CNET’s Brian Cooley On The Future Of Consumer Technology

CNET’s Brian Cooley On The Future Of Consumer Technology
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Speaking at a Vivid Ideas breakfast event yesterday morning, Brian Cooley, US Editor at Large for, made some predictions on the future of consumer technology and shared tips on what trends we should keep an eye on.

Cooley (pictured below) kicked off by defining the four characteristics of great technology in his opinion.

Brian Cooley

Great technology is:

  1. Transparent. There’s no intrinsic value in a physical phone; it’s what it enables you to do. And we’re always trying to make them slimmer and more transparent.
  2. Intuitive. It’s about more than understanding how to use the technology, but why to use it.
  3. Intimate. It knows the user better than they do. We’re starting to have a relationship with the consumer so that we can tell them things that they don’t know themselves. You know who your friends are on Facebook, but you don’t know what percentage your family spends in different rooms of your house. Technology can tell you this.
  4. Constant. Consumers want to have the experience where they want it – normally the screen.

Looking at what’s around the corner, Cooley predicts the future of interaction is:

  1. Anticipation. We’ve shared, liked and thumbs upped everything to death. We need to find something a little more elegant. Try to anticipate needs so that instead of having to go find something, it arrives on its own.
  2. Interface. We need something more ambient than swipe and search. The future will be based on biometrics, face, voice recognition and computer vision.
  3. Electric cars. Not autonomous cars. There will be 10 million autonomous cars by 2020, but this is a relatively small number and will be mostly fleets.

Three trends to watch keenly are:

  1. Voice. This will be in everything. ComScore predicts that worldwide, 50 per cent of search will be via voice by 2020. That’s a faster transition than desktop to mobile.
  2. Health and medical. This is the biggest growth area of tech, but also has big hurdles to adoption. There is a shifting blending of devices in this area. Fitness bands have been cannibalised by the connected watch but health and medical technology will raise the bar.
  3. Mixed reality (VR/AR). The hardware in this area is coming along nicely.

Offering some advice to marketers, Cooley argued the three keys to voice marketing are:

  1. Watch for the big winner or two. Currently there’s five players in voice: Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung. Big platforms win by network effect, which gives them greater smarts for all. Only big companies will play in this game. We don’t yet know who will win, but it won’t be a small player.
  2. Know how each platform gate-keeps your brand. The future will be B2B marketing, not just consumer.
  3. Check your conceptions of brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is often a synonym for laziness that AI will upset. Algorithms will reward you for being fresh and innovative and recommending new products. You may need to subdivide or blow up your brand to get the algorithms at the big players prioritise you. When a consumer says, “I need toothpaste”, they want their need to be met but they also wanted to be delighted.

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