CES 2014 may have ended last week — but what I saw at this show will fuel my techno-geek dreams until CES 2015. This year’s show turned out to be the biggest one on record, with 3,200 exhibitors in over 2 Million square feet of exhibit space. The show floor was so big I logged 6.2 miles of walking in one day (thanks to my wearable tech band).
In comparison to CES 2013, CES 2014 wasn’t much in the way of truly innovative technology, I saw more evolutionary vs. revolutionary improvements to existing consumer electronics categories. That said, the show was still very impressive. Key trends to note:
- Wearable technology has advanced. Sensors are cheaper, smarter, smaller and can track more types biometric data. This technology is being integrated into clothing, sports equipment and health monitoring systems. This presents new opportunities for pharmacies, retailers, health + wellness brands and insurance providers to partner with the manufacturers.
- Smart TVs are getting smarter, more resolute (4K) and a little curvy. Personally, I think the curved TVs are more of a gimmick than an enhancement in viewing experience. However, these new TVs will offer new ways to integrate native advertising and the ability to make purchase decisions on items within the show programming. Allowing viewers to “shop the show” and buy items they see in the storyline. This may have a profound effect on the expectations of consumers’ shopping experiences.
- Driverless cars are further out in the future — but near term, the connected car presents a whole new dynamic for consumers. New ecosystems for car-centric apps will begin to emerge. Agencies and brands will be able to create new ways to advertise to consumers who are on the go, on their shopping missions. For example, push-alerts to drivers that are in close proximity to a retail location, which can be informed by previous on-line purchases or search history.
- Robots — offer both utility and entertainment. This is specific category is still in a nascent stage of development with several opportunities for growth. Some robots perform repetitive household tasks, act as therapeutic surrogates, perform elder care services, home security monitoring or as tireless sales associates.
- 3d Printing continues its forward momentum, with newer more affordable scanning and printing devices launching this year – both for consumers and commercial use. Advances in 3d Printing goes beyond being able to create small plastic objects, spare parts, and shoes but now the technology can print food (chocolate) and ceramic items.
- The rush by LG and Samsung to create the ultimate Smart home is quickly fueling creation of The internet of things. Smart fridges, washing machines, doorlocks, ovens, thermostats and even lightbulbs can not only be controlled by your smartphone, but they can also communicate with each other. This trend may also have a significant effect on consumer shopping behavior especially when key purchase decisions become automated as appliances have the ability to place orders directly to grocers, retailers for replenishment inventory.