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Over the course of three days, Carat was focused on how the latest technologies could be applied to current brand and business challenges. It is our goal to ground the innovations we saw in an understanding of human intelligence that prepares brands for today, tomorrow and the future.
CES offers us both the opportunity
to see new and exciting trends and
technologies, as well as the challenge
of sifting through the clutter to find
them. We believe that the importance
of CES is to explore, educate and
find the skills, platforms, and partners
that will continue to scale, inspire
and impact business results.
Over the course of three days,
Carat was focused on how the latest
technologies could be applied
to current brand and business
challenges. It is our goal to ground
the innovations we saw in an
understanding of human intelligence
that prepares brands for today,
tomorrow and the future.
”CES allows us to attend inspiring
sessions designed to open our minds
to new possibilities. We’ve met with
AI music composers, platforms that
can measure emotional range and
companies that turn CPG packaging
into media channels. Expanding our
understanding of and openness to
these kinds of possibilities is why
we come to CES.”
Chief Strategy Officer, Carat US
Campaign US, CES: Are Agencies
Still Going There For Inspiration?
The Tech Grid 2019
We’ve distilled the complexity and
general chaos of the CES show floors
into 15 key categories, plotting
these on a matrix to lay out each
technology’s potential to move your
business. Our methodology takes
into account the tech’s inherent
riskiness, readiness to go to market,
potential business impact, and
other considerations. This matrix is a
helicopter view of where we advise
marketers to make their technology
and innovation investments over the
next 12 months.
Data Security Self Driving Cars
2019 will be the year of transparency
with consumers becoming much
more aware of how their personal
information is used by marketers.
With recent revelations of data
hacks and apps opaquely tracking
location and ‘private’ messages,
brands will need to be aware of how
platforms are asking consumers to
‘opt-in’ for data sharing and use.
Global data privacy regulation
changes will mean more visibility in
all parts of the advertising pipeline
and further transparency in media’s
entire supply chain.
At CES we met more startups focused
on putting data security at the heart
of their platforms using cryptography
Voice continued to dominate CES
trends with many devices infused
with voice activated interfaces,
even toilets! This trend will continue
as consumers become familiar with
digital assistants, particularly as we
continue to see the growth of the
smart speaker market.
This year we saw more devices with
more useful services, the continued
battle between Google and Amazon,
and other players such as LQ’s ThinQ
and Samsung’s Bixby raising their
profiles. However, Google’s Assistant
was inescapable, dominating both
the show floor and the Vegas skyline.
Larger screens, eye-tracking and
mood tracking cameras are allowing
tech to better inform services with
Wearables were expanding their
applications beyond fitness,
including sleep, baby care and even
battling loneliness. This key trend saw
technology designed to complement
humans rather than dominate them.
Philips Smart Sleep LG ThinQ
CES is famous for TV technology.
This year’s focus was split between
8K resolution, huge screens, and the
innovation in roll-able and foldable
screens. However, brands were
focused on the content that will
be streaming on these connected
The launch of Disney+ streaming
service, the promise of original
content from Apple, AT&T’s
acquisition of Time Warner, and
the expansion of Comcast’s own
streaming services, will see a rise
of significant challengers to the
dominance of Netflix.
Surprising news came from Apple,
who has largely avoided big
announcements at CES and SXSW
the last 5 years, announcing their
partnerships with LG, Vizio and
Samsung allowing access to Airplay,
HomeKit and iTunes to be preinstalled
on Samsung TVs. This marks an
opening of Apple’s vaunted closed
ecosystem, seeking to scale their
original content as the streaming war
continues to escalate.
LG Rollable OLED TV Samsung 8K 98inch TV
Apple Partnerships Disney Streaming
We saw a big shift from previous
years, from the growth potential of
VR, to more focus on the scalability
VR headset providers like Oculus
Quest and HTC Vive tried to untether
users, however, reaction overall
about the form factor was lukewarm.
