Connection /k??nekSH?n/ A relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. The action of linking one thing with another: "connection to the Internet". We're 48 hours into CES and one thing is abundantly clear - we're living in a connected world. From the "connected home" to the "connected car" and all the way to the "connected fork," connected devices have more than just arrived, they are sophisticatedly ... well... connected. Here are a few quick highlights from the convention floor and some potential implications for brands/marketers. The Connected Home We've all heard the use case - you're driving home from work and your car notifies you that you need more eggs as you drive by your local grocery store. It's a fun fantasy, right? Well, it's actually already a reality. Major appliances makers like LG are featuring a full line of "smart" home appliances - ranging from refrigerators to ovens to washers/dryers. Now your fridge can provide recipe recommendations based on what's inside and you can set your spin cycle with a few clicks on your mobile device from anywhere. Hell, you can even check-in on your robotic vacuum via a live feed to an on-device camera. The Connected Car Advances in telematics are empowering car manufacturers like Chevy with exciting new options to provide utility and efficiency to drivers. Connected cars can now sync with your personal music apps or listening history, seamlessly connect with mobile devices for hands-free texting and can control most features with natural speech voice control. And, what's not far off is sophisticated tracking on driving behavior - how often you drive, how aggressive/fast you drive, etc. - which insurance companies are already tapping into to offer discounted rates. We're likely not far off from being able to pre-program your vehicle to auto-text loved ones at the instance of an auto accident. While I don't wish a fender bender upon anyone, I'm sure many parents would be comforted to know they'd be immediately informed if an accident happened. And, they would probably also like to be able to access a dashboard to see when/where their kids took mom's car. The Connected Everything Else From healthcare and fitness apps to pet tracking to forks, the convention floor was packed with devices and gadgets that either can be controlled, monitored or synced with your mobile device and/or web-based dashboard. It seems that the smart phone is already accelerating the convergence of a single device as a true "universal remote" for your life. Take for example the Hapifork - a connected utensil that tracks the number of fork lifts in a meal, the speed at which you eat and the number of calories consumed. And if you're doing any of those at too fast or too indulgent of a pace, you'll get a friendly buzz reminding you to stop scarfing down your meal. Pretty cool? Or too far? You tell me. What Does It All Mean The "connected future" that CES has on display obviously has many implications for future consumer behavior, but it also presents some very interesting considerations for advertising opportunities. Brands will now be able to uniquely target consumers based on deeper behavioral insights across multiple devices. And new mediums - like you refrigerator - will quickly pop up as potential billboards for brand messaging. Imagine the scenario where your fridge knows you need eggs and overlay the potential for your local supermarket to deliver a $0.50 off coupon or advertise product from a local farmer. It's advertising at a personalized level, delivered in real-time and guaranteed to be contextually relevant. Not too bad.
It's definitely been a great start to CES. We primarily hit the conference track panels yesterday with some brief time on the exhibitor floor in between. One key theme we kept hearing was around the idea of convergence. While this is nothing new, as we continue to move towards an always-connected, always-open-for-content lifestyle, it's something that isn't going away anytime soon. Technology brands are increasingly looking to own both hardware and software with a way to augment content across their own devices. Apple has been incredibly successful with this structure and many brands are late to the party and undergoing the associated growing pains. And while it was an ongoing theme, this goes beyond the idea of content across multiple screens and devices. We're moving closer and closer to a day when all of our devices and appliances are going to be connected and communicating with one another. From our brief time on the exhibitor floor, it's apparent that 2012 won't feature any game-changing products. We caught a glimpse at LG's 55" 3D OLED, which is every bit as crave-worthy as you'd imagine and Sharp's portable flat screens which are every bit as head-scratching as you'd imagine but nothing has really owned the show so far. After seeing some of the big guys, we're thinking that if there's going to be anything really ground-breaking, it's going to be from some of the smaller exhibitors. Looking forward to the next few days; we will have plenty to report back on this week.