Takeaways from CES 2016
Las Vegas. For one week each year Sin City plays host to the next-generation of innovations and technologies before they’re introduced to the marketplace. This year, more than 200,000 attendees came to CES to walk through 2.5 million square feet of trade show space to see the latest drones, connected cars, TVs and smartphones, and even a VR device that gives you the sensation of ﬂying through the sky like a superhero. Y&R sent some of our brightest minds to take in the sights and sounds of CES 2016. Here’s what they had to say:
Alan Vassberg Vice President, Communications Planning Y&R Austin Unlike years past where it felt like the focus was on the technology innova- tions, CES 2016 was really about people — and how technology enhances the lives of ordinary people. In my previous CES visits, the technology on display (and the language used to promote it) was about changing the way we live and the way we do things. This year, however, both the cool new technologies and the associated messages acknowledged that people are already doing interesting and worthwhile things. This new generation of technology is designed to enhance, capture, enable, represent, or accommodate the human experience, not change it. GoPro wants you to “Be a Hero.” Samsung is “in sync with real life.” Fossil is “for the curious life.” Massimo says “ready, set, go.” The technology doesn’t create the experience. It encourages and supports what people already do. To be sure, to some degree technology has always done this. But now, technology brands seem to have realized that they don’t exist to create the human experience, but instead to support it. That’s as it should be. Even two years ago, 3D was still a really big thing. This year, VR has made 3D all but irrelevant. Just because a technology is “hot” at A few medical ideas CES one year doesn’t mean blew me away—like the that it is going to catch on. For the record, the use of 3D printed medical Oculus Rift is awesome. models to allow doctors to do VR technology will change better pre-surgical preparation. And a depth-sensing projector that the way that stories are allows you to view cross-section slices told—and by extension, the way of a three-dimensional object brand stories can and will be (imagine, for example, a doctor told. examining a CT scan!). This is no longer the stuff of science ﬁction. When cars started showing up at CES, the line for what constituted “consumer electronics” started to blur. This year, it seemed more blurred than ever, with technology that was clearly not even remotely designed for a consumer audience (industrial drones, robots, 3D printers). I expect that blurring to Soon, every article of continue, along with the clothing we wear will be line between B2B and smart (or will have the ability to B2C marketing. be smart). The question is, will our clothes use their intelligence for good, or for evil?
We saw this trend on full display at CES 2016. Take the sexy, high proﬁle discussions around the future of self-driving cars. According to a 2013 study conducted by the Brookings Institution, Americans spend 175 billion hours a year in transit, which translates to about 100 minutes per person per day - and guess what, 90+ percent of this is in cars. Through this lens there is no single greater potential productivity boon than the adoption of self-driving cars at scale. Joe Rivas EVP, Global Client Leader Y&R New York Let's face it, CES is ﬂat out overwhelming. With literally thousands of new product and services to sort through, how is one supposed to ﬁgure out what to pay attention to, and what matters most? One useful lens I use for evaluating new technology is not to look at it through the competitive context of its respective category, but instead think about it against the one thing the vast majority of innovation successfully competes against: Time. We are entering an “era of hyper-efﬁciency” – a period where technology and innovation strive to eliminate the inefﬁciencies that exist in all of our daily behaviors, activities and tasks. And the innovations that enable us to successfully chip away at this long tail of inefﬁciency - and give us time back in our lives - are often the ones we reward with success. Even something visually striking such as Samsung’s smart fridge isn't just about making the refrigerator sexier, it's about making it more useful. With the built-in ability to order groceries from merchants such as ShopRite and FreshDirect, we are talking about hundreds of trips to the grocery store saved, and thousands of hours back in the hands of consumers. And let's not forget the direction we are headed in is not only to make our waking hours as efﬁcient as possible, but the full 24 hours of every day. To that end we have to give some attention to the Sleep Number IT bed that promises to keep us from waking up throughout the night - by triggering actions such as regulating the temperature in your home. Don't be surprised to see a host of new “sleep oriented” innovation coming our way at CES in the next few years and beyond. It's the next frontier of efﬁciency, the uncharted sea of opportunity - as we strive to make the most out of our most valuable and precious personal resource: time.
