Below is my recap for CES 2016. I distilled the event into 6 strategic territories:
1) The New Reality - This section outlines the various virtual reality offerings presented
2) 3D Everything - A look at the advancements in 3D printing & scanning
3) Beyond Screens - This is a comprehensive look at new forms of computing and ways to connect with consumers with light
4) Accessories that Empower - A key factor in digital growth has been the creation of systems that empower consumers to create, be it images, videos, etc... This section focuses on the next evolution of accessories that will empower the creation of immersive experiences.
5) Smarter Home - There is an arms race to be the primary hub for the smart home. This section provides examples from Lowe's, LG and others who are working to connect IoT systems and the profitable ecosystem of sensors that accompany it
6) Intelligent Robotics - Emotive robotics and artificial intelligence will fundamentally change consumer behavior. This is a recap of intelligent robotic systems that were on display at CES 2016.
Presence + Technology
On a recent earnings call, Facebook founder
Mark Zuckerberg called Virtual Reality (VR) the
next evolution of computing. VR replicates an
environment that simulates physical presence
in a real or imagined world and VR was on full
display at CES 2016.
Facebook owned Oculus was definitely a crowd
pleaser as there were extended wait times to
preview the Oculus Rift.
Pricing was announced at the show with the
headset coming in at $599
VR will enable brands and marketers to create
immersive experiences. Oculus will serve as a
high end solution for early adopters but the
key to mass adoption will be portability of the
units and accessibility to create content.
SENSOR ENHANCED VIRTUAL REALITY
As virtual reality hits the consumer market
in 2016, having the ability to refine the
experience will be key.
Moving from passive to active viewing is
one of the primary goals of VR experience
The key to active VR engagement will be
based on additional motion sensors that
allow depth based interaction in the
At CES 2016 the ecosystem of suppliers
providing sensors to enhance the
experience was on full display.
As more brand marketers begin to
experiment with virtual reality, it is
important to realize that the experience
should go beyond simply consuming
content and strive to provide interactivity.
FULL BODY MOTION VIRTUAL REALITY
Full Body Experiences
Gaming experiences will be a key area of focus
for a number of VR based sensors as the goal is
to create a seamless connection between the in-
game content and the experience.
The Virtuix Omni full body motion VR experience
definitely caught my attention. As seen on Shark
Tank, gamers are strapped into a full body rig
with sensor based weapons and an Oculus VR
headset, the goal is to create a fully immersive
active VR experience.
For brand marketers considering strategic
alliances with gaming properties, be mindful of
solutions that also incorporate the Virtuix as it is a
high impact engagement solution for Active VR
that can be a fun way to demonstrate an
EXPERIENTIAL VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual Reality and Experiential
Marketing will go hand in hand and one
of the big attention grabbers was
Moveo is a free-rotation VR simulation
pod. The consumer dons an Oculus Rift
headset and experiences a deeply
From Game Of Thrones at SXSW to
Moveo at CES, brands can score big
with immersive VR experiential
experiences as consumers are intrigued
by virtual reality and want to get a
glimpse of the future.
VIRTUAL REALITY COMMERCE
Enterprise Ready VR Solutions
One of the brand ready virtual reality
solutions was Marxent’s Visual Commerce
Their enterprise ready technology powers
the Lowes Holoroom, which combines
elements of 3D scanning, virtual reality as
well as a hosted CMS & analytics package.
The VR experiences feature e-commerce,
related products, contextual hotspots and
social sharing from within the experience.
It is important to note that enterprise level
services infrastructures are being built to
support the integration of virtual and
augmented reality to drive business
VIRTUAL REALITY SERVICES
Virtual Reality Services On Display
A lot of industry talk about Virtual Reality has
focused on the hardware and various immersive
For brand marketers, it is important to go
beyond the hardware and look towards services
that are being designed to gain engagement
and deliver scale.
Voke VR provides live streaming of events
through VR. Users can control the various
camera angles and personalize the experience.
