The B2B perspective of CES 2016

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We all know the Consumer Electronics Show as a geekfest for cool tech gadgets, some of which may never be mass-marketed. But as any CES insider knows, there are several B2B angles to CES, and below is our breakdown of the top four business trends to look for at CES 2016 this year, taking place in Las Vegas from January 6 to 9.

Enterprise excitement

This year, CES will debut the new Enterprise Solutions Marketplace showcasing a bevy of B2B solutions. The floor will feature exhibitors such as Amazon Business, Capital One Spark Business, Dom 360 and Ubiquiti Networks. Related to this launch is the new eCommerce Marketplace, presented by MasterCard, which is being billed as “the one-stop showcase for the most innovative solutions in this space, including mobile payment apps, shopping platforms and business solutions.”

With the addition of this marketplace, B2B attendees can better learn about solutions and products ideal for their business challenges. Such an addition also enhances B2B networking, and can give a nice shot in the arm for B2B pros also seeking feedback on their own solution executions.

Wearables winning love

It’s been estimated that while wearables-usage penetration among U.S. adults was just 16 percent in 2015, that figure will double to 81.7 million users by 2018. The wearables market is maturing quickly, and CES 2016 will see many tech giants release their debut devices or updated models, including Samsung, LG, Fitbit, Huawei and HTC. B2B firms working in tech would be remiss to ignore how wearables are received at CES, since a breakout year for this vertical could mean big business for companies invested in the hardware or software of the devices.

As Mike Pegler, Principal, PwC US technology practice, said earlier this year: “Enterprises must forge partnerships and develop IT and platform alliances to deliver seamless experiences on both the front end and back end of wearable implementations.”

And if you need another reason to pay attention to wearables, consider the sales angle, as illustrated here:

Sales enablement is about arming your salesforce with the knowledge they need when and where they need it, and there’s little room for error in getting this right. Imagine providing your sales team with mobile, real-time access to comprehensive information for key accounts without bulky equipment. Or sending a team to a pitch meeting with content loaded onto a wearable device instead of a laptop or tablet.

Investing in Internet of Things

Related to the wearables market penetration is the rise of the Internet of Things, especially in the B2B space. IoT has been felt in almost every tech sector, from drones to smart homes to mobile, and it has yet to fully mature. The IoT implications in B2B are palpable: As we noted earlier this year, “since the IoT makes products traceable, using the knowledge of a products life cycle or journey yields much information you can learn from and use to capitalize on future sales and even grow sales.”

Also, with IoT you get immediate information reported from smart devices, allowing you to respond with real-time engagement. CES 2016 is going to be a launching pad for many IoT services and products, so we’re intrigued to see how B2B firms adopt these technologies and if IoT implementation on a more mature scale will result in impressive ROI and a more connected workplace.

It’s about to get a lot more virtual in here

Consider CES 2016 the proper coming-out party for virtual reality and augmented reality. Sony, Microsoft, Oculus/Facebook, and HTC/Steam all have highly anticipated product launches coming this year in VR/AR, and we’re especially interested to see which ecosystems and content partners work with these tech giants.

B2B marketers should also keep watch on what rolls out in AR and VR at CES, thanks to the potential these new technologies can offer companies. Imagine allowing potential clients to take a virtual tour of your social media management tool, using an Oculus headset. Or your B2B advertising could enjoy a favourable twist with augmented reality tech designed to showcase the bells and whistles behind your programmatic campaigns.

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.