Much has changed at CES over the years. While the show has consistently grown larger, the themes that define it are never quite the same. At this year’s show, technology became more personal than ever before. The term “personal technology” may have been dropped long ago, but perhaps “personalized technology” best describes where we’re headed.
- Wearables find their way. From watches to fitness trackers to phone notifiers, CES was dominated by an incredibly small group of products. Small in size, not potential. While a smartphone is arguably the most personal piece of technology a person can own today, companies are grappling with the challenge of creating a successful product that’s even more intimate. Convincing the masses to place technology prominently on their skin is an entirely new paradigm, and 2015 may be the year in which the public votes with its wallets on what’s popular and what’s not.
- Accessories are en vogue. Perhaps it’s a sign of a strengthening economy, but the amount of space taken up by accessories on the Las Vegas Convention Center show floor has never been larger. As smartphone proliferation continues, we’re now seeing a market that’s hungry for smartly-designed peripherals to enhance the experience further. This ties directly into a growing demand for absolute personalization. From Bluetooth speakers that double as emergency lanterns to high-end headphones engineered from the same materials used in guitars, accessories are hotter than ever.
- We see what we want to see. While CES is an incredible experience for those able to make the journey to Las Vegas, it’s also an event that’s watched intently from the sidelines. Consumption of the news flowing from the show floor has changed dramatically in recent years, and the art of selecting and consuming technology media in general will continue to refocus in 2015. Whereas technology outlets were once dedicated homepages for witnessing the play-by-play from CES, social portals have enabled enthusiasts to curate their technology news consumption in new ways
As technology evolves along with the people that use it, consumers will seek out peripherals and personalized solutions that jibe with their lifestyle visions. Splashes of color and varying screen sizes are just the start. In the year ahead, we can expect a flood of competition in the wearable space, but only a select few will likely rise up and define the market. High-end specifications won’t be enough; companies will need to make their customers feel comfortable wearing and showcasing those creations. That’s a new dimension of customer service, and one that may be challenging to execute.
For brands and communicators, the increased focus on personalization presents a great opportunity. With the growing ability for audiences to curate what they consume, it’s becoming easier for companies to begin and maintain dialogues with specific customers, clients and prospective users in a highly-engaged way. More personalized consumption leads to more personal interactions, but it also creates new responsibilities. In 2015, expect two-way communication and engagement to explode, and companies that anticipate the influx of conversation will thrive.