In the first of three reports for The Drum, Starcom MediaVest's group CEO Stewart Easterbrook picks out the key themes and highlights from this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
So, my first impressions on my first visit to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas? It is like being blasted with a firehose of technology and innovation! The show is vast. It is reckoned that 200,000 people are drawn to Las Vegas this week (50,000 of whom do not make it to the show itself!) and the enormous Convention Centre is full of just about every device and software innovation you can imagine from most of the major manufacturers, with one or two notable exceptions such as Apple.
One very obvious theme to emerge is that of 'device diversity'. That is to say, the vast number of different types of screens that have recently come to market. Larger smartphones, smaller tablets, laptops that double as tablets and others are all serving to blur the boundaries of different types of device. And this is all happening at a frenetic pace. In the last 2 months alone, 42 different sizes and resolutions of screen have come to market. Almost all of these devices are multi-functional; allowing increasingly seamless transference and consumption of content (TV, video, photo, games etc) across screens.
Whilst all of this is very exciting from a consumer's perspective, it raises two significant challenges for content developers and advertisers. Firstly, it is nigh on impossible for content developers to keep up with the pace of change. Even the smartest advertisers and their partners will not be able to produce content that is optimised, or even available, across this vast array of devices. Choices will have to be made. Secondly, these developments mean that this content will be consumed in many different contexts. Advertisers will have to become increasingly aware of the different locations and behaviours involved as consumers see their messaging. This challenge will be particularly acute for advertisers in Europe where the challenge of context will also have to include an understanding of many different countries and cultures.
So this rapidly growing 'device diversity' is a truly exciting opportunity for consumers and advertisers alike but will certainly come with significant challenges.
Tomorrow, I'll share a few thoughts on the 'internet of things'.