The Future is Video… But Not in the Way You Think
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) always presents a plethora of insights into the future for retailers, brands, and consumers. The last several years have focused on bringing 5G closer to reality and identifying possible applications for utilizing faster connection speeds between devices. At the 2020 show in January, that trend continued. This year, however, something felt different. The connected home felt more attainable, more seamless, and more integrated than ever before, thanks largely in part to improved smart camera technology.
Everywhere you looked at CES, major tech companies like Bosch, Samsung, Google, and Apple were showcasing devices that will simplify the at-home and retail experience. Some examples are Phyn (a smart home water monitoring device), ScanWatch (a health monitoring watch that can measure WAY more than a heartbeat), The Sero (a TV that can rotate for seamless vertical video), Aptiv’s self-driving technology in BMW, and Bosch’s Smart Fridge powered by Chefling. All these devices are unique and can generate valuable information that consumers can use to inform their lives. But equally interesting is that most of them utilize smart camera technology to identify and obtain key information about consumers as a core part of their operating function.
When we’ve repeated the mantra “the future is video” over the past few years, we assumed that this was a reference to video content, and this certainly has come to fruition. The heyday of video content is certainly upon us, in the form of user-generated content shared around the world, and via a golden age of television and movie content accessible virtually anywhere. But as technology has improved, the cameras that are recording us have also advanced, and are now able to pick up on more and more of our habits and behaviors, generating increased uses for camera technology. The proliferation of cameras integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) means we’re going to be on camera almost literally all the time. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that this is a choice we as consumers will make on purpose.
Why? Well, we’ll make that choice because cameras will be integrated, speaking to one another to provide a full 360-degree view of how we spend our time and how they can improve their lives. A good example of this, and one of the most exciting growth areas of the Internet of Things (IoT), is in the kitchen. Bosch’s Smart Fridge system utilizes a camera to identify the food you put into it. The Smart Fridge then creates a recipe list based on the products available and cross-references with the goals you have plugged into your Peloton/NordicTrack/Bowflex or simply into the refrigerator’s interactive screen directly. Your refrigerator will then place the products you are missing on your Amazon shopping list so that you can make that meal again (if you enjoyed it). This is an end-to-end consumer experience that’s created and maintained via smart video recording and artificial intelligence.
This is not to say that more branded video content won’t continue to be a key necessity for marketing – it will. With TVs turning vertical, the smartphone experience can be brought to life in the living room. Every TV will eventually have the same functions as smartphones, which means more sharable video, higher definition content (including social video), and more targetable television ads.
Of course, with this advancement comes the downside of always being recorded. These evolutions will make massive amounts of private data available to marketers, which is great for targeting, but also means that data privacy is even more elusive, and breaches can become even more disastrous. As we live our lives on camera, we will need to make the fundamental shift away from passwords and usernames as our primary means of access and security. Instead, we will need to create a more secure data environment that relies on personalized keys to unlock our data. Those keys are likely to be fingerprints, facial recognition, or something similarly more unique and intimate to each individual and thus much harder to fake.
As we look forward to a more seamless environment, and one where we as marketers will be better able to achieve one-to-one marketing, advertisers and marketing professionals are going to have to become more versed in how data in the home is harvested, the evolving role video will play in this, and how to best utilize it without breaching privacy issues.