As is tradition, the new year is starting off with inquisitive marketers and advertisers walking the floors of CES and using their time to connect with clients, meet with partners, listen to competitors and adapt to technologies that will drive business outcomes.
With more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space, CES is often overwhelming for attendees. To better navigate the show, network with peers and create a schedule that touches on the best sessions and booths available, I spoke with leading Omnicom executives and CMOs on what they're most excited to see this year. Here's what they had to say:
Troy Ruhanen, President and CEO, TBWA Worldwide
One of the big tech innovations we've been tracking is haptic wearables. Teslasuit, which debuted last year, enables immersive film and gaming through full-body haptics. It has climate control to place the wearer in specific environments, an API and biometric tracking for precise measurements and optimized feedback. The suit can be used on set (or at home) for motion capture, but beyond just gaming and entertainment, there are applications for healthcare, aerospace, automotive marketers and beyond. Our developers and creatives have been clamoring to get their hands on a Teslasuit. Imagine the creative potential when we can design experiences meant for the entire body.
Lauren Sallata, CMO, Panasonic Corp of North America
Marketers will want to pay close attention to technology that seamlessly integrates the physical and digital worlds. For example, Panasonic is introducing digital platforms that will enable intelligent highways (or, "Internet of Roads"); autonomous vehicles, where the driver becomes a passenger and their attention is up for grabs; and a human-centric smarthome platform that learns from previous interactions and can help with everything from scheduling to shopping. This will create meaningful opportunities for personalization while placing a premium on privacy and security. The rise of these platforms will likely upend the marketing mix.
Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Mastercard
Innovation breeds innovation, and that's what we're seeing with the integration of touch payments and voice shopping among the billions of connected-devices transforming our world. Over the next five years, billions of consumers will make a payment with biometric technology. And while a nascent application, voice commerce is setting an undeniable pace. At CES, we expect the latest technologies associated with multisensory commerce to be at the forefront of many conversations. The future of marketing will also evolve to become more experiential and sensory-driven as brands redefine what consumer engagement looks like in the digital age.
Dianne Wilkins, CEO, Critical Mass
When the world went from analogue to digital, more and more of our everyday products were infused with smaller, better silicon chips. The power of our cool, new devices was a reflection of the power of those little chips that manufacturers were cramming in. Today, our devices need another kind of power-up: better batteries. As we keep looking for new ways to cut cords, wires, and fossil fuels out of our lives, big tech gatherings like CES may start giving more stage time to people who can make batteries cleaner, stronger, smaller, cheaper, and—dare I say it—cool.
Scott Hagedorn, CEO, Hearts & Science
After quickly perusing this year's line-up of smart locks and AR/VR enablement, CES 2019 looks to be a year of evolutionary incrementalism. Many technologies are advancing towards previously announced product ambitions. The sheer preponderance of autonomous driving technology products will make it the category du jour of the show. Not on display, but top of mind, should be the unintended consequences of rapid deployment of technologies. Look no further than the current Tesla autopilot DUI case for a glimpse of things to come.
John Saunders, President and CEO, FleishmanHillard
CES 2019 won't just be about innovation and the newest products. There will also be a shift to, and focus on, Technology for Good. There will be far greater focus on responsibility, education and debate – especially around the need for regulation and legislation to protect consumers. The communications industry will have a role to play, helping business, government and academia come together to educate consumers and provide the ethical and privacy frameworks that are necessary to bolster public trust in emerging technology – and in so doing, ensure it reaches its full potential.
From haptic wearables to multisensory commerce to the batteries that power it all, this year will place a bigger emphasis on sensory-driven customer engagement. The physical and digital worlds will continue to blend in 2019, offering our industry greater opportunities for sophisticated, personalized customer interactions that drive tangible outcomes.
So as CES planning begins and schedules are hashed out, be sure to keep an eye out for the sessions and booths that take these innovations one step further. As we've seen with voice search and AI, advertising will continue to latch onto the experiential technologies that fully immerse the consumer into a brand, and with those sensory experiences will come industry guidelines and precautions that have yet to surface.