CES 2022 Analysis: Themes That Will Influence How We Work and Live in 2022 and Beyond
CES covers a lot of conceptual ground. We have selected a set of top themes from CES to offer a sense of the areas that will most likely influence the way readers think about work, and about the intersection of work and life.
Advancements in Silicon
Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA all threw down at CES 2022. At the feet of each other, and at the always missing Apple. Intel seriously stepped up its game with Gen 12 Alder Lake announcements that sounded like a repeat of the performance and efficiency core discussions held by Tim Cook when Apple launched the M1. I’m sure Intel’s Gregory Bryant doesn’t want that comparison made, but Intel fell behind and now they are trying to catch up. What I am sure of is most people outside of computer engineering didn’t know the terms “performance cores” or “efficiency cores” before Apple started using them. Although Steve Jobs would likely have cringed at how far CPU design strays from user needs, it does demonstrate the power of Apple to take something like chip design and kind of make consumers care, which is good for the entire industry.
What isn’t good for the industry is the plethora of names and brands and features, and and and. To my point about Steve Jobs in the paragraph above, complexities get acerbated by naming like Intel’s Alder Lake-P, Golden Cove performance cores, and Gracemount efficiency cores.
CES saw announcements about Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA, AMD Ryzen, Intel Gen 12 chips. The bottom line is this: faster computers, new applications for homes and vehicles, and more moves toward edge computing. AMD Ryzen 3-D Chiplet technology will drive faster games. Snapdragon will fuel in-vehicle entertainment expenses. NVIDIA will make its Omniverse creator environment more fluid. Intel will challenge PC manufacturers to leverage their latest CPUs in innovative ways.
These major players have one advantage over Apple, and that is their willingness to sell chips to almost anyone. As much as Apple drives innovation, and its innovations create a rich ecosystem around its devices and services, we need to keep in mind that Apple is a small part of the entire computing ecosystem—and that means most innovation takes place around chips from other manufacturers.
Displays: bigger, curvier, and everywhere.
A BMW iX painted with e-ink (or Electronic Paper Display, EPD) will perhaps go down as the iconic image of CES 2022 with waves of black, white, and grey flowing over the vehicle and dancing around its wheel wells. This will allow drivers to personalize their vehicles and probably cause all new forms of distracted driving accidents for both owners and those watching the car in front of them morph.
A video of the iX’s “paint job” in action can be found on BMW’s CES 2022 page.
BMW also showed a 31.3-inch 8K (7680 × 2160 pixels) Amazon Fire TV with 5G connectivity built into the roof of the car for next-generation rear-seat entertainment.
For more traditional displays, we all know that televisions, perhaps more than any other technology, crossover to business via the ubiquitous monitor. CES showed off the next generation of televisions as well as the next generation of monitors, and the interplay is clear. Curved, thin, and massive.
Serious Insights see the metaverse driving display technology. As people enter via displays rather than headsets, they will be looking for more immersive experiences, and that will mean pushing out the edges of displays to the limits of field of view. Many computing experiences in the future may look more like the original VR caves than the headsets of the 2010s as users seek unrestrained access using technology that already has a place in their homes. No need to take people out of reality when they can simply walk into an alternative. I Star Trek called that the holodeck. Forcefields won’t be on the docket anytime soon, but massive, wall-filling curved displays will be.
Metaverse displays will look to concepts like the 55-inch Samsung Odyssey Ark gaming monitor with portrait orientation, the LG Objet OLED TV, Samsung’s 89-inch MircoLED TV, and the TCL XL Collection QLED 98-inch TV for inspiration.
CES 2022 Analysis: Hybrid Work
Hybrid work isn’t going anywhere. CES established that fact with several large and small vendors pulling out of the show in December, and many attendees deciding to attend the virtual conference, rather than fly to Las Vegas. As much as I missed people, I didn’t miss the end-of-day consolidation of thought in my hotel room. I could move between various announcements platforms from CES, Pepcom, and ShowStoppers, as well as company sites, and be mostly done with CES by dinner time except when live streams extended beyond 5 pm. You can find the Serious Insights Hybrid Work coverage here.
CES 2022 Analysis: Keeping COVID at Bay
One special instance of hybrid work comes in technology aimed at keeping work experiences safe. The awareness of viral threats pushed innovation over 2021, and it will likely continue in 2022—meaning that CES 2023 will also offer up new and improved ways of fighting off bugs that don’t come from software. In light of our scenario planning work, the next frontier will be fungal outbreaks. The time to work on new antifungal technology is now. See our CEs COVID safety coverage here.
Robots always amaze and frighten. CES 2022’s entrants didn’t disappoint with grey-skinned robots that mimicked human facial expressions (The Ameca robot) and one could imagine, appearance with just a little more work, to a dog robot that helps comfort people by chewing on their fingers (the Amagami Ham Ham). John Deere showed off a self-driving tractor. I personally trust self-driving on wide-open fields than on crowded chaotic highways.
While the metaverse may be fractured in its implementation, eventually portions of it will extend, perhaps intrude, into the real world. Hyundai’s chairman, Euisun Chung, walked on stage with his dog SPOT, a Boston Dynamics creation that lives in the real world, and the metaverse.
Other demos included Maicat, which uses sensors and AI to recognize people and get to know them. The more time with Maicat, the more it “likes” you. No litter box, but it will need its charge topped off regularly.
