What to expect at CES 2022: Metaverse, wearables to make up for mass exodus?

What to expect at CES 2022: Metaverse, wearables to make up for mass exodus?
3 Jan, 2022

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a traditional curtain raiser of sorts for the global technology industry, has made news recently due to a mass exodus of participants from the event. Previously slated to return to a physical format after an online-only 2021 event, plans were derailed as the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to rake up the numbers in a surge of Covid-19 cases around the world. The three-day long event will be held from 5th to 7th January. 

As of publishing, the list of companies that have pulled out of CES 2022 include AMD, Amazon, Google, IBM, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, OnePlus, Twitter and more -- thereby accounting for some of the biggest names in global consumer and enterprise technology.

Even as this list dominates conversations around CES 2022, we take a look at some of the key trends that we can expect at one of the biggest annual technology shows in the world. 

Metaverse, NFTs and cryptocurrencies 

In an interview with Wired, Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing at the Consumer Technology Association, the organisation behind CES every year, reportedly talks about the emergence of new sectors that go beyond the more traditional consumer technology stores on the show floor. Beyond space-tech, key trends that Foster talks about are metaverse projects, non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces and cryptocurrencies. 

Also read: Three digital-twin trends to watch out for in 2022

While this would possibly still be a nascent stage trend, Foster’s projection to Wired suggests that CES 2022 will feature a number of metaverse projects and NFT marketplaces showcasing their products at the conference. It remains to be seen how the virtual showcases of metaverse projects work out, since the companies in question wouldn’t quite be able to use augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR) to simulate worlds. Nevertheless, it only sounds natural. 

More wearables 

India witnessed a steep growth of budget segment wearable devices as the Covid-19 pandemic broke. The inclusion of SpO2 (blood oxygen monitoring) sensors in affordable wearables, coupled with an onus of checking on health and fitness while being at home due to the pandemic was a clear reason why the wearables segment saw a growth trend in the country. At CES 2022 (and on a global scale), this may only expand. 

Reports claim that this trend of home fitness may see new, innovative products by existing and new companies alike, at CES 2022. 

Work from home and smart home automation 

We’re bundling two individual categories under this one, because with the pandemic’s next wave upon us, it’s important to acknowledge how interconnected home automation and work from home products have become. 

Talking about this to Tom’s Hardware, Avi Greengart, founder and chief analyst of American technology analysis firm Techsponential, states that CES 2022 is essentially the first major brand-agnostic technology conference that is being hosted on a larger scale (than what we’re used to in the new normal) -- ever since the pandemic broke out. 

This, in turn, means that CES 2022 will showcase a host of work from home products. This suggests possible smart home speakers that can multifunction as a smart home IoT (internet of things) hub as well, featuring high resolution displays, integrated connectivity support, higher frame rates for smoother videos, better speakers and sharper webcams to enable a comparably better remote work experience. 

In fact, most reports claim that larger screens and sharper cameras will be a trend across all products in CES 2022. In the smart home category, this means contactless smart door locks, AI-enabled security cameras and the likes. 

Electric mobility 

CES 2022 is also expected to showcase a wide variety of electric mobility products -- from the more advanced, luxurious and tech-laden EVs (electric vehicles), to functional, last-mile offerings with global usage potential. 

The conference is expected to showcase a host of electric mobility solutions from companies such as Bosch and Continental, while the likes of BMW and Chevrolet may also make global presentations on EVs. 

Next-gen PCs 

Despite the global chip shortage, CES 2022 is expected to showcase products based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake and AMD’s Zen 4. This, in turn, would mean a number of laptop and desktop unveilings based on the most powerful processors on offer for the next year. 

A Wired report also suggests that CES 2022 may be a place where chipmakers showcase their latest work on machine learning (ML) and AI. This would further lead to showcasing of exactly what advanced scenarios these chips may be able to pull off -- hence displaying advanced automobile, cyber security, enterprise automation and personal computing use cases.