This year marks my 10th trip to CES, and once again, it does not disappoint. Every year I am amazed by the growth of new topics that I see at CES. What struck me this year is the importance of platforms on all major trends at the show. Yes, there are the obligatory new TV’s (I hear this year they are curved) and awesome new consumer gadgets (Drone Ballet at Parrot booth, anyone?) But this is really the year of rapid growth in Ad Tech, Digital Everywhere, and Connected Everything (or Internet of Things) sectors. I had a few great opportunities to check out new products and to catch up with a number of industry leaders in various sectors in the first couple of days of the conference.
Ad Tech – bringing ads closer to the consumer
Even more than in previous years, this was the year of Ad Tech and connecting marketing leaders with product innovators. As the cutting edge of ad technology has moved to real-time experiences and content distribution, the hardware products have become an increasingly important part of enabling unique ad experiences and sometimes the product is the message itself. The show has thus emerged as a unique broker of such ideas and relationships that enable them.
“CES has evolved over the years and done an incredible job of attracting top brands and agencies. This is due in large part to the nimble efforts of the CEA and Michael Kassan at MediaLink, who is the best connector in the business and has led the way for brands at CES,” – said Robert Johnston, CEO of SponsorHub, whose technology helps brands manage and monitor their big mega sports and entertainment campaigns in real-time.”
Entertainment – Digital Everywhere
I had an opportunity to attend the 2nd Screen Summit this year and listen to the latest trends in digital entertainment.
“This is the year where digital enters and is going everywhere,” said Michael Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors.
Studios and device manufacturers are embracing the fact that the way consumers enjoy digital content has become much more varied than in the past. The shelf space has expanded to be cross-platform across the multitude of digital devices. For example, one device that I was excited to see this year was streaming audio over a Wi-Fi device from BCoda called Jak. It’s a USB dongle that plugs into any car, TV, or home stereo and streams audio over Wi-Fi.
Connected home took center stage at CES this year. It’s all about making the consumer experience easier when it comes to everyday living. We’ve been seeing this trend for a few years, but what is different this year is that we are finally starting to see some real innovations that enable platform agnostic devices that are not specific to a brand. One interesting product bringing powerful technology down to consumer level is EyeLock. This product is a biometric authentication device that allows you to login to any computer or application with your eye. The product is hitting the market in first half of 2014.
“It’s about highest level of security, providing highest level of convenience in a consumer-friendly manner” says Anthony Antolino, CMO of EyeLock.
And now I’m off to check out the happenings in digital health, consumer drones and 3D Printing – more to follow!
Tech Cocktail is an official media partner of the 2014 International CES.