The Fractured Metaverse
There will not be one all-encompassing metaverse like the one shown in Ready Player One. Like societies and politics, the metaverse will fill with rifts and valleys, insurmountable mountains to cross, and chasms designed to dissuade easy access. There is no real-world In which Meta’s Oculus finds common ground with Sony’s PlayStation VR 2.
Some of the tech touted for VR at CES 2016, made a return (well it never left) to CES 2022, such as haptics, which appears in the Sony VR 2 headset and controllers, and AR glasses.
Touchcast’s CEO Edo Segal showed off a metaverse demonstration designed to emulate all the needs of business in the metaverse. Touchcast’s MCity vision, which is invitation only, for now, will work without headsets, high-end computers or special software. Segal is right in his observation that the metaverse has no plan and no infrastructure. Touchcast wants to position itself for homesteading by setting up .metaverse domain registration.
Much of the metaverse may be more about bringing digital interactions into our world than it will be people donning headsets to spend hours in an alternative realm (see our commentary on the metaverse here). 3D displays, like those from Dimenco and Acer via the Concept D (along with Intel, Nidia, Microsoft, Spatiallabs, and Delta E<2) will likely act as interface portals, and the form factors will continue to increase in size and immersiveness. There is no reason a laser projector won’t be able to drive a metaverse experience in the future (hints here at Lightwave International. For in-home laser projection TV improvements look to Samsung’s Freestyle. Samsung’s avatar subsidiary Neon, and consumer-level motion capture firm Manna showed new ways to engage, creatively and as consumers. SapientX showed off their evolving voice assistants aimed at bringing AI-based conversations to the metaverse.
Read more serious insights on the metaverse here.
Healthcare and Fitness
Like many aspects of CES, Apple’s lack of attendance did nothing to diminish its shadow. Fitness was everywhere, and much of it was trying to integrate with or compete with Apple’s investments in health and fitness like Apple Watch and Fitness+.
There are some technologies that currently reach beyond Apple’s connected, wearable domain. Some of these include the Withing Body Scan, which combines a scale with an image scanner to monitor the whole body, not just weight, and the Y-Brush 2022 whole mouth brushing gadget. Top wearables included the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, Fossil’s x RAZER, Nowatch, the Circular Smart Ring, and the Movano Smart Ring.
Also, keep an eye on sensors. Nothing solid, but Abbot was talking “biowearables” to take all types of body chemicals.
Healthcare and fitness will likely remain an area of strong competition. Its intersection with work will come as people continue to find fitness that works for them when working remotely, and as companies supplement income with allowances not just for office tech, but for fitness tech as well.
Sustainability was most prominent in the number of electric vehicles shown during CES 2022. CES 2022 saw demonstrations of electric scooters, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, and cars. Interest in electric vehicles outstripped autonomy. Unlike autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles will prove more attainable, and solve a more pressing need. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, but you are much more likely to see a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning first.
Sustainability also made its way onto the floor with LG’s zero carbon22,000-square-foot booth section that was all built from recycled and upcyclable materials—that could again be recycled. The booth complemented LG’s CES tag line, The Better Life You Deserve” and its line of Energy Star® appliances.
LG seeks to put around 600,000 tons of recycled plastic into its products and recover 8 million tons of electronics waste by 2030. They also launched a $500,000 Life’s Good Award to drive sustainable programs that eliminate waste across the supply chain and reduce greenhouse gases.
Lenovo showed off its sustainable laptop concept in the new Z13 with sustainable materials and packaging, while Goodyear showed off a 70% sustainable-material tire.
Arris Composites continued to demonstrate the value of its Additive Molding™️ technology that creates recyclable, thermoplastic composite products, which use less energy to make and produce less waste than traditional thermoset composite materials. The company’s strong, light, and thin materials support a wide range of features. They worked with Skydio on the X2 drone to transform a 17-part assembly into a single, multi-functional structure.
Other notable sustainability announcements included GAF’s solar shingle which promised to change the face of reroofing forever. Samsung showed off solar remotes. Orbisk demonstrated an AI-based food waste monitoring system, while Uvera promised (if the crowdfunding goes well this spring) to extend food life with UV-C light.
One of the most sustainable things about CES was virtual CES. It kept people out planes, reduced the waste on the show floor, turn booths into virtual materials.
Someday someone will find a replacement for the clamshell laptop
No matter how interesting a laptop design is, it remains a laptop design. A lid, a base. Even tablets without keyboards end-up getting keyboards designed for them that turn them into laptops. Perhaps the wildest design this year was the Asus ZenBook 17 that allows a 17-inch foldable display to become a laptop with a virtual keyboard, or to hook up to a keyboard and just be a wide monitor. At the heart of this wonder is a 4:3 OLED touchscreen that is also the computer, complete with Intel 12th Gen processors, update he 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage.
At the end of the day the ZenBook 17 is another variation on the tablet that wants to become a laptop, it just brings one more trick to the party.
Next Gen Smart Homes – Matter
Smart homes remain less intelligent than most people would like. The industry gets this. So most of them have rallied around Matter, the standards being developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. This is the group that used to be the Zigbee Alliance. Matter’s mantra is simple, interoperable, reliable, and secure. That’s been the home automation mantra for years, hopefully, the rebranding will help them deliver. On the good side, with Apple, Google, and Amazon all signed up, smart home devices might eventually become interoperable. “Hey Google-Siri-Alexa, what do you think of that?”
And Samsung is moving toward putting hubs into their smart TV, making the smart home something you get with your TV rather than as a separate investment.
Like all the standards that came before, the real question is: Will Matter matter?