CES 2021: Rapid Response – Day 2 Debrief

The virtual conference is in full swing. Yesterday, featured 80 panel sessions and five keynotes.

The topic of AI and 5G was a common thread across multiple focus areas including: frictionless commerce, streamed entertainment, telemedicine, remote work, connected mobility and more.

Today, panel sessions and keynotes continue. Below please find highlights from yesterday’s events.

To reference previous CES 2021 debriefs click here.

Computing Chips to Flying Cars and Diversifying Business

Keynote speakers weren’t just talking tech. GM CEO Mary Barra, AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach and Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, all acknowledge the multitude of unforeseen challenges of the past year. Many of the CEO’s also addressed why committing to diversity and inclusion is good business.

General Motors was a top keynote of the day proclaiming “intention to be the most inclusive company in the world.” In addition, GM envisions a world with zero congestion, zero accidents and zero emissions. Revealing an all-electric mobility portfolio, GM plans to launch 30 new electric vehicles globally over the next five years. Product reveals include: the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq EV SUV and Cadillac Celestiq; plus, GM’s Halo Portfolio has a self-driving car and autonomous single-seat VTOL air taxi. GM’s new endeavor BrightDrop will electrify product delivery. FedEx, in partnership, being the first delivery company to use BrightDrop’s EV600 trucks. Click here to learn more.

AMD keynote highlighted the demand for high-speed computing – especially for healthcare, remote work, gaming and other digital video content. AMD also announced their new mobile processor (Ryzen 5000). Click here to learn more.

Trust and The Impact of AI on Health Care

Reporter: Lara Black, Digital Director, OMD EMEA

How can we trust something that we can’t fully see or understand? This was the key question tackled by panelists as they discussed what effects AI will have on the healthcare ecosystem.

Developing trust in AI is tied to three key pillars. First, trust the technology to do what it should, that data collection methods and inputs are transparent and bias is mitigated to ensure clean data. Secondly, regulatory trust. Third, human interaction in the context that the tech will be used to inform decisions.

The focus of the panel was on the medical sector; however, these same principles translate to other industries. Moving forward, it’s going to be crucial for companies to preserve the integrity of their data. In doing so, transparency with consumers is key.

If The Stream Works, The Dream Works: Streaming TV

Reporter: Jennifer Reese, Associate Director, Integrated Media Planning, OMD US

As other panels mentioned, COVID-19 is the catalyst for accelerated change in the industry. This past year was tumultuous in streaming as new platforms, new distribution formats, and new approaches to content entered the market. Viewership was up from 117 billion minutes in 2019 to 132 billion minutes in 2020.

Streaming continues to grow, especially in newer areas like linear on-demand (MVPD) with programs through Xfinity, Spectrum, and more. With the loss of most sports content this past year, episodic and film picked up traction, and we saw the start of big theatrical releases like Wonder Woman 1984 take place in the home. The big players continue to win: 7 of the top 10 films (based on minutes viewed) were Disney and all 10 of the top acquired TV shows (based on minutes viewed) were on Netflix.

The top film for the year? Frozen II. The top TV show? The Office. Americans watched more than 100,000 YEARS worth of “The Office” in 2020. So really, we did go to the office after all.

The big players in streaming and video are still winning, especially with younger demographics. However, this year allowed TV providers the time to develop apps and user interfaces to capture consumers looking for something new.

Retail Trends: The New Shopper

Reporter: Francesca Rizzuto, Supervisor, Published Media, OMD US

The pandemic’s impact on business has challenged the best in retail to pivot their strategy and change the way consumers and companies operate. Retail companies were forced to collaborate now more than ever and respond in ways that were transformational, while simultaneously fulfilling consumer, employee, and business needs.

In the wake of COVID-19, we saw an accelerated shift in consumer behavior with consumers moving away from brick and mortars while embracing more online shopping. Thus, altering the way consumers spend. As the idea of a “frictionless” retail experience becomes the new way of transacting, an external consumer demand is driving the need for quicker technological advancements. From a business perspective, digital-first retail strategies and optimizations are the key to success as new technologies come in to support this evolution.

The past year has drastically impacted retail. E-commerce and social commerce being the main revenue drivers in this new climate. As a result, we will continue to see new partnerships emerge (i.e. TikTok, Shopify, Snapchat’s Native Stores, Facebook Shops, etc.).

The pandemic has accelerated the “frictionless” consumer experience through curb-side pick up and UX design in e-commerce, which opens the door for new opportunities.

Privacy and Trust with Amazon, Google and Twitter

Reporter: Shawna Huang, Director, Audio Investment, OMD US

As the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, consumer concerns about privacy have grown. Although it’s only been 2.5 years since GDPR, consumer awareness and sensitivity to data privacy has exponentially increased.


While companies have made more privacy settings available to consumers, they are mired in local regulations without uniformity. According to Google’s Keith Enright, “virtually every state in the country had some state level legislation that had some significant privacy consequences… the reality is… data is driving everything, therefore, virtually any set of legal requirements are increasingly revised or reinterpreted to be… requirements affecting the movement and governance of data.”

Global technology companies are balancing the need for user consistency across the world, while managing patchwork of localized laws and regulations. Companies seek to educate and collaborate with federal regulators to ensure nuances on services and capabilities are understood. This will facilitate consistent guidance that can be used as a blueprint for new technology/services developed in coming years.

Creating an Esports League from the Ground Up

Reporter: Afsar Ali, Senior Manager, Social Advertising, OMD EMEA

In 2020, NBA and wider sports broadcasts declined due to COVID-19; however, Esports events such as LCS (League Championship Series) were able to go remote and grow. LCS saw 35 million total hours watched and 550,000 peak viewership for LCS, the 3rd most watched sports league in NA within the 18-25 age demographic.

As commercial partners saw a slow down across conventional sports broadcasts, brands such as Honda, BudLight and Verizon, sought new opportunities to amplify, such as in-game branding within the in-game space.

Esports is a continually growing industry. 2020 saw the largest growth and commercial opportunities became more prevalent. Marketers should consider gaming in their media strategies, especially given its scaled demographic and engagement opportunities.

The Next Big Thing: Home as the New Headquarters

Reporter: Abbey Sherrard, Director, Integrated Media Planning, OMD US

Whole home devices are still not a reality and have a long way to go. Pain points of connectivity at home continue to stall adoption, especially as 5G is still rolling out nationwide. There’s been a big proliferation of Smart Home devices (30% of homes in 2020,) but devices still are not meeting these pain points exacerbated by working and living at home.

Social unrest this year also brought huge growth to connected security devices. Thus driving more efficient pricing, making smart homes more attainable. In terms of working from home, Paul Lee said it best, “the reality is –– business is about more than just the boardroom.”

Key areas of growth in health, TVs and security are driving the connected home. However, many higher tech Smart Home devices have a way to go. With new tech designed for early adopters, the pandemic has also brought to light having more simplified and economical solutions for people of all ages and means.

E-commerce: Psychology-based AI Shopping 

Spotlight, a startup that delivers new privacy-focused online shopping using AI. It’s algorithm is combined with psychology research to deliver a personalized shopping experience.

No accounts are required. Users engage in an interactive journey answering a set of curated questions to determine likes and dislikes.

Shoppers can click on images instead of text, providing a quick and engaging experience. Within minutes, a selection of products are displayed tailored to their taste. Retailers have experienced an 85% conversion rate in sales. For a demonstration, click here.


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