After a week of infinite gadgets on display across two million square feet of exhibit space, CES came to a close on Friday. Unsurprisingly, mobile was everywhere. Beyond the obvious new smartphones and tablets unveiled, the power of mobility and the possibilities it represents underpinned many of the products—software, hardware, services—announced at the show.
Below we highlight five mobile innovations from this year’s CES conference and what they could mean for business.
1. Connected Cars: Reach a Captive Audience
CES 2015 devoted 20 percent more floor space to automotive tech than the previous year, suggesting the vehicle’s potential as one of the fastest growing mobile electronics platforms right now. In fact, in-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of U.S. car buyers. Ford is even starting to consider itself a mobility company. In addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which allow drivers to use their phones from their car’s LCD, innovations on display at CES like self-parking, anti-collision capabilities and high resolution screens demonstrate how companies across verticals are betting big bucks on the connected car.
Wider adoption of online vehicles means companies have access to wholly new ways of engaging with on-the-go customers. OnStar’s AtYourService, for example, works with businesses to let drivers purchase goods, search for coupons and book a hotel from inside their cars based on current location – all while their hands are on the wheel. Once the driver has identified a product, coupon or hotel, the platform seamlessly delivers directions to the relevant destination. AtYourService is the first of a new generation of initiatives that’s transforming the driving experience and enabling companies to reach a captive audience with services that take their specific needs and use cases into account. If your company’s thinking about mobile as a purely smartphone play, time to think again.
2. Wearable Technology: Simplify Everyday Tasks
Wearables saw a huge jump in 2014 with Android Wear, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Apple Watch, and the momentum has no doubt continued into the new year. Product announcements were plentiful at CES: Lenovo launched Vibe Band, LG and Audi teased a webOS-based car-unlocking smartwatch and Alcatel unveiled the cross-platform Watch, among many others.
2015 will see lots more advancements and, by extension, opportunities for companies to start thinking about how they can benefit from wearables, a market projected to be worth nearly $13 billion by 2018. As the space continues to innovate, wearables could become much more than a superfluous second screen for your smartphone—they have the potential to force us all to rethink how we go about little, everyday activities. In business, wearables will be especially relevant for industries like manufacturing, transportation and healthcare in which employees must use both hands to do their jobs (for more on this, check out our blog post on whether wearables are enterprise-ready).
3. Mobile Payment Tools: Increase Sales and Loyalty
A few months back, we hypothesized that Apple Pay could end up being a bigger disruptor than the Apple Watch. While that remains to be seen, mobile innovation in the payment space continues at a steady pace. At CES, LoopPay demoed its metal coil technology that can be built into keychain fobs and phone cases to store payment information and communicate with the majority of existing credit card readers. Similarly, and with security in mind, Hypr-3’s thin Bluetooth-powered gadget attaches to smartphones and offers strong three-factor payment authentication. The Wocket smart wallet lets users replace all credit cards with a single, all-purpose smart card.
Mobile is in a good position to solve some of the problems that currently plague our payment systems—especially surrounding security and convenience. Whether adoption is driven by Apple Pay or a newcomer to the space, the transformation of transactions will bring convenience to consumers, translating into increased sales and loyalty for retailers who are smart enough to take advantage.
4. TV Subscription Services: Engage Across Platforms
At CES 2015, TV and video was less about the hardware and more about the content you can watch on it. Other hot topics included how much that content should cost, how it will be delivered and what it means for traditional cable. Dish, for example, unveiled Sling TV, a $20 monthly subscription to cable networks including ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV and Food Network. A true Internet TV service, Sling will be accessible anywhere, across various platforms and devices.
As Sling-like apps and the trend of cord-cutting go mainstream, consumers will watch more TV and video from mobile devices than ever before. Consumer expectations for cross-platform services and content will continue to heighten, and companies will need to step up the content delivery game in order to meet them.
5. Smart Home Gadgets and Apps: Keep Up with Demand
From security cameras with facial recognition to a new hub for Samsung’s SmartThings and the myriad of product integrations added to the new Works with Nest program, the smart home was a major CES theme. In fact, this year was the first in which CES created a dedicated area, the Smart Home Marketplace, to accommodate the growing demand from consumers to create a more technology-driven living space.
Success of the smart home movement has been driven by mobile—often smartphone and tablet apps interacting with connected objects, whether it’s a washing machine, self-watering house plant or Wi-Fi enabled coffee machine. This means that as an increasing number of homes become “smart,” mobile innovators must stay on top of their game to keep up with market demand. For your company, that might mean building apps that talk to smart devices or incorporating technology into more of your physical products. Either way, connected devices are going mainstream in a major way—and it’s not a trend we can afford to ignore.
Mobile innovation was, as usual, part and parcel of CES this year, continuing to prove that mobile is not just about flashy smartphones anymore; the real innovation opportunity lies in the new services, capabilities and integrations that devices of all kinds can deliver, allowing companies to reach consumers in previously impossible ways, reinvent customer relationships and overhaul all kinds of activities in our workplaces and in our daily lives.