One of the key trends set to dominate 2015 is connectivity, and the data potential of wearable tech and connected devices. The leading global experts at Havas Media share their predictions for the coming year.
What difference has increased connectivity made to advertising in 2014?
Rori DuBoff, global head of strategy, Havas Media Group: “Although wearable technology is still in its nascent stage, consumer awareness and purchases in the past year have more than doubled.
“We as advertisers are just beginning to understand how to use connected devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, smart clothing and connected cars to drive contextual brand engagement and sales growth.
“This past year, we have started to see some brands in health, sports, CPG, retail, entertainment, auto and the fashion industries launch wearables to achieve a variety of objectives, such as boost brand perception, drive event engagement, enhance product value and grow sales.
“Some campaigns that have garnered media attention include Disney Magic Band, Nivea Sun Band, Durex Fundawear, Mercedes Drive Style, Tory Burch FitBit, and Warby Parker Google Glass.
“Most of these campaigns are shared media partnerships, and we expect to see more of these types of collaboration in the future. The emergence of wearables, which are inherently personal and trackable, has also further propelled privacy and security to the top of the advertiser’s agenda.”
How have attitudes to the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) changed over the past 12 months?
Jose Gutierrez Cuellar, global client technology director: “Between now and 2020, the digital universe will double every two years, resulting in a predicted 26 billion connected devices around the world. This compares to the current 7.3 billion smartphones, tablets and PCs combined.
“This rapid growth will result in a staggering $1.9tr in economic benefit plus increased value, money and career opportunities – all of which will improve the acceptance towards this new era of openness and connectedness.
“User perception and attitudes are already quickly improving. We now see more users who are ‘happy’ to exchange data for personal and collective benefits.
“Despite this, however, there is a great need for more ‘user education’ – for both brands and people – to reassure issues surrounding data privacy.”
How important are connected devices for brands going into 2015?
Anne Cecile Michaud, global head of strategy (above): “The significance of connected devices for brand advertising in 2015 will vary according to the targeted demographic. We know now that some target groups are more reluctant than others to take-up connected devices, and there’s a growing number of millennials who are extremely aware of the potential risks of being too connected to brands.
“That said, we are in no doubt that connectivity is going to remain hugely important and the development and usage of wearable technologies will continue to grow.
“It requires a considerable amount of talent to ensure that innovation in wearable and connected technologies fits neatly into everyday lives, while at the same time serving people’s needs and returning the necessary profit.
“Not all brands will succeed but, by the time we enter 2016, we will begin to see which offers have the staying power to survive and prosper.
“We are entering a digital era whereby the interests of both consumers and brands are equal. The consumer is looking for enhanced services, life tracking and improved entertainment, while brands are getting privileged one-to-one access to people and real-time data.
“This will result in brands focusing even more on the consumer experience, with an increase in personalisation strategies designed with the consumer and data collection front of mind.”
Where do you think connectivity will develop the fastest across the globe over the next year or two?
Maria Garrido, global head of data and consumer insights: “Growth is prevalent in all industry sectors, notably consumer electronics and M2M (machine to machine) connectivity. Home appliances, heating and cooling units, and in-vehicle entertainment – areas where connectivity was minimal only seven years ago – will continue on a solid growth trajectory.
“The most exciting area of growth for the next two years and beyond is M2M connectivity. Machine-to-machine connections will yield significant benefits to infrastructure in areas such as of security (connected buildings), transport logistics, and medical automation.
“On a global scale, the number of personal connected devices per capita is expected to grow nearly everywhere, save South Korea, where an early adopter stance has now saturated the market.
“The largest areas for absolute growth are countries where penetration of personal device connectivity is low and population is high – notably India and China.”
Which global territories are leading the way in wearable tech?
Rori DuBoff, global head of strategy (above): “Sales of wearables are expected to gross almost $6bn in the next three years, according to PwC. This is a massive growth opportunity, and many markets and top technology players are charging forward.
“North America currently leads the way in terms of adoption of wearables, as investment and consumer interest has been strongest there.
“However, Western European countries like Germany and the UK and Scandinavian regions are catching up. Asia’s tech powerhouse South Korea is also leading the way, with key manufacturers like LG and Samsung. Also, Indian technology firm Tecsol Software has announced that it is developing an ad server specifically for wearable devices.”
Which regions need more education on IoT in 2015?
Jose Gutierrez Cuellar, global client technology director: “The realisation of the IoT is driven by sensing and communication technologies. So far, we can see that Africa has not kept pace with technology advancements and continues to lag in virtually all technology spheres.
“It is, however, not possible to be this black and white – we see some evidence that Africa may well move to the forefront for some technology advancements, specifically at key ‘hotspot’ locations on well-developed cities.
“As the world’s businesses rush to unfold IoT, we think it’s more interesting to pose the question: given Africa’s pronounced lag in the baseline technology needed to implement IoT, should the continent go for adoption or innovation?
“In Africa, I think there needs to be clear moves to help increase ‘compatibility’ to really measure realities of business opportunity versus infrastructure.”
What concerns you most about IoT?
Jose Gutierrez Cuellar, global client technology director: “Due to the low cost of adding IoT capability to consumer products, we expect that “ghost” devices with unused connectivity will become common place.
“This will take the form of a combination of products that have the capability built in but require software to “activate” it and products with IoT functionality that customers do not actively leverage.
“IoT holds promise, but it also sparks concerns. Some people say that IoT is just around the corner, others think that it is already here.
“There are clear concerns around privacy, security and who has access to the data gathered. These topics need to be right at the top of the agenda, providing people with clear indications with easy to digest information that leaves zero room for misinterpretation.”
What do you think is going to be the biggest media trend in 2015?
Frederic Josue, global executive advisor: “I think that we’ll see some winners emerging – both brand and agency side – and these winners will be those who understand the need for meaningful connections and collaboration in today’s organic, and increasingly transparent, media landscape.
“The world of one-to-many – or the mass media – still exists and plays a role, but increasingly the successful campaigns will be those which leverage the plethora of media channels available today. That means not just traditional media, but all the networks, spaces, and platforms which are open to many and created by many.
“Media is now a very loosely defined phenomena. This means that the business has become much more interesting, but also challenging. People will play an ever greater role in the media they consume, and media companies will have to listen far more closely to what their audiences are telling them.”
For much more analysis of the biggest trends shaping global media and marketing, order your FREE copy of M&M Global presents: International Media 2015 here