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An Ad Tech Perspective on CES

Every January CES brings together the most innovative minds in consumer tech to showcase the products that will impact the way we work, live and play in the future. New ideas are everywhere, but one that is increasingly important is the role and responsibilities of ad tech companies in ‘the Internet of Things.’

Ad Tech at CES
Ad tech companies are attending CES in greater numbers every year, because their clients now are. Brands, publishers, media agencies, creative agencies and tech platforms are all attending, in force. In fact, in response to the increased presence of ad tech companies and their clients, a relatively new track called C Space has been introduced, designed to curate content focused on brands, agencies, publishers and creative communicators. It’s still in its infancy and taking a booth is not the ROI driver — it’s the strategic discussions between brands and technologists that are happening at this venue. Overall, CES provides a way for brands to continue to strengthen relationships with their customers and stay relevant; understanding what’s coming next is key.

The Future: Sensors and Data Abound
CES introduces the future of not just interesting gadgets and technology, but also the way we’ll live. Among the gadgets and gizmos presented this year, there seemed to be one constant: sensors. Sensors were seen in practically every place you could think of — from pacifiers with Bluetooth that let you identify where your child is, to self-driving cars with new internal configurations optimized for conversation and comfort rather than driving. There were even smart mirrors that diagnose your skin condition to tell you whether you’re dehydrated, and if so, what moisturizer you may need.

The ubiquity of sensors points to the fact that this is the year where it’s clear that in the future, everything will be measurable. This sets up some interesting opportunities not just for marketers but also for society as a whole.

The Importance of Relevance
For marketers, the ubiquity of sensors means that the challenge of figuring out what data is relevant and how it is relevant will become of even greater importance. The art of machine learning and big data will become even more critical as we sift through this next wave of data inputs, coming from our cars, bracelets and more. Brands that maintain the most powerful relationships with their consumers will understand what their audiences are doing and what’s important to them, and deliver value through ever more tailored and relevant experiences.

Consistent Measurement
The ubiquity of sensors also means that in order for technology to support and deliver on the types of relevant experiences that are actually valuable for consumers, we’ll need consistent ways of measuring consumer behavior across all of these platforms. The parties that can provide a holistic view of the consumer — and, most importantly, help marketers take action on that — will be the ones who are able to truly help them build the future of their brands. This will be a significant undertaking because a consistent approach to measurement, and the technological infrastructure necessary to make sense of that data and make it actionable, will be possible by only the most skilled tech players and true big data companies. For this, we must look to the ad tech industry.

Benefits and Risks
All of this obviously comes with some very important questions for our society as a whole that were being actively debated by the marketers in attendance. These technical advances offer incredible benefits to almost every aspect of our lives, but only if we execute on them in a secure and safe way that provides transparency for consumers to control their data and promotes and encourages good behavior among technology players. It’s a step beyond the debates over online cookies that we are still having and is an issue that is going to require business, government and citizens converging to debate the benefits and risks of what is coming. Bringing ad tech companies to the discussion table is a great first step to ensuring the best future for a more connected world.

Posted by Konrad Feldman, Co-Founder and CEO