This week, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has certainly shown that if a tech product isn't linked up to a consumer's lifestyle, it's just not fully embracing 'technology'. It's fair to say that everyone wants a piece of the tech pie. And the pie is not just for the tech giants. We are set to see more and more brands outside the tech sphere develop their own consumer electronics as an effective way to keep consumers close by transforming what their products would traditionally do.
CES has highlighted that it's wearable tech that's stealing the show. From start-ups on Kickstarter to Intel, wearable tech is having its day. And there are estimates that more than 330,000 smart watches were shipped in 2013 led by Sony and Motorola. From the big guns, Intel, their smart earbuds monitor your heart rate and match songs to your heart rate in the moment. So as your heart rate changes, so does your play list. Sony has introduced the "tiniest gadget Sony has ever made" - the life-tracking Sony Core. A considerable chunk of the wearable gizmos currently floating around on the market are centred solely on tracking user activity in a bid to make them more health-conscious and pander to the "quantifiable self".
Brands making the jump into the tech atmosphere are realising the benefits of receiving swathes of consumer data through these devices. Tesco and Argos' foray into tablets last year is testament to the impact of becoming a digitally-driven business. Consumers expect their interaction with a brand to demonstrate understanding of their needs and adapt to them so the data stream fed through these products are empowering brands to treat consumers as human beings who exhibit definite individual attributes and behaviours. It's not enough that brands - tech or other - are creating a desirable product; the product must engage and evolve with the consumer's digitally-driven lifestyle, tailored through the data garnered. Nissan Europe recently unveiled its own new smart watch for Nissan Nismo drivers. Unlike most other smartwatches that just sync to a person's mobile phone, the planned Nismo Watch will also connect to a sports car to provide data on its performance in real-time. Through the Nismo Watch, users will be able to check their average speed and fuel efficiency. It will also keep a log of all this data to compare with current info or share with friends online. If the app detects that the car is due for some maintenance, the watch will display a warning message.
Consumer electronics are proof of providing a more seamless relationship with customers to deliver information, value and experience. Brands need to pay heed, otherwise they will be left behind in the digital age. But going beyond this, the route towards consumer electronics has been powered by the desire to inculcate digital change at the core of the business. These brands have revamped their business models to incubate teams in delivering some change while the business continues. In doing so, they are harnessing inescapable brand loyalty and opening new revenue streams that suit the lifestyles of the digital consumer who is always 'on'.