Three Questions with Rolf Olsen at CES 2017

Data is the glue for everything from connected devices to machine learning and more. So at CES 2017, we sat down with Rolf Olsen, Chief Data Officer at Mindshare NA, to get his take on the trends and tech that stood out to him, along with the implications for media and marketers. Check out his take below.

What was the most impactful trend that you’ve seen at CES?

AI was everywhere to be seen, across almost every vertical. AI it seems, is truly the vehicle to bring big data to life in a tangible way!. For example, Amazon’s Alexa is now integrated into the operating systems of several large auto manufacturers; it can also be found in phones and TVs that we saw on the show floor, and they just signed a home security deal with ADT.

And from an insights perspective: AI really enables you to make sense out of the vast amount of data that exists in the world today, creating use cases that are valuable to consumers. That value add, the utility that it’s bringing people, is part of what’s driving a massive step change in how consumers are willing to engage with a machine. For example: looking at medical devices, we heard from IBM’s Watson that if you suffer from an ailment of a sensitive nature, you’re much more likely to ask a machine about it than a doctor.

The component of voice recognition obviously plays a very significant role here as well, because it’s teaching people to move from “I type something in” to, literally, “I ask for something” – another shift in consumer behavior. It’s incredible to see how quickly consumers have taking to freeform communicating with machines, something that truly offers further utility and application to consumers and businesses alike.

What else made caught your eye on the show floor?

I was fascinated by technology that I saw on the show floor that analyzes your emotions. There’s already a lot out there that can measure steps or how many calories you’ve burned, but about what achieving your emotional goals? If you think about how brands can positively impact someone’s life, doing so with that kind of data can be a powerful thing.  My personal goal this year is to be even more happy!

The car technology was also really interesting—the fact that autonomous driving isn’t far off at all. The way that people use cars could fundamentally change, as they have conversations and consume content in-vehicle—in one case, around a connected table in the car.

And finally, the advancements in AR, VR and mixed reality caught my eye because the benefits are so clear and obvious. We spoke with Blippar about how augmented reality can become akin to visual search. For example, if I see someone with a really cool watch, with AR in the future, I don’t have to ask them about it—the information will just present itself instead.

What should marketers consider?

Naturally it depends on the brand, but it also comes down to the changing relationship that people have with their connected devices and what they rely on them for. How do marketers leverage that relationship, to either tell a story about their brand or get someone to try a new product?

More importantly, we should think about how connected devices could potentially reduce the amount of choice people have in purchasing products. For the sake of convenience, if you use voice search to find something you want to buy, you’re probably more likely to go with the first thing that’s suggested, versus scrolling through results the way you might on your phone or computer. What does that mean for your brand and its relationship to media and publishers?