CES: Not Just Hardware, But Access to New Consumers
My last week at CES in Las Vegas confirmed that everyone and their mother is buying 3D TV’s with apps, or tablets powered by Android. But amidst the deluge of geeky gadgets and frenzied excitement over new technology, I couldn’t help but observe the unmatched proliferation of app platforms, and we’re not just talking about smart phones here. The pace of innovation in this space is staggering, and will accelerate for years to come.
I was particularly impressed with automakers pushing the envelope by building dev platforms for apps that sync directly with auto technology.
How many of you are guilty of texting while driving? Shame on you! That’s why I can’t wait for Ford’s SYNC or Toyota’s Entune to continue innovating on hands-free “voice” texting. Electric vehicle drivers: imagine checking your EV’s charge status or the location of the next charging station through Ford’s MyTouch.
Are you stuck in an endless meeting, but dreading your long commute home in freezing weather? No problem. Go ahead and adjust your car’s climate control ahead of time using MyFord Mobile. Throw location in the auto-mobile mix and think of the potential for FourSquare on steroids linked with your car’s GPS. Someday, you might track your friends’ progress as they drive en route to your party.
Even the gaming companies have app platforms now. Sphero, the buzz-generating “robot ball” controlled by your iPhone was the equivalent of last year’s AR.Drone. The fact that you control this robot with your phone is not unique. What is unique is that Sphero is a rolling robotic platform enabled by Bluetooth technology, that will be open to third party developers for game and app creation. Make no mistake, we’re not far off from having “Minority Report” type interaction with our media. Gesture-based technologies, ala MSFT Kinect, are taking off. Mix that functionality with game shows, sporting events, or reality TV and it starts to get really interesting.
3D televisions and tablets may have garnered all the attention at CES, but I think that the incredible developments in app platforms merit a second look. Closed networks of consumers are now being opened to cloud-based developers in a way that will dramatically affect the way we interact with each other through our devices, how we consume media, and how we shop. Similarly, RichRelevance recently launched a Shopping Media platform that enables brand advertisers to reach targeted consumers in a meaningful, relevant way—at the point of purchase intent—thereby transforming the online shopping experience. These are truly exciting times to anticipate what’s coming next—not just in consumer electronics, but in e-commerce technology as well.