In 2021, CES – the world's largest consumer electronics fair, held annually in Las Vegas (USA) – was held for the first time in its history only virtually, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this year the event will also be held in person. It is expected that between January 5 and 7, more than 2,200 exhibitors will show their technological innovations in the city of the State of Nevada. If 2021 was the year in which digital health gained more strength than ever, in this edition food and space technology, the metaverse, autonomous vehicles or NFTs (unique digital assets) will become the main protagonists .
Large companies such as Samsung, LG or Sony have confirmed their presence at the fair. But when many thought they were touching the end of the pandemic, omicron arrived, a more infectious variant of covid-19 that has caused an increase in infections in multiple countries in recent days. The health situation has led several technology companies to cancel their attendance at CES. Among them, giants such as Google, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft or Meta (the company that includes Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram).
After the incessant trickle of casualties in recent weeks, the CTA, the organizing association of the event, has decided to shorten its duration and dispense with its last day. The CES kicks off this Wednesday and instead of ending this Saturday, as originally planned, it will end on Friday. During those days, the fair will experience a frenetic display of advances and new devices that will mark the major trends in consumer technology in the coming months.
A few months ago Facebook decided to change its name and be called Meta. This decision, taken in the midst of a reputational crisis, was quite a declaration of intent: the company intends to develop the metaverse, a kind of virtual world in which users can interact with each other, entertain themselves or even buy and sell products and services. . Several companies have been trying to develop this type of space for years and will take advantage of CES to exhibit all their advances.
“Games like Roblox and Fortnite have allowed users to easily program their own games and build virtual worlds to build shared experiences like concerts and even graduation ceremonies in digital universes,” they say from the CTA. Exhibitors like Razer are expected to showcase the latest in gaming technology and its connection to the metaverse.
Some technology companies are working so that extended reality – a concept that brings together augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) – is the gateway to the metaverse. MAD Gaze plans to exhibit its augmented reality glasses as an example of hardware to power these virtual worlds. It will also attend the Snap fair, which will show how it uses this technology so that the user can 'try on' clothes virtually.
Autonomous vehicles are one of the great technological promises that have been taking center stage at CES for years. The increase in purchases during the pandemic and the lack of carriers and trucks have caused chaos in the terminals of some ports. “As current constraints in the global supply chain persist, automation in parts of the process, for example with TuSimple's autonomous trucks, could be implemented to provide much-needed solutions to shipping bottlenecks,” they say. the CTA.
Parking assistants and technologies for collision avoidance and emergency braking are redefining all types of vehicles: “From delivery commercials to race cars.” Despite the fact that large companies such as General Motors or Waymo have given up attending the fair due to the health situation, companies such as Mitsubishi Electric or Hyundai Mobis are expected to show their technological innovations in Las Vegas.
From bleeding hamburgers that do not have meat to machines capable of kneading up to 235 buns a day, kitchen robots that use artificial intelligence to reproduce dishes from prestigious chefs or indoor gardens connected to the Internet. All these products, exhibited at CES in recent years, demonstrate the potential of technology to transform the food industry.
This year the fair opens an area dedicated exclusively to food technology and innovation. Among the companies that will initially attend this great annual event, is Impossible Foods. The company aims to eliminate the need for animals in the food chain by 2035, and to do so is trying to develop 100% plant-based seafood, chicken, milk or eggs. Others such as Yo-Kai Express also stand out, with its vending machines that prepare hot food in less than a minute; Bear Robotics, with its waiter robots; o Cecilia.ai, an assistant capable of conversing with customers and preparing multiple cocktails.
Spatial technology Space technology is another of the new categories in this edition. In recent years, great tycoons such as Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson or Elon Musk have tried to gain a foothold in the space race. “Collaborations between NASA and American businessmen have the potential to further transform space travel and lead to otherworldly breakthroughs and discoveries,” they say from the CTA.
The organization is convinced that advances in this sector “guide everything”: “From life and discovery on Mars and the Moon to weather forecasting, satellite systems and long-distance communications in the home.” While some companies like the Sierra Nevada Corporation are trying to create inflatable space habitats for long-term stays, others are looking to create machines useful on space missions. Bosch has developed a robot whose objective is to detect malfunctions in the International Space Station from the noises that sound around it.
Fever of NFTs
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have grabbed all sorts of headlines in recent months. What if the first tweet in history is sold for 2.9 million euros. What if the film industry uses them as a means of financing. Or what if a 12-year-old boy earns 340,000 euros from the sale of his collection of digital images of whales. This year, for the first time, CES will have a space dedicated to NFTs, unique digital assets that cannot be exchanged with each other, since no two are the same.
“The growing popularity of non-fungible tokens offers a new opportunity for creators, artists, musicians and influencers to sell works that would not otherwise find a market,” they say from the CTA. For example, some startups allow you to apply for a loan using NFTs as collateral. Once the loan is repaid, the asset will be transferred back to the user. There are also several platforms that connect artists and investors who are enthusiastic about new technologies and companies that create devices to show and verify which NFTs a user owns. Brian Comiskey, manager of industrial intelligence at the CTA, assures that “NFTs can make blockchain technology be more popular in the eyes of the general public”.
Apart from the fever of NFTs, space technology, autonomous vehicles or the metaverse, many other technologies will be addressed at the fair. Karen Chupka, vice president of the CTA, underlines that some of them, such as digital health or the smart home, are growing. Among the trends to be discussed at CES will also be 5G, wearables (Technology to wear), robotics, drones, artificial intelligence or video games.
How many people will attend the appointment?
They also claim to be “actively tracking emerging news and science around the new omicron variant.” We will continue to monitor and adjust our health plans and protocols as necessary. The attendance, according to Shapiro, will not be the same as in 2020. Given the health situation, it is difficult to predict how many people will attend the fair this year. “We don't know,” he says. The head of the CES insists that there are many people registered, but acknowledges that some companies may ultimately choose not to travel.
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