Evelina Lye
May 12, 2016

CES Asia 2016: Why should marketers care?

Technology shows like CES are useful to helping marketers understand the future of consumer habits. Now in its second year, CES Asia is now taking up roughly the size of four soccer fields.

CES Asia 2016: Why should marketers care?

Tune in tomorrow for Campaign's exclusive marketer-oriented video report on CES.

Audiences now have higher-than-ever expectations of a brand’s digital capabilities, and CES provides insight into emerging technology they expect to find in brand experiences in the future, according to Shannon Dix, director of client services at SapientNitro China.

The Internet of Things is one of the best business opportunities in the next five years, as brands scramble to put out their IoT products. From sensors, to digital lighting and phone-controlled coffee machines, almost everything you can think of has been injected with a silicon chip and hooked up to WiFi. With technology becoming cheaper and more accessible, we found POS machines that cost less than RMB400 (US$60) and a 360-degree camera sold at only RMB450 (US$75).  

But a real draw for any FMCG client will be JD.com’s 3 System Fridge. The fridge has sensors on every shelf which register the time and date food is placed inside. These are connected to a smart screen on the front of the fridge door which not only alerts you when an expiry date is coming close, but can order your next grocery list based on the contents of your fridge. The Joy Link platform connects your fridge with all your digital devices. So it can also push recipes to the fridge’s smart screen based on what’s sitting on the shelves inside. Plus, an internal camera can be accessed from an app on your smart device, so you can check your fridge’s contents away from the house.

Aside from the pure utility of being able to pre-order groceries before you run out, the screen on the outside of the fridge door offers a plethora of advertising, offers and content opportunities for marketers.

Fridges are an easy win. As Kevin Ho, Huawei’s president of its handset product line, said, “We need to analyse other daily scenarios in life to understand what kind of technology we need to make our lives better.” [Huawei is a SapientNitro client. -Ed.]

Something brands can utilise is a nifty little product made by NodOn. Its NIU smart buttons can easily be ordered online and customized to link directly to a digital action. Any action which is currently digitally triggered can be turned into a single press physical button. An NIU button could, when pressed, take a selfie, order eggs or even open an electronic pet flap from your desk at work. It’s completely personalized to your own needs. Brands could give them away free with product today so automating ordering replacement products or offering a complimentary service.


Next, airlines might be interested in CowaRobot’s Robotic Travel Buddy. This super high tech suitcase not only has a digital locking device, a portable power source for charging a mobile device and GPS tracking but it can follow you around the airport hands-free. A wearable device and sensors allows the case to track your movements and follow behind you as you walk to check-in. Airlines could use the technology to track your case, and think of creative offers for the mileage your suitcase travels.

AR, VR and MR devices can be found everywhere you look at CES Asia 2016, a sure sign that if your brand isn’t already creating content for them, it needs to start doing so ASAP.

The newest AR, VR and MR devices are much less cumbersome than the Oculus Rift and are fiercely targeting gamers. But once these have become as ubiquitous as PlayStations and other gaming devices, brands will quickly see non-gamers using them for shopping experiences, tutorials and entertainment.

Brands that currently run clunky customer service channels like IT support, or could benefit from live tutorials, will be excited to see BEAM’s video conferencing robot. It’s a high resolution video conferencing screen controlled by a desktop device that can be remotely moved around an office. It’s not a new piece of technology, but one that has been refined to become much more attractive for consumers and brands. A BEAM at home could mean Bosch could troubleshoot the washing machine live with the owner, or an Audi service technician could explain in real-time how to link your smartphone with a new car.

One of the biggest opportunities for Chinese and Indian brands, as well as international brands looking to gain traction in those markets is the LeEco platform. Originally a content player, similar to Netflix, LeTV moved into to devices such as TVs and 360 cameras. “They closed the loop of connected experiences from content to device to shopping,” says Joyce Ling, VP of Strategy, Razorfish China. “They are leading the way of creating interactive entertainment in China and brands need to be creating content to live in the LeEco ecosystem if they want to connect with consumers quickly and easily.”

We’d be remiss if a piece about CES didn’t mention drones. More ‘copters, endurance range flyers and drone-based sensors are currently soaring the eaves of SNIEC than you can shake a stick at. But what does this mean for marketers? Well they’re great for content creation but aside from being a basic delivery vehicle we’re struggling to see practical marketing applications for the drones being released today. In time they could be the future of BEAM’s robotic video conferencing, a customer service experience, but that’s for CES Asia 2017!

Evelina Lye is head of marketing at SapientNitro Asia Pacific.


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