Results for


  • > All Sections
  • > News & Insights
Image not found

Blog Article


Image not found

At CES, Smart Products and Privacy Concerns Remain King

Attending the Consumer Electronics Show is always an inspiring way to start a new year, let alone a new decade.  Major tech companies showcase their shiniest new products (and—let’s face it—concepts that will never make it to market).  Start-ups try to create buzz, sometimes with brilliant new solutions, but often with ideas that are simply bizarre.  Threaded throughout, the titans of Google and Amazon continue to integrate deeper across appliances, cars, and any other device that has evolved to be “smart.” After many hours spent meeting with companies and exploring the showroom floor, I came to the conclusion that this year’s event was a time of incremental evolution.  Sure, there was plenty of jaw-dropping tech on display—Samsung’s “The Wall” television was every bit as incredible as you’ve heard—but the overall sense I got was much different from past years.  It seems as though every major player is rethinking alliances and re-evaluating their position in the market, perhaps due to the arrival of CCPA (the California Consumer Privacy Act) and increasing consumer concerns over privacy. That’s not to say there were no fascinating trends at CES 2020. Below are my top five take-aways from both the showroom floor, and the conversations with key players throughout the week. The Smart Home Bandwagon:  Solutions in Search of a Problem Connected smart home products continue to be a big focus for brands exhibiting at CES.  Some solve for a specific need, like The Motion Pillow, a pillow gently adjusts head position when it detects snoring in order to improve airflow (and potentially improve marriages).  Some products are more like interesting novelties, like Kohler’s Smart Speaker showerhead.   Other products on the showroom floor feel more like a solution in search of a problem.  For example, the SimpleHuman smart trash can, which doesn’t sound like too bad of a proposition until you realize that it utilizes proprietary trash bags (which is either the “printer and ink” merchandising model or, if you’re feeling less generous, the Juicero approach).  Or if that’s not wacky enough, how about a $13,000 smart toilet?   Connected smart home devices will continue to be a major part of CES, but for many consumers the novelty of the basic concept has worn off a bit—meaning manufactures will have to level up their storytelling in order to truly demonstrate the value their products bring to everyday life. The Battle for the Smart Home Ecosystem In the spirit of the classic format wars of VHS vs Betamax and HD DVD vs Blu-Ray, Google and Amazon have been battling to stake a claim as the central hub for all the connected devices in a smart home.  In addition to those two titans, power users have a handful of other home connectivity options—but based on my personal experience, none of today’s solutions play nicely with the devices on the market today, let alone the new concepts showcased at CES. So, it’s fascinating to me that these companies (Google, Amazon, Apple (!!!), and more than ten others) have partnered to begin constructing a standard communications protocol to enhance device compatibility and cross-system integration.  This partnership is called Project Connected Home over IP (the unfortunate acronym “CHoIP”).  A universal standard would not only make smart home devices easier to set up and use by consumers, but since it is built on IP-based networking it would offer end-to-end security by default. However, CHoIP isn’t the only new solution on the horizon.  Smart home solution provider Z-Wave, a competitor to CHoIP partner ZigBee, is opening up their previously proprietary specifications to other chip manufacturers.  Many smart home products, including those by Amazon and Google Nest, already include Z-Wave radios as part of their connectivity.  Confusingly enough, Z-Wave’s parent company, Silicon Labs, is actually a participant in the CHoIP partnership. Lost yet?  Don’t worry—the space is incredibly confusing, primarily because unlike the format wars mentioned at the start of this section, this battle is over intangible network communication protocols, not physical media.  However CHoIP, Z-Wave, and other solutions wind up playing out, increased standardization of smart home connectivity is purely a good thing for consumers—and for the manufactures building products they want to sell (like, for example, that $13,000 toilet mentioned above). Surprising Exhibitors One of my favorite things to do at CES is keep an eye out for companies that seem like an odd fit for the showroom floor at the world’s largest tech conference.  Both Oral-B and Colgate unveiled new smart toothbrushes with features like detecting plaque in the mouth and connecting to your phone to track and coach good brushing habits.  AARP had a booth showcasing how they plan to use artificial intelligence to help improve elder care, but it felt very conceptual. Delta Airlines was the biggest surprise of the show for me.  Every time I stopped by, there was a long line outside their space, and inside they demonstrated a new smart display that tracks an individual’s location in a room and displays personalized information about their flight on a wall-mounted monitor.  The impressive part is that it does this for multiple individuals at a time, and each person sees only their information on the monitor, as it adjusts in real-time based on their movements—two people walking next to each other would see two totally different things on the monitor.  For a proof of concept product, it worked very well, and was even more impactful than the man outside the Delta booth demonstrating a powered exoskeleton that enables baggage handlers to move heavy luggage efficiently and without injury.  New Takes on Old Music Experiences As a musician, I’m always curious to see what the Roland Corporation brings to CES, and this year’s booth didn’t disappoint—a live band featured the latest electronic drums, digital amp modeling, and a “concept piano” that takes the mechanics of a traditional grand piano and wraps them in a futuristic package.Victrola showcased dozens of new takes on the classic turntable, integrating wireless connectivity into a record player with a variety of looks that were both classic and modern.  It was interesting to see how many other companies showcased record and cassette players with upgraded connectivity as well.  However, the most confusingly ubiquitous products scattered around the showroom floor were light-up speakers.  I saw at least a dozen of them at different booths, and outside of professional DJs looking to streamline their equipment cartage I’m not sure who the target audience for these strange devices is. The Looming Privacy Concerns Google didn’t have many gigantic announcements to make at CES this year, but one particular feature launch was quite telling.  Any time the Google assistant activates at a time when a user didn’t speak to it, users can now simply say “Google, that wasn’t for you.”  The Google Assistant will then apologize and delete the request from its history.Giving users this quick, real-time way to respond to smart devices triggering accidentally is a savvy move in a time when major tech companies are struggling to find the balance between privacy and personalized utility.  Over the next three years privacy is going to become one of the key differentiating features consumers look for when purchasing connected devices and choosing which framework to connect them through, yet privacy is one of the hardest features to showcase in the flashy way brands typically approach CES.  Throughout 2020 all of the major players will be navigating evolving legislation, but they should view adherence to the law as the minimum required action.  As our lives become even more interconnected with our devices, the companies that win will be those who actively showcase to their users that privacy is a priority, not just a legal requirement.  0

