Las Vegas alone is glamorous, but after taking in the sights and sounds of CES 2014, the world’s largest technology tradeshow, there are a few clear trends that our industry will need to keep an eye on as 2014 rolls on. Here are my top five:
1) Wearable Technology – Today we know it mostly as FitBit, JawBone or Nike Fuel. But wearable technology will continue to scale rapidly. Sensors will get smaller and more sophisticated sending the consumer signals throughout every part of his / her day. More importantly, these wearable bracelets or carry along devices will start to announce a person’s presence to other connected devices both near and far.
As the consumer walks through the house, the office, the mall or the doctor’s office, other objects will be capable of reading and responding to a persons likes, needs or wants. This technology will focus on the individual consumer throughout the day, every day providing information constantly matching consumer intent with an immediate reality. And it’s a close reality, as 2014 should see first generation uber connected wearable tech units hit retail.
Carry along technology also received a strong makeover. Now coined the “Phablet”, we had a chance to play with LG’s new Curve. It’s really beautiful, with a durable design and incredible enhanced functionality. The better display can’t be described in words, except to say it’s one of the best televisions available, now in the palm of your hands.
2) IOT (Internet Of Things) – Coupled closely with wearable technology will be a plethora of connected objects. Currently it is said that only a mere 1% of things around us are connected via technology. This means there will be rapid scale and broad adoption of connected items this year. There was a clear focus at CES this year on the unified connection of the technologies we use. The power of having one device capable of reading and responding to objects near and far is powerful.
Sarah Silverman and Cisco took the connected home to a new level with their demonstration showing just how marketers would benefit. Their display highlighted two young adults hanging out, each with wearable technology that’s in-tune to their body and surrounding area. As they move into the kitchen, about to snack on cupcakes, a near field communication chip the size of a grain of rice located within the cupcake packaging signals to one boy’s wearable technology, warning him of gluten the product. He passes on the cupcake, but his friend doesn’t, and takes the last cupcake in the box. When the box hits the trash, a notification is sent to mom’s wearable tech adding the product to the weekly considered shopping list. Prices and offers from other similar brands make this list as well offering many options when shopping. All of this happens within a fraction of a second.
We’ll see the biggest 2014 advancements watching the progress and scale within wearable technology and IOT. Changes in packaging of consumer goods, the ability to buy items within program (team jersey when watching a basketball game) or having your printer self order toner when it’s low are all doable within the very near future. This will change marketing and the consumer shopping experience in a big way.
3) 3D Printing – This technology has taken a big leap forward. Introduced over the last few years, 3D printing was more of a novelty to most. This year’s CES showed how far the technology has come. The cost of entry has decreased dramatically with the printer and consumables becoming more affordable. Printing capabilities have increased in speed and the end product looks better than ever. Shown here on the right are model space ships designed on the spot within moments and printed just as fast.
As this technology grows, manufactures of everything from toys to consumer electronics to home goods will be in a position to re-think product maintenance, product enhancements or new products only available when buying a unique user code online through a manufacturers ecommerce site. We even talked about changes to the healthcare / medical device world in terms of printable prosthetics. This is a very real thing with a few actual case studies in market. We’ll continue to see advancements in this area throughout 2014.
4) Next Gen Connected Car – Audi debuted their next generation app-enabled, tablet-infused dashboard. The technology reads sensors placed all over the automobile and responds to the ever-changing surrounding area of the automobile, both inside the automobile and out. Voice activated and controlled, the technology provides information on driver and passenger comfort, road conditions, music and in cabin entertainment and even suggests an optimal speed to ensure you hit every green light on your journey.
The tablet is easily engrained into the dash and becomes portable with the click of a button, allowing the user to take the table from the automobile for more connected features when the driver is out and about. We’ll hear more about this technology throughout 2014 as auto manufactures will be clamoring to add the next evolution of technology to their model. Marketers should be on the lookout for product integration within the app and retailers will have bigger opportunities to message the driver and passengers about events, sales and promotions through the apps technology.
5) Drones – Yes Drones. They are not just for the military anymore. After the big splash Jeff Bezos made on 60 Minutes a few months ago, drones have been all the rage. CES 2014 had its share of drone hype as well. On the show floor we got to see four drones flying in unison with the greatest of ease. Capable of lifting packages of 5lbs or less. They are easily programmed and very efficient to develop and fly.
While still in its infancy, the drone revolution may be upon us in the near future changing retail and making household chores easier than ever before. This one is still a few years away, but its pretty amazing to think what might be … one day soon.
Coming from the source of all things innovative, now it’s up to us. Let’s push forward and shape how these wonderful advancements in technology evolve our media mix and enhance our connection to true personal intent.