CES 2018 — the big takeaways for marketers


Periscope dives into 5G, retail, mixed reality and smart cities at the biggest tech show of the year.

“Hey (Google, Alexa, Bixby) — what happened at CES 2018?”

No need to ask these voice assistants, which were the center of attention at CES this year. Our retail strategy team traveled to the biggest tech show of the year to provide you with the highlights and trends marketers need to know about:

1. 5G connectivity in 2019

Virtually everyone at CES had connectivity on their mind. With promises of 5G in 2019, we anticipate being able to connect everything around us more than ever before. The cornerstone of connectivity: voice. As artificial intelligence becomes more ambient, seamless and therefore unseen, we’ll continue to adapt using our voice (rather than fingertips) to “do.”

Why this matters to marketers:

As the industry moves toward AI that is more personalized and predictive for autonomous life, consumers (especially younger millennials) are becoming more willing to share their hobbies and interests if it results in relevant, valuable content. It’s still a race for one interface to assimilate all of a consumer’s viewership across all platforms and social networks. With endless ways for consumers to engage with content, it’s difficult for brands to track advertising success. To better understand users and the content they find gratifying, brands and agencies need to think about how to utilize both first- and second-party data to build profiles based on content and behaviors as opposed to traditional demographics.

2. AR/VR/mixed reality keeps growing

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for VR/AR technology. As entertainment content creators across the industry are better understanding what’s involved in creating compelling content, media outlets, like streaming services and movie theaters, are adapting to include VR in their suite of consumption options. AI companies like Google are investing in driving deep learning forward, enabling faster content creation — a monumental feat considering the vast amount of code required to support this new content format.

Why this matters to marketers:

VR/AR presents a unique opportunity for brands to build an emotional connection with consumers, who, by nature of interaction with this technology, are a captive audience dedicated to spending time interacting with their environments. Creating content that builds upon this natural desire to explore and interact will allow marketers to create moments of surprise and delight for consumers, curating valuable emotional responses to relevant, contextual, authentic branding. Additionally, as augmented reality continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, we have an opportunity to evolve consumers’ view of the physical world by laying in relevant and helpful brand placement, and provide value in their purchasing journeys through branded shopping tools.

The use of VR/AR can be seen everywhere, from makeup brands to driver training.

3. Retail technology: Offering a customized, seamless experience to consumers

Today’s consumer needs to get what they want, whenever they want it. With a plethora of information at our fingertips, we can research anything and everything prior to purchase. As consumers, we expect a seamless experience no matter how we are engaging with brands. Technology can bridge the gap between online and offline experiences, whether we are online comparison shopping while in a store or experiencing various products through augmented reality. The way we shop is being revolutionized, and technology is allowing for automation, removing human interaction where it is not needed and allowing for more meaningful human interactions where appropriate. Beyond that, technology allows for more and better data to be collected, leading to better targeting, more personalized experiences and more efficient retail.


Why this matters to marketers:

With the demand of today’s consumer, it is increasingly important that brands can be adaptive and offer personalized experiences. The use of data and technology is paramount to this success. The brands that win will be seen as the most assistive to our daily lives and needs. Data growth is up 4300 percent over the past couple of years, and the need to analyze that data in real time is a challenge marketers are facing. The future of retail is a mix of online and offline experiences blended together, where in store is not about buying, but about experiencing. Marketers need to harness the technology available and create meaningful, authentic experiences, thinking differently about customer engagement across all platforms.


4. Smart cities for improved urban life

One of the most prominent topics at this year’s CES was the potential for the tech community to create smarter, more sustainable and livable cities around the world. With advancements in connectivity and the internet of things as the foundation, automated street lighting, smart energy meters, parking assistance apps and sensors have the ability to make our communities safer, more efficient and more accessible. Given that the United Nations predicts that 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, innovators are harnessing technology’s potential to improve urban life.


Why this matters to marketers:

Transportation as we know it is bound to change. Automotive and aviation companies are thinking about piecing together the entire transportation experience for the benefit of the human on the journey. Redesigned methods of mobility will optimize the best journey for a specific person based on their needs — meaning there may be an entirely new system of influence involved in the consumer’s decision-making process.

Bell's air taxi on display at CES will operate as an on-demand mobility service.