Innovation Unveiled: The Top LED Innovations, Exhibit Design Trends, and Immersive Exhibits at CES 2024

by Bill Carney | February 28, 2024 | Trends and Technologies

VIVA LAS VEGAS!

CES 2024 was nothing short of a spectacle, showcasing the latest technological advancements and the exhibits to showcase them. Among the myriad of notable news were the wireless transparent LED displays, interactive experiences, and immersive exhibits that captured the attention of attendees. After we finished the installation for one of our clients and ensured everything was perfect, I could take in some of the show. In this blog post, I’ll delve into the highlights, from wireless, transparent OLED displays, micro-LED tech, immersive tech, and brands + their agencies creatively exploiting the intersection of exhibit design trends, experiential storytelling, and immersive technologies at CES 2024.

EXHIBIT DESIGN TRENDS

As someone already deeply rooted in the exhibit design industry, CES allows me to immerse myself in the worlds of exhibit design, custom booths, lighting, experiential storytelling, and how brands utilize these elements to craft compelling, sticky, and memorable CES exhibits. Here are 5 exhibit design trends to follow for 2024.

Trend #1: Semi-see-through, “Sheer”

Using semi-transparency in exhibit design offers a unique way to infuse depth and dimension into booth spaces but also serves as a canvas for brands to showcase their identity. Whether integrating colors seamlessly or contrasting boldly with the surroundings, the interplay of sheer materials with structural elements adds warmth and sophistication to the overall design.

The Abbot booth stood out with its clever use of semi-transparent walls, seamlessly blending sheer fabric with robust structure. Abbot’s booth exuded modernity and functionality as a company specializing in smart, connected health innovations like biowearable tech. The incorporation of solid colors and their use of lighting created an inviting ambiance that drew visitors in. Additionally, Abbot’s smart array of interactive video walls and tracking technology further elevated the booth design and product offerings. Explore a video walkthrough of their booth here and visit their dedicated CES page here to learn more.

Abbot’s CES 2024 Exhibit

Walking through the circle within a circle booth was a real eye-opener. They nailed the whole semi-see-through vibe, blending these sheer fabric walls with their sturdy setup. And let me tell you, it wasn’t just for show—Abbot is about smart health innovations and their booth felt like it. The way they used solid colors with subtle backlighting created such a cozy feel, drawing you right in. Plus, they had this slick setup with video walls and tracking tech that look pretty slick. If you want to see what I mean, check out this quick walkthrough video here and their CES page here.

In my view, Kohler has been a leading innovator for years. They have their own in-house innovation + creative teams acting as an agency. As I understand it, they do occasionally use outside partners but have long loved the design and innovations from Kohler.  Walking into their booth felt like stepping into a sanctuary of luxury and comfort. With a soaring roof crowning their impressive display, the lighting design was simply breathtaking. Their use of semi-transparent fabrics splashed soft hues, blending seamlessly with backlit messaging, creating an inviting atmosphere that beckoned visitors to explore further.

Kohler’s Exhibit

The CES 2024 Panasonic booth theme showcased their commitment to eco-friendly practices, a reminder of the importance of treading lightly on our planet, featuring an experience ripe with sustainability and innovation. Their use of tall sheer drapes as semi-see-through dividers provided an elegant sophistication for attendees. The curved LED wall, combined with the projections and lighting, made for one of the must-see exhibits of CES. It usually is. 

Trend #3: Transparency

It’s clear that the world of entertainment technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace. Among the standout announcements are the TCL QM89 115-inch TV and the Samsung S95D QD-OLED TV, both offering immersive viewing experiences with stunning picture quality and sleek designs. While these products cater primarily to the consumer entertainment market, their advancements have opened up ways we can use to enhance booth experiences at VOXX Exhibits.

As LG aptly puts it, LG’s SIGNATURE OLED T is “A genuine game changer,” having won five CES 2024 Innovation Awards, including the prestigious Best of Innovation honor. The freedom provided by wireless OLED displays translates into direct value for clients through cheaper installation and dismantling (I&D). With LED technology becoming more affordable, even small to mid-sized companies with smaller footprints can harness the power of display technology. The high caliber of these displays adds depth and dimensionality to video content, offering near-perfect black levels and vivid colors, making them an excellent solution for a wide variety of exhibit scenarios and lighting packages.

References:

Trend #3: Environmental Sustainability

With environmental consciousness on the rise, sustainability has become a prominent factor in booth design. Incorporating sustainable materials, energy-efficient lighting, and eco-friendly practices not only showcases your brand’s commitment to the environment but also appeals to an increasingly eco-conscious audience.

  • Use Recycled Materials – using recycled materials in their booth construction, from flooring made of reclaimed wood to signage crafted from recycled plastics, reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to a circular economy.
  • Energy Efficient Lighting – Utilizing LED lighting solutions not only reduces energy consumption but also provides superior brightness and longevity, ensuring a sustainable and visually appealing booth environment.
  • Waste Reduction Strategies – Implementing waste reduction strategies such as reusable signage and booth components, as well as offering digital alternatives to printed materials, minimizes waste generation and contributes to a greener exhibition experience.

Patagonia is renowned for its environmental sustainability ethos, employing recycled and reusable materials for its booth structure, signage, and furniture at trade shows. Additionally, the company offers attendees recycled or reusable items as giveaways, further emphasizing its commitment to eco-conscious practices.

