President of Mobile Marketing
Q: “You just went to the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, what was the most interesting thing you saw or heard?”
A: This was an interesting show. I heard many say this was a disappointing year, because there was no “big” product release. I couldn’t disagree more. There were two exciting trends I found central to CES this year…
1. Connected Devices
Instead of a big focus on a unique product, I found the focus to be on the way the existing products communicate with each other. Also known as M2M, or Machine-to-Machine Communication, it’s something we have thought about for some time. There have been many products that would report their usage patterns. The next phase was allowing these devices to accept two-way communications so a user could change the way these devices operate. What I noticed this year was a flood of proactive, device-driven communications based on business rules that can really improve our lives. Now manufacturers are thinking about how they can provide utility, information and entertainment as devices connect via the internet.
The amazing displays on mobile phones and their nature as a remote control for our lives has opened a door that won’t be closed. Apps from the manufacturers are becoming a mainstay, because it saves them from having to build these interfaces into their devices. Sony, Samsung and LG all make the case that their Smart TV’s can also become a central interface and each are introducing new product that easily connects to these interfaces.
Automobile manufacturers also introduced this technology ranging from uploading content to and from your phone to automobiles communicating with each other. Ford has had Sync in market for years and now has more than 4MM cars in market equipped with the technology. The difference is this year nearly all manufacturers were touting that kind of connectivity as one of the key priorities a consumer considers when buying a new car.
2. Business Platforms (content, disruptive technologies, mCommerce)
We are at a pivotal time in technology and marketing and CES illustrated that point. Today with so many exceptional devices on the market, their interconnectivity and our insatiable desire to gain and share information has created new business opportunities. An example of this was presented by James McQuivey of Forrester Research called Digital, Disruptive Innovation: The Next Big Ideas in CE. The heart of his presentation was about uncovering the never ending list of adjacent opportunities. When we ask, “What else can we do to serve our customer,” we are presented with new business models. The connected devices I was commenting on, has created a rush for brand s to claim ownership on our homes. James gave the example of having a digital mirror in our bathrooms that makes a beauty product manufacturer become a beauty consultation company.
The devices and technologies may not be new, but the way we get there can be. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the mobile commerce space. We’ve all heard about paying for things with our phone and most are interested in that happening, but everyone is approaching it differently. Google has introduced the mobile wallet which uses the consumer’s phone at the point of purchase. Square and Scvngr are using the mobile device as the POS device. PayPal and American Express are creating payment platforms that allow people to move money from person to person. The carriers are introducing a solution that would allow you to pay through your monthly phone bill. And now companies like Starbucks and IBM are developing their own payment devices at POS. Which one will win? Here’s the good part, you decide!
That’s what struck me at CES this year. My summary? The next few years are going to be a whole lot of fun!