CES 2022 is starting to look a lot more like CES 2021, thanks to the latest Covid-19 outbreak triggered by the Omicron variant. While the Consumer Technology Association – the organization that runs CES – already expected smaller crowds than in the pre-Covid years, the days leading up to CES 2022 started saw plenty of companies, from Amazon to Google via Microsoft, go virtual, rather than a physical presence at the show.
On December 25, however, Gary Shapiro, CEO of CTA, said that “CES will continue and must continue” in a guest column in the Las Vegas Review.
It doesn’t matter if someone shows up in person, we’ve spoken to a few analysts to ask them what they expect to see at the show – and if they plan to go. Here are the trends to watch as CES 2022 begins.
CES 2022: Hybrid works
Now that it appears that a number of companies have moved to a hybrid working model – where their employees only come to an office two to three days a week – there has been greater innovation around the office at home and remote conferencing technology.
Although there was not enough development time between the first Covid outbreak and CES 2021, tech companies have now been able to design products for this new work environment. Expect these to grab some attention at this year’s CES.
“This is the first major show where products to market have been designed after the onset of the pandemic,” said Avi Greengart, founder of Techsponential. “That means there’s a lot more focus on webcam quality, audio and AI noise cancellation, and work productivity from anywhere. “
CES 2022: Automotive news
One of the driving innovations of the automotive category on display at CES will be autonomous vehicles and systems – or at least those that claim to be.
“I’ve had a few demo presentations of fully autonomous cars and trucks, so for sure that will be on the show,” said Carolina Milanesi, Founder and Senior Analyst of The Heart of Tech. “At the end of the day, that’s the nirvana that they are [all] trying to sell, even though we know it will take years to come.
Greengart agrees. “I get a lot of arguments for electrification and advanced driver assistance technologies,” he said, “but these are still just small steps towards full autonomy.”
Another item that should get some airtime, Milanesi says, is battery technology – will battery advancements allow the best electric cars to travel farther on a charge? “[It’s] much less sexy but critical, because autonomy and electricity go hand in hand and we must improve autonomy, ”she added.
CES 2022: AR / VR
While augmented and virtual reality devices received a lot of attention towards the end of the year – not thanks to Facebook’s rebranding as Meta and rumors of a Apple VR and mixed reality headset coming in 2022 – the tech we’ll see at CES won’t be much different from what’s already out there.
“I recommend avoiding drinking games at a press conference around the word ‘metaverse’ because you’ll die of liver disease before the week ends,” says Avi Greengart. “At the same time, I don’t expect to see more than a handful of new glasses and smart headsets at the show.
“The technologies required for mainstream mainstream AR are still developing and the biggest companies investing in this space, such as Apple, Meta, Google and Microsoft, are showcasing all of their products at their own events. “
CES 2022: televisions
As always, expect bigger and bigger TVs, as our TV trends to watch in 2022. At the same time, we’ll see some of the tech introduced last year, such as Samsung’s mini-LED and LG’s OLED evo, start to transform into more affordable sets.
We could also see the launch of sets with QD-OLED, which promises to combine the brightness of LEDs with the color accuracy of OLED assemblies.
More than just awesome to watch, televisions are becoming more than just a device for watching movies. “In recent times, we have also seen the TV become the home hub from a smart home perspective, but also from a home life perspective during Covid,” Milanesi said. To this end, we should put more emphasis on alternative uses, such as fitness and school.
CES 2022: connected home news
Smart home devices are likely to get a lot smarter, says Blake Kozak, Omdia’s senior senior analyst for smart homes. For example, he predicts we’ll hear a lot more about AI systems that will make security cameras more capable of detecting things like people and packages.
Kozak says he expects a lot of brands to announce they will work with Matter, the new (ish) smart home standard backed by Amazon, Apple, Google and others.
Adopting Matter will also allow businesses to create a more seamless smart home experience – like with Apple’s HomeKit – and offer more services enabled by existing hardware, like Alexa Guard. “The focus will be more on combining use cases and services in a single application,” Kozak said. “With services being an expanding backbone of the smart home, brands will begin to focus on moving beyond hardware, which Matter will facilitate. “