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CES 2017 | Technologies Fueling Transformation: From the Showroom to Future-Proofing Your Brand


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In its 50th year, the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show®) is the world's gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. In January 2017, Las Vegas saw 175,000 registered attendees and 3,800 exhibitors cover 2.6 million square feet of the city.

This report is designed to prepare your organization for the future, both short- and long-term, as we recap the top five emerging technology trends that will transform your business and ensure that you continuously exceed customer expectations. We’ve taken key technologies and trends from the show floor, and will examine the impact that personalization and connectivity will have on your customers’ expectations, as well as how an increasingly connected economy is transforming customer experiences.

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CES 2017 | Technologies Fueling Transformation: From the Showroom to Future-Proofing Your Brand

  1. 1. TechnologiesFueling Transformation: From the Showroom to Future-Proofing Your Brand CES 2017 Insights from SapientRazorfish
  2. 2. Autonomous cars. Connected everything. Intelligent platforms that are taught rather than programmed. We are living in the future. As personalization and connectivity are rapidly causing consumer expectations to change, this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) demonstrated how an increasingly connected economy is transforming customer experiences. With up to 50 billion devices set to connect to the Internet by 2020 – many of which were visible on the CES show floor – advances in data science, affordable electronics and ubiquitous wireless service are enabling the integration of intelligence into just about any product, across all industries. Organizations continue to be faced with the impediment of change, the pace of which is only accelerating, and must now reimagine their business for a connected world. From immersive technologies to intelligence everywhere, CES 2017 diminished the line between physical and digital. The recurring themes at this year’s show reinforced our belief that the future belongs to those willing to harness value from data, connectivity, smart machines and artificial intelligence (AI) in order to transform their businesses and continuously exceed customer expectations. So what should the C-suite and its leadership teams take from CES 2017 as they plan for the next five to 10 years? In this Insights piece, we decipher five emerging tech trends – along with their implications on marketers – as we guide you through future-proofing your brand. Two technologies sure to power the future. Enabling (what seemed like) hundreds of products at this year's CES, Amazon's Alexa was the obvious star of the show. Add to that the fact that its name was used interchangeably with natural language processing, and it’s clear that this innovation was a CES 2017 winner. And if the wave of Alexa was not enough, 5G was a strong undercurrent, promising 75 times the bandwidth of its predecessor. This new standard, expected to roll out in 2018, will change the way we all interface with cloud enablement services. As with Alexa-enabled technologies, 5G-based working prototypes were found across the CES floor. Connecting Technology and the Consumer “Customers are moving faster than the technology today, and it's up to businesses to respond to their movements, using the customer journey to drive fundamental change to how silos connect and operate.” NIGEL VAZ CEO, EMEA & APAC, PUBLICIS.SAPIENT
  3. 3. 1. Shift from products to (eco)systems. For decades, marketing executives have been advised to position their brands to solve broad customer problems rather than point solutions, while many product leaders were focused on the latter. Now, we’re seeing a shift to platforms and ecosystems stressing the benefits of connectivity from single product features for solving end-to-end problems, not just for individuals but for groups (e.g., the family). At this year’s show, it seemed that every major consumer electronics company introduced a platform illustrating its intent to compete for the connected home. LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE SHANNON DENTON CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, SAPIENTRAZORFISH “Unprecedented levels of con- nectivity enable brands to shift their business models from product sales to integrated service providers.” Examples LG previewed several smart appliances and robots, expertly managed by its SmartThinQ hub and enabled by Alexa via Echo-like countertop speakers and robots. Samsung’s Family Hub 2.0 smart fridge can now not only provide you with a view inside, but it can check your food supplies, conjure up receipts and even order delivery from GrubHub when no one feels like cooking. Takeaways These examples don’t just illustrate new possibilities of modern connectivity; they also stress the urgency of building a layer of simplicity. Smart leaders realize they risk making the lives of their customers more complex with scores of connected products, many of which can come off as gimmicky. They have to push real problem solving and value above flash. Brands will create new digital ecosystems of their own, but it’s the collaboration of brands – including competitors – that will deliver game-changing marketing solutions enabled (initially) by developments in 5G technology and natural language processing.1 1 Razorfish. CIOs Seek Growth through API Programs. cles/2016/cios-seek-growth-through-api-programs.