Meanwhile AR presence has
expanded to a more scaled device
ecosystem of smartphones, headsets
and displays, signaling continued
growth in the years ahead.
The trend of immersive media goes
beyond devices and headsets,
with the storytelling expectations
of immersive media rising rapidly.
360º and 180º video, live-streaming,
the rise of gaming platforms and
e-sports, all require content that
puts users in the driving seat of the
narrative. We expect to see this trend
move beyond these technologies
into more traditional platforms.
Activision’s keynote regarding
e-sports and brand partnerships was
new for CES, expanding gaming’s
profile beyond brands sometimes
‘niche’ view of the medium. We
expect to see gaming’s influence
grow in consumer goods.
Disney x Audi & Holo-ride
WayRay AR Display
Old Rules, New Tech
How do brands advertise in a
fractured, confusing environment?
Increased media fragmentation
and the rise of services and utilities
through IoT, audio, digital assistants,
streaming, E-comm, blockchain, AR
and VR (PHEW) mean the need for
clear and consistent messaging.
Brands will need to go back
to the core discipline of brand
management, adapting old rules
about brand consistency, clear
visual identity, sonic ID’s, audio
tracks, haptics, mood, phrasing,
and story-arcs to maximize
experiments in new platforms.
Building brand services and
identity across expanding platform
opportunities requires a strict
understanding of the value a brand
can bring to a consumer and how
easy it is for a user to recall the
brand. We expect to see a refocus
on longer term brand building.
AI Assistant Data Partnerships
1st Party Data
Brand Identity In All Forms
The Car Renaissance
The autonomous car has been a
staple of the tech industry and CES
over the last few years. CES 2019
went deeper on in-car experiences
and impact of the new-age of travel
In-car entertainment platforms, work
areas and conferencing capabilities
were front and center across a
range of concept cars from big
auto manufacturers. Dare we say
it, we also saw the closest thing to
a flying car make it onto the main
show floor with Bell unveiling their air
taxi. This comes as Uber announced
its delivery of an aerial rideshare
network by 2023.
All these auto services rely on the
vital infrastructure rollout of smart
city technology and 5G networking
where the flow of data to connected
devices will be imperative. Cars will
become an increasingly important
source of behavioral data for brands,
and become an environment to
offer immersive, on-the-move, brand
Kia Concept Car
Bell Air Taxi
& Robot Deliveries
5G Is On Its Way…But Not Here Yet
The biggest hype of CES 2019
was easily 5G. Seemingly a
distant trend last year, CES 2019
5G was front and center with big
carriers such as Verizon and AT&T
claiming the first 5G rollout, yet
the reality is that the technology is
very much still in development.
With 5G handsets still in prototype,
the rollout looks to be more
realistic towards the end of
the year, with its impact more
likely at CES 2020. However,
as reflected in Apple’s recent
financial revisions due to slowing
handset sales, consumers seem
to be slowing down their desire
for the ‘newest’ devices. Tariffs
are also an impact in this area.
5G will be transformative to IoT,
content streaming and smart
city integration, but expect
conversations on 5G to continue
over the next couple of years as
devices and infrastructure catch up.
D-Link 5G Router
Lots of 5G Hype
Samsung 5G Prototype
Next Steps To A Successful
Innovation Strategy Post-CES
What consumer need is your brand solving
for? How will you get people to care?
What is the most cost efficient and quickest
way to test your hypothesis?
How will you measure success?
How scalable is your innovation?
Does it need to be?
Do you have assets that work for this?
If not, what will need to be created?
What are the build vs. distribution costs?
How will people discover this?
Build out a roadmap that includes “go or no
go” triggers – should you implement or halt?
Watch Carat’s CES kick off keynote + panel here.
To learn more or discuss how human
intelligence and innovation strategy can help
drive value for your business, please contact
Check out Carat’s podcast: The Human Element.
Exploring how insight and humanity impact
modern marketing to build stronger brands.
CSO, Carat US
Head of Innovation, Carat US