Convergence and cloud computing mean you won’t have multiple screens and multiple devices, you’ll have one screen everywhere you turn—and it will be yours: I was watching people play a very sophisticated video game on a pretty dumb device in a hallway. It was all being served up from a power server farm far away. So you won’t need your Xbox360®, PlayStation®, TV, iPhone®, Tab, PC, Mac, etc. You’ll need a screen and your user ID. It’s not there yet, but when it is, brands will need to be prepared to have seamless interactions with consumers. The term 360-planning will no longer refer to including different media, it will refer to all the different behaviors consumers exhibit in their online interactions and how brands will support those various behaviors.
People are coming before technology: You’re starting to see more companies make the consumer experience more central to the story versus the bits and bites. Apple has always led the way here, but others are realizing and catching up. My favorite example was Samsung’s Note (best device at the show in my opinion). Its ability to help a person move from handwriting and drawing notes to more text-based and voice interactions was amazing. It felt like it was designed for the way a normal person works. The demo involved artists drawing portraits of attendees on the device as though it were a pad of paper. Very cool.
In a sea of overwhelming choice, content is still king: There were so many content plays and partnerships announced that it felt like the next great land rush. Consumers have too many media choices. It takes too much effort to find interesting stuff for the typical low-key-hoping-to-relax couch potato. No one has figured out the global electronic content guide (though many are trying). In the meantime, consumers are going to the well-branded and trusted content. So marketers, more then ever, need a content partnering strategy as well as a media strategy.
3-D is still a gimmick: Don’t get me wrong, there where some amazing displays, like LG’s 80-foot entrance display that made you feel as though you were walking into another world. But there is no content, and no effortless way to consume it in the home. It’s a ways off from becoming a reason to watch content, so brands should not invest much effort in drafting for those properties.
Coolest consumer electronics at CES—A muscle car. Or was it really a living room on wheels?: A little black gadgetis cool, but let’s get real – it ain’t no double butterfly-doored, lipstick-red road monster on wheels—that gets 100 mpg. Seriously, the technology in cars is making them the next great American living room—where you can interact with any content and communities you want. It represents a whole new way of engaging a consumer, and smart and inventive brands will exploit this relatively virgin and uncluttered frontier.