Marketers' CES wish lists

A camera that takes easy-to-edit spherical videos. An app-connected “smart shoe” with adjustable temperature. There has been no shortage of pie-in-the-sky consumer tech already announced at CES this week. But marketers — and their imaginations — want more. Much more.

We asked some brand and agency marketers for their dream products — tech and gadgets they would love to see come out of CES. Here’s what they said:

Connected paint
Smart homes are increasingly becoming reality, so it’s time to take it to the next level. How about some connected paint, that changes the color of a wall for different seasons or special occasions like the holidays or a kid’s birthday party?

“Making decor interchangeable and interactive is where I think the connected home becomes even more interesting,” said Mick Koster, vp and gm of Lowe’s Iris Home Systems.

Exoskeleton enhancements
Exoskeletons, or bionic enhancements, may still be the stuff of “Iron Man” fiction or hyper-advanced rehabilitation tools. But the market for them is growing rapidly, with the demand centering around robotics that assist in tasks like industrial heavy lifting, according to ABI Research.

“I would love to see how it could evolve to the general consumer,” said Curtis Rose, director of creative technology at Erwin Penland. “My days in the garage could be much easier with the help of having the strength of the hulk.

An all-in-one wireless battery
Imagine a new battery technology that works wirelessly, can charge from a distance and can be used to charge all your devices: from your laptop to your cellphone and even your smart watch. Life would be so much easier without half a dozen tangled wires.

“It’s not sexy, but breakthrough battery tech that works without us having to really deal with it feels critical,” said Kevin Skobac, svp of digital strategy and innovation at SS+K.

A smart digital screen
Remote controls are passé; modern digital screens will be truly smart when they are fully integrated and voice-controlled, said Ron Amram, senior media director at Heineken USA.

“We need a TV that is really smart — where cable and OTT becomes one, and you can talk your way to whatever you want to see,” he said.

A smart refrigerator
Samsung just unveiled the “Family Hub” refrigerator, which can send you a picture of what’s on its shelves and save you the effort of making a grocery list. But for Alexander Rea, head of creative technology at Framestore, there’s still room for more.

“How about one that lets me know that my eggs are about to expire?” he said. “Or that I have mushrooms and pasta and butter and I should consider making a quick pasta dish, then send the recipe to my phone?”

An app that cleans out your lungs
For Ben Winkler, chief digital and innovation officer at OMD, an app that cleans out his lungs at the end of CES is at the top of his wish list.

In all seriousness, he wishes that the “terrible, awful, no-good user interfaces” among CES products would give way to better ones, something he thinks would come across in interactive toys. “Toys are all about delightful experiences,” he said. “Having fun toys around could inspire everyone else to consider the human.”

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