I initially caught a lot of heat for going from peers. Admittedly I waffled several times during the holiday but I’m glad I came.
This iteration of CES had the same vibes as 2017’s SXSW. If you remember that year in Austin saw a lot of brands pull out or pull way back from the heavy experiences, parties, etc. that kind of built SXSW into a sort of boondoggle reputation. Personally, I loved it. It made me feel safer – and the whole experience felt more intimate. The rescaling really allowed me to linger on a few things and consider future implications of changes I was seeing. Having the show physically was a good thing.
Metaverse, web3, NFT. If your talk had that in the title, if your product focused on any or all of those words – you were going to get a crowd. People were insatiable in their quest for information and knowledge – which is a really, really, good thing. The downside is that there was a lot of metaverse catfishing going on.
I feel like the term metaverse in particular is becoming more of a marketing polysemy. As an industry, we need to be more responsible in educating ourselves, clients, and audiences on what it actually is, where we are now (1% of 1%) ,to where we can get to. There needs to be more accessible education around it. I think/hope overall it will help for more responsible building.
I personally use CES more as a macro barometer overtime year over year to see how quickly technology, data, and products move from novelty to utility. Follow the people, how they are using the products and platforms so that you and your team can chart where to be with and ahead of the curve.
Think about 2015 and how brands used VR / Oculus to get people into their booths or meetings. Heck, people created a secondary market at CES2015 just to sell Oculus demo passes. Now VR and AR are helping to better education, and health in ways we only hoped it could back when we were jonesing to get that Book of Life 360 experience.
I’m looking forward to seeing how we move the words (metaverse, web3, NFT) more toward mass utility.
On that topic of utility, we won’t be able to do it without points of entry to these experiences.
The Smart Glasses revival: Please leave all of your fashion opinions at the door. Smart glasses are going to have a big run this year. There’s too much augmented reality out there (or coming) for it not to happen. Are you really happy with holding your phone in one hand while using the other? It’s amazing to think about the idea of the phone becoming too cumbersome that it takes away from the experience.
Lastly, The importance of Voice. And a little disclaimer, the voice talks stewarded Ian Utile were some of my favorites.
If you have treated voice like your first junior high dance: unsure, maybe not as confident, don’t want to embarrass yourself… it’s time to put yourself (and your brand) out there. Voice is going to move from a nice to have to a must-have.
Today as users we are at a very understandable point for voice assistance and voice interface. We ask questions and get answers (like my 4-year-old asking google how to spell S-O-C-C-E-R) entertainment (again my 4-year-old asking google to play Help! By The Beatles on Spotify) or for our smart home features (who is at the door/turn on the lights).
Consumer behavior is changing toward voice, It’s just not obvious. More people are searching for products using voice than ever before. The stigma is that voice is just smart speakers. The number 1 device for voice is our phones, number 2 is our home, number 3 device is the car, number 4 is the speaker.
Sometimes you need a catalyst to push something that is a novelty or has plateaued into something that provides utility and enhances an experience. After this week I think web3/metaverse will be that catalyst. Eventually typing on glass or keyboards will not be as good of an experience as just talking.
There’s more on my mind but I’m trying to catch my flight back – and these really stood out. Overall it was inspiring
Be on the lookout for something more official on TMA’s blog. I can feel Jean Scheidnes from our comms team reading this now and wondering why it isn’t a full post.
See you next year CES.
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