CES 2018: Breaking Through the Clutter

Posted on Jan 25, 2018 by Justin Pagel, Sr. Manager, Media Solutions Marketing, Western Region

It was another ground-breaking year at CES with over 184,000 participants and close to 4,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies and gadgets spanning 2.75 million net square feet of exhibit space.  Each year, exhibitors try and move the needle by making their devices bigger, thinner, smarter and more connected.  With all this being said and done, we ask ourselves how does technology impact our business? But more importantly, how will these emerging technologies benefit both brands and consumers?  CES showcased a lot of amazing gadgets, but today we’ll be focusing on a few key themes.

Voice is ubiquitous. If there was one underlying theme at CES, it would be the convergence of AI and hardware, with voice assistants being incorporated in almost every device from smart TVs, refrigerators, wearables, to robots.  A majority of hardware incorporated Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.  Apple’s Siri was barely to be seen.   As AI technologies improve, the data being collected from these machines will be a gold mine for marketers.  As we’re building these relationships with Google and Alexa, it begins to comprehend our favorite TV shows, favorite bands, favorite foods and even recent online purchases.  Moreover, since manufacturers are now incorporating voice into almost every device which has the ability to communicate with each other, the data collected via AI can potentially enable marketers to pinpoint personalization and relevancy that will further bridge the gap between brands and consumers.

Smarter TVs. Smart TVs are getting a lot bigger, thinner and the latest OLED displays provide a brilliant and picture perfect experience.  However, the biggest new trend we saw this year was the integration of voice assistants built into the big screen – a battle between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant will be sure to be seen.

From Smart Speakers to Smart Displays. Prior to the start of CES 2018, the only real smart speakers with a display were from Amazon (Echo and Echo spot).  But companies such as Google, Lenovo, JBL and LG have recently joined the smart display band wagon.  Tech analysts believe with the emergence of smart speakers growing from 6.5 million devices in 2016 to 24.5 million devices in 2017, a similar but stronger trend will set with smart displays (eMarketer, August 2017).  Through smart displays, consumers will be able to access recipes, maps, TV recommendations, etc.  That’s more visual data that can be collected in return for brands to reach their core audiences.  If the ecosystem becomes large enough similar to mobile, there may be potential to serve video ads through specific portals, sites or apps.  This is definitely something to keep an eye on for the near future.

Emergence of AR. While most of these devices are still used for gaming, we’re starting to see various other applications used by these devices ranging from children’s education, occupational training, medical surgery training, and even training people how to live in space!  As the VR / AR content ecosystem grows, there will be more unique opportunities for marketers to promote their products in a more engaging and immersive environment.

The Future of Transportation. The main focus this year is how AI is improving driving experiences, increased car safety and fostering self-driving enterprises. Companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, and GM are becoming more connected and sophisticated than ever with the implementation of voice assistants via Alexa or Google Assistant.  Voice assistants not only control functions in your car, but they can set the thermostat in your house, it can open the gates to your house, set the oven on pre-heat, and can even recommend you a movie based on your tastes.  Although we’re still a few years away until autonomous cars hit the general market, it seems we’re getting closer every year.  To lowering the risk of car crashes, Auto OEMs have been using sensors in cars for years, collecting and interpreting data to deliver full accuracy through the implementation of GPS, mapping technologies and sensors.  The final stage of making cars fully autonomous is applying AI to actually interpret that data into action to drive itself without any errors according to car experts.  With dramatic changes taking place, auto marketers will need to rethink how they promote their brands. For the first time, it won’t just be about quality, comfort, and gas mileage, but they’ll be challenged with gaining the consumers’ trust on the safety of autonomous vehicles.

In summary, AI will be integrated in all of our devices moving forward dominated by voice assistants.  This will allow devices to become smarter and more connected.  I’m not sure if our stoves talking to our washing machines will be a game changer in our lives, but the fact that machine learning will enable AI technologies to be more intuitive will certainly bring value to brands and consumers.  At the end of day, it’s not how much data you have, but more importantly how to effectively use the data will be key for brands and marketers.


Forward-Looking Statement

This post contains forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “objective,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue” and “ongoing,” or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future.  All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements about technology industry trends and the effect of those trends on brands and marketers.  These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from future results that are expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements.  These risks are discussed under “Risk Factors” in YuMe’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2017 that has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and in our future filings and reports with the SEC. The forward-looking statements in this post are based on information available to YuMe as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.