Five things to watch for at CES, the Las Vegas tech show

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest technology and consumer electronics trade show, opens Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, with hopes of a revival after two difficult years marked by the pandemic.

Here are five key issues to watch in the lead up to Sunday.

What to you?

Three years ago, the high-profile Las Vegas crowd drew more than 117,000 visitors just weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic paralyzed the planet.

Las Vegas Convention Center (Robyn BECK/AFP)

In 2021, only 40,000 people remained to attend the hybrid version of CES amid a tidal wave of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that encouraged many people to stay at home.

“It’s a great feeling to see people reunited after two or three dark years,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organized this spectacular rally in the middle of the desert.

Organizers are hoping to attract more than 100,000 attendees for this vintage CES event, which was first held in New York in 1967.

The car is gaining speed

The automotive sector will dominate this year, with around 300 exhibitors from the industry gathering in a dedicated exhibition hall, including presentations from Stellantis, BMW and Honda executives.

“This year, you’ll almost feel like you’re at a car dealership,” says Kevan Yalovitz, head of software and platforms at Accenture.

The car’s technological acceleration now makes CES an obvious target amid the loss of momentum from the Detroit show, which was suspended for three years before restarting on a smaller scale last September.

Although the arrival of fully autonomous cars seems further away than initially expected, a large number of innovations introduced this year aim to replace the driver with software.

Among the innovations is the ability to remotely update the car’s control software, such as a computer or smartphone.

Yalowitz says these apps “can instantly change the vehicle’s operating parameters, identifying problems that can be fixed without the driver’s knowledge.”

It sticks to the Metaverse

Last year’s CES was dominated by the idea that headset-enabled virtual reality was the future of the Internet.

But the enthusiasm over a bad year for Meta (formerly Facebook), considered the engine of the metaverse, has died down. The group from Menlo Park, California is still struggling to convince users to take the plunge, despite huge investments.

Metaverse is “not yet a mainstream category,” said Creative Strategies’ Carolina Milanesi.

Virtual worlds will be in focus this year as well. Thus, several companies and speakers will show the possible applications of these parallel universes.

Closed revolution

Connected devices have been gaining momentum for almost a decade, but the market remains highly fragmented with dozens of manufacturers and many competing standards and standards.

Installing the Google brand in Las Vegas
Google sign installation in Las Vegas (Robyn BECK / AFP)

Under the auspices of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), more than 550 companies collaborated to define a common protocol that experts hailed as revolutionary.

With a new standard called Matter, which debuted in October, it’s now possible to buy almost any brand of device and plug it into your home’s existing ecosystem, whether it’s powered by Amazon’s Alexa or not. Google Nest apps.

Techsponential’s Avi Greengart announces that “some products have already received certification for compliance with this new standard,” and more products will be lining the aisles at CES.

“We will see Matter devices syncing with doorbells (entry), vacuum cleaners and more,” the analyst adds.

green technology

Climate change has been a major theme at CES for several years, even if its events attract less public attention than the latest electronic gadgets.

This week, green technology will have its own exhibition space, which is a sign of the organizers’ desire to give more visibility to the topic.

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