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My 2023 CES Experience

My 2023 CES Experience
Tricia Allen

For me this was my first CES in my 26+year career. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was excited to network and learn about the latest and greatest technologies and how they could make my life easier as a consumer, but also make my job more interesting as a marketer.

Well, CES did not disappoint. I had the great privilege of representing my company and the Province of Ontario at the Ontario Pavilion booth in the Venetian Expo. In addition, I also had the chance to experience some of the other exhibits first hand.

Not surprisingly, AI was everywhere (phew given the product I represent is based on AI) but it was less about doing things for you and more about how to make your life and brand experiences more personalized. 

If you’re old enough to remember the Jetson’s you would appreciate that flying cars are coming to a road/sky near you. For just $798,000 you can pre-order your very own flying car and the co-founder of Aska, who helped develop the A5, says that ride sharing programs could be available by 2026. 

From autonomous cars and strollers to technology that can assess your blood pressure simply from a selfie or analyze your health from a sample of urine, the CES had something for everyone. I could go on and on about all the cool tech that was showcased but there are virtually hundreds of articles in your LinkedIn feed to catch you up on what you’ve missed. Instead, I’ve focused on my thoughts and takeaways from the four days.

Perhaps my favorite experience at the CES was the BMW I Vision Dee car that doubles as a buddy. Dee stands for digital emotional experience. I mean, based on what I do for a living (selling an emotional AI data product for advertisers), this was right up my alley. This concept car is described as a digital companion that interacts emotionally with you and accompanies you on a journey between physical and virtual reality. Think Kit car updated for 2023 with the ability to change colors based on your mood, and the ability to learn to anticipate your every need while you are driving. Yes, it’s just a concept car right now but the fact that BMW is using emotion to connect with the car driver and create a true relationship via Dee, only reinforces the importance emotion plays in everything we do. This is not a new idea however, technology has always had the ability to appeal to our emotions. In the early days of computing, it was the satisfaction of completing a task or solving a problem. As we've become more reliant on technology, it's now providing us with emotional experiences and connections that go beyond solving problems. We're now seeing technology that can provide empathy and support, as well as moments of joy and delight. And as our devices become more and more personalized, they're able to tap into our individual emotional needs in ways that were never possible before. We know that technology will continue to develop but how a human actually feels and what motivates them will never become obsolete. 

Which leads me to another key takeaway from CES. We have amazing technology and advancements beyond our imaginations, yet from a marketing perspective we are still looking at outdated methods of reaching consumers and measuring the effectiveness of our marketing using outdated big data approaches. Kind of ironic in my opinion. 
One comment I heard at the Media Ocean retreat at CES that resonated with me was that we’ve stopped measuring outward (humans) and started measuring inward (big data). In the attention economy we need to better understand how consumers are actually engaging with brands through their advertising and how much mental availability we are actually creating.The use of panels is something that we need to revisit. There is no doubt that there will be advances in measurement along with currency innovation but we must not just focus on what the technology does and remember to focus on the outcomes that technology can create. The key to this will be in our ability to find a way to unify new ways of measurement rather than having disparate data from across multiple measurement approaches.

AI gives us the ability to leverage the power of human behavior and truly drive engagement in media, which allows  creative and media strategy to work better together now, more than ever. The question I ask is why are we willing to embrace new technology and gadgets but not embrace new ways of measuring outcomes when it comes to media? We can go on and on about why we do things a certain way and how it’s because that ‘s what the client is used to but if we are always looking back how will we ever start looking forward?

We don’t have all of the answers now as an industry but I for one am excited for 2023 to unfold as we start to see the evolution of our industry and the evolution of how we target consumers and measure outcomes. The ability to drive attention and engagement and measure that as a currency is changing the way we look at media measurement and I for one can’t wait to go along for the ride/fly.

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