Creative & Tech

360i Report: CES 2015: Position Your Brand for the Future

January 25, 2015

Straight from the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in
Vegas, 360i is bringing you the essential takeaways from this year’s event.
On the showroom floor marketers saw first-hand the dawn of the Connected
Age, a new era of marketing powered by more accessible, affordable and
applicable consumer technology innovations that are changing consumer
behavior and transforming brand marketing. In the upcoming year, marketers
can expect to see broad adoption of more affordable technologies that are
inspiring consumers’ lives and lifestyles by offering seamless integration
between the digital and physical worlds. The resulting evolution of
consumer behavior will require brands across every category to be more
digitally-centric in how they develop their marketing and brand
experiences.

From connected homes to virtual reality, the following report provides
an overview of the top trends and technologies from this year’s CES to help
marketers position their brands for the future.

Why CES?
This year we saw CES continue to rise in prominence for brand marketers.
While the event has been happening for decades, in the show’s 48th year,
brand marketers descended upon CES to discover that the future of
technology is now within reach. CES 2015 was a pivotal year for marketers
as advances in consumer technology demonstrated it’s no longer novel or
optional to be a technology-agnostic brand. Consumers not only want to
attain the convenience and value of a connected lifestyle, but it’s now
within their reach and realm of expectation. While many of the technologies
seen this year were similar to what we’ve seen in the past, what’s most
imperative is that these technologies are becoming more affordable and
accessible for consumers. Wearables, smart cars, 3D printers and drone
technologies have more attainable price points, and this has important
implications for marketers.

Sensors Will Drive the Most Relevant Spaces for Innovative Brands
2015 is the year low-cost, data-rich sensors will impact every brand
marketing category. The introduction of smartphones first showed us
consumers form meaningful and deeply personal connections with technology
by changing the way we live, work and plan. Now, sensors give us an
opportunity to capitalize on the “Internet of Things” and forge seamless
connections to anything and everything in our lives.

Companies like Uber and Seamless first sparked a revolution by giving
consumers instant gratification, which raised the bar for brands. With new
and sophisticated sensor technologies, we can expect a fundamental shift in
consumers’ expectations and behaviors, and this demands change for brands.
Whether it’s 3D printing a replacement part, knowing what a store location
has in stock before leaving the house or paying with a mobile device,
consumer behavior is changing and brands must follow.

The 2015 Hot List
Following CES, 360i has developed the following list of the most
relevant spaces for innovative brands:
Connected Home
Categories Impacted: Auto, CPG,
Media/Entertainment, Retail

The Connected Home represents a micro “Internet of Things”
trend consisting of home appliances and accessories that are
connected to achieve efficiencies and automation. According to
NextMarket Insights, there are currently 1.48 million U.S.
households with smart home systems, and this number is expected to
grow to 15.03 million by 2020, while a Lowe’s study found that 70%
of Americans want to control something via their mobile devices at
home without leaving bed. The introduction of Google’s Nest and the
growth of smart light bulbs and smart door locks is just the
beginning. Wireless devices can now monitor and adjust a home’s
temperature, lighting, beds, sprinklers and more. At CES, we saw
major tech players innovating in this space. In addition, companies
like Samsung, Intel and Belkin are working together to establish a
standardized platform for in-home device communication that will
allow for connectivity between different technologies and
systems.

360i Best in Show:

“http://www.belkin.com/us/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/”>
Belkin WeMo: WeMo is a family of dozens of simple,
innovative and customizable home automation products that allow you
to control home electronics and monitor cost and usage from
anywhere, using a smartphone or tablet. Products include Wi-Fi
enabled light switches, a slow cooker, a net cam and
more.

“http://blog.parrot.com/2014/01/21/flower-power-racontez-nous-votre-histoire/”>
Parrot Flower Power: This second generation pot from
Parrot’s plant sensors line provides up to one month of smart,
autonomous irrigation that can be customized for 8,000 different
plants. The ability to use sensors to monitor plants and receive
alerts automatically has potential and implications beyond
supporting green-thumbed consumers.
Connected Cars
Categories Impacted: Auto, Travel, QSRs,
Media/Entertainment, Retail

The second largest trend at CES this year was the growth
of connected cars– another key segment of the “Internet of Things.”
According to a study by Harvard Health Watch, the average American
spends over 100 minutes per day driving, or more than 600 hours per
year. While automotive digital technology has traditionally focused
on optimizing a vehicle’s internal functions and connectivity,
attention is now turning to developing a car’s ability to connect
with the outside world and further enhance the in-car
experience.

