As this week’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) closes out tomorrow in Las Vegas, we’ve seen a blizzard of news, press releases and commentary inhabiting our inboxes and news readers. It’s a huge and diversified event with a lot happening. Here’s a list of four takeaways for what could be relevant for brands, agencies and publishers targeting local audiences with digital messaging and relationship building:
1. Connected Car Enriches Engaged Experiences
2.Wearable Technology Add New Dimensions to Local Search
3.Video Becoming User Friendly Again
4. Internet of Things Spews Storm of Location and Context Signals
Here are some scenarios around these topics. Some further out there than others, but all possible with today’s technology.
Connected Car: There are varying definitions of “connected car” but essentially whether it’s your smartphone synching with our car’s infomatics or native 4G and IP connectivity, your car increasingly is a new hotspot. Just as our smart phones synch up contacts data with our cars, so too can search, cookies and other targeting signals transfer to our car. These signals can inform news and entertainment choices (e.g., continue playing my favorite radio news program I’d been listening to in the kitchen) and path to purchase (device noticed you were searching for places to buy “organic diaper wipes”) and your car presents a list of options and direction tied into the GPS device. Sounds crazy? GM’s already doing it.
Wearable Technology: At least month’s Search Insider Summit held by MediaPost, I shared some thoughts about how wearable technology will influence local search in the future around the notion of “The Connected Me” linking physiological signals with location and other contextual signals to present explicit versus context-driven search results. Think Google Now versus typing queries into a window. Current local searches keyed in by users focus on things like business hours, address and directions and whether an item is in stock. “Connected Me” searches might go something like this:
Low blood sugar sensor. You’re getting hungry. List of nearby liked places queues up of your phone.
Your heart rate is up as you’re walking into the cafe, an mobile coupon offer for a decaf cappuccino pops up on your watch.
Your fitness tracker obeserves, “you’ve exceeded today’s calorie goal” and your wearable suggests, “time for a treat to reward yourself” with a link to a favorite item you’ve purchase in the past.
A challenge, “join the 1,000 steps a day club and win points good for freebies each day you exceed your goal” that ties into a loyalty program and presents suggestions.
Video Becoming User Friendly Again: I’ve taken to joking about the fight for the remote control at our house. It’s a fight all right, but the fight is for who has to pick it up (and actually, these days there is no universal remote so several remotes are needed to get the job done) and do all the work of navigating various device (Smart TV, cable and satellite boxes, DVD player, home media server, etc.) and service (broadcast television stations, cable networks, streaming services, VOD services, etc.) to figure out what’s on that we want to watch. Oh and watch out if the WiFi signal burps and you need to restart the router and re-sign in to all of the various services (where are those passwords again?). It takes dedication to task. Happily, there is increasing integration at the hardware and software levels. And even Netflix is motivated to help its fans know which television set streams best for enjoying their viewing experience. Maybe we’re moving toward that day that has thus far eluded Intel, Google, Apple, and others of providing a truly seamless and user friendly video experience again. Why does this matter for local marketing? I suspect that the same keys that enable a seamless user experience will empower cross device and cross service fingerprinting that will super charge measurement and targeting.
Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (“IoT”) or sometimes called the Internet of Everything (“IoE”) envisions a world where most everything has a discoverable IP address if so permissioned that can either be queried or broadcasts out data. This is a world where milk cartons talk to the frig and announce, “I’m almost empty. Add milk to the shopping list.” The state of technology on display and either in deployment or not far from it really shows us a world where we need to figure how to survive in a world of more and more data storms cropping up. These days, walking around retail spaces enabled with a device to read beacons leads you to understand how much our personal and commercial space increasingly is saturated in data signals. As brands, agencies, retailers and big data firms figure out both the analytics and data management platforms and exchanges better – we’re really building to a world of not just targeting but actual one-to-one persistent relationships. Scary, but let’s hope industry practices and public policy where applicable channels the most optimistic scenarios into the marketplace.
Overall, lots of new technology showing more connected and relevant applications and services are being rolled out in 2015. Taken together, it’s an encouraging future we see ahead for local marketing and the ability to create value for consumers looking to make smart purchase decisions.