Last week I exhausted my brain, my legs, and my wallet wandering through the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. CES is where companies from around the world gather to show each other their latest and greatest inventions and innovations. Vegas is where they gather to see exactly how much alcohol they can drink, how much money they can gamble, and how little sleep they can get and still function.
For me it was a giant exercise in branding dos and don’ts. Logos, booth design, naming programs, product design, and sales pitches were slathered across every accessible inch of real estate, all screaming like a five-year-old on a swing set, “Look what I can do, look what I can do.”
I stumbled across lots of fascinating products, including a backpack from TYLT that houses a battery and cables to continuously charge your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. I’m over the backpack for work fad but I’m going to buy a TYLT bag and cannibalize the electronics to retrofit into my dad’s old briefcase. Just the thought of traveling without chargers and adapters is already making me giddy.
I also saw a pair of motorized feet. They weren’t precisely motorized feet but more like electric wheels that strap to your feet so you don’t have to walk. Considering the obesity problem in this country and elsewhere, I question a product that lets people move even less than they already do, but motorized feet sure sound like fun.
The big sensation at CES was 4K television. For those of you who have missed all the hubbub, 4K resolution is two times greater than HD TV. For you tech types, 4K UHD (ultra high definition) has a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (8.3 megapixels) and is one of two resolutions available, the other being 8K UHD. 4K UHD has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, with four times as many pixels overall. Of course it does.
4K is so razor sharp that it’s almost hard to comprehend – I think it might even be crisper than real life. And because too much of a good thing is never enough, some manufacturers were already showing wafer-thin movie theatre-sized 3D 4K screens. Lucky for those of us who aren’t ready to venture into the world of 3D 4K, there’s no content available for them yet so you won’t be missing out on any of your favorite movies or shows anytime soon.
All of these gigantic new TV concepts have also spawned a new industry – brackets and mounting fixtures to hang the screens on the wall. Each floor in CES was full of companies showing different products designed to handle all of these new screens.
My favorite was SANUS, a global company with bracket solutions designed to fit all weights and sizes of televisions. Specifically, SANUS says their products provide the best viewing angles, space and style, and increased safety. And with offices in the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Mexico City, SANUS is globally positioned to follow the 4K TV craze around the world.
What I found most interesting was how SANUS created an entire business on a relatively low-tech product. SANUS brackets and accessories are not hi-tech, connected or wired. Instead they thrive on adaptability and strength, with only a small nod made to design and innovation. Who says the most successful business rely solely on technology and programming?
But here’s my question: With all those products and all those business people – engineers, designers, marketers, and office staff – in all those markets, did anyone at SANUS ever stop to think about what would happen if just one of their signs were badly positioned? I mean, is it me or do you agree that their brand might be poorly thought out?