Like most conferences these days, CES 2021 took place exclusively online. While we’re all missing in-person events and networking opportunities, this year’s show still covered a lot of exciting ground. And from the glass-is-half-full perspective, technology companies are some of the best equipped to adapt to virtual events. So, we think it’s still more than worthwhile to unpack the progress showcased by Tech Products presented at CES.
Naturally, we saw a strong focus on health, sanitation, and home-based items. We’ve been expecting to see a long-term shift to higher hygiene standards and more home-centred lifestyles. So, the Tech Products we’ve seen at CES this year certainly reinforce that expectation.
But make no mistake, this is not a joyless resignation to a ‘new normal’ going forward. On the contrary, we want everyone to take a moment and be inspired by just how much is still happening in the realm of technology, pandemic, and all. We’re part of an industry that is resilient and capable of contributing fundamental value to our society and the world at large.
Developments in haptic Tech Products did not disappoint this year, specifically the Senseglove Nova and the bHaptics bodysuit. Haptics excites us because making immersion feel real opens a myriad of opportunities. Firstly, games and experience with textures and weights are far more engaging. Secondly, and more importantly, the practical applications for enterprise-level products get us another step closer to the interactive Digital Twins and smart systems of the future.
And we can’t talk about Extended Reality at CES 2021 without mentioning the new headsets from Nolo VR. They’ve taken the leap from powering third-party headsets to developing their own. The X1 VR and CV1 Air have 6DoF and cloud-based content. Both have accessible price points which is always an opportunity to bring more users into the VR fold.
AI at CES this year was inherently woven into a number of other categories including automation, entertainment, household items, robots, retail, and more. We saw products that need to learn about their environment in order to clean, sanitize, and assist. Software that will modify audio/visual content. As well as robots and chatbots that assist customers.
Many of these products will also be connected to the IoT, transmitting data while they engage in machine learning. Most of us are not currently living in smart spaces that learn about us to make our lives better. But it’s an exciting future and that’s what we believe AI solutions will bring – better living.
Like AI, the concept of cloud-based networks has become central to discussions about the Tech Products of the future. As personal storage of entertainment libraries or business-level storage of huge volumes of data both become less viable, almost every product in development or hitting the market needs to be cloud-ready.
We were certainly not disappointed by the new gadgets designed with a view to keeping spaces clean and bodies healthy. In particular, Razor’s high-end N95 mask complete with speakers for maximum vocal clarity and a sanitizing cycle in its case, both inspired and overwhelmed us. While Ubtech’s UV delivery robot Adibot and similar devices have both advocates and critics, we think the proliferation of Tech Products that automate cleaning is not only inevitable, it’s a long term change we can feel good about.
Overall, we can see health care and medicine shifting to remote models, possibly including home-based smart diagnostic tools. Yet everything we see that’s about prevention and proactive health is just as encouraging.
Fitness and Wearables
Your home workout may never be the same if you install a television and camera combination that doubles as a personal coach. For example, if you pair a Neo QLED 8K, a webcam, and Samsung Health, you’ll get the interactivity of feedback on your form while you exercise.
Going forward, the largest opportunity for designers and makers of fitness Tech Products will be devices created for home use. Public and private gyms of all sizes and client bases have had to shut their doors at some point during the pandemic. Many were not able to reopen and many will still call it quits before the end of this year. As consumer habits (and preferences) evolve in response, working out at home is booming.
In the video below, get specifics on this topic in an interview between Engadget and CEOs of Nautilus and Tonal.
While many products we see at CES are concepts or prototypes, this year’s event included one consumer-ready product that instantly caught our attention. Cosmetics jumped from AR-try-before-you-buy to custom-blended shades from Yves Saint Laurent. This combines the socially-distanced and hygienic element of AR with the concept of trend-friendly small-batch manufacturing.
Cosmetics and fashion have spent the last decade honing their production turnaround times to accommodate trends more than ever, so if this make-your-own-lipstick product is an indication of things to come, we’re keen to see where fashion Tech Products will go next.
Home Office Hardware and Accessories
One of the most versatile and promising products we saw this year are two new screen concepts. The first being translucent smart screens, and the second is rolling screens that do everything from extend the surface area of a smartphone to wrapping around scroll-like frames.
We see the smart screens becoming popular at home and in storefronts as they are capable of functioning as partitions and windows as well as television screens. The possibilities are many for how and where these screens may possibly be incorporated into our lives.
When we talk about IoT, smart live & work spaces are a part of the conversation. So, the smart lights we saw at CES this year from Phillips and automatic sliding doors fall into this category. For the latter, it’s important to keep in mind that automation will now be driven not just by a cool factor, but by the need to touch as few things as possible.
When you’re ready to welcome guests back into your personal living and/or working spaces, will you feel better knowing that they’ll touch fewer items and surfaces by design?
Smart Home and Appliances
Quite a few domestic products caught our eye this year and as we mentioned above, we expect home-based lifestyles to continue leading priorities for makers of Tech Products for the foreseeable future. For households of more than one, division of labour related to domestic chores could be an ongoing battle. So, we’re excited to see this issue tackled by technology in a meaningful way.
One of our new favourites this year is the Jetson-esque robot from Samsung, the Bot Handy. This robot does the dishes, serves meals, and performs other basic kitchen tasks. If you’re someone who dreads domestic chores, this robot, or the version that eventually comes to market, could be high on your wishlist.
Both Samsung and Roborock presented a robotic vacuum as well. Automated home cleaning in general is something we want to see more of, particularly when the products are both practical and financially accessible.
Recycling, energy efficiency, and anything related to environmentally-friendly Tech Products are all of interest to us every day at Stambol. But one product really stood out to us at CES this year and that’s the use of bioplastics in electronics. The examples we saw of Dell products being manufactured with plastic made from tree waste was really encouraging.
Unless we can curb the trend of replacing smartphones, tablets, laptops, towers, and peripherals as often as we currently do, making them with plastics that break down in landfills could be a responsible choice.
More on CES Tech Products
Being an online-only event means anyone anywhere can attend. And while you have to register to access CES presentations and other content, you’ll be able to do so up until February 15, 2021.
Whether all this new tech has you energized by possibilities or triggered by the possibility of ongoing health and social trends, we think it’s worthwhile to stay focused on one key takeaway. Which is this: Tech Products are helping us solve problems. And perhaps we’ve never needed technology more than during this pandemic. So, we’re plunging into 2021 with gratitude and optimism. Because we have so much great work ahead of us.
Innovate with a Technology Partner
Regardless of event formats this year, the Stambol team is here and ready to help. We know it’s a strange time to be doing business, but also an ideal time to shift gears and try something new. When the transformation is in the wind, we say, open your umbrella.
Are you now wondering how technology – in general, or from one of the product categories above – can revitalize the way you work? Ask Stambol’s experts which of the latest Tech Products could help transform your business. Whether you’re focused on recovery or aiming to slingshot your company into its next phase of growth.
Feature Image Credit: pathdoc / Adobe Stock