Report from CES: Advertisers Get Ready, Because Convergence is Here

Making the long flight back from Las Vegas to London, I always have plenty of time to reflect on the Consumer Electronics Show when it’s over.  As usual, the level of innovation and the growth of consumer connectedness this year was staggering.  The sheer breadth and scale of the exhibition space makes it difficult to initially take it all in.  Themes make themselves apparent slowly, trends and developments slowly reveal themselves as connections and commonality coalesce into patterns.

Walking around the showroom last week, a few new innovations stuck out to me in particular.  3D printers, a major ‘new’ story last year, have improved by leaps and bounds since their unveiling in 2014, and are close to being an affordable, consumer-accessible item in the near future.  Auto makers have also upped their game this year, with driverless, touchscreen dashboard prototypes that (unlike the now near-ubiquitous in-car Wi-Fi) were genuinely and truly futuristic.  And I will not soon forget my all-too-real encounter with ChihiraAico, Toshiba’s “human Android.”  My friends, the future is here.

Human Androids aside, much of the show was about improvement: smarter, faster, sharper.  And nowhere was this truer than with televisions, which continue to dominate the CES show and, frankly, technology in general.  8k resolution TVs, curved screens, thinner screens (down to 4.5mm), faster processing and memory capacity, and – a personal favourite – rudimentary releases of consumer virtual reality technology.  The continued prevalence of TVs and its continued development shows just how important this media channel will continue to be for consumers and advertisers alike.  As our CEO, Scott Ferber, likes to say, TV is digital and digital is TV; it’s all the same at this point. 

And this, to me, was the real story at CES 2015.  I think it’s fair to say that convergence is officially here – and advertising will never be the same.

Besides making the consumer experience slicker and more interactive, the technological advancements within the TV realm are helping to open the doors for more efficient and relevant advertising.  The means of broadcast distribution is changing to IP based systems, and as such, the ability to implement programmatic addressable solutions in TV is here.  From my vantage point, this is a win for advertisers as well as consumers: it will allow us to marry the reach and quality of TV with the targeting and efficiency of digital. 

And the exciting opportunities for advertisers do not stop here.  The “internet of things” never fails to impress conference-goers; and more than ever this year, the advancements in the connectedness and intelligence of things like fridges, ovens, washing machines, and toothbrushes all point to a world where we will be swamped by data points. The ability to order, analyse and apply insight from this data will be critical for marketers and their agencies and is no doubt the future of the advertising industry.  

Advertisers, get ready: the world of convergence is here, and it’s smarter, faster, sharper and more connected than ever.

This blog first appeared on VideoNuze.

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