What Happened: If there’s one takeaway from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it’s that we are moving toward a connected world and economy, with everything “smart.” The movement starts in the home. Companies not normally associated with technology (Lowe’s) or even with home improvement (Sony) are venturing into the smart space. The developments in the Internet of Things are exciting and new for consumers today and, perhaps more important, are intrinsically linked. For example, Sony’s home of the future, called the Life Space UX, diplayed interactive screens everywhere – on kitchen counters or even on the ceiling above the bed – and lights that were more than just bulbs but acted as a sound system. iDevices revealed a connected product called Switch, one of the first tools in Apple’s smart-home platform, HomeKit. Samsung President and CEP, BK Yoon, presented grand ideas for the future of its products, noting that in a few years, every product you own will incorporate some form of technology.
What This Means for Brands: The connected trend has been building for a couple of years, and this year’s CES solidified its importance and ubiquity in the market. No longer just science fiction, smart technology is what users want from their devices. In order to stay relevant and give customers what they are looking for now, and in the near future, brands must continue to innovate and realize advancements of their products that incorporate the network. The Internet of Things often can be realized through partnerships that make sense for your brand. For example, last year at CES, SmartThings unveiled SmartThings Labs, integrating with Philips, Belkin and Sonos. One of the challenges ahead for brands is to make sure the feedback delivered by these connected products is beneficial and efficient enough for users to actually change their behavior and environment for the better. The hope is that consumers will build digital into their everyday activities and that all of their appliances, home theaters, wearables and more will be talking to one another, making us smarter, healthier, greener and more up-to-date in the process.