Welcome to CES

From Rob Norman, Chief Digial Officer Global, @robnorman 

CES is upon us. Las Vegas in January means it's time for us to cozy up to the future and to see the consumer experience of tomorrow neon-lit and ready to stimulate a new year of thinking at the intersection of marketing, media and technology. 

CES is the home of displays in impossibly high resolution, and the connection of those displays to intelligent networks that reach from our homes to our automobiles and our pockets. In turn, they connect with sensors in everything from the January sales to the bathroom scales. 

At GroupM, Mindshare, MEC, Mediacom, Maxus, MetaVision, M6, Catalyst and Xaxis, we hope the programs we have created help separate the signal from the noise and provide some context amidst the mayhem and across the hundreds of square miles of carpeting, the endless taxi lines, and serve up a meal you actually want to eat rather than a buffet of all you can eat. 

Take note : Some new, some improved

by Seth Walters, @SWalt81 

At CES we’ve come to expect the expected and unexpected, yet always with the eagerness to get an up-close glimpse at the leaps in innovation they behold. Here’s a quick view of what we anticipate will stand out and impress this year: 

C Space

While most of the innovation at CES is linked to products on the show floor and in surrounding zones, the CEA has gotten innovative this year with the show itself. 

New for 2015 is C Space. C Space is described by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), who puts on CES, as “the official destination for the marketing, advertising, content and creative communities at CES.” Serving as a formal venue for brands, media and advertising companies, the CEA partnered with the ANA to develop programming specifically tailored to the C Space audience. These types of conversations are intrinsic when this incredible populous of products, companies and people come together, which is why we are proud to support the CEA and C Space this year as an official sponsor across all our companies. Google and Yahoo are featured, and it will be interesting to see where they take conversations in the context of CES. Other leading marketing and media innovators are set to discuss how technology is changing the way we conduct business and interact with consumers. Outside of sessions, companies including Amazon Media Group, Twitter, Hulu, Meredith, NBC Universal, and Watchwith are adding to the square footage of this already massive conference with ad tech and displays in the showroom. It’s based at The Aria, and is new, relevant and worth having it on your list of stops. Here’s a full schedule of C Space events: http://bit.ly/13E5aID. 

Connected Home

Progress in this area will always be interesting. Its potential is endless. As our homes are flooded with zany NEST commercials from Google, other manufacturers will try to use CES as a launchpad, striving to draft off of this almost sudden wave of attention being placed on progressing the Internet of things into a tangible reality for today’s consumer. Expect an abundance of new shiny products that smarten ordinary household items in an effort to vie for a position in the connected home. It will be interesting to watch where price points of these items go, and whether consumer education can drive adoption and convince homeowners that a connected home is both affordable and realistic. 

Emerging TV

Media and technology companies will be accounted for on the show floor, complete with luxury suites for the sharing of innovations in hardware, software, and pioneering methods for leveraging data to inform the ways brands communicate to current and potential customers. As in the past, actual campaigns will be featured, yet this year we can expect these companies to be showing new forms of delivery, engagement, targeting, and analytics. Smart TV OEMS such as LG and Samsung will continue to tout intuitive and convenient user experiences that offer greater speed and accessibility, merging linear and digital content. With viewing behavior changing and consumers tuning away from traditional Pay TV, both Sony (Vue) and Dish Network will be demoing their newly launched virtual MSO services. New Connected TV devices and video streaming solutions will emerge, and they will continue to fragment consumers’ viewing habits across screens/platforms and time. 

Cover Ground At CES For Breakthrough Trends 

by Michael Dowd, @Hamerkop

This is probably a cycle at CES, but likely the most intriguing one in a good while: 2015 will be the year that the innovations of 2014 realize their mainstream potential, transforming from curiosities into essential parts of our lives. To catch a glimpse at some of these breakthrough trends, you’ll need to stray from the bright lights of the Central Hall. So pack your best walking shoes and prepare to dive into some of the less publicized halls and zones of CES. It is here that you can check in on the latest advancements in 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, and more. 

3D Printing

We know what you’re thinking – 3D printing is not new. And you’re right. But here’s what’s important to note: 3D printing is the most successful failed industry of all time.

For years, CES has been loaded with companies making increasingly complex trinkets with decreasingly thick strings of plastic. To many attendees, the industry appeared to be a gimmick: a shiny product without a practical application. But meanwhile, the consumer 3D printing trend called attention to the commercial applications of the technology. Major corporations have been using advanced 3D printers to make everything from automotive parts to running shoes for years. And in 2015, attendees can finally see the real-world, consumer application of this technology inside of the next generation of home 3D printers on the second floor of the Sands. These new models from companies such as Airwolf and MarkForged can print objects using everything from wood pulp to carbon fiber to Kevlar, opening up a near-infinite range of applications in our lives and finally making consumer 3D printing a practical reality.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is worth noting because of its potential for intersecting with media and marketing – and to remind you that getting to the South Hall is a must while you’re at CES. 

