Get Your Tech On: Millward Brown Digital’s CES 2014 Highlights

CES 2014 Stock Photo

Image from: Consumer Electronics 2014 / Shutterstock

In the digital world, we’ve learned to start off the new year with a bang — more specifically, with the annual Consumer Electronics Show! The tradeshow has been revealing the latest in all things tech for 40 years, and its Vegas location doesn’t quiet down the excitement.

This year, I sat down with our Millward Brown Digital attendees to get a closer look at what’s new in the field, and what these innovations mean for digital marketing.

Check out this short interview with two members of our Technology and Entertainment vertical, Mike Fisher and Aniya Zaozerskaya. For your convenience, there’s an edited transcript below the video as well as some of my own thoughts.

Adapted Transcript, Millward Brown Digital’s CES 2014 Highlights

AZ: My name is Aniya Zaozerskaya, and I’m a manager in the Technology and Entertainment vertical for Millward Brown Digital.

MF: And I’m Mike Fisher — I’m a director at Millward Brown Digital, again, in the Technology and Entertainment Industry.

JG: Well, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your CES 2014 experience! First question: what did you find most interesting?

MF: I was quite surprised how big gaming was at CES; there was half of an entire exhibit hall filled with gaming, peripherals, equipment… I saw some very neat new PC games, like the Steam Machine – that was really interesting. The big hit of the show was Project Christine by Razer, a modular PC system. That concept could really take off well.

AZ: Wearables (wearable technology) were a big thing… I can’t say it was particularly interesting, but it was definitely a larger theme [at CES]. Honestly, though, I have a FitBit… but there was nothing that would make me say “oh, I need to switch to THAT [device].”

JG: So, your answer is a sort of segue into this next question – what do you think are going to be 2014’s hottest trends?

MF: One surprise I did find out — again this goes back to the gaming industry and peripherals — that they don’t take advantage of digital marketing like other industries. For example, if you Google search “gaming headsets,” you don’t see many of the manufacturers until the 10th or 11th place. It seems as though there’s a potential for a lot of activity and growth there.

AZ: The other thing is that wearables, if I go back to it, are going to evolve. That’s because right now they’re kind of clunky, the design isn’t that great, etc., but I think there’s definitely something there. I think they’re going to become a lot more sophisticated. You see glimmers of that happening, with Intel coming up with earbuds that read things like your heart rate, for example. I think there’s a lot of future in the medical field for it, so monitoring things like sugar, heart rate, or what have you, that’s going to be a part of wearables. Same thing in location services; not only is it going to know how many steps you walked, but it will know where you walked those steps too, and all the data will become integrated. Google Glass is an example of a wearable that’s almost going to become part of your body. And is it really going to be adopted in 2014? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s going to become a trend that I think we’ll see more and more of.

JG: That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing.

I’m particularly drawn to CES because I’m a sucker for pretty consoles and big, uber-HD TVs. But the interview brings something to light — the digital world doesn’t always use digital marketing. Perhaps it’s the tech world’s next step in, well, true digitization.

What I found particularly interesting was the wearable trend. Digital news of late has been abuzz with keywords like “the Quantified Self,” which is personal improvement through wearable self-tracking. This rising trend is further explored by groups like Forbes and Adobe, but only time and consumer behavior will tell whether 2014 is the year that wearables take off. This then segues into the “Internet of Things,” or, appliances connected via internet, relaying your information to your other devices. How about your fridge providing shopping suggestions based on what your fitness tracker’s been whispering to it?  Or your house mentioning what lightbulbs are at risk of dying, what your monthly electricity usage is like, or when a toilet is clogged? Humorist Dave Barry had a few things to say about this in the year 2000.

(And for the data-lovers out there: according to Compete PRO data, the search keyword “wearables” yielded interesting results and referred readers to Wearable Technologies‘ website. These results are from November 2013-January 2014.)

I, for one, will not be attaching a collection of expensive (but admittedly ingenious) devices to my person anytime soon, no matter how much I secretly want to. Why? Consider the mobile application market behind such devices — the trackers need to send their data somewhere, so each device will likely come with its own mobile app. The more devices you own, the more apps you have to download as well. Maybe when there’s one app that makes my tracked data more efficient, I’ll be on-board faster than you can say “smartwatch!”

What do you think about 2014′s tech trends, even beyond gaming and wearables? Let us know in the comments below, or via Twitter!

About Johanna Gunawan:
A Political Science/International Affairs sophomore at Northeastern University, Johanna joins Compete as the spring '14 Digital Marketing Co-op. Apart from her interest in digital infrastructure and her majors; Johanna enjoys ridiculous amounts of coffee, haggling for cheap flights, and constantly editing her website. Find her on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.