In 2012, the lines between the digital and physical world blurred like never before, and we saw how technology transformed from a standalone asset to a supplement developed to enhance the consumer experience. We watched as stores went from developing mobile web apps to producing fully integrated digital tools to help shoppers plan their shopping strategy in advance, keeping consumers connected before, during and after their shopping experience. The annual technology mecca that is CES focuses on the technology, electronics and gadgets that merely represent capability. That capability is then applied to consumers' wants and needs, which is where innovation truly begins.
At this year's CES, we will see accelerated developments in some of the arenas that have been popular in the last few years, such as Smart TVs, mobile technology, automotive technology and the cloud. These products continue to be of interest to the consumer. But the real promise of these new technologies is the way in which they will improve consumer experiences, both inside and outside the physical store. Here are four different ways technology is transforming the way consumers live, shop and connect:
Invisible Interfaces -- New ways for users and devices to interact.
This year's show will continue to highlight improvements in voice recognition, gesture recognition and device-to-device interaction (example: Apple's iOS 6). This is great for in-store associate communications or even customer-to-associate communications. Consumers do not have time to wait or get impatient while waiting; these types of devices will give them a chance to do things at their own speed.
Intelligent Interactions -- Interactions between consumers and devices are becoming smarter and more subtle.
This year's show promises to highlight devices that can sense a user's mood, as well as context. New sensors can detect subtleties in pressure, which will represent a new dimension for user interactivity.
Media Innovations -- New types of screens will take digital media to new heights.In particular, I am excited to see developments in OLED Screens. OLED screens will not just take HDTV to all new heights (fantastic resolution, brightness, thickness and weight), but can also be applied to curved surfaces. Think of having a HD resolution screen curving around your wrist. Or around a device package, highlight the contents of a package. This may provide a whole new dimension of media for brands to engage consumers.
Connected Experiences -- Remote controls for everything in your life.
I think we will see a proliferation of devices that work in conjunction with other devices: smartphones that control your car, home, and appliances. Second-screen media experiences that become the "primary screen," where the TV fades into the background as a passive experience.
CES will prove that the tides are changing for consumer electronics -- where it's no longer paramount to offer a mind-blowing technology, but rather a technology that will change the way consumers interact with that technology and how it ultimately affects their life experiences.
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