Although the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now over, having wrapped up less than a week ago, many of the key themes, products and services highlighted during the show will leave indelible impressions in the minds of the 160,000 plus attendees for the months ahead. So what were the key themes of this year’s CES and what do they bode for the advertising and content industries in the near future? Here’s my take on it:
Content + Devices + Connectivity = The Perfect Storm. One of the big take aways of the show is that the technology manufacturers are finally able to distribute consumers’ preferred content on the device of choice. This is a perfect storm of improved connectivity though in-device wifi and 4G/4G LTE mobile data speeds, proliferation of tablets and smartphones with big, crisp screens, and a large number of content providers (Hulu Plus, Netflix, Google TV to name a few) distributing content across multiple screens. As we saw with the Tom Hanks and Yahoo partnership, 2012 appears to be the year where consumers discover and watch content not through a cable provider, but thorough online content publishers.
3D TV’s might still be hype. Once again, the floor is packed with 3D TV’s from the likes of Samsung, LG, and Panasonic. While the content from providers like ESPN and Discovery seem fantastic, many TV’s require consumers to sit directly in front of the screen which makes co-viewing difficult. Also, we know that people like to look at their tablets, mobile, and laptops while watching TV. I still find it difficult to look at these other devices with 3D glasses on. Video games in 3D; however, are quite immersive and intense.
Connected TV’s mean proliferation of content searching. While 3D still seems a bit further off, connected TV’s are all over the show floor. With streaming content from apps, social networks, and publishers, consumers will soon become used to searching for shows both from the cable provider as well as the internet. Even more, many devices like Samsung and our client’s AT&T Uverse product allow consumers to link the television and mobile device together for extended content, additional content controls, and potentially extended advertising.
Gaming in new ways. With huge smartphone screens and Sony’s Playstation Vita the buzz of the show, I think handheld video games will just continue to boom. Plus, the Playstation Vita has both front and rear touch screens; the thought of playing a game using both sides of the device seems intriguing. Microsoft Kinect has spawned a few imitators as gaming without controllers continued to inspire people to line up to play games at a variety of booths.
Touch screens galore. It seemed hard to walk around the floor and not see a gesture or touch-enabled device. From TV’s to laptops and tablets and smartphones, we will be swiping, pinching and typing on our screens more and more in 2012. The physical keyboard as we know it will continue to be excluded from these devices going forward.
Ultrabooks, Tablets, and smartphones continue to converge. Intel and others have released multiple ultrabooks that resemble a Macbook Air but, with 10+ hours of battery life, are highly portable. Tablets are becoming a part of almost any major manufacturer’s offering and continue to abound. Smartphones are becoming larger and more powerful. With each of these devices creeping into each other’s categories, I predict that consumers will no longer find it necessary to carry a smartphone, tablet and laptop while traveling. Which one to leave behind likely depends on work needs, but tablets and smartphones will soon become interchangable.
Connected home links devices together. Many manufacturers are creating apps that connect technology around the home such as the kitchen, heating/cooling, washing/drying and lights. Often dubbed as a way of saving electricity, a connected home may be closer than we think.
The fun parts of CES. There are always a few random devices that make you smile. This year I’ve seen an at-home dry cleaning machine from LG that refreshes garments in 39 minutes, a new and improved AR Drone remote control helicopter, and a gesture-controlled iPad-enhanced skateboard (think a Segway meets a long skateboard…with an iPad attached!).
With more attendees from industries outside of electronics than ever before exploring its trade show floors and media events, this year’s CES had a little something for everyone…and also gave a little peek into what’s coming ahead. Things are definitely about to get more interesting.