This past Monday, I attended CE Week, the largest consumer technology show in New York. Celebrating its 9th year in Manhattan, the weeklong event offered over 3,000 attendees a first look at the trends and cutting-edge technology for the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons. CE Week’s diverse audience consists of influential press, retailers, manufacturers, analysts, buyers and investors. Throughout the week, participants experienced a number of events, including conferences, panel discussions and hands-on demonstrations.
I was fortunate to attend two of CE Week’s most innovative conferences: “Your Next TV” and “Your Next Audio.” The conferences, produced in cooperation with media outlets TWiT (This Week in Tech) and AVS Forum, examined the state of the television technology and addressed advancements in the consumer-audio experience.
While CE Week is a big draw for PR pros working in technology, the event also offered interesting insights relevant to anyone in our field. Specifically, a quote by Tom Campbell, Corporate Director and Spokesman of Video & Audio Center, stood out for me:
“We have to offer the consumer something different beyond expectation.”
It was a key theme throughout the event, and during one of the most interesting presentations I attended, a session looking at the future of consumer tastes and preferences.
The key takeaway is that consumers are moving fast when it comes to adopting new technology, and it’s incumbent upon us to provide them with innovative products.
For example, in terms of television technology, consumers are looking for the following:
They are becoming mainstream and will account for 55 percent of U.S. sales in 2015.
4K (a higher resolution technology) is replacing HD TV. Forty-three percent of consumers want their next TV to be 4K.
58 percent of consumers want their next TV to be larger.
When it comes to audio technology, we’re seeing similarly strong consumer demand:
Wireless audio sales are up, thanks to smartphones. Fifty-four percent of smartphone owners rely on the device as a source for playing music.
A better home theater experience
Demand for home audio speakers and soundbars is up a massive 103 percent over last year.
More integrated home audio
Multi-room audio, a type of centralized sound system for the home, is growing fast as consumers purchase bigger and smarter TVs.
I also heard thought-provoking panel discussions led by technology influencers and executives. Guest speakers from organizations such as Sony Electronics, LG, Samsung, Dolby Laboratories and Auro Technologies spoke about the latest trends including 4K Ultra High-Definition television, High-Resolution Audio, and Immersive Sound. Producers and influential consumer-facing media from CNET and HDTVtest discussed the choices consumers face as they consider upgrading home audio video products. The idea that consumers are moving fast and that industry needs to stay ahead came up again and again.
This idea, of course, has relevance beyond the world of retail technology. What stands out for me is the opportunity—and responsibility—we as communicators have to help our organizations predict and understand the future, anticipating the trends, factors and forces that will shape our world and the publics we are trying to reach.