CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest technology events, is set to return to its regular old in-person format in 2022. The event gets new announcements and product launches every year in Los Angeles, going all-digital in 2021 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Prior to the event, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the organization that hosts CES, confirmed that 1,800 exhibitors from 44 technology departments had registered to attend CES.
CES 2022 will start from 5th January to 8th January next year. As it happens in the middle of an epidemic, there will also be an online component. For safety reasons, some places have changed how they conduct air and will also require proof of COVID-19 vaccination from those attending the event.
CES 2022 will feature several new categories, including Food Technology, Space Tech, and Non-Functional Tokens (NFTs). The company to visit includes TuSimple, which will showcase its autonomous trucks. From India, seven companies have signed up for the exhibition, and five of them are in the startup area of the event – Eureka Park. Some of the names of Enverde Altifarm and H-Bots Robotics are worth mentioning.
Air taxis are also among the trends featured at the upcoming CES 2021 Sierra Space is preparing to unveil a space plan at CES, while Beyond Honeycomb will have an AI-enabled robot that can recreate restaurant food. Well known companies in Coinbase and Autograph, NFT Space are also participating.
Gadgets 360 CES 2021 spoke with Brian Moon, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Consumer Technology Association to learn more about the plans and initial trends. Following edits:
For the first time in more than five decades of CES history, the event moved online in 2021. How’s the planning of the event going next year as it returns to its physical location in Las Vegas?
Brian Moon: Of course, during the epidemic the whole world, like all of us, had to adapt and change. The positive story for us is that technology is one of the things we use to keep us connected, safe and healthy. For CES, the all-digital event at CES 2021 last January, it still brings the industry together when we couldn’t physically assemble and allow businesses to continue and innovation to happen. But as important as technology is, it cannot replace face-to-face interactions. It is a reunion of technology leaders, policy makers, buyers, retailers and the media around the world. Many participants are going to see colleagues and partners for the first time in more than 21 months.
We already have over 1,700 companies committed to the show and thousands of participants from around the world have registered. So, this is going to be an extraordinary event next month. There will be people who are unable to travel to the United States for any reason, and we will have a digital venue for CES 2022. Any participant in the digital venue will still be able to feel the CES and the effect by connecting with the exhibitors and participants will also have the opportunity to see the live keynote.
What security protocol will be in CES 2022?
Moon: Everyone’s safety and security is always going to be an important focus for us. We announced very early on that all participants, including exhibition companies, the media, and international participants, would be able to provide proof of vaccination.
Again, we announced too soon so everyone could plan their trip to CES. Any participant must be fully vaccinated and have a vaccine approved or approved by the FTA or WHO (World Health Organization) for emergency use. Here in the United States we have partnered with a company called Clear for Domestic Participants and they will handle proof of vaccination for domestic, U.S. participants.
In addition, we will soon be announcing a third party platform for international participants to be able to submit proof of similar vaccinations. So, we want to make the process as simple and welcoming as possible before coming to the show in Las Vegas.
In the case of masks, we are going to follow the state and local guidelines and what the CDC orders. And just as you are aware, masks need to be worn indoors in public spaces in the state of Navada until August 2021.
We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and have additional protocols that we will share with everyone before CES.
What are the expectations of the crowd this time? Also, the new Omicron variant has been announced, is the event likely to be delayed / affected?
Moon: We will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate and announce whether there will be additional protocols around the event. Our 1,700 companies are on display, our registrations are now in the thousands from all over the world. The safety of those planning to participate is going to be a top priority.
We are actively tracking the news coming out, the science surrounding the Omicron variant and again we will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC and WHO and we will follow the requirements of the federal state and local government to plan a potentially safe event. Determining the effectiveness of the variant may be too early but we will continue to see it and adjust our health and safety plans as needed.
What can you tell us about your initial insights into product trends in 2022?
Moon: We’ve announced several categories for CES 2022 that we’re excited about, in addition to the ones we’ve seen before at CES. Food Tech, Space Tech, and NFT are the three new areas of CES. This has allowed new companies, such as Sierra Space, to showcase a space plan at CES for the first time, and they are also exhibitors for the first time. In the food tech space, Beyond Honeycomb, a South Korean start-up is going to feature an AI-enabled robot that can recreate the food of your favorite restaurant. Coinbase and Autograph, two of the most well-known companies in the NFT industry. These are the three new areas in CES.
Another category of industry that is going to be strong is the automotive sector, vehicle technology. That’s up 12 percent from our event in 2020, and we have a total of more than 200 exhibition companies in the automotive and automotive technology segment.
There are several new companies coming up – one called TuSimple and they have a self-propelled semi-truck. Another first-time exhibitor is Vietnamese carmaker Winfast, which is showcasing a line of electric vehicles at CES.
In addition, CTA has announced keynotes from GM, Samsung, T-Mobile and Abbott which are the first health-related keynotes in CES history. GM has already confirmed that it is going to use CES for the worldwide unveiling of its electric vehicles.
How do you see the global shortage of electrical components / chips, the manufacturers are now witnessing the impact of this year’s show?
Moon: I think the crisis has affected not only the epidemic, but also the supply chain that we have heard in many industries. From what we have seen, the epidemic has accelerated the pace of innovation, changing our entire lives from work to school, healthcare, exercise, recreation, food and transportation. But we’re excited by the number of announcements we’ve heard and the number of new innovations we’re going to see at CES.
How do you see the development of VR related technology? Metaverse is a new topic this time. So, how do you see these?
Moon: We’re all curious about it because it’s a new art, hot keyword. But Facebook, now known as Meta, is an official exhibitor of CES. So, they are definitely going to make big announcements on the show. This is going to be their first major personal event. But at Metaverse we have the potential to change a lot – the way we do business, we meet friends, shop and network. But the biggest thing they are talking about is creating a virtual universe that has been accessed by VR and AR technology. How interesting is it for you to see the expansion of CES’s new division – Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), space and food technology, among other technologies emerging this year?
Moon: If you look at the history of CES, it’s a phenomenon that started with radio, television more than 50 years ago, and then evolved with DVD players. And now at CES we’re talking about automotive technology and digital health and NFTs and food technology and space technology. It’s extremely exciting and that’s why it’s such an important event and why so many industries come together because there are so many different business partnerships that are happening, media opportunities.
For example, is there a product segment like VR that has grown due to the epidemic?
Moon: Digital health coming out of the epidemic is going to be huge. Many of these companies have been at the forefront of getting us through this technology And so, in terms of exposure, the digital health department has grown significantly, and the conference program at CES 2022 this year is even stronger. So, I think this is another area of CES that is important and we’re going to see a lot of innovation and announcements.
Any other general announcements for technology enthusiasts?
Much more to come in the next few weeks. Original notes with GM, Samsung, T-Mobile and Abbott are again extremely exciting. Also, recovering new areas at CES that we’re excited about – including NFTs, Space Tech, and Food Tech. Our C-Space category has grown exponentially and focused on the entertainment content of the marketing community. That’s going to be very strong as well.
So, CES will continue in all the sections we are familiar with and then we will add these new ones that we have talked about and so, it is turning out to be an unprecedented event.