As anyone who follows @sochiproblems knows, the 2014 Olympics got off to a rocky start. From yellow tap water to stray dogs to potential terror attacks, the city was plagued with one PR crisis after another. Happily, Olympic fans here at home can safely and comfortably get their Sochi fix in multiple ways, including on the go. With the innovations of CES 2014 still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help but imagine the many new opportunities that emerging tech will offer fans—and marketers—during the next winter Olympics. Here’s a look at how three innovations might alter how we experience the Games, and what marketers need to do—now—to prepare.
Research from the Consumer Electronics Association shows wearable fitness device sales are expected to jump from just $43 million in 2009 to nearly $1.2 billion in 2014. Whether you are talking about smart watches, fitness bracelets or eyewear like Google Glass, the big change wearables bring is that digital services will no longer be confined to bulky boxes like smartphones or tablets. Instead, they’ll be worn on our bodies, not hidden away in our pockets, with the potential to allow more discreet access to our feeds and utilities.
By the time the 2018 Olympics roll around, these devices may enable us to train remotely with athletes who have licensed access to their routines, and smart watches may allow us to inconspicuously track events wherever and whenever we want to.
To Do #1 Make sure your Mobile App Strategy anticipates the new formats and behaviors wearables will bring. Remember that wearers may be out and about, in the middle of activities, and that your screen will be small. You’ll want to add value to their pursuits.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things allows us to automate tasks based on environmental conditions and user preferences, and the shrinking cost and size of sensors are fueling its growth. With the cloud enabling remote access to controls via any device, the IoT offers a whole new level of convenience and personalization,
For the 2018 Olympics, this means that your fridge might sync with your calendar and offer to send a re-stocking order to your grocery store when it knows guests are coming over to watch a big event. Environmental controls that respond to weather sensors and other inputs could automatically adjust temperature and lighting for the occasion. Audio sensors may adjust the volume on your TV if ambient noise suggests there’s a large crowd.
To Do #2 Bring together your most forward-thinking planners, creatives, and technologists to explore the new types of data coming from low-cost sensors. For example, data could help a family make daily tasks (like grocery shopping) easier, and make sure they’re prepared should the weather change suddenly.
Immersive storytelling technologies
Recent refinements to Virtual Reality technologies may allow remote spectators to physically experience aspects of the 2018 Olympics. The much-celebrated Oculus Rift, for example, may allow us to not only view ski jumps and slaloms in full 360º from cameras mounted on the athletes, but also run those slopes ourselves. For those who might prefer something slightly more sedate, a mobile entertainment device that can project across an entire wall could give viewers a prize seat at the center of the entire stadium—without having to leave their couch.
To Do #3 Think in terms of experiences your brand can provide, rather than traditional viewing and impressions, especially if your audience includes gamers. Find ways to add to the fun without interrupting it.