How do you summarize the Consumer Electronics Show? It’s one of the largest shows to be held in Las Vegas — taking almost three weeks to set up, run and take down again. If I was to even try, I’d have to say it’s abundantly clear that consumers seek total control. And CES strives to give it to them.
The sea of devices and technologies shown at CES reinforce that we are no longer content having our media consumption dictated by traditional means. We live in an era where we select the content we want and how we access it. And the methods we use to control our viewing options are changing as well.
Cable’s Last Stand?
While the marketing industry has spent the last few years discussing the death of the print industry, if I were a Vegas oddsmaker, I’d be setting the line on the lifespan of cable TV and the remote control — as we know them today.
Case in point: In a panel discussion on the future of enhanced advertising, Time Warner’s vice president of marketing tried to appear relevant as other panelists discussed YouTube, Xbox Live and Red Bull’s space drop. He was closer to re-enacting Custer’s Last Stand. He was genuinely uncomfortable and awkward as it was noted that Red Bull’s latest feat of extreme sporting reached an audience 10 times larger than Time Warner’s audience — and it did it without a network broadcast.
Smarter TV Screens
Televisions of course played a major role at the show. LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic and others reinforced that Internet-ready televisions are paving the way for how we’ll watch TV. And digital media receivers like Roku and Apple TV are changing what we will watch. But more than just traditional and alternative digital content, our TVs will also act as our home command centers. ADT Home Security’s vice president of marketing, Tony Wells, shared his vision behind their “Pulse” offering and how our TV will serve many purposes in the near future.
Even Smarter Smart Phones
The amount of money consumers are spending on smart phone accessories — from cases to high end headphones — was clear given the amount of real estate these manufacturers occupied on the convention floor. The smartphone is becoming the universal remote to our lives. Home automation was a big buzzword at the show.
There are few things I can’t control via my phone: thermostat, garage, home security cameras, door locks, kitchen appliances and vacuums. Next year, I’m betting you’ll be able to walk your dog using your smartphone. But health and fitness is not suffering from this centralization of home activity. From smart scales and sleep tracking to pedometers and actively monitoring food consumption and exercise, smartphones are helping us get healthy too. As a result, this device will be woven even more thoroughly into the fabric of our lives.
As an early adopter of many of the technologies showcased at CES, I was worried I’d have a hard time keeping my wallet in my pocket. I resisted the urge. And while CES 2013 didn’t tempt me, it did remind me that we are entering an age that TiVo first envisioned nearly 20 years ago. The consumer is in control of what’s being served.