The Most Disruptive Tech From CES

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Over 180,000 attendees. 4,500 exhibiting companies. And all the potential makings of a flash mob in the dedicated Uber/Lyft convention parking lots (though sadly this was not executed on).

In the midst of our Media Dystopia CES program, we surveyed 13 Mindshare leaders across the board to get their take on what technologies and trends stood out the most to them. What has the potential to be truly disruptive? What got them most excited? Here’s what they had to say.

1) “The Royole FlexPai foldable phone/tablet stood out to me for two reasons: one, as described by Ben Wood on Twitter, we’re in the “Stone Age of flexible display devices”– huge potential for growth. And two, it shows as an industry we’re going to be challenged even further from a creative development perspective.” —Stephanie Parry, Managing Director, Global Client Leadership, Mindshare.

2) “My pick is Pani. Coming from California and going through the recent droughts and fires, water conservation and usage is a key topic for us. Pani tracks your water usage and immediately informs you if you are using more water than you should be (regular usage or a leak).  What is really great is that Pani donates to water charities on your behalf—allowing you to save water while helping improve the lives of families everywhere by bringing clean water to people in need.” – Deirdra Bodkin, Executive Director, US Client Leadership, Mindshare.

3) “The democratization of voice platforms.  Seeing Bixby and others embrace access to hardware over exclusive ownership of software signals a strong growth trajectory of voice and connected home. And, the growth of “augmented intelligence” – tech built on the collaborative spirit of human guidance with machine learning.  While not new, the audio music space (Pandora and Spotify) continues to be guided by this co-opted suggestion engine.”  – Jason Smith, Managing Director, Digital Investment, Mindshare. 

4) “Hard to choose, but I was really impressed by Bell Nexus and their concept design for a hybrid electric air taxi. They are now working with Uber (whose next goal is to provide air taxi services) to potentially be their aircraft manufacturing partner. Rumor has it that this concept will be tested in 2020 and could be ready for commercial use by no later than 2022. This could be a game changer. And, being the audiophile that I am I fell in love with the new Panasonic headphones. Beyond including the notorious Panasonic extra bass system and full noise cancelling feature, it can support up to nine hours of playback on a full charge. Beyond that, they now include voice assistant activation.” – Daniele Kohen, West Coast Lead, Mindshare.

5) “Several to choose from, but one is definitely the Sleep Number beds. These beds sense your movements / snoring and automatically adjust firmness, comfort, and support on both sides for better sleep. They have a partnership with the NFL and 75% of players have used them. The data output on the quality of their sleep is fed back to their coaches and trainers, and used to optimize their training. As a long distance triathlete, that would be amazing to be able to leverage for my training and races! And on an everyday level, given that we are spending less time sleeping and more time on our devices, we should maximize the quality of our sleep. These beds were amazingly comfortable.” – Caroline Breton, Managing Director, Client Leadership, Mindshare Canada.

6) “Two things in particular stood out to me: one, the idea of the “infinite canvas” in that everything can be a screen or an opportunity for messaging. Whether it be detailed nail art or screens on clothing, advertising and headings can appear literally anywhere. And two, a trend we’re calling “holo-what!”—focused on the rise of holograms as a digital format. With the technology available on more and more screens in stores, OOH, and throughout our lives, it will change the way brands can present their products and messages to consumers.” – Raffi Mark, Associate Director, Live Marketer, FAST, Mindshare.

7) “A particularly interesting disruption I saw was the increasing capabilities of robots or the “robot reality.” Whether it be for use in retail stores to engage with loyalists or to streamline check-in at hotels, the presence of robots in our lives appears possible in the near future. Another trend is that as VR continues to be adopted, the increasing opportunity for gaming is already coming to life. However, the “breaking of the barriers” between real and virtual is an exciting opportunity for brands to blend their physical offerings with digital environments.” – Dominick Pace, Director, Digital Investment, Mindshare.

8) “For me, it was about the escalating convenience across technologies: bringing c-stores to the people will force us to redefine the convenience retail space à Robby the Snackbot that will deliver healthy snacks to college campuses and SPACe_C eMart, the autonomous c-store cart that will deliver healthy snacks to your home. And, from a personal standpoint, I loved how the Google Ride told the story of how Google Assistant integrates across multiple devices (home/car) to help and engage consumers throughout the day.” – Geraldine Pugongan, Group Planning Director, Mindshare.

9) “It seemed this was the year of the robot—a more humanized version of the personal assistant, building on the success of the Google Assistant and Amazon Echo. Consumers are increasingly strapped for time, and this new technology is here to help with everything from reading books to your children, helping answer product questions within brick-and-mortar retail locations, and play fetch with Fido.” – Brittany Rollheiser, Director, Digital Investment, Mindshare.

10) “The tangible application of AR is what stood out most to me this year.  There was one vendor in particular, Solar System Ultimate, that had an incredible use case for the technology.  Using 3D printing they created scaled replicas of the planets in the solar system, and then used an interactive AR execution to provide educational information about the planet.  It was amazing to think teachers could actually use this technology in the classroom to teach their students about the solar system.” – Brittany Ritter, Managing Director, Client Leadership, Mindshare.

11) “While I think our industry is still trying to find a good use case for virtual reality, the announcement that HTC made with its VIVE Pro technology is really intriguing. The new headset incorporates eye-tracking technology that allows it to be used without a handset. Not only is that incredibly exciting to try as a consumer, but for marketers it particularly starts opening up opportunities in the b2b space.” – Jim Cridlin, Global Head of Innovation and Partnerships, Mindshare.

12) “I particularly enjoyed Pandora’s 6 Dimensions of Sound event, especially seeing how it brought the audio insights from Mindshare’s Media Dystopia full circle. Sound is the most powerful sense we as humans have and subconsciously it makes us feel emotions and react to situations. As marketers we need to truly define our brand voice – not only the personality traits that our brand has, but also taking that a step further to determine who and what our brand sounds like. As we think about the importance and increased consumer usage of audio, we need to prioritize how we want to make our consumers feel when they hear our brand and what emotions we want to evoke. We should prioritize that and the creative that accompanies it so we’re making the consumer experience on-brand even in a “radio spot.” – Stacy Armistead, Director, Digital Investment, Mindshare.

13) “What stood out on the floor for me was how accessible all of it was. CES has always seemed futuristic to me. But this time – whether it was the holographic projection in my living room, or the automatic camera taking family photos, or the robot bringing me room service, or my laptop folding up in my bag – it all seemed ready to happen. But after three days of being on my feet, my favorite innovation was this tiny pad which you stick on your body. Activated by a remote it delivers different massages, hot or cold. Touted as the ultimate, portable pain reliever – it certainly did the job! And was no bigger than a matchbox!” – Divya Guruaj, Executive Director, Global Client Leadership, Mindshare.