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CES 2015: Welcome To The ‘Internet of Me’

When it comes to this year’s gala gadget event, DigitasLBi is focusing on the evolving definition of personalization and advertising.

DigitasLBI's Itai Asseo
DigitasLBI’s Itai Asseo

As upwards of 150,000 individuals descend on Las Vegas this week for the Consumer Electronics Show, the big trends at the outset remain the same as past years, says Itai Asseo, DigitasLBi’s VP/group director for Global Innovation. Particularly for those focused on online-to-offline retail, the ability to keep the lines of communication open to consumers is what advertisers are focused on.

The Publicis Groupe’s interactive shop, along with dozens of other media buyers and ad agencies, has vastly increased its presence at CES over the last several years. Agency clients want to better assess how the development of tech products will impact their businesses — even if that impact isn’t immediately actionable.

Furthermore, CES is not just about the latest video games or the most vivid 3D TV screen; more electronic products than ever have the ability to collect and transmit consumer data and advertisers naturally must respond.

“A huge focus last year was on Cisco, which coined the term the ‘Internet of Everything,’” says Asseo, who will be organizing tours of CES for DigitasLBi clients and media this week. “They had a very interesting booth presentation about big data and how it can track people within retail environments as well as [in] homes. It all comes down to connecting the dots between how consumers actually react within a retail environment and how marketers can reach out to consumers wherever they are. That theme is going to continue to dominate CES presentations this year, too.”

The “Internet of Me” Generation

The expansive concept of the “Internet of Everything” (IoE) is meant to envelop, rather than distance itself, from the more common reference to the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes all manner of broadband-connected devices — from wearables that track how many steps an individual takes during a day — to wifi-controlled home heating systems.

That said, there is a slight distinction; IoE is meant to signify the power of enterprise networks — i.e., the primary business of companies like Cisco — that make everyday objects like watches, alarm clocks, thermostats, and refrigerators digitally compatible in the first place.

Rather than debating the semantics of “things” versus “everything,” Asseo says that the “Internet of Me” (IoM) is about brands trying to strike the right balance between consumers’ seemingly contradictory demands for personalization and privacy. In a sense, the concept will underlie many of the new visionary products taking center stage at CES this year.

“A lot of different companies from Samsung to Apple to LG and all the big tech companies are focused on products strictly geared to individual, personal activities and needs,” Asseo says. “Whether it’s tracking fitness or providing home security, on to being able to control things in your kitchen from a distance, almost everything electronic is now being categorized as a ‘smart device’ to reflect what an individual wants at any given moment.”

Understanding Overtakes Targeting

Ultimately, with so many devices collecting so much information, products in the wearable category are where much of the attention on issues surrounding IoM is going to appear most clearly.

“It all relates to tracking and geo-location,” Asseo says. “Clients want to know how we’re going reach consumers using technology? How are we going to market to them?”

The easiest answer is to see advertising as providing a practical solution as opposed to just a clever tagline and an eye-catching image. Consider the way advertising reaches consumers as they’re driving.

In a sense, cars are the ultimate wearable — and more and more are being made with smart or connected features. Advertisers can more easily message and target users according to where they are and what they’re doing. Telling someone who is driving during prime lunch or dinner times about the quickest way from where they are to the nearest restaurant location might also be considered a service, assuming the targeted driver is interested. That kind of approach will be applied to all kinds of advertising as the understanding of people’s location patterns become more apparent and targetable.

“The main thing we’re all trying to do is make sense of all the data that’s out there, make it practical to an advertiser,” Asseo says. “One of the ways that we’re trying to tackle that is through our presentations that we’re doing at CES. We bring our clients in front of very specifically selected currents that are relevant to some of those. As we show how we’re going to leverage some of these new startups and products to get better data about consumers, better understand their behavior, we expect to come to a better sense of where things are headed as a result of what our clients express at these meetings.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.