10 Takeaways from CES 2023

It was great to be back at the Las Vegas Convention Center for CES 2023. This is one of my favorite events of the year, as it provides a near-future preview of technology that will further empower end-users, augment intelligence and experiences through intelligent algorithms and allow us to transport versions of ourselves into digital realms. Here are my ten top takeaways from CES 2023.

Reality, Augmented – The shift to an entirely seamless reality that fuses digital and physical will require a convergence of technology, behavioral modifications, access, and adoption. At CES 2023, the path toward augmented virtuality consisted of advancements from wearables that create haptic feedback in the form of ITRI’s Imeta washable shirt to Sony’s Mocopi motion capture kit that allows for easy and affordable VTuber motion tracking to quickly port your movement into virtual experiences. The latest advancements in augmented and mixed reality glasses have increased the field of view, more processing power, and seamlessly integrated video and audio, all with a smaller form factor.

Discuss Smart glass advancement via Vuzix & Magic Leap
ITRI IMeta Haptic T-Shirt

Shifting Modalities – Our world today is primarily mobile-centric and desktop for productivity. CES shows a time very soon when we must think about multi-modal experiences. Voice, Vision, and Touch all become a part of a new canvas that we, as marketers, will have available to weave narratives that bridge physical and digital experiences. One of the highlights of the show was OVR technology. They integrate smell into digital and immersive experiences. Another great example was from Microsoft and their partner Touchcast with an immersive store of the future concept.

OVR Technology overview – Scent to immersive experience
Example from Microsoft and Touchcast – Store of the Future

Empowering Accessibility – The initial wave of technology brings hype and a rush to create relevant use cases. The same was accurate when it came to augmenting reality and immersive experiences. This year, there was a directed focus on creating experiences that empower accessibility.

Example of accessible immersive experience sans headset
Xander Glasses Convert Speech to Visual Text in Real Time!

Beam Me Anywhere – Holograms were core elements of science fiction for decades. Star Trek and Star Wars popularized the concept of weaving holograms into a part of an ongoing narrative. At CES 2023, holograms took significant leaps forward. From photo-realistic, fully interactive experiences that create the illusion of presence anywhere in the world via Proto and ARTH Media to Hypervsn’s ever-evolving open-air hologram systems. Holograms are no longer just for science fiction.

ARTH Hologram Overview
Proto Hologram Private Demo
Demo of HypervsnSmartV Product Configurator Solution

AI Everywhere < AI Enhanced – Pre-pandemic, AI was everywhere at CES, and It was more of a label with actual AI models in nascent forms or simply as a marketing ploy for foot traffic. In 2023, AI was indeed the foundation from product innovation to enhanced experiences, focused on delivering ease and convenience via intelligent algorithms.

CES 2023 – AI OVERVIEW

What is Human? – One of the hottest trends in the pharma space to close out 2022 was the introduction and experimentation of Digital Humans. From medical education to extending the reach and accessibility of field reps, creating digital opinion leaders, scalable HCP communication, and dynamic patient-centric experiences connected to conversational AI. The ability to mix human and digital experiences to extend and scale through digital humans is a crucial trend for 2023.

CES 2023 – DeepBrain AI – Concierge

Digital Doppelgänger – A doppelgänger is a double of a living person. At CES 2023, the ability to create a digital replica took many forms. From quickly scanning your physical appearance for virtual experiences via Copresence, to capturing your likeness and memories via StoryFile, to creating digital reflections of your brain, heart, and eyes by Dassault Systèmes to enhance medical treatment. The role of digitally doubling oneself will be a pivotal on-ramp to future multi-modal experiences.

Dassault Systèmes Virtual Twin
StoryFile – Conversational AI built on Human narratives
CoPresence – Rapid Scanning & Real-Time Animation
DeepBrain AI – Digital Twin Celebrity Example

Empowered Wellness – In previous CES recaps, I have discussed the empowered consumer and a behaviorally driven expectation of control and personalization. In 2023, the focus has shifted towards empowered wellness. Many products, from wearables to gamified health experiences, tap into various personalized data sets that offer customized approaches to counteract fatigue, passively monitor glucose levels without needles, and deploy deep learning AI algorithms that combine computer vision and trend analysis to provide personalized nutrition plans via nail imaging analysis. Each entry in this category is focused on creating relevant, personalized experiences that enhance overall wellness.

Lotte Healthcare – Cazzle Personalization Engine

Care Anywhere – This year at CES 2023, digital health and therapeutic solutions were front and center. From technology that empowers a patient to direct control of treatment via light therapy to advanced remote care monitoring via AI-enabled wearables and sensors that can passively detect abnormalities tied to various disease states to predict health declines. Preventative care, at-home testing, portable clinical devices, passive adherence tracking, and more will continue to bridge the gap between at-home convenience and FDA-approved digital therapeutics.

