Each year CES rolls out the most dazzling new tech products – some are gimmicky gadgets exhibiting more flash than purpose, others are true examples of impressive innovation in their field. It’s the latter that sets the tone for what the industry’s major trends will be for that year and beyond.
CES 2017 was no exception.
Idomoo was there in Eureka Park, and though we spent a lot of time talking with attendees about Personalized Video, we did get a moment here and there to take a walk through the aisles.
As usual, there was a lot of glitz. For example, we saw an app that takes small digital notes and prints them onto real sticky notes. At $120 for the required Bluetooth printer, you’d be better off buying a stack of Post-Its from Staples and calling it a day. That’s just our humble opinion.
But then there were the product advancements that gave a clear and likely indication of where the future of tech was headed. Here are the two most undeniable trends of CES 2017…
One of the biggest stars of CES this year had a name: Alexa. As artificial intelligence bots continue to gain traction in the marketplace, Amazon’s Echo, the physical command station for Alexa, seems to be pulling ahead as the preferred digital home assistant. During the holiday season, Amazon reported worldwide sales of the Echo in the millions, up 9X from 2015, with both available models ranking as the best-selling products of 2016 and completely selling out online.
At CES, the sheer number of non-Amazon products built to integrate with and enhance Alexa’s capabilities was staggering. From household items like washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, lights, vacuums and televisions, to robots that actually give Alexa a physical presence – it’s clear this is all just the beginning for bots.
As we see common people – the millions of average Joes Amazon reported buying Echo, not the tech-obsessed geeks at CES – growing more and more comfortable with the seamless integration of bots in everyday life, it’s not a leap to expect brands will continue to shift their customer communication from a human-to-human interface to one that’s heavily reliant upon AI output.
It’s a trend we already see frequently in the form of chatbots on brands’ websites and social media channels, but there’s still room for improvement. Sure, right now they’re pretty good at reducing call center volume for companies, but struggle in terms of generating customer loyalty. Because most chatbots are faceless and text-based, it can lead to stilted interactions that distinctly lack a personal touch. It’s not an overall experience customers are rushing back to.
You know we love to talk about the importance of driving an emotional connection with customers. Well, the current state of chatbots does little to inspire emotion beyond the occasional bout of frustration when they don’t understand your inquiry. That shouldn’t be anyone’s goal.
Instead, we think Personalized Video can offer a simple, humanized solution to chatbots as we currently know them. Customers would still initially interact with the chatbot as they do now – answering a couple basic questions and submitting their inquiry. But instead of receiving a text reply, they would see a Personalized Video incorporating their personal details like name, location and more alongside a human presence conveyed through video. That means important factors for emotional connection like gesture and tone of voice would be present, engaging viewers and opening the door for enhanced storytelling.
Speaking of storytelling, virtual reality was everywhere at CES this year. The fully-immersive experience of watching 360-degree video is incredibly powerful, and companies were using it to tell rich, emotionally-engaging stories in dozens of booths.
The presence of those big VR goggles at CES isn’t anything new, but the revelation of 2017’s show was that the video quality has drastically improved. The promise of reality in virtual reality rings a little truer this year. Along those lines, VR was presented not as an escape from reality, but rather as a way to enhance it. If you look at what the New York Times has been doing with their VR offering, you’ll see exactly what we mean.
They’ve taken reporting to the next level by creating 360-degree video stories with the help of their NYT VR app and a viewer that can be picked up for as low as $7. From there, you’re dropped directly into the stories you’d typically read about or see on TV. You’re experiencing Democratic National Convention from the arena floor, not from your living room sofa. You’re in Times Square for New Year’s Eve, not hanging out in your pajamas in bed. You’re in a Syrian refugee camp, not at your office desk.
By creating a full environment for viewers, one that shifts and changes based on their movements, companies are telling the best, most engaging stories. With Idomoo’s upcoming version 6.0 platform, VR will be supported so Personalized Videos can be viewed with those exact same emotionally-charged, immersive qualities.
Want to learn more about how Personalized Video can factor into your marketing plans for 2017? Want to hear more about Personalized Virtual Reality experiences? Get in touch with an Idomoo rep here!