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THE new smart consumer digital devices for 2015?

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 27 Feb, 2014
Essential Essential topic

5 new digital platforms that consumers will be adopting and what opportunities  they give to marketers

Yep, you read that title right! A year in the tech world goes by fast, a lot of developments happen in 12 months. This means that now, as we're well into 2014, we need to be looking further ahead.

It seems as if developers are coming out with new and improved Smart devices every day to exploit new levels of connectivity such as faster 4G and fibre Internet networks.

Forget smartphones, now, we now have smart watches, smart TVs, smart appliances and even smart cars.

So, what are the cutting-edge digital consumer devices to look out for this year, and what do they mean for marketers trying to stay on the cutting edge next year?

1. Smart watches

Easily the most buzzed-about gadget of 2013, expect smart watches (and their leaner cousin, smart bands) to make leaps and bounds this year.


  • What they do: Smart watches like ones from Pebble, Samsung and Sony, sync to users’ cell phones to push data, read and send texts and emails, and make calls. Samsung’s smart watch debuted to less-than-stellar reviews last year, but the gadgets are already seeing improvements in 2014, with higher-quality technology and even an app store.
  • What it means for you: There hasn’t been a lot of buzz about how to advertise on a smart watch yet, but apps mean that ads probably aren’t far behind.

Marketers have grappled for years with the ever-smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. Smart watches present even more of a challenge. How do you promote your brand with such little space? To make the most of smart watches, advertisers will need to think of creative ways to utilize shrinking real estate.

This category will become even more significant if Apple releases the much touted iWatch. There's still no official announcement yet, but Tim Cook of Apple recently told the Wall Street Journal that...

"There will be new categories. We're not ready to talk about it, but we're working on some really great stuff."

2. Automotive apps

You can already connect your phone to your car to make calls and listen to music. But soon, you may be able to do a lot more with in-car app systems.


  • What they do: Several automotive firms, including GM, Honda, Audi, BMW and Hyundi, debuted plans for connected cars and in-car app systems at CES 2014 in early January.  Developers revealed weather and music apps, a mechanic app for car trouble, and, of course, GPS.
  • What it means for you: Car advertising is nothing new. There are billboards, radio ads, and vehicles covered with brand names and logos. But advertising in your car? That might be a little more problematic.

It’s not yet clear exactly what these in-car app systems will look like. They could mirror a display from your smartphone to your dashboard, or they could project onto your windshield. But either way, in-car advertising will likely spur safety concerns.  We’ll have to stay tuned to see what, if any, marketing opportunities arise from smarter cars.

3. Smart TVs

New TVs come along frequently, and become out-of-date just as fast. But the latest development, the smart TV, is likely to stick around.


  • What they do: Smart TVs can be used to watch traditional programming through your cable or satellite provider. They can also access hundreds of online channels with TV shows, movies, games, social networking and more.
  • What that means for you: Smart TVs are constantly improving, with more apps and better operating systems. That means more opportunities for marketers.

You might think that for marketing purposes, smart TVs are no different than regular TVs. But you have to take into account what people are doing with their smart TVs. They could be watching TV. But they could also be playing a game, listening to music, browsing the web or checking Facebook. Marketers need to tailor ads accordingly.

4. High-tech glasses

Google comes closer to getting inside our brains, or at least our eyeballs. With Google Glass officially confirmed for release in 2014  And for those who didn’t make the exclusive Google list, there’s no shortage of competition.


  • What they do: The smart sets of eyewear let users do pretty much anything they would on a phone or computer. Take a picture. Look up directions. Record video. Translate foreign languages. Send texts and make calls. And the best part? It’s hands-free.
  • What it means for you: So far, there hasn’t been much talk about advertising on Google Glass, and ads don’t currently appear on the device. In fact, Google has forbidden app developers from selling ads on the platform

But Google recently received a patent for pay-per-gaze advertising that would charge brands based on how long a user interacts with an ad. Expect that strategy, as well as predictive search ads, to show up on Google Glass before too long.

Glass also relates to the automotive category - this is understandbly scary to some as this GigaOm article Driving with Google Glass: Road hazard or a smooth ride suggests.

5. Smart appliances

2014 is the year of the smart appliance. From the kitchen to the laundry room, the market is full of home appliances that do so much more


  • What they do: What your normal appliances do – only smarter. There are refrigerators that can tell you what you need to buy. Washing machines and dryers that you can control via text. There’s even a smart slow-cooker that lets you adjust settings and check meal times on the go.
  • What it means for you:Can you imagine a refrigerator that advertises food for your grocery list? Or a washing machine that recommends certain brands of detergent?

That’s becoming more of a possibility as smart appliances hit the market, giving a whole new meaning to the idea of targeted advertising. But whether or not consumers would appreciate advertisements infiltrating their appliances? That’s another story.

Brands should keep an eye on these impressive gadgets, and integrate them into their advertising strategy in 2014 and 2015. And after that? There’s no telling what gadgets will be on the market by then.

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