Another year of CES madness is behind us. What are brands to make of the latest evolutions? Here are six big takeaways from CES 2019, seen through a marketing lens:
1. Every company is now a tech company. Regardless of industry, the successful companies of the future will be those who fully embrace what tech can do. They will be led by those who understand the implications of each piece of technology, and can choose the best fit for their specific needs.
2. 5G is more than just “faster internet,” and it will make mobile VR and AR possible. The next generation of cellular networking is coded differently from its LTE predecessor, and will use a wholly different space in the wavelength spectrum. It’s this new space that will provide the higher data capacity which will lead to more speed and less latency. The major implication here: full implementation of the 5G network is the linchpin to VR and AR’s massive data needs.
3. The sports industry is rapidly evolving. Two big highlights:
VR companies and leagues will continue to push their partnerships, offering virtual watch sessions with friends that include “courtside” seats and tons of added features. As always, user adoption will prove to be a big challenge, with eMarketer predicting that total active headset users will land at just 5.2 percent of the U.S. population this year.
ESports leagues are building strategies to cross over into the mainstream by way of broadcast deals with ESPN. Some estimates claim eSports revenues will top $1.6 billion by 2021 so advertisers would be wise to take these audiences seriously.
4. #VoiceFirst is clearly having a moment: It will still take some time for user adoption and education to catch up, but voice-enabled features are having a media moment.
Case in point: The New York Times will launch “voice initiatives” this year through Alexa that will include voice-activated prompts for listeners to interact with the outlet’s content. News briefs on Alexa may be nothing new, but increased interactivity paired with more outlets coming on board (especially the New York Times) are big steps forward. Proof yet again that you can teach an old dog, and a couple familiar formats, new tricks. Look for podcasting networks to also overhaul their voice interactivity features in the coming year.
5. Screens and “display” technologies have achieved some major upgrades: From Samsung’s “The Wall” to LG’s “roll-up” screen to 8K madness, display technology has definitely leveled up recently. Some may salivate at the home theater options, but many marketers’ eyes remain fixated on the out-of-home implications. Perhaps most exciting are 3-D hologram technologies created by spinning blades outfitted with strips of light. Expect to see these hologram displays expand across retail and QSR locations in the coming years—especially considering that the hardware starts at just $1,300.
6. The content rights battles are continuing to evolve. The TV industry needs to adapt quickly and think differently to maintain relevance. Technological limitations are less of a challenge (though they still exist), and now the focus is shifting primarily to content and content rights.