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Get to know me: The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES 2017

Amazon’s Alexa was one of the stars, if not THE star of the 2017 CES show.  What is the broader theme that piques our interest?  Is it because Alexa acts as a central hub that “connected things” run on?  Yes, partly.  I believe another key reason that Alexa was the star of CES is the personification of machines and the emotional appeal that comes with it.  This is a broader and very important theme that emerged at this year’s CES.  Across many of the exhibit halls, we saw devices promising to be your friend.

Emotional appeal and the personification of machines

Robots with a human stance were built to greet and help you at an airport.

The emotional appeal of technology at CES - airport robot
 

Toyota’s new concept car promoted the vision of artificial intelligence that could learn your needs, grow with you, and yes, love!!  This was billed as more than a machine.  It will be your partner.

The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES - Toyota concept car

Making technology relatable

There’s something about LG’s application of Alexa that gets to know all of your needs when you get home that makes this technology relatable.  It can warm up your house to a perfect temperature, turn on the lights, put on your favorite music, heat up the oven, and so on.  Can it bring your slippers when you sit down on the couch? I’m sure that can be arranged.

The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES - homebot cleaning
 

We’ve gone from “take me to your leader,” to “let me fold your laundry.”  Laundry folding robots using image analysis can take care of this tedious household chore for you now.

The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES - laundroid
 

The AvatarMind iPal(™) Robots For Children, Eldercare, and Hospitality/Retail are billed as caretakers for your kids or your elderly parents.

The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES - AvatarMind iPal
 

Even the way marketers and reviewers talk about devices can put a “human face” on it.  Now there are drones that are concerned about how they dress – “too awesome to fly casual.”

The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES - drones
 

Of course, to succeed, all of these technologies must address a need, but don’t underestimate the power of bringing the emotional benefits together with the rational benefits these new technologies deliver.  I look forward to seeing how this develops in years to come at CES and beyond!

To share your thoughts, please email rob.barrish@gfk.com.

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