Be it the Internet of Things, the smart home, virtual reality or something else, change is coming.
A year ago, I walked the Las Vegas Convention Center with 150,000 of my closest friends attending the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. Televisions were impressive, but incremental in benefit to the viewer. Automobiles were not just tricked out with sound, but with connectivity like never before. Smart home hardware was plentiful.
Whether they were solving consumer problems – alerting us that there is a leak under our sink or that our beer supply in the fridge is low – is another question.
I’m heading back to the desert this week to see where innovation has taken us since last year’s show.
Previews of the 2016 show point to the increased availability of smart products, including light bulbs, automobiles, appliances, regulators like the Nest thermostat, and an increasingly present wearable category.
The Consumer Electronics Association says that the wearable tech industry is projected to grow 64 percent over the next three years, reaching $25 billion in 2019 when more than 245 million devices are expected to ship.
The build-out of the wearable market will be in the spotlight on the CES 2016 show floor where the Wearables Marketplace and related lifestyle exhibit areas have more than tripled in size since 2015.
What, if anything, wins?
“The consumer is going to decide,” Sean Lyons, U.S. President of R/GA of Havas, told me in an interview for my The Art of Mobile Persuasion book (www.artofmobilepersuasion.com). “I think a lot of these early thoughts about how things will be used are wrong often. And it's not because people aren't intelligent. It's because we haven't really found what the behaviors are yet.
“Just think about how long it took for something like the video phone call which was introduced in the ‘60s to actually come into use. Even now, we're Skyping (and only using a voice capability). Other people might be doing FaceTime. But it's not main method of communication. What's envisioned is often not what happens. To me that's the fun part, especially for brands. Once you realize that you are not going to be expected to have the answer, and you just kind of feel your way through it, the better that you will be. That's going to allow you to not have the pressure of solving the problem and actually observing.”
How important is the show?
CES 2016 will feature more than 3,600 exhibitors and an impressive list of potential buyers.
In 2015, 82 percent of the Fortune 500 and 83 percent of the top retailers attended what is the largest conference in Las Vegas. Reports this year indicate that level of participation will continue this time around.
One certainty is that there will be an overabundance of hype. Adoption of even the “winning” technologies happens over a period of time.
“The reality is these things don't happen cleanly,” Curtis Kopf, Vice President of Customer Experience for Premera Blue Cross, said to me in an interview for The Art of Mobile Persuasion. “It's not like all of a sudden smartphones are here and everyone has them on day one. It's messy. Emerging technology exists for a long time with existing technologies.”
(article first published on imediaconnection.com - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2016/01/02/one-undeniable-truth-in-two-million-square-feet-of-ces-2016/)