People, upon hearing I was going to CES:
"You’re going to CES! That’s amazing, I’d love to see all the new tech and gadgets."
But the fact is, while I love new ideas and new products, I’m not a "gadget" person, as the accumulation of gadgets goes against my minimalistic tendencies. I’m open to hearing about and testing new ideas, but pretty harsh on adopting them for my own, regular, personal use.
With that in mind, I contributed my thoughts about what I saw at CES to AdAge, below.
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What product did you see that you want to buy right now?
Wearables and drones got a lot of attention from the CES press, but I’d personally buy one of the smart home security devices, like Canary or Dropcam. As appealing as the hardware is, I’d buy them because of the software and how easy their software apps can be used by mobile devices to control and interact with their hardware. With the Belkin WeMo line of interconnected devices (sporting APIs, IFTTT support and more), and combined with smart home platforms SmartThings and Revolv, we’re seeing the smart home start to become a reality, and it’s because mobile, apps and APIs are creating valuable use cases at last.
What was the most useless product you saw?
The most popular products were probably iPhone cases and battery pack accessories, but the least useful product to me was LG’s line of smart appliances. The ideas are interesting, but the lack of interoperability with the broader Internet is limiting. Do we really want to text with our washer or manually track food with our fridge? The ideas and products are not new, but the real value has been slow to develop. If developers could build apps that interoperate with the smart devices, that’s when we could start to see smarter software unlock the potential of smart hardware.
What technology did you see that will have a serious impact on your business?
From an marketing technology perspective, the explosion of wearable technology and smart hardware that leverages Bluetooth LTE is going to create massive opportunities for brands and marketers. Put a device in everyone’s pocket and purse and on everyone’s wrists and heads that can connect to omnipresent physical devices in stores, restaurants, hotels, cars and more, and the opportunity is too large for brands to ignore. While the debate about privacy will dominate initially, as brands create valuable use cases that allow people to have control over how their data is used, people will begin to focus on value and control instead of just privacy. And from a venture perspective, there will be many new startups created and funded to build these solutions for brands.