This year, CES heightened senses and elevated minds. From the onslaught of 4K TVs, autonomous vehicles, connected devices, robots, drones, VR/AR, and wireless everything, a few key trends emerged that brands should be aware of and companies to keep an eye on.

The Power of (Alexa’s) Voice

With hundreds of new integrations released at CES (everything from Ford voice control to the LG Smart InstaView Refrigerator), Amazon’s Alexa is quickly emerging as the de-facto IoT platform. In just the last seven months, Amazon went from 1,000 to 7,000 Echo skills. Among these, unique opportunities will emerge for brands to engage audiences in new and exciting ways. A great example is Ear-Play, a top 5 Alexa skill that provides interactive storytelling opportunities. But Alexa is not alone – IBM Watson, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Samsung’s Viv are also strong contenders with momentum that present brands with an opportunity to scale interactive experiences like Ear-Play even further.

Seeing is Believing

VR and AR were bigger than ever at CES as the industry continues to evolve and grow. Developments in hardware, software, and content show promise. Only a matter of time before we’re livestreaming 4K content in VR with wireless headsets. For now, the most proliferation seems to be in gaming, but companies like Studio Transcendent are paving the way for premium storytelling in VR. Developments in AR from companies like ODG, with their next gen consumer smartglasses slated to launch in Q4 2017, underline the industry’s rapid expansion into the consumer market beyond the ‘light’ AR of Pokémon Go. Even without an HMD (head mounted display), there was magic all around: take Kino-mo’s LED-based hologram displays that wowed the crowd or Lifeprint, which lets you print videos and share them with friends and family all over the world. We have entered a new era of visual communication – an exciting time to be a brand with a story to tell.

The Brains of the Operation

This year at CES, more than ever, we saw an influx of ‘smart’ products. AI is the fabric of the future. The brains behind the brawn of autonomous vehicles, robot companions, and smart homes. With the rise of 5G, elevated connectivity will unleash the limitless potential of AI. Qualcomm’s 5G networks promise to deliver a 4K movie in 18 seconds and connect everything from smart cars to smart beds in the blink of an eye. Rapid increase in computing power and connectivity will pave the way for personalization in every aspect of your life, advances in education and enterprise, enhancement in entertainment, and so much more. Innovative brands will continue to leverage this technology internally to automate tedious processes, make better sense of data in order to drive business results, and connect with consumers on a more personal level than ever before. Partners like IV.AI can help make sense of this complex tech and provide guidance on custom solutions for your brand.

These mega-trends are quickly evolving – an exciting time to be a brand with a story to tell. VentureFuel helps connect brands with the technologies of tomorrow, to create meaningful results today. Reach out to us for more information on any of the trends or companies listed above.

Read Next: 5 Ad Startups That Lit Up the Strip at CES   

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