If there’s one thing that differentiated the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 from other years, it's the scale. CES 2016 was by far the biggest to date; 180,000 attendees and 20,000 new products launched by 3,600 exhibitors.

But the show has also demonstrated scale in different ways. Product categories that seemed exorbitantly out of reach for mainstream consumers even just last year now have the opportunity to truly reach mass scale. The explosion of connected devices also shows the potential power of data mining at scale. Advertisers now have the opportunity to develop rich, immersive experiences for consumers utilising virtual and augmented reality.

Having spent the week at the event, there are three major implications for advertisers:

Cars getting smarter

In 2010 drivers were completely in charge of their cars. Now we’re starting to cede a little control, and based on the tech on show at CES this year, by 2020 the car will be mostly in charge. As many as nine automotive OEMs exhibited at CES showcasing their range of semi-autonomous cars.

Smart in-cabin displays with LTE connectivity and personalised content were staples of the cars on display at CES. Groupon and Chevrolet have partnered to provide Chevrolet drivers access to Groupon’s entire marketplace of location-specific deals available through OnStar, the brand’s navigation and connectivity service.

It’s clear that advertisers need to start thinking of the car as another digital media format – a connected device for collecting behavioural data, and delivering information and media. Doing so will provide an enhanced ability to learn more about who and where consumer audiences are, with particularly strong implications for the targeting of roadside ad campaigns.

The growth of wearable tech

The wearable technology market is huge at the moment, and shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps buoyed by the success of the Apple Watch last year, a wide range of high-end smart wearables were shown from Fossil, Swarovski and Tag Heuer, demonstrating that wearable tech can also be fashionable. Additionally, Samsung demonstrated a new watch that doesn’t require a phone as it has its own connectivity.

Wearable tech is a category that is exploding, with 20 per cent compound annual growth expected over the next five years. Often using a smartphone as a central intelligence hub, wearables are becoming more affordable, reliable and relevant.

Intel is pioneering the wearable tech industry by driving down costs and integrating technology into ordinary consumer experiences. The Curie chip – named after Marie Curie – is a tiny processor the size of a button. It’s cheap enough to be mass produced and embedded in just about any consumer item. This one innovation has the power to push wearables into the mainstream.

The Intel Memory Mirror is a device that makes the in-store shopping experience digital, interactive and social. It allows the consumer to step in front of the mirror, see themselves in 360°, try on clothes, and see previous try-ons without having to redress. This can create opportunities for advertisers as consumers can be potentially retargeted with personalised content as they move around the shopping mall.

As connected wearable devices become more widely adopted, advertisers will have greater opportunity to tap into location specific data trails. This will in turn allow greater opportunity to target consumers based on individual needs and behaviours. It’s also important to remember that data-led outdoor campaign planning is absolutely as relevant to classic out-of-home as it is to digital. What is universally true is that use of richer data delivers better results, and here at Posterscope we have seen some spectacular increases of up to 200 per cent for brand KPIs vs. control areas.

New opportunities for immersive storytelling

Virtual reality and augmented reality products can now enable brands to immerse consumers in mind-blowing experiences, and there was a huge range of tech on display at this year’s CES. At the lower end of the market, the Samsung Galaxy VR offers an affordable introduction to the world of VR. HTC Vive takes steps to literally place control in the hands of the users, with a wireless joystick allowing interactivity. Motion sensors detect special movement and allow the consumer to move within a small radius. The Oculus Rift is finally launching this year, along with new products such as Leap Motion, and the augmented reality giants Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens.

VR and AR offer potential for interactive, immersive storytelling. What’s liberating is that this tech can be used in any environment – whether a train station, shopping mall or a venue – to transport people where you want them to go. Both VR and AR have the capacity to extend the impact of ad campaigns in a fun, enjoyable and tactile way, providing them with an immersive and entirely unique experience.

Advertising and marketing have always been heavily influenced by tech, and the growth of personal technology devices and new content platforms enable far more sophisticated campaigns. CES 2016 showed an exciting future within our grasp, and we already can’t wait to see what next year’s will bring.


By Jeff Tan, VP of strategy for Posterscope

GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/

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