This week I attended the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a major technology-related trade show held each January in Las Vegas, Nevada. What I found at this year’s event was a breakout year for the development of the connected home.
From computers embedded into tables and walls, to location base car entertainment platforms that connect to your white goods, to wearable health computing devices the size of a wristwatch, the offerings at CES 2013 may show the way to the often-imagined connected home of the future.
Before digging into the current state of the connected home products, it’s important that we express the concept of connected home the same as content producers, providers, and equipment makers do.
The definition or the ideal is a internet enabled home that organizes, simplifies, and unites a consumer’s content, entertainment, and communications into an easy-to-use and elegant solution.
To achieve this concept, the connected home must bring together everything from computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, set-top boxes, to lighting, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, all accessible and controllable through a simple, intuitive and consistent interface. The consumer is in control of all the things that are important to them and there are many company’s attempting to achieve this outcome.
To imagine this world lets try to paint a useful example of how the connected home could enter your life.
You could be driving home from work and your car notifies you that your home needs something. Maybe it is more eggs as you drive by your local grocery store. It’s a fun fantasy, right? Well, it’s actually already a reality and what I saw at CES were many company’s attempting to deliver a connected home consumer experience in various constructs.
For example major appliances makers like LG featured a full line of “smart” home appliances – ranging from refrigerators to ovens to washers and dryers. Now your fridge can provide recipe recommendations based on what’s inside and you can set your spin cycle with a few clicks on your mobile device from anywhere. It even let’s you check-in on your robotic vacuum via a live feed to an on-device camera.
What was clear based on a number of company meeting is to be successful it is so very important to get the customer experience (CX) strategy in order if a consumer focussed brand is going to be at the center of this very personal world.
While the new connected home products at CES were exciting to expereience it was clear to me that TVs, smartphones and tablets still remain the most advanced entry point for consumers to the connected home future.
Another example worth highlighting was the the stellar opportunity outlined from Technicolor. They highlighted their latest innovations to clients, partners and the press. It would seem hundreds of customers and prospects visited their large booth to discover the companies embedded technologies and in-home solutions which promosed to enhance consumers cnnected lifestyle.
Notably, the launch of Qeo, Technicolor’s new software framework for smarter home solutions was of particular interest. See video below.
From a consumer perspective, my feeling is the connected home idea is a place where all of your media is integrated around your identity that can be accessed in a very easy to use way on any connected device. The ideal connected home should be an entertainment experience enhanced by data and social context available over a very fast internet.
Connected home idea will only succeed by letting the user have a more relevant passive experience, while offering the opportunity for the user to dive deeper or interact with anything he or she comes across. This of course has many implications for future consumer behavior, but it also presents some very interesting considerations for advertising opportunities. Brands will now be able to uniquely target consumers based on deeper behavioral insights across multiple devices. And new mediums – like you refrigerator – will quickly pop up as potential billboards for brand messaging. Imagine the scenario where your fridge knows you need eggs and overlay the potential for your local supermarket to deliver a $2 off voucher or advertise product benefits from a local farmer. It’s advertising at a personalized level, delivered in real-time and guaranteed to be contextually relevant.
Not too bad a future I have to say.