Inside the Social Media Command Center at CES

With an impressive setup on the trade show floor, Salesforce and the CEA are making sense of the more than 150,000 social mentions about CES each day.

Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Funky gadgets, next-generation hardware, and disruptive technology fill the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES. With a little future tech of its own, Salesforce is processing all of the tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram photos from people oversharing about their proximity to the next big thing.

Stationed at the start of the CES Instawalk in the North Hall, the Social Media Command Center keeps an all-knowing eye on social chatter happening around the show. A wall of LCDs showcase a live feed of recent tweets, popular locations on Foursquare, social media updates from influencers, and interesting factoids and insights about the people behind the social data. Some of the insights are coming courtesy of Salesforce partners like Klout and Kred.

"We have over a 150,000 mentions of CES happening everyday," said Michael Peachey, director of solutions marketing for Salesforce. Peachey was CNET's guide to all things command center and talked us through the cloud company's process for taking the pulse of the show.

The visualizations at the command center are broken down into three areas. On the left, you'll find a graphic rendering of popular topics or people. In the center section are insights about the people behind the conversations. Here you might see a chart showing that 73 percent of people are having conversations about brands on Twitter, for instance. On the right, you'll get an up-close-and-personal view of individual top tweets or Instagram photos.

Salesforce has tracked more than 3.4 million conversations about CES to date, Peachey said, which explains why the company has brought a small army to help it react to the onslaught of reactions in real time.

A team of "community agents" man a desk of computers outfitted with access to Salesforce's Marketing Cloud. Salesforce partnered with the Consumer Electronics Association on the project, so the crew serve as the official voice of the International CES Twitter account. They're listening, actively retweeting attendees, and "triaging," as Peachey described it, which means the agents are scouring for people in need of assistance or information about the show.

Salesforce is using the CES platform to show off the technology and capabilities of its Salesforce Marketing Cloud, something you'll no doubt hear about if you stop by the booth on the trade show floor.

"Madison Avenue has really come to CES to find out what the consumer trends are, and we're demonstrating here the power of social and what it means to be able to connect with your customers," Peachey said.

At CES, Salesforce's social data platform is pulling information from 500 million sources. The team has set up topic profiles that analyze themes about the conference. Television is the hottest trending topic on social today at CES with more than 31,000 mentions. Smartphones and apps are the other super hot topics today.

"It's been great being able to look at this information. You can really get some incredible insights into what's really happening at CES," Peachey said.

The command center may also be CES attendees' best bet at bumping into the famous people making appearances at the show. Peachey said the center's agents are tweeting at the celebs in attendance whenever they're being talked about en masse. The story goes that a few famous folks have already stopped by the booth to see their tweets and photos on the big screens.

 

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