Editor’s comment: CES 2022 – Which trends will shape tomorrow’s tech?…

Author : Mark Gradwell | Editor | EPDT

03 January 2022

CES 2022_Beyond the Everyday
CES 2022_Beyond the Everyday

As we ease into another new year, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – on both our industry & on life as we know it – still rumbles on. Many industry trade shows were postponed or cancelled during the first year of the coronavirus crisis – and those few that did go ahead were often reduced in scope & scale.

A version of this editorial leader was originally featured in the January 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

But as 2021 progressed, and we started to learn to live with the virus, some shows did return – adapting to be ‘COVID-secure’ and often beefing up their digital offering for those not able or willing to attend in person. Now, in the face of Omicron and another wave, things begin to look a little uncertain again, with Embedded World pushing out its date to June 2022...

But (as things stand at time of writing, in December 2021, at least), the world’s largest consumer electronics show, CES will return to its usual live, in-person format in Las Vegas, from January 5th to 8th. A new hybrid format will retain and build on the digital experience it delivered last year in 2021, when the show could not take place face-to-face, allowing a wider online audience to join those visitors that will travel to the physical show in the US trade show capital.

And as the show returns to Vegas, it will highlight the next wave of innovation that will shape 2022 and the economy of tomorrow via themes built around two technology megatrends: the expansion of intelligent automation and the evolution of the nascent metaverse.

Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT
Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT

Advancements in cloud infrastructure have allowed tech companies to pursue more expansive uses of intelligent automation, says Brian Comiskey, Industry Intelligence Manager for show organiser, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). He thinks this will be critical as tight labour markets will require artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to play a larger role in a post-COVID economy.

A mainstay of past CES shows, autonomous vehicle (AV) technology will once again be firmly on display, with the intelligent automation tech’s entire value chain highlighted throughout CES 2022. From AV chipmakers, like Qualcomm, to leaders in AV perception technologies (including LIDAR), to autonomous vehicle pioneers like Waymo, CES 2022 will showcase intelligent mobility.

Expanding applications for AVs will be front and centre at the show, including enterprise fleet applications and self-driving trucks. While rid eshare and passenger vehicle use cases rightfully make the headlines, the promise and potential of AVs for enterprise is now starting to look even closer to fruition. As ongoing constraints in the global supply chain persist, automation in portions of the process could be deployed to help alleviate shipping bottlenecks.

The pandemic has also accelerated the evolution of interactive, online and on-demand consumer products and services across a collection of industries to shape an emerging metaverse – à la the Oasis in Ernest Cline’s book, Ready Player One (adapted for film by Steven Spielberg). CES 2022 will feature the technologies that will form the foundations of this next generation iteration of the internet.

EPDT January 2022 cover image
EPDT January 2022 cover image

The transformation of gaming into a dominant social media platform amid the pandemic sits at the core of the rise of the metaverse. Games like Roblox and Fortnite have allowed users to program their own games and build virtual worlds to construct shared experiences, such as concerts and even graduation ceremonies in digital universes.

XR (or extended reality) technology – a combination of augmented, virtual and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) tech – at CES will underscore the elevation of these technologies to their role as vital gateways to the metaverse. Tech on display will include AR smart glasses that will power the metaverse and AR lenses for ecommerce that will allowing users to shop brands’ catalogues and try on clothes virtually, with AR lenses superimposing clothes on the consumer.

It will be fascinating to follow along online and try to understand which trends will shape tomorrow’s electronics technologies…

EPDT's January 2022 issue also contains features on Sensor technologies and Medical applications, as well as a show preview for Southern Electronics & Manufacturing 2022 (p10 digital issue or web version), plus the latest edition of EPDT's twice-yearly Electronics Distribution supplement. Read more on what's inside EPDT this month…

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