Mobile's Major Role at CES 2017

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CES 2017, everyone’s favorite “Whoa, that’s cool!” type of trade show, just wrapped up in Las Vegas. Digital interactivity clearly had top billing at the event, including “emotional cars.” (There was also a “smart hairbrush” from L’Oreal that measures the quality of a user’s hair and the impact of different brushing routines. It will retail for under $200 and should be available this fall.)

If you made it out to The Strip, awesome. But if not, here’s a quick rundown on mobile and app-based tech at CES 2017, and the implications it could have for mobile marketers:


The role and rise of Alexa

The “smart home” concept is seemingly so big that Alexa, which is partnering with everyone from
Ford to Whirlpool, is already being likened to the early days of Microsoft’s Windows. (Speaking of Microsoft, the Cortana assistant will be in BMW and Nissan cars.) Voice-activated assistant technology is scaling rapidly; Siri might feel a little left behind. Voice activation is going to change most approaches to marketing, and as we blogged about in October, it might change pretty much everything for mobile marketers. If Alexa was truly the star of CES 2017, it could be a signal that voice activation apps are not the future anymore -- they’re the present.


Alexa: coming to a car, and a fridge, and probably much more in 2017 near you.



No, this isn’t a reference to the happy hour circuit in Vegas.


Rather, inMarket unveiled an ambient intelligence platform called inBar. The idea is for brands to engage customers in entertainment venues; it will apparently go beyond standard beacon and geofencing technology and allow for concepts like smart jukebox interactions and drink specials. Unrelated but somewhat related: a geofencing app for pets debuted an improved version at CES.


Make the mobile Internet safe again

There were a lot of high-profile hacks in ‘16, from Oracle to the DNC. In what could be a direct result, CES 2017 had numerous mobile security presenters. Some of the bigger ideas being put forth were smart wallets (not a new concept, but evolving to a more functional place), secure messaging, and private Internet browsing on mobile. Goodix won a Best of Innovation award for mobile fingerprint authentication, too.


AR and VR

Augmented reality was huge at CES 2017, as was VR. Lumus is releasing augmented reality glasses for the “casual user.” While that sounds kind of uppity, a big problem with AR reaching scale is finding those casual users, which products like Google Glass never seemed to do. Some have predicted that 2017 will be the year of AR and VR in mobile marketing, and the large rollout of products in the space would seem to underscore that potential.



Lumus debuted augmented reality for the "casual user" at CES this year.


Automation plays


One expected trend for 2017 was smart apps ushering in new waves of marketing automation, and several of the product unveils at CES 2017 seemed to speak to that idea too.


Artificial intelligence


Boltt, a newer fitness industry company, rolled out a line of wearables complete with an AI-enabled mobile app. And as CNET noted, virtually every phone provider at CES had some type of AI enhancement for their mobile devices.


The sensors inside Boltt sneakers measure athletic performance. 

So what are we taking away from CES 2017?
 Companies are taking advantage of apps’ ability to bridge consumers and the products they use, pushing the trend of making user experience more personal than ever along. Consumers care about products that tell them more about themselves, and like CES proves, apps are the best way to create that kind of experience.



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