VRTIFY is focused on VR + Music and community
by sharing, creating and experiencing music
such as live concerts and more. VRTIFY features
partnerships with Vevo and Spotify
Look to leverage unique VR services that have
the potential for mass consumer appeal.
Augmented + Virtual
Although I was disappointed that Microsoft’s
Hololens was not available during CES 2016, I
was delighted to see the HTC Vive make an
With a front facing camera, you can shift from
Virtual Reality (VR) to potential Augmented
Reality (AR) based interactions.
Creating mixed reality solutions that can be
fully immersive (VR) with those that augment
the physical world (AR) will be the future of
From a marketing perspective, being able to
create immersive experiences then shift to
digitally enhancing the real world will be key
to deliver consistent and relevant content
Connecting Digital & Physical
3D scanners were on full display. The
scanners allow users to capture dense
geometry in real-time.
I have been monitoring Occipital’s Structure
Sensor for some time and got to experience
it first hand at CES.
Structure allows the simulation of real world
physics and the creation of 3D models as well
as an SDK that allows for the creation of
augmented reality solutions within the 3D
Retailers can provide seamless
representations of physical spaces and
showcase how their products will potentially
fit into a space.
Product prototyping can be accelerated and
creating connections between physical and
digital can be rendered in seconds.
I was surprised by the amount of 3D printing
solutions and providers that were present at
3DSystems provided the most comprehensive
solution set that also aligned solutions by
From 3D scanning to printers to software,
3DSystems demonstrated the ability to
provide end-to-end 3D printing solutions.
From a brand marketing and innovation
standpoint having the ability to rapidly
prototype products, provide DIY services to
early adopters as well as product
personalization and mass customization are a
few areas to consider beyond simply 3D
printing brand swag.
VIRTUAL REALITY + 3D PRINTING
VR + 3D Printing
One of the most impressive demonstrations of VR
+ 3D printing was also found at the 3DSystems
3DSystems acquired Simbionix in 2014. Simbionix
is the global leader in 3D Virtual Reality Surgical
Simulation and training.
Combined with their acquisition of Medial
Modeling which provided 3D printed implants and
a variety of 3D printed patient-specific medical
devices showcases the breadth of VR + 3D
services that 3DSystems can provide.
Virtual Reality and 3D printing are revolutionizing
surgery training and personalized medicine. For
health related brand marketers it is important to
support the education of the services and align
with innovative partners to further create
personalized medical solutions.
INTEGRATED 3D PRINTING
Integrated Circuits + 3D Printing
3D printing is evolving to also incorporate
complex circuitry in the printing process.
Voxel8 caught my attention as one of the
first 3D solution providers to provide a fully
Their proprietary silver ink is 20,000x more
conductive than the best conductive filled-
thermoplastic. This allows them to 3D print
with highly conductive ink.
The potential for 3D printing highly
integrated systems that allow for mass
customization is a potential breakthrough to
move 3D printing from fashionable to
Your world in 3D
In order for mass adoption of new
technology to occur, ease of use and
value creation are key factors.
Products like Bevel check both boxes as
it simply attaches to an existing mobile
device and allows the creation of 3D
Initially started as a Kickstarter project,
Bevel will allow any smartphone user to
create 3 dimensional photos for social
Consumer created content is not going
away anytime soon. By enabling
consumers to use their existing devices
to create new types of shareable content,
Bevel could be a way to turn 2D images
into 3D content.
Flexible displays have always held a
certain sci-fi allure. Having a digital
display that can be bent, rolled and
shaped into many different form
factors has a lot of marketing appeal.
LG showcased an 18-inch sheet of
acetate film that was capable of being
rolled like a newspaper.
Thinking ahead, this type of display
could revolutionize shopper
marketing, as consumer brands could
integrate flexible displays directly into
clothing and other products, reducing
consumer dependencies on mobile
Screenless + Immersive
Immersive experiences are the future and
Avegant’s Glyph product is designed to create
deeply immersive, theater quality experiences
without the need of a traditional screen.
