CES serves as a crystal ball, an Ouija board, tea leaves, or a deck of tarot cards, providing a view of the future – if you can correctly interpret the symbols, signs, and sales pitches. At CES 2023, signs, symbols, and sales pitches about how this gadget or that tech will disrupt the future will abound in nearly every nook and cranny of the varying exhibit halls. Attendees will get glimpses if not full-on demos of the world of tomorrow, from how smart homes will operate, to what types of electric vehicles we will – or won’t – be driving, to how the web will operate, to how we’ll pay for things, to how we will care for ourselves, to how cities will care for themselves, to how we and our world can be more secure, physically and digitally.
“Think about how tech is shaping the way we live and the way we work, how we connect and communicate, how we enhance the very human capacity, and how it helps us live longer and happier lives. It also helps us reimagine what’s possible,” enthuses Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA. “It’s especially important right now in terms of where the world is going. Tech is helping drive economic growth and shared prosperity.”
The Heart of the Matter
One future tech that might matter most at CES 2023 will be Matter, the bipartisan smart home standard that allows smart home gear from former walled gardens Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit to communicate with each other and to keep smart homes cyber secure. Matter was developed by the 280-member Connecting Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly the Zigbee Alliance, which surprisingly doesn’t have a dedicated CES 2023 exhibit area.
“CES 2023 will be Matter’s coming out party,” a CSA spokesperson told TWICE. “This is going to be the first chance for a lot of people to see Matter in the wild via demos and signage. Some Matter members will be announcing new Matter products, some will be doing demos for the first time, and some new companies will be announcing that they plan to support Matter either now or in the future.”
Version 1.0 of the Matter standard was published in early October, so expectations are high that dozens if not hundreds of companies including Amazon, smart lock maker ASSA Abloy/Yale, Bosch (Central 16103), Google (Grand Lobby), Infineon (Venetian Hospitality Suites 2-6), Kwikset (Venetian Suites 29-124/126), LG (Central 15502), Lutron (Venetian Murano meeting room 3301B), NXP (Central Plaza 18), Qualcomm (West 5005), Roku (Central 17452), Samsung SmartThings (Central 17517), TCL (Central 17017, 17045), and TP-Link (Venetian 52539), will either be exhibiting or demoing Matter-compatible product such as apps, software, silicon, and actual consumer goods throughout CES.
A Plethora of Emerging Tech
Many other emerging technologies will vie to be the star of CES 2023.
At its Metaverse/Gaming booth, CoinDesk (Central 16069) will host a Web3 CDTV studio that will feature interviews with influential Web3 executives and coverage of the latest cryptocurrency and blockchain news. CoinDesk also will present a Web3 conference track, three 40-min sessions on Thursday, January 5, starting at 1pm in North Hall Room N250.
Digital health will once again be a major category at CES, but perhaps the most impactful emerging digital health products are new over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Freshly unveiled OTC hearing aid models on display at the show will include the HP Hear PRO powered by Nuheara (North 8763), Sony’s single-use battery CRE-C10 and the Bluetooth rechargeable CRE-E10 buds (Central 18601), the Jabra Enhance Plus (Central 16746), and potentially new OTC models from Absolute Audio Labs (Venetian 55332) and Eargo (North 8116).
One of the more potentially disruptive smart home standards making its debut at CES could be the SkyX Plug (listed under Sky Technologies, Venetian 53832). SkyX Plug is essentially a standardized plug-and-play power jack for the ceiling that can support plugged-in gadgets up to 200 pounds including lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, room heating and cooling devices, Bluetooth speakers, smoke/CO2 detectors, security cameras, Wi-Fi extenders and mesh clients, even video projectors, as well as combinations of some or all of these functions.
SkyX will start by selling kits to enable consumers to retrofit existing ceiling electrical boxes, and the company expects that lighting and ceiling fan makers will create adaptor kits for legacy products and produce new SkyX Plug-equipped gear. While widespread adoption of SkyX Plug might prove slow and daunting, remember that a century ago there was no such thing as an AC wall outlet.
West and North halls will house a host of next-gen electric and self-driving vehicles that could soon dominate our highways and byways. One of the most fascinating EVs at CES will be Candela’s new C-8 electric hydrofoil “flying” boat (North 10043), which the company claims is the fastest and longest-range electric boat available.
Events for Startups
Fresh-faced startups such as SkyX have always been CES staples. At CES 2023, more than 1,000 startups will crowd the Venetian’s Eureka Park that will feature 20 country pavilions including one from Ukraine and, for the first time, one from Africa, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Also in Eureka Park will be LG’s Silicon Valley-based LG NOVA North American Innovation Center (booth 2023), which will host chosen startups from its Mission for the Future challenge, a global startup engagement program for startups and entrepreneurs to propose their ideas to LG.
In addition to Eureka Park, 32 startups in four verticals – digital health, fintech, sustainable smart cities, and Web3 – will vie to win the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) global startup competition, the first at CES since 2016. Contestants will make live pitches and four category winners will be awarded in two sessions on the CTA main stage in Central’s Grand Lobby: digital health and fintech on Thursday, January 5, from 4:30-6:30 pm, and sustainable smart cities and Web3 on Friday 11 am-12 pm.
While startups at CES will present their ideas on Earth, there’ll be a live interview with astronauts streamed from the International Space Station. Who the participants from CES and from orbit will be, the when, and where the live ISS stream will take place was not finalized at press time, but check CES guides.
And instead of his annual interview with the FCC chair, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro will interview NASDAQ president Adena Friedman on Friday, January 6, at 11 am in LVCC West Hall, Level 2, W232.
Major CES Vendors
CES’ largest exhibitors tend to remain excruciatingly tight-lipped about what they’ll be exhibiting in their booths pre-show.
For instance, Samsung’s (Central 17571) home entertainment division would only tell TWICE that it “will continue to expand its TV lines, including the microLED, Neo QLED 8K, Neo QLED 4K, Samsung OLED and Lifestyle TV lines, to provide more choices for people to personalize their home entertainment experience than ever before.” On the home appliance side, Samsung “will unveil how it’s continuing to push personalized technology and design innovations by enhancing the Bespoke collection to offer more customized experiences and seamless connectivity.”
Aside from its new OTC hearing aids, Sony says it plans “to introduce our various technologies and initiatives that expand the possibilities of the real world based on the company’s purpose to ‘fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology’.”
At its Central 16317 booth, Panasonic will continue its emphasis on its smart cities technologies with its new Green Impact Experience. This interactive virtual tour will illustrate the technologies and solutions Panasonic has developed to create “a greener, healthier and more equitable future,” enabling “more sustainable business practices, products and solutions to helping our customers and business partners integrate sustainable technologies in their projects.”