Managing Director George Nguyen on CES 2015 trends (and a 2016 prediction) - McKinney

Managing Director George Nguyen on CES 2015 trends (and a 2016 prediction)

January 28, 2015

This was my first CES, and I’m not sure what I was expecting. Were there to be new technologies that blew me away at each booth and in each presentation? Would I find a groundbreaking thing that I just couldn’t live without?

It turned out that instead of dramatic shifts, I saw dramatic improvements, like Samsung’s new SUHD televisions, easily a richer color than the 4K model.

And I found myself wondering how much better any of the devices or appliances can get.

Life without interruptions

As I wandered the CES floor, I saw few new devices that I couldn’t wait to play with; instead, I saw technology devoted to giving me back precious minutes of my life. Value will now be counted in minutes and seconds instead of hours or days saved.

For example, this year’s keynote by Samsung CEO BK Yoon focused on the “Internet of Things” and imagined a future where all of my devices would be seamlessly interconnected so that I could do something as simple as listening to a song without interruption as I went from my house to my car.

Instant expertise

Technology has for years marketed itself in terms of what you can do with it. “If you push this button, then this amazing thing will happen.”

But some of the newest advances highlighted at CES meant that I won’t notice or appreciate the technology I’m using. In fact, I might almost mistake these advances for my own skills. At a demonstration of Nikon’s latest cameras, I felt like I would be immediately taking photos that rivaled that of a skilled and experienced photographer.

Innovation is coming from everywhere

One of the things that truly stood out was the number of Chinese exhibitors. With large displays showing many high-quality products, brands like ZTE and Hisense looked ready to compete in 2015. Considering that Korean technologies burst on the scene just a few short years ago, how will the influx of Chinese manufacturers change the consumer electronics landscape?

Ultimately, it’s up to consumers, some of whom may not be ready to live such connected lives using new gadgets with unfamiliar brand names. Which makes me wonder, will next year’s innovations at CES continue to be about pushing the boundaries of what technology can do, or will the innovations be focused on ways to bring that technology to consumers? Regardless, brands have an incredible opportunity to define the role that they play in people’s lives versus just pushing the purpose of their products.

Note: Parts of this article appear on Warc.com in “Mobile and media trends from CES 2015.”