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Each year, I’m both awed and overwhelmed by the incredible impact and promise that technology has on consumers across the globe. There’s no greater place to witness its affect than in the numerous hotels, convention center showrooms, and on the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, during the first week in January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Despite the testy weather and numerous flight cancellations, more than 170,000 professionals (including me) crowded the city to see the more than 3,800 exhibitors unveil their latest technologies across more than 2.47 million net sq. ft. of exhibit space. #CES2016 definitely did not disappoint! Here, I experienced unparalleled examples of cutting edge technology that will infiltrate and connect nearly every aspect of daily life for mass consumer audiences.

Given my background in database, consumer peripherals and mobile technologies; and health and fitness, combined with the past 16 ½ years of MSR Communications’ expertise in these sectors and more, what I love to see is when connection and data are at the heart of technology that enables people and organizations to discover valuable, actionable information. When data is used responsibly, people are empowered to make positive life changes and industries can solve global challenges. From babies to beauty, eye vision to hearing; health, fitness and sports; to cars and robots, music and entertainment, CES provided a plethora of data-driven solutions that are designed with the promise of connecting the world to help people experience the richness of life in its grandest form.

Some of my CES2016 faves this year? Warming and pulsating eye massagers ideal for those of us who spend hours glued to our screens and/or in glasses were a welcome treat after several hours of closely perusing the exhibits; LG’s new 65″ glass plate OLED TV with the clarity of life-like stills was particularly eye-catching; affordable 3D-printers of toys and fun robots created for and by kids made me want to wrap one up for my boys and carry it on to the plane; software that enabled an award-winning X Games biker to perform more complex and exciting tricks on the half-pipe ramp elicited a loud “woo hoo!; baby monitors that alert parents of their children’s sleep challenges had me wishing this kind of information was available when my colicky second child was born; pet fitness trackers that will track an animal’s daily exercise-yes, that’s right, fitness trackers for pets!-had me believing that this type of data could’ve saved the life of my mother’s deceased, sweet dog; hearing aids controlled by the iPhone and iWatch are discreet new ways for consumers to take their health literally into their own hands; and the new BMW 8 connected, near driverless car with its Dolorian style doors was truly an incredible driving machine.

Storytelling was the official narrative of the second annual CES C-Space marketing sessions this year where agencies and companies such as Google, Yahoo, Subaru, and Target shared examples of the brand stories they’ve created to engage with customers during the past year. Data was the consistent thread at the core of each take away message. As we here at MSR whole heartedly agree, in order to tell a truly compelling consumer story that resonates with customers, companies must thoroughly understand the personas of their base, the interests, motivations and drivers that lead to purchase of their products and services. One presenter, Subaru, highlighted the mantra of “know your customer” for brand marketers with clever examples of campaigns that demonstrated just how well they understand their customers. According to Subaru’s director of brand marketing, the company’s research reveals that Subaru owners are twice as likely to have dogs. To appeal to their core base and general audiences who can appreciate good humor, the brand team created a series of hilarious videos and adverts with dogs that emulate human behaviors while driving a Subaru. These are all available on their website and video channels. And though I’m now allergic to dogs, I can still appreciate a great story well told–especially for pet lovers and this one even spoke to me. For a good giggle, check it out here (In the Dog House).

If the promise of CES2016 holds true, then 2016 is sure to be the year of connected devices that provide data which will enhance the livelihood of consumers for good. Did you have a favorite from the show? Drop a note and tell me yours.