  4. 4. 2. Look to reduce friction to compete with complexity. Voice and other natural user interfaces abound as everyone seeks to help make technology easier to use and more human. There was plenty of evidence at this year's CES showing how computers will vanish into things as they become smaller and out of sight. Thanks to seamless experiences enabled by massive integration, consumers no longer move in and out of several apps to achieve their goals. It's a world where we are the master and technology is the servant. LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE JASON GOLDBERG SVP, CONTENT AND COMMERCE, SAPIENTRAZORFISH “Voice interface isn’t just an adjunct, it's a paradigm shift. And it's going to have a tremendous impact on the way brands market.” Examples Holographic interfaces, such as BMW’s HoloActive in- car display, feature haptic feedback in midair. A solution from Knocki turns any surface into a connected device, enabling users to turn on the TV (for example). GeniCan’s WiFi-connected barcode scanner attaches to your trash can and integrates with Amazon Dash to conveniently order replenishment products. All of these technologies underscore a movement toward friction-free experiences. Takeaways Natural user interfaces are resetting customer expectations, and marketers need to choose their platforms wisely.2 Consumers are already showing a preference toward voice- enabled products. It’s no longer a matter of it being a novel feature – it’s a matter of meeting expectations that are already there. The brands that have already brought voice- enabled products to market are seeing returns. And in the near future, the search industry, recommendations and advertising will all be dramatically impacted by this trend. 2 Razorfish. Transformation in Travel & Hospitality. cles/2016/transformation-in-travel-and-hospitality.
  5. 5. 3. Devices are being taught more than programmed. Natural user interfaces and other emerging trends at the show made one thing clear: artificial intelligence is in everything. This new era is marked by conversational commerce that integrates AI, natural language processing, gesture interfaces and bots – all of which are now more aggressively digitizing the customer experience. While one brand might use intelligence to offer a product right in the moment when a buyer realizes his/her need for it, a competitive brand can seize the advantage by using insights to get ahead of such awareness. One approach solves a problem after it has occurred; the other prevents the problem from happening in the first place. LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE JEREMY LOCKHORN VP, EMERGING EXPERIENCES AND MOBILE LEAD, SAPIENTRAZORFISH “Instant gratification is going to feel slow. AIis goingtogetsogoodthat userswillbegintoexpect companiestopredict whattheywant,before theyevenaskforit.” Examples While Mercedes showed off how its 2017 infotainment systems learn your preferences and predict your destinations, startup ShadeCraft unveiled its creative solution called "The Sunflower." This umbrella robot follows the sun, adapts to wind and closes on its own. It also has programmable lighting, built-in speakers, a microphone and a camera, and is (of course) compatible with both Alexa and Siri. A number of AI-powered, semiautonomous personal assistants were on hand, such as the Kuri home robot, which earned considerable buzz for a product that was shown only in a private suite. In the meantime, Emotech LTD’s robot OLLY won the CES Innovation Award for its use of machine learning in connected home solutions. Takeaways Yet another platform battle is brewing as different components are powered by different AI platforms (e.g., Amazon/Alexa, Google, Microsoft and IBM). To capitalize on platforms that already exist, brands will have to decide to what extent they want to rely on – and yield data to – third parties. AI- powered personal assistants will radically increase consumer expectations for personalization. Instant gratification won’t be good enough; brands will have to predict and deliver proactively – without being intrusive on consumer privacy.3 3 SapientNitro. Artificial Intelligence: Combining Causal Reasoning, Machine Learning and Big Data for Business Results. insights/insights-articles/artificial-intelligence-combining-causal-reasoning-machine-learn- ing-and-big-data-for-business-results.