Care Wear – LED Light Therapy

Robotic Companions – For me personally, physical robots have been a highlight for me at CES. I always seek out the latest robotic advancements, from toy-form factors, to utility-centric robots, to humanoid robots, as I look for the next evolution of emotive robotics. I view robotics as a core aspect of what I call the five levels of autonomy, and they will complement conversational AI as well as digital humans on the path toward a Westworld-like future. At CES 2023, one robot in particular bridged robotics with mental wellness and elder care. This robot provides emotional care services, serves as a companion, and offers various activities. The key point is that in addition to the hype around digital experiences, physical robots will also become proxies for customers, patients, and caregivers.

Robot-Based Emotional Care Services

There are many more takeaways from the show. There were trends tied to sustainability, new advancements in the automotive industry, and many more start-ups out of Eureka Park that are early stage but are providing a view into next year’s show. The role of digital health across CES, SXSW, and other shows will continue to rise as health and wellness are at the forefront of industry post pandemic.

Stay tuned for more trend and event recaps. Follow Tom @BlackFin360 across social channels.

68 Top Trends So Far in 2017

Over the past six months, my team and I have evaluated the top emerging technology trends that will fundamentally reshape how marketers will connect with consumers.

Here is a brief preview:

The full analysis includes 68 trends categorized by our trend framework of Empower, Enhance, Feel & Ambient Computing. This will replace our original framework of Connection, Cognition & Immersion.

Empower to create content, engage and connect through new interfaces and touchpoints.

Enhance your daily life activities and responsibilities through intelligent systems and proxy’s.

Feel emotional experiences like pleasure and excitement delivered through immersive computing.

Ambient computing is the alignment of all three behavioral drivers.

Download the 2017 Midyear Trend Deck Today!

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SXSW Interactive 2017 Trend Recap

This past week, over 30,000 digitally centric professionals, including myself and Ian Beacraft, descended on Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive 2017. Our focus was to meet with key strategic partners, gauge emerging trends, monitor product launches and most importantly create content and POVs.

Content included a comprehensive text based trend recap download, live streaming from the trade show floor as well as a full video recap.

Over the years SXSW was an ideal event to gauge and project consumer centric tech trends. From Twitter empowering consumers in 2007, Foursquare focusing on location in 2009, social proximity with Highlight in 2012 and live streaming via Meerkat in 2015.

2017 focused on the rise of intelligent systems from a content perspective and immersive experiences bridged physical to digital.

Marketing is quickly shifting from disruptive tech to acceleration through intelligent systems. It’s less about the latest app fad, and more about how quickly the combination of data, intelligent systems and smart environments are going to impact consumer behavior in the future.

The technology featured at SXSWi 2017 aligns with my view of the coming intelligence revolution. This revolution will be built on new data types that will simplify complex tasks, predict need states and usher in new forms of computing that will radically alter how we connect with both consumers and intelligent proxies.

The attached event recap highlights trends across our framework of Connection, Cognition, Immersion & Convergence which is building towards enabling the acceleration of the Intelligence Revolution.

Connection – Trends that reimagine how we connect, enable and empower consumers.

  •  How conversational experiences are evolving and the impact that voice based experiences will have on the web
  • How social proximity and personalization have been refined
  • How interactive video is evolving

Cognition – Trends where machine-based intelligence will disrupt and redefine data assets and how we work.

  • Understand the evolution of storytelling through AI and the importance of data design
  • How emotive robotics will serve as a bridge between general assistants of today to the intelligent and more human systems of tomorrow
  • Learn more about the friction between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation of humans
  • Learn about the pending intelligence revolution and the role that the Proxy Web will play

Immersion – Trends that align technology and presence to evoke emotion, entertain and power commerce

  • Understand the evolution of immersive and full sensory experiences. From new forms of user interfaces such as light to mixed reality and everything in-between

Here is the download for the SXSW 2017 Trend Recap and Full Recap Video.

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LIVE: SXSW Interactive 2017 Recap

Here is a video recap shot live from the floor of SXSW Interactive 2017 on day 1 on the opening of the tradeshow floor.

The video outlines emerging technology and trends tied to Connection, Cognition and Immersion and touches on key territories such as:

  • Conversational Experiences
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence vs. Intelligence Augmentation
  • Mixed Reality
  • The rise of the Proxy Web

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Thriving Through Digital Disruption

I had the pleasure of speaking during today’s Brand Activation Summit in NYC. I joined an esteemed panel that was comprised of a CEO, CMO and I (CDO) to discuss thriving in the age of digital disruption.

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My topics ranged from the role of the Chief Digital Officer to vertical specific discussions tied to the future of digital. Over the course of an hour I discussed many topics that I have recently written or spoken publicly on including:

It was a great discussion and a highly engaged audience.