Glyph media wear is screenless and is based on
new retinal imaging technology that is highly
portable with a familiar design that looks like
In order for immersive experiences to truly
become mainstream portability will be key. Glyph
provides portability with a familiar form factor
that makes the transition easier for consumers.
Brand marketers should watch the adoption of
products like Glyph closely, as they will
fundamentally change how we consume media.
BRAIN MACHINE INTERFACE
Thoughts Control Actions
One of the more fascinating input devices was
from the aptly named BrainCo.
Something you would expect to see in a sci-fi
movie, BrainCo’s input device converts brain
signals to control physical objects through a
cutting edge algorithm from Harvard/MIT brain
The use case applications are currently focused on
controlling IoT based devices and as a medical
grade wearable tied to prosthetics.
The neurofeedback training aspect of the platform
is intriguing. For retailers jumping into the IoT
space as well as healthcare related brand should
take note as this product could be a value add to
supporting campaigns or as a point of
differentiation in the marketplace.
Light is the Answer
One exhibit that stopped me in my tracks was
Basic6’s product line based on leveraging Light
as means of communication.
GeoLifi delivers targeted information to
shoppers through GeoLifi LED lights.
You can dynamically change messages and
promotions and consumer data is streamed to
a cloud based system to track users patterns
GeoLifi works for both consumers and in-store
associates as a means to creating a highly
engaging experience based on where the user
is located. No Beacons required as light and
the existing infrastructure support the
NEW FORMS OF COMPUTING
Computing + Augmented Reality
The road paved by the failed Google Glass
experiment has not hit a dead end. The idea
of new form factors of computing were very
alive at CES 2016.
ODG R-7 Glasses are the next evolution of
personal computing as the glasses ARE the
computing device. This also serves as a
powerful 3D augmented reality HD rendering
The key is no cords needed – sensors,
processors, displays and power are all self-
By integrating the power of a tablet computer
with the ability to digitally augment the real
world, ODG’s approach reminds marketers
that we have to consider content creation
that is designed beyond the screen.
The first company I wanted to see when
the CES 2016 show floor opened was
Kino-Mo creates holo displays and they
have partnered with brands such as Aston
Martin, GE, Samsung and Intel.
Seeing a 3D hologram in mid-air definitely
grabs your attention and has the potential
for high impact with consumers.
Traditionally hologram solutions were
time-consuming, costly and required
dedicated space. With Kino-Mo’s new
approach to Holo displays, they have a
system that is plug and play and quick to
Holographic computing is a form of
augmented reality (AR) where users can
spatially interact with digital overlays. A
recent forecast from Citi analysts highlighted
the future of the VR/AR industry, and their
view is that AR technologies will be most
likely to disrupt major digital markets.
Many organizations are exploring holographic
computing solutions that can produce
interactive holograms that augment the
existing physical world.
One example from CES was the Holoseer
prototype which combines AR & VR to mix
The potential application for brand marketers
is incredibly exciting as AR represents a blank
canvas against the physical world.
A C C E S S O R I E S
T H A T E M P O W E R
360 DEGREE VIDEO
Empowering Content Creators
360 degree video is hot right now. You
see 360 video content on full display in
Facebook’s newsfeed as well as on
The next step is to enable consumers to
easily create 360 degree content
One such solution at CES 2016 was 360
Heros. They showcased a comprehensive
360/VR workflow solutions.
Enabling consumers with new and
integrated technology has been the
fastest driver of adoption. As the tools to
create immersive experiences become
accessible and are intuitive, we will begin
to see consumer behavior shift to align
with the technology.
VIRTUAL REALITY CAMERA
Consumer Ready VR
In order for consumers to adopt VR it is
important that they also have the ability
to create their own immersive content.
