Last year at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada there were over 4,000 exhibitors and more than 170,000 attendees. This year, with the event gone virtual, there are about half that number of exhibitors. Many big companies that in the past dominated the exhibit space opted out of CES 2021.
Still, the companies that did participate showcased many new, innovative products and something for everyone. Surveying the CES Show’s exhibitors and media coverage three trends stand out:
EVs and Autonomous, 5G & Smart Cities
• Despite some top auto manufacturers not participating in the show, EV and AV has been the hot topic at the Show, as well as for those suppliers engaged in EV and AV technology.
• For 2021, along with autonomous vehicles and electrification, technologies included cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS). Many of these technologies will be driven by the advancement in 5G networks, and overlaying 5G in smart cities.
Bottom Line: With the upcoming Biden administration strongly promoting EV and Mobility solutions—companies large and small see a huge upside.
Technology Blending Work & Personal Lives
• Tied to COVID, numerous vendors have showcased products that bridge the gap between work and personal lives. For the past year many have been working out of home offices, and that trend probably isn't going to go away.
• With many working from home, some of the biggest innovations in 2021 are in AI, and the greater use of voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa.
• Expect to see more smart wearables, which provide a direct link to voice assistant providers without having to access your phone.
Bottom Line: Look to digitalize our lives more in 2021.
Health, Wellness and Workplace safety
• Also, in the wake of COVID, healthcare and wellness are also seen as strong trends at the 2021 show.
• More so, this years’ companies feel technology can benefit or change society as well as providing products and services to help individuals and companies get back to the “new normal” safely.
• This includes smart air purifiers, water filtration systems and UV disinfecting lights as companies look to fill the demand.
Bottom line: People are paying a lot more attention to their personal health and wellness, and the health and wellness environment of their home and workplace.
And one more thing—Robots get more practical
• CES 2021 finds robots taking on increased importance as ways to automate processes tied to COVID, maintaining social distancing, and serving as home companions and personal assistants.
• For example, in hospitals, robots are being used to take patients’ temperatures and vital signs as they come in and triage them accordingly, as well as disinfecting rooms using UV lights.
• A Show favorite is tSouth Korea’s Hancom Toki H2—one listed by Autoweek as “10 Cool Things from the Virtual CES—From flying cars to flexible dashboards.” Toki comes with many features and serves as a companion and personal assistant. The home robot allows for customized conversations between family members and users. It also actively engages in daily life based on facial recognition technology and educational content.
Bottom Line: Looking into the year ahead we’ll find game changing robots serving in new roles at schools, hospitals, offices, gyms, and public transportation. So too, robots like Toki using AI can serve as interactive personal companions and assistants—the need for both public and private roles heightened under the pandemic.