BAS16 Tom Edwards

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2016 Header

VB: 5 Technologies You Should Watch For at CES 2016

I was recently asked by Venture Beat to provide insight into 5 potential technologies that I would be excited to see at CES 2016.

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The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in just a few weeks, and we marketers will get a glimpse of new technologies that will impact how we talk to our audiences.

Here are 5 trend territories to keep an eye on at this year’s expo:

1. Emotive robotics

Emotive robotics is based on systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate elements of human behavior. Last year, single function robots were hot items from the show, but with advancements in deep learning capabilities, we’re on the cusp of emotive robotics entering the home in 2016.

An example of an emotive robot is Jibo, praised as the first “family robot.” Jibo and other emotive robots could aggregate Internet of Things (IOT) sensors and serve as the central nervous system of the home.

jibo

For digital marketers, emotive robotics opens up new possibilities for delivering highly contextual content and could serve as an access point into IoT-based behavioral data. The key to the concept of emotive robotics is its ability to take a consumer’s emotional response into consideration, making consumer interactions with these devices more positive and personal.

2. Gesture-based interfaces

Wearables of all types were crowd pleasers at the 2015 CES, but to date most wearables have primarily served as passive data collection devices. This year, the progression of gesture-based interfaces is one to watch.

At CES 2015, Logbar’s Gesture control ring drew large crowds. The simplicity of Ring and its ability to interface with an IoT-powered smart home is one example of a gesture-based interface.

logbar-ring

Gesture-based interfaces could provide a fun and engaging way for marketers to connect physical and digital worlds. Interfaces like Logbar’s Ring, could allow consumer electronics companies to create customizable experiences for their customers leveraging non-touch gesture-based motions.  For example, a consumer could interact with their TV, stereo, or coffee machine without ever having to touch a device.

I’m looking forward to new gesture control prototypes at CES 2016 and uncovering the marketing potential for brands.

3. Flexible displays

Flexible displays have always held a certain sci-fi allure. Having a digital display that can be bent, rolled, and shaped into many different form factors has a lot of marketing appeal.

We’re beginning to see flexible displays integrated into the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG’s G Flex smartphones and we’ve seen various standalone prototypes over the years.

Samsung-youm-flex-screens-8828

Thinking ahead, this type of display could revolutionize shopper marketing, as consumer brands could integrate flexible displays directly into clothing and other products, reducing consumer dependencies on mobile devices.

4. Virtual reality

On a recent earnings call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called Virtual Reality (VR) the next evolution of computing. We’ve seen experiential exploration of VR at past CES expos, and now we’re on the verge of VR hardware being readily available for early adopters.

Recently, there’s been acceleration around enabling 360 video — a form of VR — for the masses.  For example, you can now see 360 mobile video in your mobile Facebook newsfeed, and Google’s cardboard camera app supports the capture of 360-degree video and sound.

Recent campaigns such as the New York Times Google Cardboard experiment and GoPro’s deep dive into 360 video are testing out new and compelling experiences for consumers. However, truly immersive VR experiences require higher-end headsets, which create a sense of total immersion.

Stormtrooper

For example, companies can co-create content to embed their products in immersive experiences that align with their brand. With the Olympics coming in 2016, we can expect brands to leverage virtual reality to let consumers immerse themselves in the event.

I’ll be looking for new flavors of Facebook’s Oculus experience from other VR suppliers. I’ll also be looking for systems such as Sixense’s STEM System, which provides motion controls, haptic feedback, and additional spatial awareness in VR to create a full-body controlled experience.

5. Holographic computing

Holographic computing, sometimes called mixed reality, is a form of augmented reality (AR) that lets users spatially interact with digital overlays (holograms) that appear in the world around them.

A recent forecast from Citi analysts highlighted the future of the VR/AR industry, and their view is that AR technologies will likely disrupt major digital markets. Many organizations are exploring mixed reality solutions. One that has garnered a lot of attention is Microsoft, with its Hololens. Hololens produces interactive holograms that augment the existing physical world.

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The potential application for brand marketers is incredibly exciting, as AR represents a blank canvas against the physical world, giving brands an opportunity to engage with consumers in their everyday environments like at work or in the home. For example, a company could leverage AR in the home by sponsoring a grocery list, which appears on a user’s fridge and offers product recommendations when they are running out of a grocery item.

What to take away from the show floor

The five areas I’ve highlighted here represent the progression I’m hoping to see at CES. Will they all be represented? I’m excited to find out. What marketers should be looking for on the show floor are connected devices that have the potential to drastically shift consumer behavior and the way consumers and brands interact. Shifts in entertainment greatly impact marketers, and as a result data, content, and channels will all have a new role to play. Gaining insight into the dynamic shifts in how consumers connect will be key in 2016. CES should shed light on what may be possible in the years ahead.

If you happen to spot any of these items on the expo floor, tweet a pic and tag it with #CESevolved.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Tom Edwards Venture Beat

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360