Alexa, the clear winner of CES 2017

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Consumer electronic show (CES) is the world’s biggest consumer technology fair that wows all digital nomads once a year. Not all hypes from the show get adopted by consumers, but there are still a couple of trends, that we believe will change our everyday life in the future. The clear winner of 2017 show is Alexa by Amazon, a natural language processing interface between the cloud and voice. Even though the brand didn’t have an individual stand, there were more than 700 other products featuring the technology.



Here are four categories of products, that were presented at the show that caught our attention and their implications for brands:


Connected home appliances

As Alexa is the clear winner in our eyes, most of the electronics presented include the technology. Manufacturers are moving from single to integrated (connected) devices and from a closed to an open ecosystem, where they work together with other brands in order to deliver seamless interconnected experience. This implicates a huge risk in all industries, because brands will “merge” with other products, yet they still have to think about the awareness of their own brand. An example of this is an LG smart fridge, that is connected to Amazon shop and that you can talk to based on Alexa technology – is it an Amazon or LG experience?



Time saving products

There have been a variety of consumer products, that reduce friction by suggestions, moving beyond touch (voice and gesture recognition), projections of interfaces on different surfaces… Products such as cars (that behave according to the past behavior, weather forecast, suggest destinations…), trash cans (that recognize waste and reorder new products automatically), televisions, drones and others are all being redesigned to save us time and will definitely increase user expectations. Brands in this case have to choose the platform wisely, as they will have to work with each other continuously (example of the GeniCan trash can & Amazon – once they set up a system, they are “forced” to collaborate). Additionally, new features will require new marketing techniques, because we talk and behave differently than we write (new SEO optimizations, different key works, typing suggestions will become obsolete) and furthermore the companies have to be fast due to the fast rate of first movers adapters.



Self-taught devices

Devices of the future will be more taught than programmed, as they will react to the voice, gestures, visual image recognition… Some examples of such toughed devices: Umbrellas, that move like the sun and of course respond to voice commands, brushes talking to users, skin analyzing gadgets, cars parking themselves and checking traffic in advance, devices that recognize real objects and can be useful for shopping, as tour guides, for navigation and even for visually impaired users. The biggest challenge for brands here will be to predict users’ wishes proactively and fast, without being creepy. Even in this category we will witness a platform battle and brands will have to deceide fast on what extend they want to rely on other parties.



Digital and visual merging

Virtual reality (VR) products were again one of the most popular products at the show. Most of the products in the future will be upgraded with VR/Augmented reality (AR) technology and even though it’s being implemented already it’s developing and improving further. Especially interesting are AR enabled devices, that can optimize the way we shop today. For example consumers will be able to pick out a product online, place it into the room virtually, walk around and view it from any perspective. Additionally, we will be witnessing 360 video cameras everywhere (that will also be used for streaming, social media postings), 3D-scanners for objects/faces/bodies that can be used for different purposes. Interfaces will become more seamless and intuitive for use and largely available in the near future.


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