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January 05, 2017

CES is upon us, providing an opportunity for marketers to immerse themselves on the latest tech trends. Read on to find out how location-based marketing will play a role this year.

Ah, for how many years have we been told that wearables would steal the CES show? Well at CES 2016, as TechRepublic notes, wearables finally lived up to the hype. Fitness-focused wearables were the most popular among the showcased tech and included an array of bands, jewelry, and even clothing, but smartwatches had a major presence. We can expect wearables to be a prominent theme at CES 2017, too. The CES site shows that there will be a few halls dedicated to them. While not all of this gear affords opportunities in the location-based marketing segment, much of it does. Smartwatches, for instance, have GPS capabilities and can be synced up with smartphones such that marketers can leverage them in their location-based campaigns and enable consumers to receive alerts based on their settings preferences.

Internet-Connected Cars
Once upon a time, we used physical maps that were hard to read (not to mention fold and unfold). Now, we have apps like Waze to handle our navigational needs. The automotive industry has been paying close attention to drivers' Internet needs. We can expect compelling new tech showcased by start-ups in this vein at CES 2017, but even big companies have been investing in connected cars. As featured on AutoNews, AT&T's wireless connected car program just picked up Infiniti and Volkswagen, and the telecommunications giant is launching a data plan for connected cars for tablet and smartphone customers who already have unlimited plans. The line between mobile devices and vehicles is becoming increasingly blurred, and ultimately, that gives marketers more opportunities to appeal to consumers by serving them relevant, location-based ads and offers while they're in the car.

Virtual Reality
CES is calling virtual reality the new reality, and we can expect that maxim to play out heavily in CES 2017's presentations. Since virtual reality is still an emerging category, we've yet to see how prominently location-based marketing will factor into it—but where there's a digital platform, there's a way, and brands will find it. Brands like VRSTUDIOS' VRcade are already proving their value as potential location-based partners.

VRcade's system combines head-mounted displays, motion capture systems, and real-time 3-D engines. Beyond gaming (the brand's main focus), VRcade's technology could potentially add a whole new layer to the experience of museums, for example, by enabling consumers to "go inside" an exhibit. This could mean terrific opportunity for museum gift shops, as they could promote their nearby related offerings while the user is having a hands-on experience with a painting or installation.

Start-up Mania
According to many sources, including The Business Journals, there will be no shortage of start-ups (possibly more than 500 in total) debuting their innovations and discussing ideas at CES 2017. The rise of location-based marketing and the increasing significance it has in the lives of brands and consumers alike has helped birth many start-ups. The Angel list of start-ups reveals that there are nearly 3,000 start-ups devoted to the field of location-based services. That's a pretty substantial number for something so "niche." Surely, we can expect to hear a lot about advancements in the proximity marketing sector at CES 2017.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
1. At CES 2017, you'll feast your eyes on plenty of wearable and automotive displays—and feast your ears on discussions that highlight how location-based marketers can lure consumers in using mobile connectivity via these platforms.
2. Virtual reality may still feel a little sci-fi to many, but it's getting popular, and brands should be looking for opportunities to use it in location-based marketing campaigns.
3. Want to rub elbows with hundreds of start-ups working on location-based tech? CES 2017 is your chance.
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