In the end, CES 2017 came as advertised—a massive exhibition for companies to showcase the latest innovation in consumer smart technology.
But if you’ve ever spent time in sales, you know that attending these big shows means wall-to-wall meetings rather than a casual few days walking the show floor.
It was great to get a high-level view of the themes at CES 2017, but the real value for us was the pre-show event—the AT&T Developer Summit.
Connectivity—The Name of the Game at CES 2017
If I had to pick one word to sum up the CES showroom, it would be “connectivity.” You could probably say this about the last two or three years, but every year the concept of a "connected future" seems to get bigger and better. There are so many things you’d never even think to connect, as companies showed off their Internet of Things (IoT) innovations.
- Connected Cars
There were more automotive companies this year than in any of the last 10 years I’ve attended CES. It’s a little scary to think that you could perform virtually any office function from a connected car, and this technology had an absolutely huge presence at the event.
- Connected Home
Amazon’s Alexa was everywhere, but AT&T, Google and Apple all joined in on the fun. Whether you’re unlocking doors, turning on lights, controlling thermostats or anything else, home connectivity was certainly a noticeable pillar of the event.
- Wearable Devices
These were the hallmark of connectivity in years past, but they weren’t quite as prevalent this year. Fitness brands stepped up their presence, but the segment just isn’t taking off the way some people had expected, at least so far.
It seems that Mobile World Congress, coming up in Barcelona, has recently become the premier place to showcase new smartphones. Here at CES, some companies had their latest and greatest innovations on display, but handheld devices took a backseat to other hardware and software.
- Virtual/Augmented Reality
What started as a niche technology for gaming has expanded with companies like Samsung, HTC, and Sony coming up with new use cases. Unsurprisingly, these were a noticeable focus at CES.
- Robots and Drones - The Coolest Things at CES
As I walked around the showroom, robots and drones were the coolest things I saw this year. They’ve been present in years past, but this year it seemed like everywhere you turned there was a robot walking the floor with you or a drone flying nearby.
While all of this innovation is cool to see and experience, the showroom is sometimes a difficult venue to help smaller companies like ours see how we can keep up with tomorrow’s technology.
That’s why the AT&T Developer Summit was so valuable for us.
AT&T Developer Summit: Adopting a Connected Future
Last month, we recapped GSMA Mobility Live and the opportunities emerging as carriers like AT&T and Cricket change their business models.
One thing was abundantly clear at this event—AT&T is drawing the line in the sand and stating proudly that they are now a media & content company. Traditional voice, data, and mobility services will be important, but they aren’t the primary focus any longer.
So when we sat down with AT&T, we wanted to let them know that we’re a nimble, innovative software company and we’re ready to help them in their efforts moving forward. The challenge lies in the fact that since this business model is so new for AT&T, they haven’t had time to figure out which exact challenges they may need help with in the future.
The Key to Evolving Technology is Patience
This is why patience is critical when trying to keep up with evolving technology. You have to keep your eyes and ears open as things change, maintain trusted relationships with the carriers, and tweak your business to fit into new opportunities when the time is right.
Even though AT&T couldn’t explicitly say where they needed help, it seems like their network foundation has to be a top priority. As they move to this Integrated Carrier model, they will begin to build a massive content library and expand services, such as video. But without the strongest, fastest network available, customers may have challenges using all of these new services that are emerging so quickly.
One thing is crystal clear to us now, however. More devices in the world means more potential trade-ins and an opportunities to expand secondary markets for a wide range of hardware.
If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your mobile trade in program, download our free white paper, 16 Steps to Optimize Your Mobile Trade-in Program.
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