After a long year and a quiet year due to the pandemic, CES (the largest electronics trade show, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) was in full force last week in Las Vegas, USA.
As always, this tech crowd allowed us to learn a little more about the gadgets that will be introduced in the next few months, as well as the trends that should mark the electronics industry for the next few years.
A (slightly more) sustainable development
The environment and sustainable development were more present than ever at CES this year. Samsung’s booth also gave it more room than TVs, usually the company’s bread and butter at this show.
Like many others, the Korean giant used CES to present all its latest green achievements, from reducing water consumption in its factories to improving the packaging of its TVs (such as boxes that no longer contain any technology). Staples since 2022, now attached with paper tape).
The presence of recycled materials in products is also emphasized more than ever. Instead of introducing a series of new gadgets, accessory maker Belkin announced that six of its best-selling devices, such as chargers, will now be made from 73% to 76% post-consumer recycled plastic. “We started with our biggest sellers, but then we’ll do it with our other products,” said Jen Wei, vice president of communications and business development at Belkin.
Other brands, such as Pivet, have introduced accessories, including smart phone cases made from biodegradable plastic. However, stuff like this is more the exception than the rule.
Another big green trend this year will be the proliferation of energy storage stations for connected homes. These large batteries that you mount on the wall and allow you to better manage your power consumption aren’t new, but they were everywhere at CES.
In Quebec, such devices can, for example, store electricity during the night and use it in the morning during winter peak events, for example, to take advantage of Hydro-Quebec’s dynamic pricing (Hydro-Quebec saves by reducing its consumption when the grid is loaded). . They can also provide power in the event of a power outage.
In some cases, for example, with the Schneider Home energy management solution, these devices are combined with solar panels, an electric car charger and a smart electrical box, which allows you to precisely control its energy consumption. (by turning it off automatically). any device in your home, even if it’s not plugged in, for example). “It makes things easier for the consumer,” summarizes Florent Berard, vice president of strategy and sustainability at Schneider Electric. “With the energy crisis we are experiencing this year, more and more people are realizing the importance of reducing consumption,” he notes.
We revisited yesterday’s technologies
It was easy to feel a sense of deja vu at CES 2023. A few manufacturers have actually introduced devices that use outdated technologies, such as computers with autostereoscopic displays that can display 3D images without wearing glasses.
Unlike the early 2010s (the last time autostereoscopic 3D displays were demonstrated by well-known brands at CES), this time manufacturers like ASUS and Acer are using the latest advances in artificial intelligence to track people’s eye movements. user and increases the 3D effect. I wouldn’t bet on this technology succeeding in 2023 (because consumers don’t seem interested and content is still scarce), but the result is still impressive.
Other returning technologies include wireless television. And we’re not talking about the simple fact that apps like Netflix or Tou.tv are on your smart TV. For example, LG’s Signature OLED Mi packs all of the TV’s ports into a box separate from the screen for a cleaner setup, and transmits sound and image wirelessly to the TV. with wireless HDMI adapters.
The automotive industry is increasingly involved in CES. Without a major trend, I’ve noticed that at least two companies, Mercedes-Benz and Canadian auto equipment maker Magna, are using parts that allow them to change the shape of a moving vehicle to improve aerodynamics.
For example, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX, an advanced car that can travel 1,200 km on a single charge, has a small spoiler extending behind the car to make the surrounding air more fluid while the car is on the road. transportation.
The concept is not new, as such technologies exist in high-performance vehicles, but here they are used more to increase the autonomy of vehicles.
The Vision EQXX is just a prototype designed to help Mercedes-Benz engineers and designers create more fuel-efficient cars, but many of its innovations could find their way into production cars over the next few years. “I am convinced that active aerodynamics is something we will see in our future production cars,” said Mercedes-Benz engineer Daniel Schindler.
Feel the Metaverse
Virtual reality will soon become even more immersive than it already is. At least that’s what I could see when I wore the OWO Skin tight-fitting sweater. It is equipped with electrodes that can send small shocks, specifically to simulate the sensation of a sword piercing the body, insect bites, or even a bullet entering the abdomen and exiting the back. The effect is amazing (literally).
The OWO Skin is one of many devices unveiled at CES to enhance the realism of a series of virtual universes that tech companies predict will one day be part of our lives, whether for work, play or consumption.
Companies have also introduced haptic gloves to feel virtual objects you hold in your hand, and others have even developed a system to sense smells in virtual reality.
None of the technologies I tried convinced me (for example, the haptic gloves are not realistic enough, and the OWO Skin is a bit overkill!). It will obviously take several years before these devices are ready for the general public.
The year of matter
The new Matter protocol (formerly known as CHIP), which allows objects in connected homes to communicate with each other and adapt one brand’s device to another’s, was ubiquitous at CES 2023.
The highlight of the show wasn’t the products themselves (no new Matter device stood out from the pack), but rather the adoption of the protocol by nearly every manufacturer, from the smallest to the largest. This mass adoption bodes well for the future, especially for consumers who are often at a loss when it comes to equipping the connected home.