2014 was a pivotal year for virtual reality. Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion, signaling a broader interest for VR within the technology industry. It could be said that virtual reality is the next, and perhaps last, major frontier for convergence of technology, video and advertising.  As it stands today, the category is miniscule. Last year’s show introduced brand-name devices, while this year it will be about the content and accessibility that help take things mainstream (although early adopters will surely be gamers).  VR will continue to dominate consumer electronics headlines in 2015, as several products finally hit the consumer market, including the Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus, and Avegant Glyph

Oculus, Google (Cardboard) and Samsung (VR Gear) are making it affordable, while Samsung is making VR experiences customized with products such as Milk Video, a mobile video network that curates content for users of the their headset.

For any brands wondering if virtual reality is a fad or a trend, the 2015 CES Gaming Marketplace will inspire some optimism. Oculus VR moves into the South Hall, where it will be flanked by a suite of peripheral startups built around their platform, including Virtuix and Occipital. Taken together, the Oculus Rift ecosystem represents the most immersive and technically impressive gaming experience ever created. While most of the demonstrations will be gaming-focused, take a step back and observe the community building up around the Oculus and think critically about the potential applications of a fully-immersive environment for the worlds of retail, entertainment, sports, and more.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things isn’t so much a trend, as a utopian vision of the future; a future in which everything around us is always collecting, processing, sharing, and applying data in order to make our lives better and easier. And while the full potential of such a reality is still years away, some of its essential components will be on display at CES. The second floor of the Sands is the best place to observe these companies, with the Fitness, Health, Wearables, and Smart Home Marketplaces all within a stone’s throw from one another. Withings shows how startups mature as they transition from digital health to mainstream consumer electronics with their elegant line of connected watches. ADT and Honeywell provide blueprints on how large corporations can embrace high-tech trends. And companies like Witricity and Energous provide the infrastructure for it all by generating power out of thin air.

The Rest

The key to CES is keeping an open mind – about what is coming and about what it could mean to consumers. Whether it is the societal impacts of robotics (Sands Level 2), the increasing need for cyber security (South Hall 1), or the advertising implications of intelligent vehicles (North Plaza), there are viable reasons to visit just about everywhere at the 2015 CES. Book an extra day, clear your calendar, and envision your brand amidst the most sophisticated consumer electronics on the planet.

CES 2015 DECODED: TERMS THAT MATTER   

by Cary Tilds, @CTilds

Bitcoin            
Bitcoin is a software-based online payment system where payments are recorded in a public ledger using its own unit of account, also called bitcoin. Payments work peer-to-peer without a central repository or single administrator, which has led the U.S. Treasury to call bitcoin a decentralized virtual currency.

IFTTT               
IFTTT (abbreviation for "If This Then That"), pronounced like “gift” without the “g”, is a web-based service which allows other services (e.g., Gmail, Google Reader, Instagram, Craigslist) to be programmed by means of using publically available and consistent, simple conditional computer programming statements (called "recipes"). An example of this is if the user's photo is tagged by someone on Facebook, then that photo will be added to the user's cloud-based photo archive automatically.

Makerspaces
Makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education. Notable projects and companies to emerge from makerspaces include the Pebble Watch, MakerBot (a low-cost 3D printer), and Square (payments).

RFID 
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object. A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked.

BLE                 
BLE is a new version of Bluetooth that makes wireless connections between BLE-enabled devices over short distances. To showcase how BLE is different, think of cellular communications that provides wireless coverage with a footprint measured in miles; WiFi's footprint that is measured in yards; and BLE's which is measured in feet; whereas NFC's is measured in centimeters.

Drones, UAVs  
Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Essentially, a drone is a flying robot. The aircraft may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with GPS.

OTT                 
In broadcasting, over-the-top content (OTT) refers to delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content.

Bluetooth 4.0   
Bluetooth 4.0 is backward-compatible with all other versions of Bluetooth, so you can pair existing Bluetooth headsets with the new iPhone without a problem. The Apple iPhone 4S was the first phone to ship with Bluetooth 4.0.

Hi-fi System     
High fidelity (aka hifi or hi-fi) -reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts (audiophiles) to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound to distinguish it from the poorer quality sound produced by inexpensive audio equipment.

Embedded       
Embedded intelligence is characterized as the ability of a product, process or service to reflect on its own

Intelligence     
operational performance, usage load, or environment in order to enhance the product performance and lifetime, to increase quality or to ensure customer satisfaction.

3D Printing      
3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).

Posted on January 6, 2015 .