CES 2019 | Top 3 Things Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs Need To Know


"While it’s fun to get caught up in the excitement of bigger screens and smarter homes, CES also provides a window into the next evolution of consumer behavior for savvy marketers who look beyond the buzz.” - Think with Google

 This isn't your typical roundup post about the top trends from this year's CES event.  Instead of talking about the weirdest gadgets announced on the floor, we want to discuss what this means for consumer behaviors, marketing and best practices.

Top 3 Things You Need To Know 

1. 5G Is A Confusing Mess.  Although there was a lot of hype around 5G being the main topic at CES, unfortunately for those that attended it didn't deliver.  Avi Greengart said it best during an interview with CNET, "At CES, 5G is mainly being used as a buzzword and proxy for 'future of mobility.'"

We know we can't leave you hanging, so we collected some chatter on what was said through the trades, event presentations and interviews on the floor.

  • Proliferation of 5G by 2021/2022: 5G in 2019 is expected to be limited to a handful of large cities, with national rollout not picking up speed until 2020. Rollout will be progressively slow due to high costs associated with setting up more towers along with many other factors.
  • Speed: Promises speeds 20 times that of 4G LTE. 
  • Portability: Self driving technology will be fueled by 5G literally changing our transportation landscape as we know it today.
  • Mix Reality: It's believed 5G will have capabilities to power holography, volumography, and enhance digitally enabled physical experiences (DEPE).

Why you should care: Although full clarity around 5G was not delivered at this year's event, what everyone can agree on is the power of 5G is poised to be nothing but amazing.  This means more creative ways to communicate with your ideal audience in more places, spaces and with extreme speed.  Keep abreast on updates throughout the year - seriously set up that Google Alert, think of what you can test this year, and plan to fully implement by 2020/2021.

"The intersection of Mobile Video and Social Video was the dominate media trend for 2018. That intersection simply sets the table for the explosion of new medium forms to come in 2019.” - CNET

 2. The Age of Consent Will Shake Up Internet of Things (IoT). Overhype words for this year were said to be "smart" and "connected." Although this specific trashcan is not Alexa or Google Home enabled, the confusion between what products collect your data and which ones don't is growing quickly among consumers.  This confusion will create a paradigm shift of data control between consumer and manufacture.  Two things to keep in mind:

  • Custodianship: In the age of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), individuals own the data that they create, not the companies that collect it. This will be a major discussion point as some device companies convert into media companies solely on the basis of utilizing their 1st party data.
  • Guest consent: Virtual assistants dominated the floor just as much as they dominate our homes so there were many talks around what this means for guest(s) entering someone else's property. Device owners give consent to collect their data, but guests who enter their home do not.

Why you should care: As business owners and marketers we all get excited about data, but how far are we willing to go to collect it, use it or better yet give it away as consumers ourselves?  As you look to deploy audience buying tactics within your marketing strategies, self regulate the way you use and collect data.  If you plan to use 3rd party platforms, take the time to specifically ask or investigate their data collection methodology and have them explain their opt in processes.  Lastly ask yourself if you really need the data, and be open to alternatives. 


3. The Power Of Storytelling Enhanced: TVs are bigger, more affordable and access to content has never been easier. 

  • Streaming TV: OTT is becoming the biggest footprint as the internet itself dominating our living rooms and providing consumers a direct relationship between shows and viewers.
  • Vehicles as the next "big screen": With the push for self-driving cars and advanced monitors, commuters will use their dashboards - and steering wheels - for entertainment and content consumption.
  • Integrated commerce: Media will not simply tell stories, but be a place to buy across all screens.
  • VR is not going away: 5G predicted to give VR the jolt it needs to be portable and become mainstream.
  • Cinematic experience in the living room: Video Interpolation (aka “soap opera effect”) education will become a thing as viewers continue to watch their favorite movies from more affordable and assessable TVs at home. If you don't know what Video Interpolation is, we'll let Cruise, as in Tom Cruise, and Chris McQuarrie explain here. 
  • Participatory Viewing: Viewers are no longer consumers, but rather engaged contributors or producers of the content they watch.
  • Content pipeline is still catching up to 4k: 8k TVs were all the rage with announcement of product launches available to the public by this year. Content creators are trying to catch up, so don't hold your breath that your Total Recall fantasies will be mainstream in 2019. 

Why you should care:  Quality of content will continue to be extremely important as content creators from all industries - including the entertainment industry - fight for screen time in the living room, on mobile devices...well pretty much everywhere.  Consumers remain in control, so thinking of creative ways to keep them engaged longer is crucial as well as including a call-to-action to tell them specifically what you want them to do.  

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