Connected Cars can optimize their own operation and
maintenance, as well as the convenience and comfort of passengers,
using onboard sensors and Internet connectivity. They also give
users the ability to extend their vehicles’ connection beyond
personal devices to a variety of other resources, including the
connected home. A consumer’s smart locks will lock down the house
when there are no cars in the driveway, and their thermostat will
adjust to the perfect temperature when they walk in the door from
work, because their car indicated they were leaving the office. In
addition, kids’ media and entertainment will seamlessly shift from
an in-home TV to in-car infotainment
systems.
360i Best in Show:

“http://blog.parrot.com/2015/01/05/ces-2015-parrot-rnb6-the-most-advanced-in-vehicle-infotainment-system/”>
Parrot RNB6: To be released later this year, the
Parrot RNB6 device is an “infotainment system” that can turn any
car into a connected smart car though a simple dashboard
installation that runs Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto. The device
can control radio and temperature, and offers onscreen driving
profiles and diagnostics. It also boasts safety features like voice
recognition, and can record front-facing HD video using an in-car
camera.

“http://www.nvidia.com/content/global/global.php”>Nvidia:
Nvidia surprised CES 2015 attendees by demonstrating its commitment
to auto innovation. Best known for desktop computing, the company’s
offerings now include powerful motor technology that is changing
the way cars “think” and drive. This includes displays built within
mirrors, high-resolution dashboards, improved navigation systems
and hazard detection.
Wearables
Categories Impacted: Auto, CPGs,
Media/Entertainment, Retail

While we first saw wearables hit the mainstream in 2014,
this year at CES there was a dramatic increase in their features
and power, along with thoughtful design that is being led by
product and fashion designers alike. Because wearables are getting
more powerful and less costly, they are poised to grow considerably
in the coming year. In fact, research firm Canalys forecasts that
annual smartwatch shipments worldwide will soar from 8 million in
2014 to 45 million by 2017. At CES, wearables ranged from smart
garments that track health and workout data, to wireless headphones
that are voice controlled. Brands like Under Armour and Nike —
traditionally known for physical, analog products — are entering
the connected space at a staggering rate; It’s a growing pie of
which everyone wants a piece.
360i Best in
Show:

“http://sites.garmin.com/en-US/vivo/vivoactive/”>Garmin
Vivoactive: This multi-use fitness tracker can track
running, cycling, swimming and golf performance, in addition to
everyday activity. For under $300, the health-focused watch
features a beautiful color display that is sunlight readable and
has touch capabilities. The Vivoactive also includes a Bluetooth
4.0 LE radio that can receive notifications from Android and
iPhone. The company says the device will run third-party apps made
for its custom software and found in the company’s Connect IQ
store.

“http://www.withings.com/us”>Withings Activité
Pop: Withings Activité Pop subtly integrates gorgeous
watch designs with fitness, sleep tracking and the ability to pair
data with the Withings HealthMate app. Considered to be one of the
best-designed activity trackers and smart watches to hit the
market, the latest version is available for just $150.
Mobile Payment Technology
Categories Impacted: Auto, Travel, CPGs,
Media/Entertainment, Retail, QSRs

With Apple’s September Apple Pay announcement, excitement
continues to grow around new forms of mobile payments, which
Deloitte predicted in its annual TMT predictions report will take off in 2015. At CES this year, we saw innovations in the space that
bridge the gap between current credit card models and mobile
payment systems that could signal major advances in consumer
adoption. Retailers, banks and other companies are increasingly
accepting new payment technologies, as mobile payment leaders work
to develop new modes of standardization and security that will
provide consumers more confidence and peace of
mind.
360i Best in Show:

“http://www.looppay.com/”>LoopPay:
LoopPay is a mobile payment solution that works with existing
magnetic stripe readers (vs. NFC powered competitors like ApplePay
that aren’t directly compatible), making it adaptable to commonly
used credit card readers. It works by loading credit card
information into an accessory such as a key fob, card or phone case
that can be swiped for payment. In addition, they are working on
enhancing the technology so that it can be embedded directly into a
phone.

“https://www.hypr.com/”>HYPR-3: This
biometric phone wallet app is powered by a 3.2mm Bluetooth sticker
and API designed to secure credit cards and bitcoin with biometric
access to a digital wallet. By sticking it on a phone or keychain,
consumers can leave their wallets at home and help eliminate fraud
at the same time. Currently available for pre-order, the $20 device
integrates with phone software to offer significantly stronger
authentication, making unauthorized transactions nearly
impossible.

Virtual Reality
Categories Impacted: Auto, Travel, CPGs,
Media/Entertainment, Retail

Following Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of category
pioneer Oculus Rift, virtual reality has become a mainstream
fascination for consumers and marketers alike. Virtual reality has
the potential to take off in 2015 thanks to more accessible,
low-cost versions of the technology that leverage existing mobile
technology and accessories.

