Fred Ranger @ CES 2018
RDPMAG magazine spoke with Frédérick Ranger, Vice President, Product Marketing at Stingray about his experience at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the global stage for innovation, that was held January 9-12 in Las Vegas.
By Normand Boulanger
(Article published with the permission of RDPMAG. The article was edited for length.)
For the first article of its TECHNO section, RDPMAG magazine spoke with Frédérick Ranger, Vice President, Product Marketing at Stingray about his experience at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the global stage for innovation, that was held January 9-12 in Las Vegas.
So, this was your first experience at CES?
Yes, first experience at CES after all these years working in the digital marketing industry. I have attended South by Southwest (SXSW) and MIPCOM, but never CES.
Compared to these other conferences, what impressed you most at CES?
First, its size. There are hundreds of thousands of people. When you arrive on the Vegas strip, it takes 20-30 minutes to get anywhere, and the taxi lines are unbelievably long.
That was my first observation: too many people, too many demands on your time. Also, almost all brands, except for Apple, are present. That includes many startups, which we will see more of in the coming years. I first visited the PsychaSec* kiosk (picture above). They have created a humanoid that brings to mind a Black Mirror episode and in which you can download your consciousness so you can live forever. When I asked them their launch date, expecting the answer to be 3 to 5 years from now, they answered “second quarter of 2018.” It's very strange and brings up a lot of ethical questions.
As a fan of drones, technology, and photography, I was extremely well served. I headed to the DJI kiosk where I saw the smallest drone in the world, which will be introduced in a few weeks. Kodak was also present, obviously not with rolls of film, but with their recently-launched cryptocurrency and other 360 degrees products.
I also saw a lot of 4K. Clearly, high-resolution products are not futuristic anymore; they are very much a reality. You just need to go to Best Buy to realize that non-4K TV sets are rare. To respond to the demand, content creators such as YouTubers must adapt, and cameras and video devices need to be updated.
How would you compare what you saw at CES with the state of technology in Canada?
I would say that CES is 2-3 years ahead of what will happen in Canada. It’s where we can discover emerging trends. Everything is accelerating and offered in real time thanks to players like Amazon. What I saw at PsychaSec, is not showcased at any Infopresse conference. What was once fantasy, such as holograms, it now a reality.
What would you say are the most significant difference between CES and other events?
SXW is more focused on social media while CES is more business-centric and therefore offers the opportunity for a lot of meetings. We had 3 scheduled meetings with companies that could help us with our future needs. Everyone is there: Google, Samsung, etc. The conference center is enormous, the hotels are huge, and you walk a lot. I’ve never seen anything like it.
What major trends did you observe when you were there? We were talking about 4K earlier, but can you be more specific?
The democratization of technology is definitely a major trend. 4K is everywhere, not only in the professional material. For example, Insta360 produces a camera that can be plugged into an iPhone to take 360 pictures. Drones are increasingly small, accessible to all, and can film in 4K. The advancements in miniaturization are quite impressive. I also saw several companies, such as Roku and Sling, that position themselves as creators of content. I would also mention robotization that will help us in our everyday life.
Is the connected home still a hot topic?
Yes, absolutely. Several companies are betting on us being able to control everything in our house with a phone including curtains and heating. As the technology becomes ubiquitous, it is also less intriguing.
Are there other trends that stood out?
Voice search is something we discussed quite a bit in meetings. I believe that 2010-2020 will be the era of voice search through services such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri that connect everything from the house to the car. The day everything works and connects perfectly, I’ll be the happiest person alive! Technology is great, but when you're an early adopter, you're often the victim of beta testing that does not work as well as it should.
Enough about CES. Let's talk about you and your podcast, The Brand Experience.
There are not as many podcast episodes as I would like, but we make do with the time we have. My goal would be to return to a monthly pace. I've met great people through this podcast, and it allows me to take the pulse of how entrepreneurs and big businesses, such as Stingray or Bell, see marketing and technology. I want to bring more smart, creative, and insightful people to the microphone. I do not want to be the only one expressing an opinion. I want the podcast to evolve and involve other Montrealers and individuals who create brand experiences every day, who either agree or disagree with me. This platform allows me to meet people who are brilliant and smarter than me. It also gives me the chance to work on my personal branding. I want to leave a legacy of the things I’ve learned and, especially, my setbacks.
Wow! That’s a nice way of seeing things. And professionally, can you tell us what’s coming up at Stingray?
We recently acquired Qello Concerts, which means that we are moving from being a fully B2B company to integrating a large B2C component with Qello, Stingray Music, Stingray Karaoke, Yoki Karaoke. That is big news for Stingray.
A big thank you for this wonderful overview of CES. I hope to have the pleasure of collaborating again soon!
*Editor's Note: PsychaSec was a marketing stunt for the new Netflix series "Altered Carbon". This was only divulged a few days after the interview.