CES2015 and the Future of Digital Storytelling: 3 Trends We're Keeping Tabs On

Daft Punk, in all their chromatic, robotic glory, once coined the phrase, “harder, better, faster, stronger”.

This year at CES2015, the new mantra for digital storytellers is, “lighter, smaller, smarter, cheaper”. 

For storytellers in particular, the transition from papyrus to printing press, beige computer to laptop has been the make-or-break between stories that are published and stories that live on desktops as drafts.

With technology becoming more affordable and less bulky, today’s digital nomads can literally take their imaginations to every corner of the world — which means better stories, better business, and better relationships.

Upload high-res photos to Instagram at the speed of light. Capture aerial footage on a desert photo shoot, with a single camera, and without hiring a helicopter. Record your point of view while giving a TED talk. Jot down an idea for the Next Big Thing with a single finger. Print a prototype with a pen. It's all (becoming) possible. 

Here are a few trends we’re seeing from CES2015 that will affect how stories are told in the year(s) ahead:

1. Storytelling lightens the load.

This is the year storytelling lightens up. At CES 2015, exhibitors unveiled a range of devices that limit — or altogether eliminate — the need for charging packs, keyboards, printers, or even laptops. 

Ring by Logobar is one such example, allowing users to unlock cars, enable mobile payments, or best of all, type in mid-air all with the use of a single finger. Think of it as a Google Chrome for your digits. With Ring, you can jot down notes, or access your personal files with the best tool you've got: your hands.

The Lenovo Yoga 3 and Asus Transformer Chi are two brands of “convertible” laptops that allow content creators to quickly toggle between laptop and tablet. For those on the go, and especially creatives that travel, this is the lightest, cheapest, and fastest option to creating and sharing on the go. 

We’ve been hearing about the rise of 3D printing, but even this new technology is getting smaller and less bulky. Enter 3Doodler, a pen tool that pushes pre-heated plastic and polymers through the nozzle’s end, which instantly cool upon exit. For product designers, prototype creators, illustrators and other visual storytellers, 3Doodler completely eliminates the need for paper and printing supplies in order to bring ideas to life — literally.

Speaking of shedding, HP Stream Mini has shrunk the size of a desktop computer down to "the size of a cereal bowl", consuming 45 watts of power (rather than its counterparts 250 watts). Featuring a full Windows 8.1 PC and powered by an Intel Pentium or Core i3 processor, you’ve got the need for speed in one tiny, yet powerful, package that makes computing smaller and faster than ever.

2. Content creators swim in the stream.

This is the year of streaming without skipping a beat. With remote speakers, surround sound technology, and wireless playback, content creators, musicians, and podcasters will see the best sound has to offer this year.

Philips Spotify Speaker is the first exciting example, allowing users to stream music from the native app, select single or group speakers, or scatter them around the house similar to Sonos. Play one song from mobile and continue listening at home or in the studio by switching to the sound system without a single pause.

LG Music Flow Speaker is another interesting addition to the CES2015 networked speaker lineup, allowing users to text directions to their speakers. Supported by Line, a Japanese messaging service, the speaker system listens for keywords in your text content and arranges the right playlist for the right context. “Play music for a party”, or “play music for writing” will elicit a completely hands-free operation. 

This is also the year Roku becomes part of the conversation. With streaming apps like Google Chrome and  Amazon Fire lined up as competitors, Roku has signed several deals with TV manufacturers to allow for streaming, sans remote. With the built-in technology, content creators and storytellers will only have to work from a single interface, rather than switching inputs or juggling apps.

3. Wearables bring content to life.

Narrative Clip 2 is a groundbreaker, making literally everyone a content creator. The device, a small clip added to the user’s shirt, allows for 24/7 recording from your point of view. Memories are filed and stored on the go, so users can re-experience travel, memories, holidays, celebrations or other things they’d like to keep in mind. The Narrative Clip 2 positions itself as a method of creating content that heals and imparts knowledge that “lives on after our time”. 

The iON SnapCam takes the "work" out of photography's workflow, allowing for photo and video capture that connect wirelessly to smartphones for instant uploading. The difference, however, is that the SnapCam is worn directly on clothing. When you’re ready to shoot, tap the SnapCam for still shots, video, or live streams. 

The march of the drones just keeps marching on, this time with the Inspire 1 that double-times as a stabilized camera mount. Using a handle, content creators are able to control photo and video captures, as well as a built-in microphones. There are even two modes that track subjects with panning and tilting techniques.

2015 is no doubt the year of lighter, freer technology, allowing videographers, writers, and other digital storytellers to shed heavy equipment in favor of light as a feather options for capturing creating and sharing content. 

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