CES 2015: Personalization and Connectivity in the Year Ahead


A few key trends captured the spotlight at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, opening the door to new challenges and opportunities for companies operating in the ever-evolving technology sector.

From a product perspective, it’s exciting to see what’s ahead for consumers this year. Technology companies will hone in on what wearables consumers are willing to sport while balancing the continually moving line between access and invasiveness. They’ll work to make connected homes, washing machines, cars and cameras operate seamlessly regardless of signal strength. And they’ll endeavor to understand their audience more clearly, providing solutions that not only serve a purpose but also create a sense of magic by being incredibly in tune with individuals’ expectations.

One thing CES 2015 made clear: It’s all about personalization and connectivity.

  • One size doesn’t fit all. Smartwatches for fashionistas, for hikers, for cyclists, for runners, for teenagers, for the elderly, and for those on just about any budget. This is just one example from one product category, but it speaks volumes about what’s happening in the technology space: One product is no longer enough. People in every demographic, with budgets ranging from shoestring to limitless, now expect technology to cater to them. We’ve witnessed a shift from relying on technology to make our lives easier, to deeply scrutinizing technology for how well it suits individual needs. It’s a tall task to accommodate entire swaths of the population while still making things personal, but it’s the new expectation companies are facing.
  • Connectivity challenges. Now that the mainstream public is comfortable with storing important files in faraway server farms, relying on a mobile data connection to remotely lock and unlock doors, and communicating with colleagues halfway around the globe, companies in the space should expect incredible demands for making it all work together. Cloud synchronicity is no small chore, and when we’re connecting things like home monitoring cameras, locks and collars around the necks of our pets, there’s no room for error. While the temptation is there to simply embed Internet connectivity into each new gadget, companies will be held responsible for how reliable their wares work with a growing network of connected devices.
  • A focus on lifestyle. Technology has consistently attempted to please end users, but in the year ahead, we can expect products and services to be tailored and personalized like never before.  Living in a world where smartphone keyboards suggest words and phrases based on one’s own personal lexicon, it’s safe to assume that companies will face increased demands for customization. To wit, audience profiles will become critical components of product roadmaps and marketing agendas, and the margin for error will be close to zero.

As the demand for personalization and customization grows, consumers expect the companies they support to be bold and conversational and transparent – not only  explaining what the company or product can do for a customer, but how they’ll do it, why they’ll do it, and engaging in a conversation together to make continual improvements based on real-time feedback.

CES 2015 has shown that consumers are savvier than ever. Companies will need to develop great products and services as always, but success will also require engaging with individual users through great storytelling and conversation to speak to users’ personal expectations.

It’s an exciting challenge. Here’s to an engaging 2015.