Arlington, VA – 11/12/2015 – The Five Technology Trends to Watch, the Spirit of Innovation and dynamic keynotes from Adobe’s Mark Randall and Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue stood among top sessions during the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA)TM , formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, Innovate! Wrapping Tuesday in New York City, Innovate! connects the entire technology industry around the theme of fostering innovation in companies of all sizes.
Innovate! conference programming kicked off Monday with Millennials – You’re Trying too Hard. Lindsey Roeschke, lead consumer strategist, CEB Iconoculture, put the extraordinary diversity of “the Millennial,” defined as ages 19-38, into context. Roeschke uncovered the common ties that bind this generation together, including core values such as happiness, adventure and ambition and cultural commonalities such as the redefinition of success and the shift from mass media to “always on” individual streams. She offered two strategies for connecting with Millennials: purpose built specificity and relatable specificity. “Don’t try to market to the Millennial. It’s a losing game,” said Roeschke. “Acknowledge and accept that diversity in this generation is real and not going anywhere.”
The always popular Five Technology Trends to Watch panel discussion unveiled five topics selected by CTA analysts as emerging areas that will significantly impact the market: contextual awareness, the new face of retail, smart homes, how tech is transforming Hollywood and smart cities. The discussion featured speakers including Alec Ellison of Jefferies, a global investment banking firm, TransLink Capital’s Eric Hsia, Digital Trends’ Jeremy Kaplan and technology journalist Andrea Smith. The group discussed adoption issues, challenges and opportunities as well as privacy and security issues. Ellison said, “There is a generational shift. Millennials are much more comfortable sharing personal information.” He added, “In five to 10 years, technology will allow us to project commands onto a device,” calling it ‘machine aided telepathy.’ Panelists agreed that contextual awareness is the technology most poised to impact the market first. They predicted drones and virtual reality are two technologies that will be at the forefront next year.
Monday’s Innovate! keynote luncheon featured Mark Randall, chief strategist and VP of creativity, Adobe Systems, who discussed the importance of finding innovators within the workplace. Building on his background as a serial entrepreneur, Randall spoke about the development of Adobe Kickbox, a program designed to give employees simultaneously the chance to develop, fund, and test their ideas, while maintaining costs and expanding the number of proposed ideas. Users are encouraged to develop their ideas from inception to early phase testing through Kickbox, which provides a $1000 prepaid credit card and a step-by-step, six level, actionable development process. Randall finds that if people already know their ideas are funded, they take ownership and become the CEO’s of their ideas. He noted, “The hot new innovators are already in your company. Kickbox is a program to build innovation out of your people.”
Tuesday’s Looking for a Miracle on 42nd Street featured CTA’s Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and sr. director of research, and Steve Koenig, sr. director of market research as they presented their annual holiday shopping season outlook. Sharing results from CTA’s 22nd Annual Holiday CE Purchase Patterns Study, the duo projected tech spending this holiday season will grow 2.3 percent to reach $34.2 billion in 2015, with an emphasis on growth in online and mobile sales. Additionally, emerging tech such as wearable activity trackers, 4K Ultra HDTV, action cameras, smart watches and drones are expected to show up in the holiday gift mix this year. The two also discussed the evolving nature of the traditional Black Friday retail shopping week. “Being closed on Thursday is the new being open on Thursday,” said DuBravac, noting over 40 retailers who will be closed Thanksgiving Day this year.
In Keeping the Spirit of Innovation Alive in Your Company, moderated by CTA’s President and CEO Gary Shapiro, leaders from three of today’s biggest brands – Ford, Monster and AT&T – discussed strategies for inspiring creative thinking in big companies. “Creativity starts at the top,” said James Buczkowski, Henry Ford technical fellow and director, electrical and electronics, Ford Motor Company. “The challenge is getting the culture of the whole organization comfortable with embracing innovation.” Ruth Yomtoubian, director of mobility and marketing at the AT&T Foundry, added that the details of an idea are as important its uniqueness. “It’s not just about the idea. It’s about the execution. It’s about the nuances,” she said. Monster’s Head Monster Noel Lee added that you need to be open to new ideas both inside and outside your organization in order to stay relevant. “Innovation is coming from everywhere. We’re in an era where innovation is recognized through sources like crowdfunding,” Lee said.
Closing Innovate!, the Consumer Technology Association recognized the winners of its fourth annual Innovation Entrepreneur Awards, sponsored by It Is Innovation (i3) magazine and CTA’s Small Business Council. The honorees included Hong Lip Yow, an entrepreneur whose motto for life and business is ‘live with impact’; AcousticSheep, creators of a new ‘sleep category’ of headphones founded by a physician; Whistle Sports Network, a mobile-first network that embraces the idea that sports are everywhere; and Paper Battery Company, developers of a super capacitor-based energy storage and battery enhancement technology. Following the award luncheon, Yahoo Tech Founding Editor-in-Chief David Pogue delivered a humorous keynote speech, Disruptive Tech: The Unrecognizable New World of Tech and Culture, discussing the impact technology has on society, culture and the latest tech trends. Pogue touched on disruptive technologies including the cloud, Internet of Things, Web 2.0, sharing economy, wearable tech, self-driving cars and robotics.
Check out highlights from Innovate! in this video.
Following Innovate!, CTA hosted the 11th annual CES Unveiled New York on Tuesday, November 10. The annual pre-CES event provides a sneak peek at the year’s most innovative products and technologies two months before CES 2016. The event featured more than 30 exhibitors, including 12 startups, as well as a CES press conference, which highlighted CTA’s much-anticipated Holiday Sales and End-of-Year Analysis, CES 2016 Best of Innovation Awards Honorees and breaking CES news. Check out highlights in this video.
For more information on Innovate! or CTA news and events, visitCTA.tech. For the latest news and announcements surrounding CES 2016, visit CESweb.org.