  6. 6. 4. Auto leads the way in transformingconsumer behaviors. “Disruption” is a term that has become both overused and overstated. But in the transportation industry, connected cars and drones will fundamentally change how everything – and everyone – gets from point A to point B. As a result, this industry’s evolution will reshape consumer behaviors, transform business operations and impact the economy in a massive way. For the first time ever, CES felt as much an auto show as it did a consumer electronics show. This included two auto brands – FCA and Faraday – that introduced their major concepts of the year at CES instead of at the Detroit Auto Show just a few weeks later. LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE ZACH PARADIS VP EXPERIENCE STRATEGY, GLOBAL RETAIL STRATEGY LEAD, SAPIENTRAZORFISH “A decade from now, there will be a radically transformed auto- motive ecosystem that will disrupt many industries – well beyond automotive.” Examples Every automaker and platform company brought its version of autonomous car platforms to the showroom floor. Intel unveiled its GO In-Vehicle Development Platform for Automated Driving, which purports to be the world’s first 5G-ready platform for the auto industry. The network allows massive amounts of data to move at unprecedented speeds, thus connecting billions of devices to the IoT, including smart cars and drones. Intel’s data center also has machine learning capabilities, which uses data to “teach” cars how to respond and react to an ever-increasing set of obstacles on the road. Takeaways As transportation continues to become smarter and more efficient, cars and drones will become more than a simple utility – they will be an integrated part of the connected consumer’s ecosystem.4 However, while the technology fueling these devices advances at a rapid rate, our regulatory environment is expected to move considerably slower, which means that driverless cars and drones may make their way to market long after the technological capabilities exist. Automotive and technology brands must not only focus on innovating, but on shaping the safety rules and regulations that will ultimately determine when and where they’re used. 4 SapientNitro. Service-Driven & Customer-Centric: A Network Orchestration Framework for the Au- tomotive Industry. service-driven-customer-centric-a-network-orchestration-framework-for-the-automotive-industry.
  7. 7. 5. The lines between digital and physical worlds continue to blur for marketers and consumers. While virtual reality (VR) has long been seen as a geek favorite, especially in gaming and entertainment, many other organizations showcased the value of both virtual and augmented reality (AR) at CES this year. This blended reality is being used to transform training and education programs, provide helpful cues and instructions to workers, and share identifiers and reminders within the physical environment. LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE MATT ARNOLD SENIOR MANAGER OF TECHNOLOGY, SAPIENTRAZORFISH’S SECOND STORY “At this point, there is a certain inevitability to VR and AR. Brands can no longer ignore their value or dismiss them as fads.” Examples At CES, Intel introduced DAQRI Smart Glasses, a wearable technology tool that combines enterprise-grade computer vision with software-defined light breakthroughs to create an augmented world for users. Through the glasses, instructions are superimposed over a worker’s field of vision, providing valuable guidance to the user that potentially improves performance and efficiency. The Google Tango enabled phone allows consumers to see products in physical spaces, in a beautiful demonstration of mixed reality. Takeaways While AR and VR are likely to continue as consumer- focused media, business - to - business brands are quickly re a l i z i n g t h e power of these technologies to improve productivity, efficiency and safety. Though these technologies have yet to reach critical mass, brands should consider how to use them within their organizations and customer relationships alike.5 5 SapientNitro. VR and AR Demand Long-Term Action from Innovative Brands. http:// mand-long-term-action-from-innovative-brands.
  8. 8. Leverage connectivity to change the way you compete For many brands, introducing connected products that leverage advances in machine learning, AI, data science, and even VR and AR feels like a competitive advantage. While this may be true in the short term, integrating the next-level connectivity that we experienced at this year's CES will soon be required to achieve competitive parity. Business leaders must architect their own connectivity strategies, complete with research and development dollars set aside for experimenting, building prototypes and pursuing joint projects with partners from across our connected economy. And while all brands should consider the future that is ultimate connectivity, they should also remember the age-old philosophy "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Connectivity should be taken in stride, with the right platforms chosen for the brand (and consumers) at hand. Don’t underinvest in product design Integrating the functional and emotional attributes of a product that is smart, fun to use and intrinsically valuable to customers is every designer's challenge. Many brands will be tempted to focus on the technology at the expense of human-centered design, an approach that we do not recommend (especially when that fascination with technology leads to over-designed products). The same is true for products that are sparsely designed. Finding a magical balance will be critical for success. Don't hesitate to seek external partners that can help you deliver highly functional and beautifully designed products that actually provide value. Prioritize quality integration According to industry experts, half the cost of getting a connected product to market will be spent integrating various components with each other and with external systems, both within and outside the enterprise. However, integration often gets less than its fair share of effort, due to competing tasks such as user interface design, hardware engineering or adding voice interfaces. But if integration isn’t solidly enabled, then the whole idea behind the connected product will be compromised. This requires us to take a hard look at how we architect our systems to leverage both high security and microservices. Also, remember that how we connect today will change tomorrow, so the technical architecture for your product needs to be both flexible for today and adaptable for the future. Looking Ahead Interested in learning more about the implications of CES? CONTACT: