The five technologies marketers should watch at CES 2016 to change their businesses

With CES kicking off this week, marketers don’t have much time to shake off their festive hangovers and get up to speed with the technologies set to shape 2016. For those that won’t be there, The Drum has rounded up the five trends to watch out for when reading our coverage over the next week.

3D printing

3D printing practitioners are no strangers to the showfloors of CES but this year’s event will give the clearest indication yet as to how marketers can capitalise on the nascent trend. Whether it’s the emergence of price comparison sites for 3D printers and brands or scientists using the tech to print live blood vessels, marketers can get a glimpse as to what it’s going to take for it to achieve widespread consumer adoption. One brand at the event keen to share its learnings will be New Balance, which is going to be unveiling its 3D printed midsole trainer (see above).

Virtual reality

Once viewed as a gimmick with no real business value, virtual reality is now held in high regard by businesses worldwide, as reflected by the breadth of CES sessions tackling its role in industries such as movies, gaming, sport and publishing. Executives from 20th Century Fox, Google, the New York Times, Warner Bros, Sony Playstation and more will be detailing their ambitions for this technology shaping their brand experiences in the future. What will be interesting to look out for is how these firms talk about the long-term impact of virtual and augmented reality as observers of both mediums are still wary of hype without value.

Earning customer trust in the midst of personalisation and privacy concerns

The range of sessions covering personalisation and data privacy at this year’s CES highlights a clear shift in consumer behaviour towards an individual’s data becoming a personal asset. Marketers understand the inherent value of personalising a product or service but speakers at the conference will look to bring clarity on the cost of having that one-to-one relationship. From security measures to monetising wearable data, the internet of things to ecommerce, earning the trust of consumers through these trends will be what speakers from Facebook, Cisco and the Weather Company will say is critical to securing consumer privacy and ultimately capitlaising on the 'Me2B' economy.

Rise of the machines

Artificial intelligence and robotics will be one of the hot trends from the showfloor in what is the clearest indication that tech innovations are more complex than ever for marketers. Build-up to CES has already dubbed 2016 the year of the smart’ wearables; these devices, which are powered by artificial intelligence, promise to move beyond churning out reams of data from built-in sensors and instead offer up timely advice in response to the wearer’s behaviour. Devices from Atmotube and SpeechAid will show how this shift will define wearables for health, while Toyota is set to announce details of its artificial intelligence research. If that wasn’t enough to prove that tech is getting smarter (and friendlier) then the proliferation of robots on show at CES will. Indeed, 71 per cent more space has been dedicated to robots at this year’s show than 2015, with everything from a light-up Leka robot that could help autistic children, to a social robot that makers are wheeling out to show how they could be part of everyday life before long.

Connected cars

Cars are tipped to be the talk of CES this year with a record 200,000 square feet (the equivalent of 3.5 football fields) dedicated just to cars this year. Whether it's Ford's rumoured announcement of a tie-up with Google to create driverless cars, or Toyota’s demoing map crowdsourcing from its cars, executives will likely talk-up how connected vehicles are accelerating the rise of personal mobility. Other highights to watch out for include BMW going full ‘Minority Report’ by using its Airtouch tech to show how a driver’s hand gestures will control the cars of the future and Bosch showing off its latest connected car technology (see above).