//5 CES Trends From Tech Expert Katie Linendoll That Nobody Has Told You Yet!

Twitter: @KatieLinendoll
Instagram: katielinendoll

By Katie Linendoll – The tech-expert, journalist, and Emmy Award-winning TV personality has given us an exclusive insight into her highlights of this year’s CES. Katie is a CES veteran who knows the hottest topics and developments you need to be aware of. 

For techies, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the most anticipated events of the year. An estimated 175k attendees have touched down in Las Vegas to see some of the latest and greatest technologies unveiled. Every CES has its “themes” and this year, there is a heavy presence of 5G, AI, and 8K TVs. But what are some outsider tech unveils you might not have heard about? Here are some interesting ones to note!

Mercedes and Avatar Release a Concept Car 130 Years Into the Future

The auto industry and auto technology presence continues to grow at CES, and one of the biggest announcements was the partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Avatar. Full disclosure: I had the pleasure of working with Mercedes for a second year at CES, moderating their executive conversations. I might be a bit biased, but the Vision AVTR, a concept vehicle with a unique goal to merge technology, nature and the human experience, created a lot of buzz at CES.

Photo by Mercedes-Benz

The vehicle is “woken up” by placing your hand on the center console and then synchronizes with your heartbeat, and touches like the bionic flaps can mimic your mood or harvest solar energy. You can even drive sideways! So not only is this vehicle futuristic, it’s also sustainable, showcasing Mercedes’ continued sustainability efforts in the industry—a bigger focus than ever at CES and rightfully so!

Streaming Services are Growing

Photo by Disney+

From originals like Netflix and Hulu to newcomers like Apple TV+ and Disney+, streaming services is a crowded yet growing space. One newcomer that is making a splash at CES is Quibi, a new platform featuring maximum ten-minute long episodes. Quibi is headed by Meg Whitman (former HP CEO) and Jeffery Katzenberg (co-founder of DreamWorks) and will launch in April with two subscription options starting at $4.99. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, Quibi’s content budget alone is 1 billion dollars.

Customize Your Makeup!

Valued at over 500 billion USD, the beauty industry is constantly growing, and so does its presence in tech by way of bloggers, apps, and gadgets. We are seeing more beauty tech products at CES this year than ever. L’Oréal, who has made buzz over the last few years, announced Perso—an in-home device that outputs customized makeup and skincare.

The device works in tandem with an app that first uses your smartphone’s front-facing camera to analyze your skin. You can then choose from an array of color options or even match from daily trends found on Instagram. Once you make a color choice, and virtually see it on your face via augmented reality, it just takes a few clicks and the unit begins dispensing your personalized skincare, liquid lipstick, or foundation on demand. Testing this out in person easily made it one of the top picks of CES.

Virtual Reality – Will it Become Mainstream?

Photo by Panasonic

Since its infancy, I have been personally amazed by the capabilities of virtual reality, but it seems to have never quite caught on. At CES, there was once again no shortage of virtual reality and augmented reality devices. One standout was Panasonic’s VR Headset—a new take on a headset. The typically-clunky headgear display was reimagined as wearable looking glasses. Panasonic was able to bring a 1.3 OLED screen to each eye, fitting into the sleek form factor.

Out of Toilet Paper?  A Robot Will Fetch You a Fresh Roll! 

Photo by Charmin

It is my twelfth year attending CES and while not much can surprise me at this point, I was completely amused seeing Charmin’s RollBot—a robot that delivers you a fresh roll of toilet paper. Though only a concept, it provides a good laugh and is a nod to the more ‘unique’ technologies that get significant buzz every year at CES.

Even if you aren’t tech savvy, CES once again made a big splash across all headlines this week! With over 4,500 companies and thousands of attendees going at full speed for the past few days, I expect a lot of techies are ready for a nap. And as expected, there’s even a smart pillow for that!

//All my bags are packed, I’m ready for take-off

Always on the road – that applies very much to our team. We are travel enthusiasts, both in our work and private lives.

On our vacations in 2019, we have ventured to places such as Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Thailand, and all the way down under to Australia. And while privately we traveled abroad quite a bit, our work trips have taken us all over the States again.

On average, each of us spent 40 days on the road with about 9 trips per person. Our most frequent traveler had a total of 111 days out of the office spread over 22 trips.

With the new year around the corner, we look back at the highlights of each month’s travel in 2019. We are excited to see what 2020 has in store for us!

