Three Trends from CES That I’d Bet On

While I am not a big gambler, after a week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I am betting on several trends to hit the jackpot in the not-to-distant future. One faces great odds trying to find a handful of winning trends, considering you share the 1.9 million square foot show floor with thousands of exhibitors and over 150,000 attendees, including more and more CMOs, according to this recent article in Fortune.

Having participated in dozens of major conferences and shows, ranging from CES and Cannes Gold Lions to the Holmes Global PR Summit and CMO forums, I’ve been able to spot emerging trends and industries, based on conference presence and activities. Here are three that will have big impact:

Image via Forbes.com

Image via Forbes.com

1. Wearables: or, wearable computing gadgets, most often manifested as smartwatches, but also in a host of other products like Voyce, a wearable computer collar for dogs that monitors the animal’s vital signs.  These devices have been emerging, but mostly with the early adopter crowd. Based on the show, expect more products (even in just the smartwatch category) and more opportunities for us to work for clients in the wearable space.

2. Auto technology: the driverless car phenomenon, launched in a big way last year, was brought to the CES floor, with live demos by BMW and Audi. (Who knew that Nevada is one of a few states where it’s legal to test drive autonomous cars, though it requires a person to sit in the driver’s seat at all times.) The technology seemed to rivet the crowds. And, in talking with some folks who work in innovation at major car companies, it will be available sooner than we expect, creating big windows of opportunity to market new types of cars. Beyond the driverless technology, the show of automobile innovation, in terms of variation and on-site presence, was astounding.

Image via International CES on Flickr

Image via International CES on Flickr

3. Visual Storytelling: just a short time ago, GoPro was a little-known brand. At CES this year, it’s mega-booth consumed prime real estate in the Central Hall, right beside Intel and QualComm. The brand focuses on “capturing, creating and sharing your life’s moments” via video and ready to share with your network. This booth was swamped and, interestingly, featured completely transparent meeting rooms, so you could see who was meeting with whom to talk business with GoPro.

Finally, our Ketchum team for Whirlpool (client) executed a big activation at the MommyTech Zone for the Whirlpool brand, where an interactive, command and control concept cooktop and the CoolVox refrigerator, with a speaker system from Harman/Kardon, drew big crowds and earned placements in Mashable, USA Today and many others.

It was an exciting, and exhausting, show and much of what happened there, I’m betting, will impact consumers, our client’s and their marketing for years to come.

Kelley is a Partner and Director of Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing Practice. She is the author of of the business book, Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women (Praeger/Mar 2009) and the architect of the widely-publicized Women 25to54 offering.