One device dominated the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week: the connected TV.
There was oodles of media coverage about some very shiny TVs - thinner than ever, better 3D than you’ve ever had in your living room - and the battle between Apple and Google for control of this coming battleground.
This was the fourth year I have trekked out to Las Vegas to see the latest devices the consumer electronics industry wants us to buy and I’ve never seen such a focus on a single category.
Unfortunately much of the coverage missed the point. While the connected TVs on show were definitely covetable, what was truly impressive about them was the extent to which they were enabled to provide an entirely internet-powered entertainment experience.
Like every other device at the show they demonstrated the impact of being constantly surrounded by connected devices - in Las Vegas this extended to mocked up kitchen sets featuring web connected ovens & fridges.
Internet enabling was also taken further than ever before in the automotive sector.
Both Audi and Mercedes demonstrated experimental displays that allow drivers to pull up information such as GPS information, emails, or even entertainment videos - for the passenger-side only - on the windshield, as well as using hand gestures to pull up information via an augmented overlay that blends with actual scenery, such as restaurants, hotels, or other cars.
The implications for advertisers go well beyond sales of beautiful connected TVs on which to air their ads.
The key change for advertisers is not just how amazing these new launches are and how smart they will look in our cars and living rooms, but the massive increase in connected devices and our ability to discover more about their users.
Consumers have become happy to pick up or switch on whichever connected device works best or is most convenient, and in the future this will extend beyond mobile, tablet, TV and laptop to encompass in-car systems and fridges.
Each of these devices is an IP gateway that can be used for targeted messages and tells us something about consumers. In this connected ecology, brands will need to have a multi-device strategy.
They can’t do just mobile or just online, they will need to understand how their consumers flip between devices and platforms, what additional devices they use while watching video content on a connected TV and how many messages they have already seen.
A vast increase in connectivity - and the exhibitors in Las Vegas are telling us that this is the just the start - is generating huge swathes of data that with the right analytics allow you to deliver a brilliantly compelling, and personally relevant, advertising narrative.
The big news from CES is not that the latest generation of connected TVs look amazing and have fantastic gesture controls but that consumers will be offered and are already buying devices that will create a raft of new points of brand contact.
Not all this technology will be in our living rooms next year. There are hurdles to overcome, from affordability to privacy concerns.
Ultimately however, the multi-device future was on display in Las Vegas and brands will need to rethink what constitutes a media channel and therefore how they retain relevancy in this multi-connected market.
Rhys McLachlan, business development director, Videology
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com