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A Preview to CES 2015: Five Trends to Watch

By Joanne Trout, CEO

January 2, 2015 | 4 min read

Robots, smartphones, 3D printers, tablets, phablets, smartwatches, 4K curved screens TV’s; all of this and more will be shown at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The sheer number of gadgets, exhibitors and attendees is both awe inspiring and overwhelming.

The innovations, will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, with many refinements to existing products and technologies. Screens will get sharper, phones more powerful, gaming more immersive, automotive and wearables more integrated, to name a few.

But CES has always been less about what is in front of you, and more about what it will become in the next few years. The potential for smart, connected tech, to move consumers down the marketing funnel is huge. Here are a few big trends and opportunities to watch.

The Internet of Things

With 25 billion connected devices, the Internet of Things is one of the hottest trending topics in tech right now. It’s all about the opportunity to connect everyday items like cars, home security systems and kitchen appliances to networked devices like PCs and smartphones for greater control and management of our everyday lives. Imagine your refrigerator connecting with your Amazon Prime account and ordering milk to be delivered before you run out. This connectivity opens up many opportunities for marketers to engage with their consumers from offering virtual coupons to brand recommendations.

Virtual Reality

We have come a long way since 3D glasses. As audio quality, graphics and displays become more sophisticated and life-like, viewing is moving from a passive to a thoroughly engaged activity. Facebook’s recent $2 billion investment in Oculus, signals a broader interest for virtual reality within the technology industry. While most of the VR demonstrations at CES will be gaming-focused, take a step back and observe the enthusiastic and growing community around the Oculus Rift and think critically about the potential applications of a fully-immersive environment for brands to engage their audiences.

A World of Wearable Tech

In 2014, wearable devices became the rage, many collecting data on everything from calories burned to hours slept to blood pressure. In 2015, no doubt, major technology companies will build services and software that transform wearables as a platform the way the iPhone influenced Android and rewrote the smartphone industry. Once you have a platform and scale, data from these devices will enable marketers to more accurately pinpoint not only the type of advertising that will be most receptive to the consumer, but the precise time and place to deliver it.

The Road Warrior

“Connectivity” is the game-changing theme for automotive tech and the phone will emerge as the brain of your infotainment system. Last year, most car manufacturers were pushing their own proprietary on-board tech ecosystems. Enter the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Blackberry, who recently formed a partnership with Ford, and we will have a couple of big tech players competing to provide the OS (and associated apps) to on-board entertainment and hardware systems. The potential implication for all marketers may be that they can more seamlessly reach consumers both outside the car as well as behind the wheel.

The Omni-Channel Consumer

Whether it’s a tablet, phablet, smartphone, PC, or a wearable, today’s always on, connected consumer lives in a world where multi-device ownership and usage is the new normal. This has created a consumer who expects experiences that are personal, relevant and available on-demand, 24/7. We are moving from a world of mass marketing to mass customization. As a result, marketers must learn to navigate this complex landscape, taking advantage of new digital tools and platforms to reach their consumers regardless of where they choose to interact.

Jonathan Nelson is Omnicom Digital's chief executive officer. Omnicom will be posting live updates from CES 2015 via its Instagram account (@Omnicom).

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