CES 2022: Tech gets closer to the customer than ever before
Earlier this year, CES returned to its rightful home of Las Vegas – after a move to online-only last year – and set the bar for reimagined trade shows. Despite a 70% drop in attendance against the last in-person show in 2020, over 40,000 flocked to the hybrid CES to see more than two thousand companies define a potential future for tech, in a mixture of virtual and physical presentations. CES 2022 witnessed a global convergence of world-leading expertise, post-pandemic optimism, and tech megatrends that will shape how we live in the next year and beyond – a handful of which we delve into below.
Tech companies became auto companies
Electric and autonomous vehicles were omnipresent at CES, but it was Big Tech royalty that made its presence in the market known. With a tunnel vision for smart mobility, Google and Amazon announced partnerships with leading automakers Volvo and Stellantis, respectively. The companies plan to integrate their software into vehicles’ existing ecosystems and with customers’ devices. Soon, Volvo drivers will be able to ask Google to adjust car settings and the Stellantis STLA SmartCockpit platform will accommodate Amazon marketplace and payment services. Sony also touted its Electric Vehicle (EV) proposition by unveiling its dedicated car division, Sony Mobility, as well as a prototype for its experience-led, 5G-connected EV: the Vision-S SUV.
With AI steering innovation in auto tech, it’s no surprise that classic automakers such as GM also pulled the covers on new autonomous concepts. Cadillac debuted its “sexy” InnerSpace model, using AI-driven biometric inputs to immerse passengers in front of a panoramic screen and allow them to choose from Augmented Reality entertainment and wellness features before kicking back.
The (virtual) reality is… Metaverse
Unsurprisingly, one buzzword that was unavoidable at CES was the ‘metaverse’. What started as an ambitious concept of a 3D digital world is now quickly becoming a tangible reality. Sony teased a Virtual Reality headset for PlayStation 5 users, boasting eye-tracking technology and a built-in motor to create more lifelike interactions and vibrations. After acquiring robotics firm Boston Dynamics, Hyundai also capitalised on the metaverse and revealed its mission to bridge the physical and virtual worlds with robots: When you’re in one place, your robot – or “digital twin” – will allow you to feel you’re in another by being your eyes and ears. At CES, the firm inspired imagination with an example of sending a robot to Mars and the user experiencing it using VR goggles.
The weird and wonderful
Often resolving problems we didn’t realise we had, smart home devices showed up in a big way at CES. LG set the pace for wacky inventions with the reveal of its WashTower – drawing on big data to sense load volume, material type, and stains to determine wash settings. The appliance can then share its recommendations with the paired dryer. A sensor-laden litter tray might also have pet owners questioning how they fared without one for so long. “Leo’s Loo Too” connects via an app to monitor a cat’s weight, its toilet habits, and supports home assistants such as Amazon Alexa to turn it off and on verbally.
The future of tech has arrived early
As with all of these announcements, the year ahead will show how many become reality instead of just making a splash during one of the busiest weeks in the tech news calendar. And, to find out whether some of the most distinguished tech journalists agree with the tech emerging from CES, get in touch to get a copy of the recording of our Tech Trends 2022 webinar, where the likes of Lucy Hedges, Parmy Olson, Geoff White and Rory Cellan-Jones recently shared their predictions for the year ahead.
Written by Hope Silveira, Business & Technology