//Wine, perfume, and a good time – our first Creative Talk

On December 4th, 2019, we hosted the first event of our new event series Creative Talks which deep-dives into one topic pertaining to one of our key expertise areas: Design, Communications and Events.

Our inaugural Creative Talk revolved about the transformation of retail spaces from point of sales to storytelling platforms. We invited industry leaders and opinion makers to participate and share their insights and perspectives on the topic of the day.

Our guest speakers were Nick Arauz, CEO of Caswell-Massey – the oldest personal care product brand in America that more or less used George Washington for its first “influencer” campaign – and Tyler Balliet, CEO and Founder of Rosé Mansion – one of New York’s most popular pop-up experiences that combines wine tasting with relevant stories and instagrammable moments.

Check out the highlights here:

//Four crazy hotels we would love to stay at

We are always on the look for new and exciting hotels as we often need to host guests for many of the events we are planning. Obviously, location plays an important role for logistics and accessibility. Equally as important is the design and style of the hotel since we believe that this sends as much of a message as a press release does.

We always come across a lot of extraordinary hotels during our research. However, based on the criteria above, we often have to exclude some particularly exciting options from consideration for our events. Here are four crazy hotels that we will probably never use for events, but that we would simply love to stay at.

Igloos at North Pole (Photo by Luxury Action)

Igloo Hotel, North Pole

In April 2020, a temporary hotel will open at the North Pole. The Igloo hotel will consist of only ten temporary heated glass igloos that will allow guests to sleep under the Northern Lights with 360 degree south-facing windows.

The hotel is open for the duration of one single month, in April, due to the fact that the North Pole is not safely accessible for the rest of the year. This kind of exclusivity obviously has its price: A trip to the Igloo Hotel will cost around $105,000.

The master bedroom at the Muraka (Photo by Yuji Yamazaki Architecture)

The Muraka, Maldives

This one is nothing for claustrophobic people: The Muraka is the underwater villa of the Conrad Maldives. The 600 tons underwater structure was designed with the help of aquarium technology specialists. At over 16 feet below sea level, it includes an emergency button and escape route to the surface.

The villa also has an overwater part with a private infinity pool, its own gym, butler service, and a private chef. If you have $50,000 to spare, you can spend a night there counting fish instead of sheep to fall asleep.

Giraffes grabbing a snack (Photo by The Safari Collection)

Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Giraffe Manor is not located in any extremely unusual spot but in a gorgeous 1930’s villa set in the middle of 140 acres of indigenous forest close to Nairobi, Kenya. What makes it special, though, are its non-human residents: A herd of Rothschild Giraffes visits the hotel every day during breakfast and tea time in hope of getting a snack.

A favorite amongst Instagram influencers, photos of these unusual encounters have been going viral since its opening. It might be an Instagram hype, but who doesn’t want to dine with a giraffe?

Bedroom at the Von Braun Station (Photo by The Gateway Foundation)

Von Braun Station, Space

This hotel is truly out of this world. Or it will be. Aimed to open for full operations by 2027, the Von Braun Station by the Gateway Foundation is one of many space hotel projects currently in the works.

The hotel is in the shape of a wheel which helps to artificially create gravity. The 24 modules can sleep 352 guests and will offer other cruise-ship like amenities such as restaurants, bars, musical concerts, movie screenings, and educational seminars.

The question is: Which time zone will these be scheduled in?

//Why you shouldn’t use the chicken or egg dilemma in your next argument about hydrogen cars

By guest author Christoph Reifenrath.

When Bertha Benz undertook the first long-distance automobile journey in 1888, there was not a single gas station in the world. Today, more than 1.2 billion combustion engine vehicles populate the roads with possibilities to refuel seemingly at every corner. Even if we are far away from a comprehensive worldwide charging network for electric vehicles, there are more than 6 million EVs running today. This is a plea for less “if and when,” and for more confidence in the power of developing markets, pioneer spirit and technological openness.

One of the most widely read German news websites, Spiegel Online, recently published an article on hydrogen cars titled “Five reasons why hydrogen cars are hardly in demand,” in which the perceived flop of the technology is discussed.

One of the main reasons outlined in the article says that the number of hydrogen filling stations is far from sufficient to guarantee a nationwide supply; a point that has often been used as an explanation for the slow spread of new technologies – most recently again and again in arguments about Electric Vehicles. In the case of hydrogen technology, however, the analogy to the chicken and egg dilemma is even less convincing.