Image not found

dentsu bolsters global media offering by bringing together iProspect and Vizeum brands to form future-focused iProspect brand globally

London, Jan 12th - dentsu today confirmed its intent to integrate iProspect and Vizeum to create a new, future-focused, end-to-end global media agency under the iProspect banner. By integrating these two award winning agencies, dentsu brings Vizeum’s media strategy and planning, storytelling, and brand building capabilities together with iProspect’s digital expertise, audience knowledge, and performance mindset. Clients will have access to the unique capabilities of both agencies, all from one integrated team leading the new territory of performance-driven brand building by delivering digital-first media strategies underpinned by data and technology at every touchpoint in the consumer journey. The new iProspect media agency will draw from the broader dentsu capability set, allowing clients the flexibility to seamlessly build bespoke and specialised teams with resources from across the network. Clients will gain access to expansive new audience insights, integrated and more effective strategies, market-leading planning and activation, and unparalleled business performance. Carat and dentsu X clients will continue to access industry leading digital performance services through our dentsu Media Scaled Services. The new iProspect entity will be led by Global President Amanda Morrissey, bringing together more than 8,000 media and performance specialists across 93 key global markets. “iProspect is designed for clients at the intersection of brand and performance. We believe brand drives performance, and performance drives brand. We no longer exist in an ecosystem where these elements can be planned and bought separately. We must look at business and brand goals through a combined lens, bringing accelerated growth for our clients,” said Amanda Morrissey, Global President, iProspect. “By focusing on how consumers behave in their digital world and applying that to real world scenarios via a highly connected and creative use of all channels, we position our clients to combine the learnings from the short and long term to drive more effective business growth today and tomorrow.” Peter Huijboom, dentsu international Global CEO Media & Global Clients, said, “At dentsu our goal is to help our clients to make meaningful progress and thrive in a world of change. Because we know people better than anyone else, we deliver human-centric solutions designed to drive growth for our clients and good in society. By bringing iProspect and Vizeum together we are creating a global digital-first, end-to-end media proposition. This will give our clients a scaled choice that sits alongside Carat’s brand-first approach and dentsu X’s experience-driven approach while also allowing greater access to our Creative and CXM service lines.” The new agency will now be launched through a phased market plan over a three-month period with a target completion date of 31st March 2021. This integration is a proof-point of dentsu international’s strategy to simplify how it operates to deliver even greater agility and flexibility for clients through a more focused portfolio of six leadership brands. 0

