CES 2015 Preview: The Most Important Trends to Watch

Lori Schwartz

Lori Schwartz

As CES approaches in January, brands, agencies, and sellers are preparing to converge at the massive show to examine the newest innovations in consumer technology hardware, content, tech delivery systems and more. StoryTech, a company that provides solution recommendations to brands, agencies and content companies including Fox Broadcasting, and Samsung,, develops a yearly watch list for attendees that serves to frame the show and provide direction on how to leverage new products and technology for their own business success.

“For storytellers, brands, or anyone communicating a proposition, everything now is a data opportunity,” says StoryTech Managing Partner Lori Schwartz. “For instance, why should content creators care about 3D printing? Here’s why: not only will it affect the operational side of what you do when it comes to product manufacturing, but it can also inform your thinking around partnerships with brands and how it can be part of a bigger story; for instance, if you’re Polaroid, you might think about developing 3D picture frames. Or big fans of Family Guy might want to print out their favorite poses of Peter. These technologies will impact people’s paths. And it’s important for ad agencies to understand what’s happening at CES so they can position themselves as thought leaders.”

Exclusive to Cynopsis, here’s what to expect in Las Vegas from January 6-9, 2015, courtesy of StoryTech’s Lori Schwartz.

Mega-Trend: “The Internet of Me”
If the “Internet of Things” is all about the interconnection of identifiable computing devices within a larger network, then the big promise of 2015 is the Internet of Me…connections that increasingly anticipate consumers’ needs based upon known and predicted behaviors, and solutions that are in play to simplify, protect, and enhance their worlds. 2015 is the year the cloud sits at the center, connecting all “lifeworks” together.

Trend: A Transactional Life
The world of commerce serves as a categorical example of how everything is beginning to orient around personal IDs — from beacons to mobile payments to privacy — and what that means for consumers’ digitally-connected lives.

“This is about much more than mobile payment,” says Schwartz. “This will be about the transaction of anything. For example, I walk into a store and they already know my size. Or when I come home, my TV or tablet will know what I like to watch so I may get a message on my screen that will say, ‘I bet you’re in the mood for a feel-good movie.’ And then I’ll order it.”

“For storytellers, brands, or anyone communicating a proposition, everything now is a data opportunity.”

Trend: Touched By A Sensor
In 2015, wearables graduate from being chunky, plastic bracelets that track our calories to a more meaningful push into areas such as wellness, security and entertainment, all while gaining connective power as they grow in number and kind. The “Little Data” that’s generated daily will help define decisions that impact everyone’s lives.

“Why can’t data become a piece of content?” asks Schwartz. “What if we started looking at the data of the American Idol judges to see how they really felt about the contestants? It would be like biofeedback, so we will know in advance which kind of performances they’re likely to respond best to. Or take five ‘Idol’ audience members, and grow fans around them according to their likes and dislikes. If entertainment is a reflection of our culture, then movies like Her and even Big Hero 6 indicate that this kind of thing will be a part of our future.”

Trend: The Modern Millennial Factor
It’s been said that Gen X was the lost generation. No such accusation can be leveled against Gen Y, as their sense of social responsibility, group problem-solving, and digital nativity are impacting billion-dollar businesses in big ways and transforming our culture across all demographics in ways we could have never predicted.

“Through all the data, we will see the whole path play out…. Location-based solutions will let us cap it all off.”

Trend: Yours, Virtually
If the world is already well on its way to being digitized, then 2015 is the year it increasingly becomes more virtual, more customizable and ultimately more personal — with areas such as immersive gaming and virtual reality content experiences leading the charge.

“Media companies should pay attention to this most, because all screens will be much more aware of where their viewers are,” says Schwartz. “If I’m at Starbucks, I only have time to watch something short like a trailer or a unique 5-minute webisode. But if I’m at home, I can watch something that’s an hour. Either is a great opportunity for sponsorships. Through all the data, we will see the whole path play out…. Location-based solutions will let us cap it all off.”

Trend: Content Gets Down to Business
With the specter of mass cord-cutting looming on the horizon, content makers and brands are being forced to fundamentally reconsider their development and distribution models, and how to thrive in a digitally-disrupted environment.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at RDawn (@) cynopsis.com

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