How so? As Spiegel Online correctly points out, there are currently only 392 registered hydrogen vehicles in Germany, but 71 hydrogen filling stations. Assuming that the locations of the stations and registered cars are somehow evenly spread out, simple math shows that each filling station has to serve only six hydrogen vehicles as of today. To take this further and under the assumption of a sufficient delivery capacity of each individual hydrogen filling station: Even with an average fill-up duration of ten minutes, the current network of 71 filling stations could potentially fill up all 392 registered hydrogen vehicles in less than one hour.

Within the course of a 12-hr day, over 5,000 cars could be refilled, which is more than 13 times the actual number of registered vehicles. Another important fact to consider is that hydrogen vehicles do not need to be refueled on a daily basis. A look at the average driving distances in Germany shows that 95 percent of all cars travel less than 60 miles on any given day. Currently available hydrogen vehicles already achieve ranges of 250 to 335 miles per tank. This means that hydrogen car drivers in most cases would only have to fill up once per work week. The theoretical number of hydrogen vehicles that could be refueled at already existing filling stations, would therefore –calculated conservatively – increase by a factor of three, bringing the total number to around 15,000 vehicles that could be fueled.

Looking at the numbers for the US, we get similar results: In California – which is quite comparable to Germany in terms of area and population size – hydrogen vehicles already belong to the regular street scene. The filling station-to-car ratio here shows that the calculation applied before is by no means unrealistic. There are around 6,000 registered hydrogen vehicles in California, but only 39 operating hydrogen filling stations. That means that approximately 154 vehicles share a hydrogen station. And most commonly there are no signs of supply bottlenecks. Moreover, infrastructure experts claim that the network of hydrogen filling stations in California could supply up to 8,000 vehicles, based on the actual performance of existing dispensers. Transferring these real-life California numbers back to Germany, approximately 14,500 hydrogen vehicles could already be fueled today by the existing stations, proving that there is no hydrogen fuel bottleneck in Germany.

Like every technology, hydrogen fueled cars have advantages and disadvantages. However, a look at California shows that their adaption is a question of strategy, will, and in the end money. Hydrogen vehicles can be leased here for USD 399 per month (duration of 36 months, plus taxes and down payment). In addition, there is a USD 15,000 fuel voucher and various other incentives – an offer that has already convinced 20 times more customers than in Germany. So there is no need to prematurely kill a promising technology, with an argument that simply does not apply. Some eggs have already been laid and we should be a little more confident that chickens will emerge from it.

//Taking a detour: Reaching your audience away from the jammed content highways

By guest author Benjamin Brueckner.

While marketing focuses on reaching the end consumer, PR is mainly communicating with media representatives. Naturally, there are overlaps between these two communications disciplines. But one challenge, in particular, is uniting the two departments:

The classic communications channels are as packed as JFK is on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. However, the difference is that the content traffic jam is not only happening around holidays, but has become a permanent condition. One has to ask the question: How can companies reach their audiences in spite of these communications traffic jams? Which detours are available?

The direct way is not always the shortest

Mathematically speaking, the shortest way between two points is a straight. But client acquisition or media relations is not following those rules. Marketing and PR professionals do not operate in a vacuum but often find themselves stuck in overwhelming waves of content rushing towards the audience. Press releases, pop ups, and all other content formats – the predicted information overload caused by too much content is real, not only for consumers on the receiving end but also for communications professionals who are sending the messages.

The consequence is that people start to automatically filter their media consumption, which makes it harder for companies to reach clients and journalists. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible.

No cutting through on highly-trafficked communications channels

Resembling a highway in LA, communications channels now often have to deal with miles-long traffic jams. Participants in these traffic jams are numerous publishers that try to get as fast as possible from Point A – their channel – to Point B – their audience, may it be a client or a journalist.

But what happens when communicators don’t follow the mainstream but make a turn to take a detour to get to their destination? With respect to communications, the question is: How can you reach your audience in a different way to avoid the content traffic jam on the major communications highways?

Targeting the personal environment

The importance of the personal environment is often underestimated, even though communications professionals mostly agree that word-of-mouth plays an important role in terms of buying decisions. A study showed that every third personal recommendation has led to a new sale. But not nearly all PR and marketing people make use of this fact to create campaigns that target the social environment of their clients.

When looking at the customer journey, people often focus on online and offline touchpoints with the brand. What is often neglected is the value generated by social interactions: a happy customer telling her friend about the new hair saloon; the employee who tells the CEO about a production company whose website he visited a couple of weeks ago.

