Five Product Trends for Kids from CES 2015
Living as I do in the world of play, what could be more fun than a trip to Consumer Electronic Show, the world’s largest show in Las Vegas, a city known for play? Of course I wasn’t in Vegas to play Black Jack and Roulette, but to check out the latest innovative products for kids of all ages. With a theme like “the Internet of All Things”, you can imagine there was a lot to see.
CES is a five day show with countless booths in the Las Vegas Convention Center and at the Venetian Hotel. Here you can see start-ups previewing their products in hopes of getting funding as well as global companies such as Sony, Samsung and Intel with all of the latest technology for tablets and TVs. With my time limited, I focused on spotting key product trends for 2015 and beyond as they relate to my world of play.
Five product trends caught my attention: Robots, Wearables, Drones, Virtual Reality Gaming and 3D printers
Stepping into the world of the Jetson’s, robots are now being developed to engage kids in interactive play. Spin Master introduced Meccanoid build your own bot in four foot child-size. It talks and walks and can be programmed and controlled by an app. Modrobotics features two products which also encourages kids to build their own robots. Ozobot teaches kids robotics and coding through games. WowWee’s Roboraptor dinosaur robots interact with one another.
21mm people are using wearables to measure things like steps per day, heart beat rate, calories burnt and stamina. Now you can monitor your newborn while they sleep, or track your youngsters with wearables designed for kids such as the hereO watch or Paxie Bands. These wearables are marketed as a new way to provide parents piece of mind while others measure speed and positon for sporting goods such as a bat or a basketball to track athletic ability.
What kid wouldn’t want to own a drone to fly around and spy on the neighborhood? $599 will buy you a pretty pink drone that will fly for about 9 hours on battery power or you can go for a fold-up and take it with you- AirDog drone for $1500. If you are a bigger-the-better type than you can but a larger drone for $5,000.
Virtual Reality and 3D Gaming
Strap on a pair of 3D glasses and you enter a virtual world of gaming where everything comes alive in a three dimensional world. Slay dragons, fight gladiators and go on a major adventure, as long as you don’t easily get dizzy. The innovative Oculus previewed the Oculus Rift headset. Many others are seeking to be part of the virtual reality world as they launch 3D glasses, too.
Coming into vogue this past year, these printers are used in the toy world to bring your product designs to life. Watching these printers ‘print’ is magical as you can watch them bring an image to three-dimensions. There are many uses for these printers for fun and for serious work. Many companies featured these printers at CES. MakerBot is the brand many are familiar with and they have models starting at $1000. In the toy world, Hasbro has partnered with a 3D printer to offer consumers the opportunity to create their own figure. Kiosks will allow people to scan themselves to receive a 3D figure in the mail all for $60.
Product Differentiation is the Challenge
With so much to see, CES is a great spot to peer into the future to spot trends because so many companies preview their products. However, there is a sameness to many products. Most 3D printers had designs that featured a big box with a glass window to see inside as the figure or object was created. The drones came with different flying times, paint jobs, sizes and retail prices but they all looked very similar. Oculus offers a branded 3D glass but many other companies offered similar versions. The wearables featured new band designs to appeal to various target audiences while the hereO watch was specifically designed with features for keeping track of your kids.
However, I think the companies creating the robots have developed unique products with engaging play patterns for kids of all ages who can learn as they play. It will be interesting to see what companies emerge as leaders in these five product areas for kids.
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