Jon Bird Global MD Labstore Because of its size, if you’re not careful, CES can seem to exist in a constant state of gridlock. Reﬂecting on my tour with GroupM Chairman Irwin Gottlieb, and my whole CES visit, I summarized what I saw into three ‘I’s’ – Immersion, Interaction and Innovation. Immersion – besides the ubiquitous IoT (Internet of Things), I think immersion is the key tech trend from the show. Whether it’s higher deﬁnition screens (forget 4K, here comes 8K and 16K), Virtual Reality or 3D Audio, everything about tech is being designed to be as immersive as possible. Realer than real. In ﬁve years, it will be 120-inches. Screen resolution will continue to escalate – the Tokyo Olympics this year will be broadcast in native 8K. Screen technology is also changing. Besides Organic LED, we witnessed Quantum Dot and Backlight Master Drive – all with blacker blacks, brighter colors and imperceptible pixels. Gotlieb showed us one Quantum Dot screen that he warned us not to look at too long. “You won’t be able to go back to your regular TV,” he joked. Interaction – increasingly, tech is about human interaction between man and machine. The Amazon Echo smart speaker is one example. Alexa technology was built into several of the devices featured at CES this year. To some the Samsung Smart Hub fridge was a “fridge ﬂashback” – we all remember the Internetconnected fridge of some years ago. But the Samsung Smart Hub steps up the game. Using Amazon Echo, you can ask the Smart Hub to add items to your shopping list. You can upload photos from your phone to use it like a 21st Century fridge magnet. And most interesting of all, the fridge has cameras on the inside that take a shot of its contents each time you open or close the door. These are automatically uploaded to an app, so that when you are at the grocery store, you can instantly see what’s in your fridge, and which items may need replenishing. Innovation – CES is ultimately all about invention and innovation, and there were some super-cool new tech ideas on show, such as the SCIO Food Scanner, which allows you to scan your food to instantly judge its nutritional value – e.g. fat content, carbs and calories. There were also some more mundane but still clever concepts such as the Twin Wash – two zones in a washing machine to wash two different types of loads at the same time. But the invention that most captured my imagination was one yet to come. Remember Google Glass? There will be a time in the near future when you will have micro projectors implanted under your eyelids, which will beam images directly onto your retina. By doing this, you will be able to instantly activate a heads-up display of relevant information streamed from the Internet. Imagine Google Glass without the glasses.
I saw a lot of haptic technology, still very early it seems. Intel had a screen showing an underwater scene and people wore these bracelets and when they moved their movements created ripples on the screen. They mentioned some use cases like dancers being able to see how their movements visualized. Divya Darsi Assistant Account Planner Y&R Austin I should point out that this was my ﬁrst CES and man, was it great. Incredibly overwhelming, absolutely too many things to see and no possible way to actually see everything. The interest and excitement was palpable. If you remember all of the science-ﬁction books and TV shows from your childhood, it felt like we are seeing the beginnings of those technologies and maybe in ten years our lives will be very, very different. Technology doesn’t want to dictate how we live our lives but rather seeks to accommodate/adapt to our needs and enhance our lives with their capabilities. Whether it was a fridge, clothing (belts, smart bras, shoes, shirts), home appliances, TV mounts, health tracking devices, etc., they all seek to ﬁt your lifestyle. I also saw a lot of VR, and I wondered if VR would be applied to ﬁlmmaking. VR creates a lot of opportunity for non-linear storytelling—so take that and apply it to movies and it could be amazing. To that end, I do wonder if once VR actually takes off and we see if being used and in the wild (hoping it is successful), will be see an increase in demand for 360 degree cameras? Maybe next year or the year after… While smart clothing is really cool and has the possibility to make our lives healthier, they still aren’t wearable yet. I think we are scratching the surface of really powerful built-in functionalities but there are still so many steps to getting the intelligence provided they the device that it didn’t feel completely seamless at this point. With that said, however, they were are really, really cool.
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