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CES 2022: Not a Return to Normal, But Exciting All the Same

It isn’t CES if it isn’t full of surprises, but no one wanted the surprise to be Omicron, the latest COVID variant wreaking havoc on society. The industry so desperately wanted a normal CES this year, but what it got is a halfway-back-to-normal-but-still-not-normal CES, in which several major companies bailed at the last minute and attendance was a fraction of what it usually is. Despite all of that, CES 2022 showcased some amazing, connected technologies and, per usual, it helped set the tone for the upcoming year in terms of the IoT (Internet of Things) tech trends.

Not surprisingly, given the ongoing global pandemic, healthcare had a major presence at CES 2022, with more than 100 healthcare companies exhibiting. Among the COVID-inspired health solutions showcased at the event were Opteev’s ViraWarn airborne COVID-19 detector that offers instant detection of the COVID virus and Formlabs 3D-printed nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing. OMRON Healthcare used the CES platform to introduce its new remote patient monitoring services and connected blood pressure monitors, as well as a research initiative that will investigate how AI (artificial intelligence) could possibly prevent cardiac events.

CES has been likened to an auto show the past several years, thanks to the steadily increasing presence of automakers showing up big with exciting announcements and out-of-this-world concept vehicles that demonstrate connectivity, AV (autonomous vehicle), and EV (electric vehicle) technologies. At this year’s event, there were certainly thrills, like BMW’s color-changing EV, the BMW iX Flow. This concept SUV features E-Ink panels that can change the color of the vehicle’s exterior from white to gray to black and back at the touch of a button. Chevrolet also unveiled its Ford F-150 Lightning competitor, the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, with an estimated 400-mile range. There was also a lot of futuristic talk from Hyundai, with its new MoT (Mobility of Things) concept and its vision for the future of robotics and mobility. From autonomous tractors to electric mail-delivery trucks and beyond, CES once again demonstrated that the future of vehicles is connected, electric, and autonomous.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of chatter about the metaverse and what it could mean for business and life. There was a very realistic robot named Ameca, and, in the smart home realm, many companies were discussing the importance of interoperability. In particular, at CES this year, there were a lot of vendors touting Matter, an IoT compatibility standard from the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly the Zigbee Alliance).

In fact, CES has always been the place to learn about the latest in connected home gadgets and solutions, and this year was no exception. Among the notable debuts was a smart door from Masonite—the Masonite M-Pwr Smart Door, which integrates power, lighting, a video doorbell, and a smart lock. Other new products included smart security cameras like the Eve Outdoor Cam and a bunch of new devices from GE Lighting, a Savant company, via its Cync smart home ecosystem, including smart bulbs and a smart thermostat, among many others.

There were hundreds of announcements at CES this year, but key trends included how technology can be applied to create “togetherness”, how it can increase sustainability for society and business—from transportation to supply chain to smart home solutions and beyond, and how it can improve healthcare. CES 2022 may not have been the return to normal we all hoped for, but it was still able to bring the industry together and get us excited about 2022, despite the shadow cast over it by Omicron.

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