What to anticipate at CES 2023 •

Taking a deep breath as I write these phrases: Subsequent week, will return to our first in-person CES in three years.

Phew. It felt good to lastly get that off my chest.

The final time our crew flew to Las Vegas for the occasion was January 2020. An auspicious date. It wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than all the world went pear-shaped. It was an enormous present, with 117,000 in attendance, per the CTA’s (Client Expertise Affiliation) figures. The occasion, which its governing physique would fairly you not name the Client Electronics Present, has turn out to be a sprawling affair in current many years.

Trying to see all the present is a idiot’s errand. Again in my youthful, extra hopeful days, I made some extent of seeing as a lot of it as I might, making a reasonably good run at strolling each official corridor. That’s turn out to be more and more inconceivable through the years, because the present has spilled out nicely past the confines of the Las Vegas Conference Heart. There’s the Venetian Conference and Expo Heart (RIP the Sands), numerous resort suites and numerous official and unofficial occasion areas orbiting across the strip.

As with numerous different stay occasion producers, the final three years have introduced a type of existential disaster for the CTA. After a lot foot dragging, the group needed to lastly admit that an in-person CES 2021 was a horrible thought for all events, and the pivot to a digital occasion was understandably rocky. Final yr, the present dovetailed with the omicron spike, and — amongst others — made the choice to sit down that one out. Extremely contagious new strains, coupled with vacation journey was a bridge too far.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 5: CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show opens its door to visitors on January 5, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

CES, the world’s largest annual shopper know-how commerce present opens its door to guests on January 5, 2022, on the Las Vegas Conference Heart in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Picture Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Company through Getty Photographs

Final yr’s numbers have been down considerably. The CTA pegged the occasion at “nicely over 40,000” folks (44,000 is the generally accepted determine), marking a 75% drop from 2020. It’s a exceptional drop, however I suppose that, given every little thing occurring on the time, cracking 40,000 was a victory of types. The CTA says it’s on observe for 100,000 this yr — seeing as how there isn’t one other outstanding COVID-19 variant, it appears doubtless that, on the very least, there will likely be a large leap from 2022.

I’m doubtless not alone in my suspicions that the CTA didn’t need folks getting too snug with 2021’s digital occasion. Nicely earlier than COVID, there had been a longstanding query across the efficacy of in-person tech occasions. CES and different {hardware} exhibits have had an edge in that debate, with a concentrate on merchandise that do profit from being seen in particular person. That mentioned, the final two years have demonstrated that it’s, certainly, doable to cowl the present moderately nicely out of your lounge.

We have now, nevertheless, moved past dialog about “the brand new regular” (truthfully, when was the final time you heard that phrase uttered in earnestness?). The brand new regular occurred after we weren’t wanting. The brand new regular is that the virus doesn’t exist as a result of we are saying it doesn’t. Have I gotten it 3 times, together with as soon as from attending a commerce present in Vegas? Nicely, yeah. Do I acknowledge that the act of attending a present that’s billing itself as drawing in 100,000 attendees means there’s an affordable expectation that I could possibly be staring down time quantity 4 in mid-January? Completely. The CES COVID protocols are right here. The TL;DR is that vaccination, testing and masking aren’t required, however you may if you need. That’s just about the usual all over the place at this level.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 05: Attendees pass through a hallway at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Day 1 of CES 2022, January 5, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, is being held in person through January 7, with some companies deciding to participate virtually only or canceling their attendance due to concerns over the major surge in COVID-19 cases. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attendees go by a hallway on the Las Vegas Conference Heart on Day 1 of CES 2022, January 5, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES is the world’s largest annual shopper know-how commerce present. Picture Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Photographs

Is there nonetheless worth in going? I believe, sure. I imply, I’m going. Different TC employees are additionally going. We’ve pared down our presence from previous years, and I think about that is going to be the case shifting ahead. Given the quantity of CES information that’s launched through press launch and the truth that just about each press convention is streamed, the fitting method to overlaying an occasion like that is be smaller and extra strategic.

This isn’t merely a product of this new, endemic virus. It’s a product of a shifting panorama for media generally. For all of my private points with the occasion, I do genuinely have nostalgia for these days of pure, uncut running a blog, again when there was nonetheless cash being dumped into format, at the start turned paywalled. There’s worth available at exhibits like this, however for, at the very least, it’s about taking the fitting conferences and discovering the people who find themselves engaged on cool issues. It’s more durable than it sounds, having come again to 1,600 unread emails after a few weeks off. We made this listing, and I plan to examine it twice extra earlier than I hop on a aircraft subsequent week.

Stellantis automaker software

Picture Credit: DENIS CHARLET/AFP / Getty Photographs

Even earlier than these specific units of circumstances, CES has been by a couple of crises of confidence. Figures have ebbed and flowed through the years, as is the character of this stuff. The neatest factor the CTA has achieved prior to now a number of years is lean into the automotive facet. What began as an embrace of high-tech in-car programs has expanded considerably. It’s nearly as if CES turned a automobile present when none of us have been wanting.