Virtual reality can create digital experiences that are
richer and more immersive than ever before possible. Brands in
categories like media and entertainment will flock to virtual
reality, and less expected verticals like healthcare and education
will also find new and exciting ways to deliver value to consumers
through use of this technology.
360i Best
in Show:

“http://www.virtuix.com/”>Virtuix
Omni: This full-body virtual reality experience pairs
headset technologies like Oculus Rift with a unique treadmill that
fixes users within a support ring. Users’ feet glide across a
low-friction surface that allows them to replicate walking and
running for a 360-degree experience inside a virtual world. The new
technology has massive potential to make gaming more active and to
make virtual experiences more immersive, creating exciting new
opportunities for brands.

“http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gearvr/”>
Samsung Gear VR: The technology and smartphone giant
has introduced a virtual reality headset that uses the brand’s
Galaxy Note 4 phablet as the goggle screen, to create an
affordable, wire-free virtual reality experience that has been
reported to be “impressive and immersive.” For less than $200,
Samsung is offering a sophisticated headset powered by its phone
technology that includes a proximity sensor, accelerometer,
gyrometer and compass to create a life-like experience. Consumer
uses might include watching movies or playing games in flight, or
keeping kids occupied during a long trip. And already, it is
attracting brands like AMC’s Walking Dead for promotional
use.
3D Printing
Categories Impacted: Auto, Travel, CPGs,
Media/Entertainment, Retail, QSRs

The 3D printing market has expanded significantly, with a
focus on the quality and variety of materials that can be printed,
which now includes metal, wood, limestone and even food. In
addition, desktop manufacturing is finally getting into the hands
of everyday consumers — beyond the homes and offices of evangelical
technophiles. It won’t be long until we see progressive brands
opening their treasure trove of models and parts for consumers to
print replacement parts and develop new and innovative add-ons for
products. At first it may sound like a hit to companies’ bottom
lines, but such an advancement adds to a less tangible metric:
consumer love. It behooves any brand to tap into the passion fans
have around a product, and brings them closer to the products and
services sold to them.
360i Best in
Show:

“http://www.makerbot.com/”>
MakerBot: In a big step forward for 3D printing
capabilities, MakerBot has introduced new PLA-based filament that
includes composites of metal, stone and wood. The composites retain
characteristics of the materials they are derived from. For
example, one material can be sanded, stained or finished like
regular wood, and another forms metal composites that can be
magnetized. Now consumers can print tools that not only look
realistic, but that also perform certain functions to imitate or
replace manufactured items. At CES, MakerBot showcased a 3D-printed
hammer and disclosed it is testing a mobile remote monitoring
feature that will make the printing process easier and more
efficient.

“http://www.3dsystems.com/”> 3D Systems:The category veteran has a mission to get 3D printers into more American homes, and this year it showcased “the home of now” by highlighting the ways food, fashion and fun can all be 3D-printed. At CES, 3D Systems debuted the Ekocycle, a printer created in partnership with Coca-Cola and will.i.am that uses post-consumer recycled plastic filament, and the CocoJet, a chocolate printer created in partnership with Hershey’s. In addition, the company spotlighted the new Touch Haptic 3D Stylus and OpenHaptics SDK system, which works with Oculus Rift to create a virtual sculpting software tool for 3D modeling.

Drones and Robots
Categories Impacted: Auto, Travel, CPGs, Media/Entertainment, Retail , QSRs
After first making a splash at SXSW in 2014, smaller, more automated and use-case specific drones and robots were popular areas of interest at CES this year. From drones that specialize in taking selfies, to practical robots that help shoppers navigate big box retailers, there was no shortage of technology showcasing how drones and robots can serve brands in the future.

360i Best in Show:

DGI Phantom Inspire: DGI introduced the Inspire, its
most high-tech drone to date. The Inspire features amazing flight
control, 4k video recording and super smooth camera stabilization.
Now, nearly any event can be covered by extremely high-quality and
compelling video footage. We’re seeing music festivals, sports and
branded events already adopt the technology, and we’ll see even
more do so in 2015.

“http://www.lowesinnovationlabs.com/”>Lowe’s Innovation
Labs OSHbots: Lowe’s Innovation Labs is creating
innovative technology solutions that deliver new experiences for
consumers. The home improvement retailer’s OSHbots are designed to
identify and locate merchandise for consumers, speak to them in
multiple languages and deliver location-specific promotions. The
company is already working on new innovations for the droid,
including using its depth-sensing camera to recognize objects
(e.g., a damaged lug nut) and point a consumer in the direction of
a match or replacement.

Welcome to the Connected Age
In 2015, CES revealed there are more opportunities than ever before to
connect with consumers in innovative, compelling and disruptive ways. Now
more than ever, it is important for marketers to embrace new technology by
working in partnership with strategists, innovators and technologists to
experiment with the latest technologies. By embracing how advances in
consumer technology will change consumer expectations and behaviors, any
brand can succeed in the Connected Age.