CES for 2016 has wrapped up. My CES favorite this year was the Owlet Smart Sock (no joke). This smart sock is for babies (well their parents), connects to your smartphone, and lets your know if your child’s oxygen falls below a certain level and sends an alarm to your smartphone. At $249, the Owlet is not cheap but for parents, well if it delivers safety, peace of mind and ability to get a good nights sleep – it’s priceless.
The other stand out comes indirectly from Under Armour and not their $400 HealthBox wearable. It was the announcement that Under Armour are partnering with IBM Watson’s cognitive computing unit to powerUnder Armour Record. Alongside IBM’s recent acqusition of Weather.com, IBM’s Watson unit is definitely the one to watch in 2016 when it comes to using computer-based learning to get commercial value from data.
In one way, Owlet and Under Armour are good examples of what I see as the major trends of 2016.
1. Smartphones are the default device that makes other devices i) personal ii) smart and iii) useful;
2. There is more data being collected than ever before; and
3. There is a increasing need to make sense of that data.
So if you only take one thing away from CES, think even more data is being captured, which opens the door to an even greater need to make sense of data and in turn means more insights available to those of us in the marketing and media industry to deliver better media targeting and effectiveness.
PS. You may notice that Virtual Reality is missing from the above wrap. Yes, there were some great demos and product news like PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus pricing announcements. I do think VR is going to be big (one day) and we should all be learning about it, experimenting where we can. But high-end VR is still niche. If you are interested in VR this year, I would still test and learn on Google Cardboard.