References:

Trend #4: Installations, Near-Site Experiential Pop-Ups

Installations and near-site experiential pop-ups – or brand Activations located just outside the main exhibit or convention floor space have become increasingly popular among exhibitors. At CES 2024, I witnessed a notable shift towards these unconventionally creative and customizable setups, driven by their ability to create bespoke immersive brand experiences. Near-site experiential exhibits, pop-ups, or experiences increasingly emphasize artistic collaborations that infuse their spaces with unique creativity and authenticity by partnering with local artists, ultimately driving engagement and brand loyalty.

Additionally, the rise of hybrid events reflects a broader trend towards engaging with their audience through mixed in-person and remote sessions. For exhibitors looking to make an impact, investing in installations and pop-ups presents an exciting opportunity to differentiate themselves and drive meaningful connections with attendees. 

A good example of experiential storytelling was Reddit’s “The Key to Context” activation, which perfectly reflects this trend, inviting attendees on an immersive journey through the diverse conversations of Reddit communities. Comprising of three interactive installations, the booth experience showcased the essence of Reddit’s community. Attendees were guided through a personalized recommendation journey, demonstrating how discussions on Reddit influence informed purchase decisions across various product categories. Collecting personalized information refines Reddit’s audience data set for Ads. 

As the trade show landscape continues to evolve, installations and near-site experiential pop-ups are poised to play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of event marketing.

Trend #5: Immersion and Storytelling 

One of the most significant trends in trade show booth design for 2024 is the integration of immersive experiences as the accessibility of technologies matures. Passive displays are so 2023 that they’re not nearly enough to engage multi-tasking, busy, sophisticated attendees who crave something memorable. Don’t we all?

The convergence of believable, accessible, integrated, multi-sensory technologies merged with creativity, gamification (as applicable), and storytelling allow visitors to actively participate in product demonstrations, interact in immersive stories – or experiences, and engage with brands meaningfully. Incorporating elements like ambient lighting, scent marketing, and sound design with an integrated multi-sensory technology stack and a scripted story, training, demo, or game. A noteworthy experience I wish I had time to visit was Netflix’s multi-sensory exhibit, expertly curated by MKG. What exactly is a multi-sensory experience? It’s an experience that engages more than one of the five primary human senses—

1. Sight (vision): The ability to perceive light and interpret it as images.

2. Hearing (audition): The ability to perceive sound vibrations and interpret them as meaningful information. Adaptive sound adjusts audio (or lighting), usually amounts to tracking a person’s progress through a space, and will become hyper-personalized. 

3. Taste (gustation): The ability to detect and perceive flavors from food and other substances.

4. Smell (olfaction): The ability to detect and perceive smells or odors from the environment.

5. Touch (tactile): The ability to sense pressure, temperature, and texture through the skin and other sensory receptors.

Beyond the commonly recognized five senses, researchers acknowledge additional sensory systems like proprioception, which involves awareness of body position and movement, and the vestibular sense, responsible for balance and spatial orientation. For instance, at the event, attendees experienced immersion in their favorite Netflix series via VR headsets, seated in a circle and accompanied by tactile sensations like bursts of heat and wind. While I didn’t have the opportunity to partake in the Netflix experience firsthand, I firmly believe that multi-sensory technology will play an increasingly integral role in entertainment and gaming. Netflix left a lasting impression on those who experienced it, even leaving a mark on those of us writing about it. Ha ha

References:

BACK IN THE BIG D!

Back home in Dallas, reflecting on CES 2024—it’s a show that’s got me excited about the future, lookin’ forward to CES 2025! If you’re interested in exploring CES 2025 – Ginmme a shout! I’m back on the road this week with clients at the 2024 HAI Helicopter Expo, available for meetings at the 2024 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston before rounding out the summer in New Orleans at the Essence Festival, July 4-9. Once Fall is in full swing, VOXX Exhibit has client experiences at the Pack Expo in early November.

QUESTIONS?

How can Wireless Transparent LED Displays improve the overall impact of my trade show booth?

The constraints of most spaces are changed when using wireless, transparent display tech. Transparent display technology has been around for a few years – it’s fantastic! However, the advancement of wireless transparent display tech is the game changer!

What are some effective strategies for creating an eco-friendly, sustainable trade show exhibit design?

Effective strategies for creating an eco-friendly and sustainable trade show exhibit design include using recycled or reusable materials, energy-efficient lighting, and waste reduction techniques.

By incorporating these practices, businesses can minimize their environmental impact while demonstrating their commitment to sustainability, resonating with environmentally conscious consumers, and enhancing brand reputation.

What are some key elements to consider when creating an immersive experience for a trade show booth or a near-site activation?

At VOXX, we define immersion as when more than three senses are engaged in a single experience – and the quality of the engagement matters. These include vision, audio, taste, touch, and smell but can – and sometimes should consist of others. It’s how your brand story is told, experienced – and felt.

The creativity – or believability of immersive experiences, particularly multi-sensory experiences trigger emotions, desires, or sometimes – fears. We recommend selecting a partner or collection of partners with creative, storytelling, and technical expertise. There’s a segment of agencies, and experiential marketing companies that specialize in immersive experiences, only a few exhibit companies (ahem!). The creativity – or believability of immersive experiences, particularly multi-sensory experiences, feeds off customer insights, desires, or sometimes – fears to trigger behavior (laughter, fear, joy, problem-solving, etc).

VIEW ALL OUR VOICE

NEXT: A Southern Cajun's Guide to Trade Show Success

READ ARTICLE