Every year, thousands of tech innovators, journalists and futurists come together in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show—better known as CES—to predict which technologies may forever change our future. The current tribe of CES attendees, presenters and all-around devotees goes beyond geek culture to now include advertisers and agencies. With each trying to find ways to connect to what’s cutting edge, we decided to share a few tech trends that we believe may be significant for you and your brand.

Narrowcasting Through the Internet of Things

A major focus this year was the "Internet of Things," which basically includes everything physically connected in some way to the internet, such as Nest’s thermostat, Fitbit’s wearables and even some savvy refrigerators and washing machines. These connections, in places and spaces from our wrists to our walls, add a wealth of personalized data and insights that, with the right brand, could be woven into stories and messaging within these platforms in ways never before imagined.

Everyone should be familiar with the term broadcasting, where distribution of the same message via mass media can reach tens of thousands of people at once. With the rise of the Internet of Things and personalized platforms, brands can now narrowcast and effectively reach an audience of one. 

That audience of one, however, is exactly who you want to reach. And, that same audience has a networked opportunity to turn around and share messages with individual friends or, depending on his or her online connections, thousands. By narrowcasting, your message will reach the right audience, be more customizable, and get organic earned media and shares.

Zoning In On Technology

While the Internet of Things is driving anytime/everywhere engagement—whether it's on the mega TVs unveiled at CES down to your laptop, mobile device or wearable—those connections may not (and should not) always share the same message from brands.

According to a recent Digiday article, advertisers and the messages they develop should tie into themes: Mobile is our lover, laptops are our worker, and TV is our casual friend. The article, "The Evolutionary Psychology of Digital Clutter," states that "Edward T. Hall and psychologist Robert Sommer discovered three distance fields in which humans take in communications: an intimate space of up to 18 inches away, a personal space of 18 inches to 4 feet, and a social space of 4 to 12 feet. Their thought was these three distance fields are ingrained from our ancestors: Intimate space is a lover’s whisper, personal space is a working distance, and social space is stories from a campfire. These ancient, embedded ways to give and receive information fit perfectly with today’s mobile phones (intimate), laptops and tablets (personal/working), and television/movies (social space).

"The challenge for gadget designers and data miners is that what works in one human distance field doesn’t necessarily in another. We’ll give up more information about ourselves on mobile in our intimate space (here’s my location and birthday, Facebook!) but don’t want ad intrusions there (screw you, mobile ads!). We’ll take in more unsolicited information from a social 10-foot distance (here’s an ad from TV!) but don’t give distant devices our personal information."

Tying Trends To Tech

JWT, a globally recognized ad agency, recently published a retrospective of ten years of trend reporting, sharing insight into how brands, technology and trends combine to shape messages and meaning for advertisers and our culture. Here are highlights from the report:

1.Everything is Retail

2.Food as the New Eco-Issue

3.Mobile Device as Everything Hub

4.Going Private in Public

5.Buying the Experience


7.Predictive Personalization

8.Queen Trumps King

9.Retooling for an Aging World

10.Cooperative Consumption

As you can see, advertising and technology go hand in hand. Your impact depends on where and how your audience is receiving your message. We're keeping an eye on the tech trends that influence our industry. We think you should, too.