HumanEyes Technology unveiled VUZE
at CES 2016. It is claimed to be the first
consumer portable 360 degree 3D VR
camera and dedicated software studio
that is set to bring immersive content
creation to the masses.
Priced at under $1000, it provides the
ability to capture images and video as
well as footage editing and playback. As
more solutions are available to
consumers, the potential for user created
virtual reality content becomes a new
frontier for immersive advocacy driven
CONVERT EXISTING TO SMART
Upgrade Your World
One of the key trends I observed at CES
2016 is the focus on converting existing
items into smart devices.
One example is Samsungs TipTalk. It is a
Smart Strap that converts a traditional
watch into a smart device. It then enables
notifications, activity tracking, as well as
take calls from your finger!
By understanding that consumers already
have existing versions of products that
are not “smart” it is possible to find the
right form of utility to provide a means to
upgrade items through key strategic
GESTURE BASED INTERFACES
Motion Controlled Connections
Wearables of all types were crowd pleasers
at various trade shows in 2015, but to date
most wearables have primarily served as
passive data collection devices. This year,
the progression of gesture-based
interfaces is one to watch.
An example is MOTA DOI Gesture control
ring. The simplicity of Ring and its ability to
interface across devices is one example of
a gesture-based interface.
Gesture-based interfaces could provide a
fun and engaging way for marketers to
connect physical to digital worlds allowing
consumers to interactive with everyday
electronics without ever having to touch a
DRONES + VIRTUAL REALITY
You cannot talk about CES 2016 and not
mention the sheer volume of unmanned
systems or Drones that were on display.
This year the focus was on efficiency, longer
flight times as well as connecting drone
technology to Virtual Reality.
I witnessed Adawarp’s demo of virtual reality
drone viewing first hand and drones are
going to play a key part in the creation of
With the prices coming down and the quality
of the cameras and processors increasing,
encouraging consumer created drone
content as well as creating immersive
experiences through drones is a key area to
CONNECTED FITNESS SYSTEMS
Presence + Technology
During CES 2016 Under Armour revealed the
Healthbox. Under Armour’s approach is less
about an individual fitness wearable and more
about creating a comprehensive health system
that can monitor you 24/7.
The Healthbox includes a chest strap that
monitors heart rate, a wristband and a circular
The wristband is designed to be worn all day,
similar to a fitbit. All of the items will then work
seamlessly with the UA Record app.
We work closely with the Under Armour team
and it is possible to leverage their connected
fitness community to create compelling and
contextually relevant campaigns in partnership
with the Under Armour team.
ALL IN ONE HOME HUB
Interoperability Is Key
One of the key missing elements in today’s
smart home solutions is the ability to
aggregate all of the systems and manage the
notifications that are created.
The B.One smart hub definitely caught my
attention. With over 10 years of development
and the ability to seamlessly integrate with
multiple types of IoT systems, this hub seems
to have the potential to scale with IoT
The B.One also boasts a proprietary algorithm
that enables learning of the user’s behavior.
The B.One gets smarter and updates it’s
knowledge-base with each use and will begin
to anticipate and predict key activities. IoT
Smart Home data will be key to unlocking
consumer behavior in the home.
LOWES IRIS SMART HUB
HUB + APP + Ecosystem
DIY was a macro trend at this years CES
and no other organization at the show
supports DIY like Lowes. Lowes
showcased the Iris smart hub and it’s
comprehensive ecosystem of 3rd party
Iris is Lowes IoT smart hub for the home.
Iris is the heart of an extensive system of
devices that are managed through a
users smart phone. There is a premium
plan that allows additional notification
triggers and activity logs.
There is an arms race to be at the center
of the connected home. This then
becomes the center-point of data
aggregation and access point to
connected devices. Lowes has an
advantage the sheer number of devices
that are compatible with the system.
LG Home Automation
LG garnered a lot of attention with their
8K televisions and flexible displays. But it
was their Smart Home Hub SmartThinQ
that caught my attention.
