

Maureen also explained how to navigate through the space by simply clicking the flashing hotpots or using the map. 

Visitors could easily explore around the neighbourhood and into each of the houses which comprised of 3 stylish main houses, a modern innovation gallery and a welcoming neighbourhood set in the park. 

As the story was non-linear it could be enjoyed in any order and visitors could easily hop from home to home. For those who prefer to skip the storytelling experience, there was an Innovation Gallery showcasing all the products and solutions in one place. 

The Results
The event was a phenomenal success and exceeded expectations and KPIs. 

The key objective was to create an experience that cut through all of the digital noise and by using 3DVista to create a lifelike environment with user friendly navigation, the audience was captivated as they explored the neighbourhood and browsed the content. 

They engaged viewers, with over 4200 visitors, with an average of 6 minutes dwell time and a 90% video completion rate.

The media coverage of CES was remarkable with over 500 original news articles generating 24 million media impressions. This was 6 times more news articles than Philips at CES 2020 generated. 

On top of these outstanding successes, they were voted 3rd out of 2000 CES exhibitors by EXHIBITOR magazine, the leader in trade show and corporate event marketing education.  

They received more than 4.1 million paid social impressions with over 10,000 clicks, exceeding their goal of 6,500 clicks from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

On Twitter, over 11,400 organic impressions and 170 engagements were received which outperformed their goal of 50.

Philips pushed the boundaries of what was possible and created something that set them apart from the competition. They used technology to produce an environment that was informative, friendly and welcoming, and allowed them to connect to the audience on a level that was very unique.

Judges Comments
This award was for the best use of technology and though all the entries demonstrated their use of technology to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, the judges felt that Philips just piped their closest competitor to the post. Their entry stood out because of their ability to provide an immersive, custom built, experience for their audience using a real-life environment in a virtual platform.

The result was a personalised and engaging experience that enabled visitors to easily explore virtual neighbourhoods and select the content and the information they wanted to consume. The technology that was developed was specifically for this event and for this audience which is what really made this entry special. 

The use of technology was not simply implemented to use as many features as possible but seemed well thought through and for a purpose.

Well done Philips for using your event technology to delight your audience.