GroupM’s Mike Bologna on What to Expect at CES This Year

As the director of emerging communications for GroupM, Mike Bologna will be leading a contingent of over 70 clients at CES this year. We spoke to him today about what attendees can expect from the show.

The Makegood: Mike, you have attended a number of CES events. What year was your first CES and what has changed the most since then with the event?

My very first CES was 2004. The focus was on digital cameras, portable Audio/Photo players and USB storage devices with a whopping 5GB of capacity. My boss at the time encouraged me to write a review to share with the agency and I distinctly remember very little relevance between what I saw and the business we are in. Things have certainly changed since then. Happy to pass along my recap of the upcoming show.

The Makegood: What the most impressive or exciting product that you have seen unveiled?

Actually it was a product released the year prior that excited me, and it was the reason I attended the next event. I fell in love the Nomad Jukebox by creative labs, which was quickly squashed by the iPOD, but at the time it held 20GB of music and came with a car adapter via the tape deck. I had 27 versions of every Van Halen song produced.

The Makegood: Some critics are saying that many of the featured products this year will be Apple knock offs, such as the iPad and Mac book Air. Do you think that this will be true or can we expect to see other companies that will be leading technology?

In the technology world everything is a knock off of something. If someone can take a good product and make it better, kudos to them. Of the 40+ “iPad killers” that were released last year, Motorola and Samsung had the only ones that offered potential.  Next week we will see the Galaxy S III and LG’s Optimus, which features the new Android 4.0 system.  With Droid being non-exclusive I think the potential to outperform Apple in the tablet world is very real

This year CES is starting “Eureka Park,” a new display area, aimed at attracting start up companies. Do you think that the small start ups will be able to get attention and compete with the big names?

Remember the primary focus of CES is “consumer technology.” Most the 120,000 attending will be tech geeks looking at storage, and dad looking to spend his Christmas bonus on the new 55” OLED TV by LG. I think CES will provide value to entrepreneurs by providing a venue for like minds to gather. If I were a start-up, I would take in everything at CES and hit the streets hard the week following once the dust has settled.

The Makegood: What are you most looking forward to for this year’s CES?

For me CES is all business – we have 70+ clients in tow this year. We provide custom tours of the showroom floor where we identify technology that we believe will impact our business over the next 18-36 months. We then offer breakout sessions with companies that we believe will have real impact our businesses in this current year. I am looking forward to happy clients, a happy boss and a quick flight home.

The Makegood: Thanks, Mike.