Image not found

Three ways 5G will change video marketing in 2020 and beyond

Bigger. Faster. Better. 5G promises it all. But what exactly is it? The fifth generation of mobile communication employs higher frequencies and bandwidth to allow quicker wireless data transfer than 4G, creating a massive leap forward in speed, quality and latency. In other words, say hello to on-the-go, super-charged entertainment in the palm of your hand. And it’s certainly getting people intrigued. Since May, 5G has overtaken 4G in Google search volume whilst 37% of consumers in the UK say they will switch to 5G as soon as it’s available. As the UK becomes increasingly 5G ready, early median speed tests put 5G at 4x faster than its predecessor. But what does this all mean for the promotion of products and services? We know that video is the fastest-growing advertising format in digital, with investment on smartphone devices increasing by 69% last year. For brands, it’s becoming a preferred medium of communication as it allows a relatively complex message to be encoded and decoded in an effective way to influence a desired action. With the rise of 5G, the medium is rife with opportunity. Here are three predictions that may influence video marketing as we move into 2020:1. Video consumption habits will become increasingly on-the-goWe spend an average of 3 hours 12 mins a day on our phones. But, as the quality of smartphones increases with bigger, better screens and faster 5G connectivity, users will spend more time consuming content. This, in turn, creates more opportunities for brands to communicate with their audiences via ad-supported platforms. According to the latest data on media consumption from IPA Touchpoints, time spent scrolling on mobile-first social media in the UK has increased 6% amongst adults, whilst linear TV in the home declined -6%. With less need for desktop computers and Wi-Fi to complete more data-intensive online tasks thanks to 5G, mobile usage will become even more dominant than it is already. 2. Video ad placements will become more popular As Comms Planners chase eyeballs for their media mix, this could mean placing emphasis on more dynamic video inventory such as Facebook in-stream, YouTube bumpers and Broadcaster Video On Demand, such as Channel 4 and Sky media. Our own proprietary research in the UK has found that attention is highest with TV on mobile and social media video vs linear TV advertising, so media investment should be more efficient as we skew inventory buying to smartphones. 3. Video ad formats will become more creative 5G technology means more innovative (and data-intensive) ad formats like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will play a greater role in how we research and buy online. Gartner predicts that 100 million shoppers will use the technology by 2020, with brands like IKEA already bringing their catalogues to life in the digital space to great effect. Moreover, 4K UHD video may become the norm for mobile advertising, meaning brands have peace of mind that their paid communications maintain the highest quality when showcasing products and services to a desired audience. So, 5G will mean people spend longer on their phones, consuming more content, at a higher quality than ever before.  But due to the physical infrastructure needed to make the technology a reality across the country, none of this will change media habits and buying behaviours overnight. If more than half of people cannot imagine life without their smartphone as technology stands right now, 5G is only going to make that bond even stronger. 0