One of many present’s key performs is timing. A lot to the chagrin of each one that has tried to take pleasure in a while off through the holidays, it’s positioned as the primary present of the yr in an try and set the cadence for the remaining 11.5 months. CES technically begins on January 5, however the press days are two days prior. This yr, I’m flying out on the 2nd, simply to verify we’ve obtained our bases lined. There have been years once I’ve flown in on the first. Let’s simply say I’m glad I finished ingesting a few years again.

By positioning the present proper firstly of the yr, it’s obtained a couple of months’ leap on main auto exhibits like those held in Chicago, Atlanta and New York. The know-how angle means we get have a look at plenty of EVs and autonomous driving programs, in addition to eVTOLs and micromobility. Anticipate some massive information, together with keynotes from BMW and Stellantis. Chip makers like Qualcomm and AMD additionally all the time have lots on the automotive entrance on the present.

Hyundai CES 2022 plug n drive

Picture Credit: Hyundai

Hyundai can have a large presence on the present as nicely, strolling the road between automotive, mobility and robotics. Actually, judging by my overstuffed inbox, it’s going to be an enormous yr for robotics, from shopper to the presence of key industrial startups in a broad vary of various classes. Robotics is all the time a difficult one at CES. Large corporations love to indicate off flashy robots that by no means go anyplace (consider it or not, the latest Sony Aibo is a relative success story there), and there are going to be a ton of junky robotics toys. However the present remains to be a fantastic place to see some respectable breakthroughs up shut. Keep tuned for subsequent week’s concern of Actuator to get a full breakdown.

My inbox can also be flooded with web3 and crypto pitches, even if I can rely on one hand the variety of instances I’ve written concerning the topic over my 6+ years at To say the trade hit a tough patch in 2022 is like saying Elon is “nonetheless figuring it out” as Twitter CEO. The believer nonetheless believes theirs is the fix-all resolution to each drawback plaguing humankind. Anticipate that to trickle into each facet of the present, together with, considerably mockingly, local weather.

I might like to see sustainability turn out to be a serious matter at CES. Apparently there’s a piece within the Conference Heart’s North Corridor. There’s largely been a smattering of local weather corporations on the present, however I’ve actually by no means been overwhelmed by them. Hopefully that is the yr that begins to show round. Ditto for accessibility. I’ve heard inform of some corporations with this focus on the present, however that is one thing else that basically must be on the forefront.

Distant management / sensible dwelling Picture Credit: Erhui1979 / Getty Photographs

A lot has been written about Amazon’s Alexa battle of late. It’s secure to say that the sensible dwelling market hasn’t labored out like everybody deliberate. I do, nevertheless, anticipate a large press at CES, bolstered by Matter. The usual, supported by Amazon, Apple and Google, amongst others, actually began gaining steam over the previous few months. If issues go in response to plan, this CES will likely be an essential second, as the assorted classes of linked dwelling devices are on full show.

Meta Quest Pro

Picture Credit: Meta

AR/VR — sure, I say this yearly. Sure, much more than with sensible properties, this one has but to shake out the best way many hoped. The current debut of Meta’s Quest Professional and HTC’s Vive tease will anchor the massive VR information. AR will doubtless be much more ubiquitous. Much more than digital actuality, augmented actuality feels just like the Wild West proper now. There are a ton of {hardware} makers at present vying for a spot in your face. Historically, CES hasn’t been very gaming targeted, however Sony does are inclined to make it a centerpiece of its personal press convention and we’ll doubtless be getting some face time with PlayStation VR.

Wearables ought to get some love on the present. Oura’s success has catapulted the ring type issue. We already wrote up Movano’s pre-show announcement. Greater names like Google, Samsung and Apple do most of their gadget asserting at their very own occasions nowadays, however CES is a chance for a number of the smaller companies to seize a little bit of consideration. I’d anticipate an excellent larger concentrate on well being metric monitoring from names like Withings. Linked dwelling health stays a key development to look at, fueled by that preliminary pandemic push.

Picture Credit: Oura

As ever, telephones are largely a nonstarter right here. Cellular World Congress is the place that magic occurs. In any other case, anticipate a smattering of bulletins from {hardware} companies like Lenovo and Sony, which don’t have a lot of a presence within the North American market. This has, nevertheless, historically been an enormous present for PCs. Dell, Asus and Lenovo all have massive presences, whereas AMD and Nvidia might serve up some massive information concerning the chips that energy these programs.

We don’t cowl them that a lot, however CES can also be massive for TVs, in each sense of the phrase. LG, Samsung, Sony and TCL will doubtless have the most recent, biggest and largest. QD-OLED and MLA OLED are the magic phrases — or letters, I assume.

The press days are January 3 and 4, and the CES present ground formally opens on January 5. Plan accordingly.

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