LAS VEGAS, Nevada—The tech industry troubles of 2022 have not dampened enthusiasm at the vast annual trade show known as CES, long known for its reviving carnival atmosphere. commercial market.
The show, which opened on Thursday in Las Vegas and is expected to attract around 100,000 industry participants from around the world, is on the rebound after being forced to switch to a remote format on Monday. 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic and works in hybrid format last year. The show has seen a much larger increase in activity and crowds than last year, when CES saw less than 50,000 people attend in person when the Omicron variant swept over the US
But in the face of that disruption, the gathering formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show has built a reputation for attracting true technocrats from all over the world who don’t hesitate. echo each other’s optimistic view of the future they are creating.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that tech industry leaders like Amazon, Meta, and others have laid off staff on a massive scale recently; chaos in cryptocurrencies and NFT realms; and concerns about recession due to high inflation just let some air escape from the party ball.
While acknowledging those and other difficulties, Steve Koenig, research vice president for the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes CES, told reporters Wednesday that the sector remains strong, for both large companies and startups.
“We know that technology is solving many of the world’s biggest challenges” such as climate change and global hunger, he said, echoing the theme of this year’s exhibition “human security.”
“There is another way, there is a better way to fight inflation, and that is to increase productivity.“
— teve Koenig, Consumer Electronics Association
During a media preview of CES, Koenig also suggested that the current economic headwinds actually present an opportunity for the sector. Citing British economist Christopher Freeman’s observation that innovation tends to accelerate during economic downturns, he argues that tightening monetary policies led by the Federal Reserve and other regulators implemented by other international banking regulators, a policy he says is hindering both businesses and consumers.
“There is another way, there is a better way to fight inflation, and that is to increase productivity,” which the tech industry excels at, he said.
Koenig noted that both the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to an innovation boom. The former gave birth to 4G, enabling broadband internet; while the latter forever changing the notion that work can only be done directlyhe say.
He also challenged the notion that the tech sector has been severely set back by recent waves, and said progress continues to be rapid on many fronts. He highlighted several technology trends to back his point, including:
- The introduction of faster, more reliable 5G—fifth generation mobile network—this will enable what he calls the “super inverse of things” by allowing developers to connect all sorts of machines, objects, and devices online.
- Advances in autonomous vehicle technology, now including trucks, ships, airplanes and heavy machinery such as cars John Deere self-driving tractor featured at CES.
- the growth of robots at workwhich Koenig claims will create “a new kind of machine collaboration” that can reduce risks for workers and reduce insurance costs for manufacturers.
- Increased production of electric vehicles and the “evolution of electrification ecosystems” needed to power them, such as new battery technology and more charging options.
- New capabilities in remote health monitoring, an extension of telemedicine boom caused by the pandemic.
- Continued growth in the game, fueled by the growth of inverse and immersive hardware.
While discussing such big ideas has always been an important part of CES, the show’s biggest draw has always been arguably the show floor for attendees to see the latest devices on display and performed on the 4.6 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center. as well as plenty of space in nearby hotels. Even before noon, the Las Vegas Monorail was at full capacity again and again. Few people wear masks — a telltale sign that COVID-19 is no longer affecting the show like it did in previous years.
Those new products, devices, and applications can range from fascinating to outlandish. A few were spotted on the first tour through some of the show’s remote floors on Wednesday and Thursday:
- The “contactless” cooking machine prepares fresh ramen without human hands.
- The world’s first “intelligent bird feeder” designed specifically for hummingbirds.
- A pocket-sized multilingual defibrillator that its creators say could dramatically reduce the number of fatal heart attacks outside of medical facilities.
- The “smart sleep mask” tracks REM (rapid eye movement) with the aim of improving the user’s sleep time.
While many of the advancements highlighted at CES are remarkable, several tech industry observers I spoke to said they don’t expect any sensational announcements during the show, which runs until the end of the year. end of Sunday.
But an interesting piece of news surfaced late Wednesday during the 45-minute press conference of the Sony Corp CEO. Kenichiro Yoshida.
While highlighting his company’s many entertainment, software, and hardware initiatives, Yoshida unveiled a prototype of a brand new electric vehicle called “Afeela,” developed in partnership by Honda.
He said the car will feature autonomous driving as well as “the best in-cabin entertainment system”, powered by technology from hardware maker Qualcomm, including the “Snapdragon” digital chassis. . He said the companies plan to make the first deliveries of the round-corner around 2026.
“We are writing a new chapter in the way people move,” he said.
As Reuters noted, the announcement shows how manufacturers are increasingly focusing on the cockpit experience in cars, especially as autonomous driving improves. Such added services could allow companies to develop new revenue streams by selling subscription services to what is considered the epitome of a fixed audience.