May 19, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today

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CES 2024: Why Immersive Tech Won This Year’s Showcase

Following a triumphant return in 2023 following the aftermath of the pandemic, CES has truly returned to its former glory in 2024.

Ultimately, not much has changed in the format – which offers a glut of tech companies big and small presenting their wares at the world’s biggest tech fair.

Many people will say that AI defined CES, but while it was everywhere, it did not move the needle and was arguably less impactful than CES 2023 in terms of real-world advances. It appeared in more products, some with valuable benefits and some with dubious ones. What took center stage this year, however, was immersive technology in its many forms.

Many of the big brands not only embraced this to showcase their products and services; in many cases, they were the products and services. Sony has always been good at showcasing their technology at CES, and this year, the fruits of its early consumer VR adoption were transformed into a creator AR headset in partnership with Siemens. The so-called “Industrial Metaverse” product is designed to help creators use AR as an integral part of the design process. But Sony didn’t stop there. 

Sony’s TorchLight studio has been set up to allow filmmakers to scout real-life locations using Unreal Engine first, setting up shots and lighting before doing the final real-life film shoot on location. Their virtual production demo showed how this technique can be used to create impressive film shoots, including a moving car shot across a bridge using a short film shot to demonstrate the power of this technology firsthand. Sony Pictures’ investment in Location-Based Experiences was impressively demonstrated using projection and haptics, where you interact with the Marshmellow Man while screaming down a New York street behind the Ghostbusters car. The interactive haptic floor was also a nice touch. 

For sheer spectacle, SK took the prize with their Wonderland concept. Using every immersive trick in the book, they created a theme park experience, complete with AI fortune tellers, dancing cars, magic carpet rides, and their own mini Las Vegas Sphere in the center of it all. Smaller, but no less significant, was Xreal. Starting as Nreal a few years ago, offering a light version of the Magic Leap and HoloLens packaged into a pair of glasses, Xreal has developed into a great consumer product whereas the latter company’s better but much more expensive tech has shifted into the enterprise space.

It was no coincidence that Apple took the opportunity to highlight its lack of presence yet again at CES by announcing the official launch of the Apple Vision Pro in February, which will undoubtedly be the most significant leap forward in immersive tech in 2024. 

From a brand strategy viewpoint, it was a great demonstration of how CES continues to make January the annual tech focus, whether a brand attends or not, by appearing on all of the major news networks as the week unfolds and as the weird and wonderful tech innovations from around the world emerge.

Picture of By Anton Christodoulou

By Anton Christodoulou

Group CTO, Imagination

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