Hosted each year in Las Vegas, Nev., the CES event once again descended on the desert playground Jan. 8-11 and highlighted technological advancements that will influence products for years to come.
And as tech becomes more ingrained within individuals’ lives, so too will brands as they continually seek opportunities for extension because they’ll have to stay current or die on the vine.
No industry vertical is immune either to the allure of hip, cool tech.
Here’s some highlights:
Beauty Ups its Game
CNN reports that “the global cosmetics market is expected to reach $863 billion by 2023, up $523 billion in 2017,” and, as it’s an industry guided by trends, tech is a natural avenue for beauty brands to explore.
P&G Ventures, the startup studio within Procter & Gamble, unveiled a literal magic wand at CES–the Opté Precision Skincare System, a tool that scans, detects and corrects skin imperfections and applies calculated product. P&G’s Olay brand debuted its own wand as well, the FaceNavi Smart Wand, which helps users to optimize their skincare routine.
Coty launched an augmented reality smart mirror for hair salons, and Neutrogena debuted MaskiD, which is an app that analyzes the user’s face via their smartphone’s 3D camera to create a custom mask treatment regimen and fit.
Retail is also getting the tech treatment, and it’s big business.
SK-II, P&G’s upmarket beauty brand, unveiled its response to innovative retail with the Future X Smart Store by SK-II. The retail experience is in market now, having first launched in Tokyo in May 2018, and with additional stores in Shanghai and Singapore. Powered by the latest technologies that include state-of-the-art facial recognition, computer vision and A.I., the Future X Smart Store by SK-II offers a unique skincare experience that is truly next level. Products throughout Smart Store have tech innovations as well, such as SK-II’s Magic Ring skin analysis experience, the Smart Beauty Bar and advanced product packaging.
Bigger Tech, Better Performance, More Gamers
Alienware unveiled a customizable gaming laptop, the Area-51m, that lets users upgrade their CPU, GPU, RAM and hard drive. According to Engadget, that kind of flexibility in a machine is rare and means it won’t become quickly obsolete. It’s also pretty.
Dr. Lisa Su, president and chief executive officer, Advanced Micro Devices, took to the CES keynote stage to make arguably one of the biggest announcements of the show–the Radeon VII processor, a 7-nanometer processor built for gaming. At a (more or less) affordable price point of $699, the processor effectively gives serious gamers a one-up on gaming performance. According to Su, the Radeon VII will boost game performance by 29 percent and up to 25 percent for esports titles.
With better gaming performance, it follows suit that games and the culture surrounding it will again level up. And you know what that means–more fans who want more merch. Goldman Sachs sees the audience for esports rising to 276 million users by 2022, with 79 percent of those under the age of 35 and a big chunk coming from Asia.
Personal Electronics x Brands
Personal electronics devices have long been an area of growth for brand extensions, and this year was no exception.
Bioworld revealed a host of proprietary products with licensed IP that tap into cutting edge tech that is accessible to fans, such as the all-new “Fallout” smartwatch. Based around the hit video game from Bethesda Softworks, the watch features a fitness tracker, fan-focused operating system, immersive experience, eight exclusive watch faces, custom watch band and is Bluetooth supported, among other cool features.
Bioworld also launched a Bluetooth smart tracker and smart wallet for its Foundmi range, which helps you find your stuff in seconds flat. The wallet will also alert its user to missing cards, has drop detection and more, all featuring officially licensed designs from IP like Star Wars, DC Comics and Marvel.
Food as Tech
Impossible Foods, maker of the vegan Impossible Burger–which really does taste like meat!–used CES to debut its next gen recipe.
The new burger contains no gluten, no animal hormones and no antibiotics. It’s kosher- and halal-certified, and it’s tasty. The burger was named one of the top tech innovations at the show by numerous outlets including Engadget, Mashable and Gizmodo.
This and other innovations of its ilk have great implications for the future of food extensions, and frankly, I find it refreshing that tech is evolving to be more than laptops and mobile devices.