It seems a bit redundant to rattle off trends from CES. Sure, we could talk about wearables, smart cars, robot chefs, bending TVs, not to mention the astounding amount of selfie sticks flanking booths. It’s been covered though.

Despite the noise and chatter surrounding the event and its “stuff,” at the end of the day CES has always been the place where technology and creative come together for innovation. So perhaps we should take a step back, clear away the top 10 lists, and evaluate what this year’s event means for the industry and its partners.

Now, with the advent of technologies that make it easier for us to be creative and platforms that make it easier to share, the ability to create and tell stories has become democratized. It begs the question “Is there a line between creativity and technology, or have they converged?” Regardless, it’s evident more than ever at this year’s CES is that the once polarizing line between complex technology and brilliant creative ideas has begun to blur significantly.

I’ve always believed that it needs to start with a great idea. This idea must be driven by a powerful insight and we apply technology in the service of creativity. That’s not to say that technology doesn’t inspire ideas and visa versa. It does everyday.

The same blurring of the line holds true as we embark not just on the Internet of things, but the Internet of everything. We need to consider that as technology becomes “smart” and data drives more and more decision making, the common denominator is still a sound creative idea. Consider for a moment that we’re not that far off from my stove telling my fridge, with help from my pantry, that I’m out of spaghetti and meatballs. That would be a great time for a Barilla coupon, right? Or, perhaps I’ve already automated that purchase with Amazon Prime and it’s waiting on my doorstep.

The opportunity for manufacturers is to continue to provide insightful technology that deciphers data and informs. Conversely, brands and their agencies will need to distill that information and identify moments to provide a better message at the right time. Of course identifying and creating contextual relevance is nothing new for marketers. However, the opportunity for personalization and timeliness has become more and more valued as smarter data and strategic insights bring bigger opportunities to light. Smarter companies and forward-thinking agencies have already begun the journey of a tech and creative convergence, which is why you see both flock to CES every year. As innovation pushes the boundaries of what is possible for consumers, it requires that brands and agencies rethink connections and enhance experiences that are personally valuable.

Data aggregation across devices, appliances, automobiles, jewelry, accessories, and fashion will continue to grow to infinite amounts—and those are just a couple of examples we saw at CES this year. One-to-one conversation with your “things” will help identify habits and inform purchase decisions with or without you. What’s missing now is meaningful purpose. We need to move to a place where this data is relevantly qualified and personalized for my wife, my son, and me (even our goldfish!).

We should come to expect a seamless and purposeful experience from brands that are trying to engage with us. Disruption needs to change to purposeful introduction. Segmentation needs to transform into personalization. Technology and data should work in concert to support to these industry shifts because together it allows us to secure that “moment of Zen” we’re talking about. Yet, what still remains amongst the plethora of data, the proliferation of platforms, and the ease to create, is still the great idea.

FWA Mobile
The Internet of Things: When Smart Tech Remains Dumb