Both examples show that the brands did not personally convince the friend or the CEO, but their social contacts did. Such recommendations can happen arbitrarily. Or they can be created.

The same applies for journalists. In this case, companies should focus on their own story and mission statement: An exciting founder’s story on the company website can inspire people to tell their journalist friends about the brand. Or it can inspire the journalists themselves.

Avoiding dead ends

To prevent detours from becoming a dead end, companies need clearly defined secondary target audiences that are in close relation to their customers and have certain level of influence. It is not effective to target a huge corporation’s interns with ads or PR pitches if their opinions are never hear by upper management.

A more goal-oriented approach is to target the levels below top management. There, you are more likely to find employees that can influence decision makers. A senior team member could, for example, convince the marketing director to work with a new innovative company by giving his or her recommendation.

However, with small businesses that have flat organizational structures, even a new and young employee could influence the owners by telling them about his or her recent experience with a new payment method, which can inspire the owners to implement it in the store.

So the question is: How can companies define which secondary target groups are right? The answer is: They have to analyze the social connections of their primary target audiences.

Three steps towards a clever communications detour

Three steps have proven to be working well for B2B as well as for B2C when it comes to defining your communications detour:

1. Define your primary target audience: Each service and product has to focus on a primary target audience. Marketing and PR have to focus their campaigns clearly on these targets, which is the normal practice.

2. Target the social environment of customers and journalists: Many advertising and communications professionals stop strategizing after this first step and move on with implementation. However, it is advisable to plan various side campaigns in support of the main campaign to target the social environment of the primary target audience.

3. Identify further social contact points: If you have done a thorough analysis of your primary target audience, you should know their hobbies: Which sports do they do, which cultural interests do they have? Based on these answers, you can create your supporting side campaigns that target additional potential social contacts.

An example: A granola bar brand sponsors a discount for a local gym membership. Automatically, trainers at the gym who recommend a membership will also promote the granola bar with it. In addition, the gym can also sell the granola bars at its locations.

The granola bar brand thereby achieves multiple communications objectives: Brand awareness, reputation management, customer engagement through secondary audience and increased sales. The gym can increase its membership numbers and new member benefit from a discount – a win-win situation for all participants.

// About the author

Benjamin Brückner is a journalist, blogger and founder of the online platform Freelance Start. After years of working in the editorial teams of radio and television stations, he published two books and is now working as an editor and newsletter director at Zielbar. On his personal blog, he regularly writes reviews, book tips and analysis of social topics. In his private life, he is interested in philosophy, history, sports, digital news and creative writing.

//Tribute in Light: In remembrance of the World Trade Center Twin Towers

The Tribute Lights to remember the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center

For the 18th time the Tribute in Light illuminated the skies of Downtown Manhattan on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The two vertical lights symbolize the fallen Twin Towers of the World Trade Center that collapsed in 2001.

Birds “trapped” in the light beams (Photo: nytimes.com/Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

From our South office windows, we have a perfect view of Downtown Manhattan, and on a clear night like it was, we got to clearly see the blueish lights as they reached far into the sky. Located a little bit south of the actual World Trade Center, the installation consists of 88 searchlights – pretty impressive!

Side story: According to the New York Times, the bright lights are endangering approximately 160,000 birds every year. The beams lure the birds off their normal migratory flight paths, which puts them at risk of exhaustion, starvation and injuries due to the amount of glass skyscrapers in the area. Luckily, a group of scientists and volunteers keep an eye out for the birds and make sure the lights are actually shut down for a short period of time if the number of birds trapped gets too high.

//Welcome to the world of OSK New York!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the world of OSK New York! You might have seen our website where we showcase our best work and talk about our impressive skill set – but this is not the same thing just in a slightly different format.

Our blog will introduce you to our micro cosmos, the world of OSK New York: NYC agency life meets creative/fun ideas meets relevant topics of local and global scale.

Expect to see impressions from the latest and greatest of our travel and adventures, our thoughts on new trends and cultural issues, topics that are of interest to us due to our work or personal backgrounds, and simply fun stuff. We will touch on anything from experiential pop-up spaces, flying cars, and PR stunts to food halls, the curviest roads to drive on, and the environment.

Our team consists of highly organized and wildly creative individuals who have lived and worked on four continents. With our different backgrounds, we complement each other in the work we do. On a personal level, we have grown into a multicultural family.

We hope you enjoy our stories!