The LG SmartThinQ hub can pair with
appliances, as well as stream music and
display information like calendar events,
reminders and weather.
Similar to the Amazon Echo, it is striving
to become the centerpiece that controls
the home. With a display that can serve
different types of notification and
content, it is yet another way to deliver
contextual content and services to
ROBOTIC SMART HOME
05 Robots In The Home
My belief is that ultimately artificial
intelligence solutions will become the
central hub in the smart home. In the
interim, smart home robotics can serve as
An example is the FURO-I Home robot.
This smart home services robot allows
users to control all home appliances and
numerous services related to daily care,
security, entertainment, and
For digital marketers, AI and Robotic
driven smart homes open new
possibilities for delivering highly
contextual content and could serve as an
access point into IoT-based behavioral
I am very interested in the evolution of emotive
robotics and artificial intelligence. Most of the
robots from previous shows were single function
robots, think Roomba or toy robots.
This year featured robotics that integrated artificial
intelligence with robotics to create systems that
are self aware and responsive to our needs.
Patin from Flower robotics was one such robot
that is also focused on creating a 3rd party
ecosystem to further drive the customization of
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize how we are
manage large sets of data and connect with the
content that is the most relevant to us.
Understanding how the systems develop will be
key to aligning with system centric marketing of
AI + CONNECTED CARS
Connected Car Technology was a big part of
CES 2016. Most of the focus was on autonomous
vehicles, enhancing gesture controls, voice
recognition and new form factors.
Toyota stood out to me as they recently
launched the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) that
is focused on research and development of
artificial intelligence for automobiles, robotics
and scientific discovery with a commitment of
over $1 billion dollars over the next five years.
One change this year was the focus on the
technology that enables connected experiences
vs. the integrated features of the vehicles
themselves. It is important to consider key
strategic partnerships with technology providers
as a means to further connect with new groups of
Emotive robotics is based on systems and
devices that can recognize, interpret,
process, and simulate elements of human
behavior. We’re on the cusp of emotive
robotics entering the home in 2016.
Avatar Minds iPal had the ideal form factor
and basic principles such as the ability to
teach, entertain and interact through natural
language dialog, autonomous movement
and facial recognition.
iPal also features an open developer
approach to 3rd party development.
For digital marketers, emotive robotics opens
up new possibilities for delivering highly
I am always on the lookout for scalable
solutions that can meet a number of use
cases. When I came across KEYi
Technologies approach to modular robotics,
it definitely caught my attention.
KEYi’s CellRobot is a customizable modular
robot that can be assembled in hundreds of
combinations to perform a multitude of
Modular robotics are a key area to monitor
for marketing application in the future. The
flexibility of the platform allows for creative
solutions to be created that can support
experiential as well as retail campaigns.
Telepresence is a key selling point to a
lot of robotic systems that are coming on
One early entrant was Double Robotics
Double 2. I actually used a Double 2 for a
period of time over the last year and can
attest to the fact that the interface as well
as the stability of the platform were
There are a number of potential use
cases tied to telepresence. Brand
marketers can provide access to
exclusive events through the Double 2
allowing consumers to be in control in
how they interact with the experience.
06 Advertising Robots
One of the more humorous robots that
were on display was the Furo-D smart ad
FURo-D is an advertising media platform
based robot that provides a number of
advertising services, utility through
information, social interaction through
campaign activation as well as a photo
and POS printer integrated into one
The combination of smart displays with
robotics is a unique form factor to
activate campaigns in large crowds. It
grabs your attention and the ability to
customize content experiences in
addition to it’s intelligent communication
service including facial recognition and
sensor recognized motions make this an
interesting option for smart display.
T H A N K Y O U . Q U E S T I O N S A B O U T C E S 2 0 1 6 ?
C O N T A C T T O M E D W A R D S , C H I E F D I G I T A L O F F I C E R , A G E N C Y
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