CES 2015: Wrap-Up Day 3

Sensors Embedded in “Things”: Benefits Far Beyond Current Wearable Activity Trackers One of the most promising products in terms of practical functionality at this year’s CES was sensor-embedded equipment, especially for sports.  To illustrate, Sony was showcasing a Smart Tennis Sensor and app, which can be embedded within your tennis racket.  The sensor and app enable you to view data from your play sessions in unique new ways.  Data includes: ball impact, spot, ball spin, ball speed and swing speed—all displayed in real-time on your phone.  It also collects video on your play, which you can later view to analyze your swing: pic_1 Currently, the Sony tennis sensor integrates with four racket brands, and can be removed to embed racket-to-racket.  At Sony, such sensors currently only exist for tennis; but you can imagine the future of this technology—integration into any activity that requires equipment (baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, etc.).  You can even imagine the “smart gym,” where all weights and equipment are sensor-embedded and app-connected to really track and analyze performance—much better than any wearable currently on the market.  People can then use this technology to improve their sports performance, and it would be especially valuable to young kids picking up new sports. Sensors embedded within things seem much more functional (and quite less distracting, as you wouldn’t even notice them) than many current wearables that track activity, especially glasses and headphones. Glasses Wearables Evolving, but Still Bulky & Distracting During Activities At this year’s CES, there were a number of brands showcasing glasses wearables.  These brands were demonstrating how they’d be used during activities like running, biking and even playing golf.  For instance, Sony’s new golf glasses prototype shows (on the top, right side of the glasses screen) data like distance to the hole and wind speed to aid in golf performance.  Although cool in concept, in real-life, many consumers probably won’t connect with these products: pic_2 The problem is innate: data on your glasses lens is distracting, especially during activities—like golf—that require you to focus on just the ball.  Even activities that are prone to less distractions, like running, seem to be difficult with glasses like these.  Runners or bikers need to focus completely on the trail and other users, rather than data up-and-to-the-right of their eye views. Comfort is also key to sport performance, and glasses like these are still big, uncomfortable and unwieldy.  At least in the short-term, people will probably stick to their activity bands/watches rather than glasses. The Potential for Collecting Consumer Data from the “Internet of Things” The “Internet of Things” was a major theme at Tech East at CES this year.  One aspect that is particularly promising about every “thing” being Internet-connected is the potential for brands and advertisers to collect consumer data—in real-time—on how people are interacting with those “things.” To illustrate, Intel was showcasing Internet-connected coffee machines.  The most obvious benefits of an Internet-connected coffee machine is that it knows when it’s low on coffee grounds, milk or cups so that they can be replaced.  It also knows when the milk is old, enabling it to make the exact same tasting cup of coffee every time it’s used. pic_3 But an Internet-connected coffee machine (or beer tap, or vending machine, or anything) can also track data like real-time consumer preferences (e.g. which selections are most popular per certain times of day).  As users log-in to these machines to reload their preferences, brands can also start to learn the tastes of individuals, which can inform things like ad- or offer-targeting.  At Performics, we live on real-time consumer data, which powers optimization for our clients across digital advertising. This is only the tip of the iceberg, but the consumer data trove from the Internet of Things could prove quite valuable in creating, tailoring and optimizing ads in the near future.

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