The year of Coronavirus has been a wild ride in a lot of ways when it comes to tech. Technology was used to overcome a variety of challenges, and the world saw and adaptation faster and broader than ever before. That need to innovate, and the struggles of working from home or safely, was on display at CES 2021. Which, of course, was held exclusively online.
This year saw 170,000 online visitors from around the world see 1960 exhibitors at the main CES event. Compare this to 150,000 physical visitors flooding Las Vegas to see 4400 exhibitors in 2020. Overall, this was a much smaller show, and unfortunately it… showed. But that doesn’t mean the event was devoid of gems.
What Have Companies Been Up To?
One word. Covid. Every new product from a new company that we saw was some variation of how to work remotely in the age of covid, how to have a sterile workplace in covid, or how to protect yourself during covid.
While nothing is wrong with that, I have to say it really highlighted the past year as a development halt and otherwise missed year for productivity. Very few keynotes had completely new products, and this shockwave will be felt for years to come.
Biggest Winners At CES 2021
LG G1 TV caught everyone’s attention with its promise of vibrant colors, rich contrast, and incredible picture with OLED technology. Not to be outdone, Samsung launched their Neo QLED, further advancing MicroLED and the Quantum Dot technology. Though 8K was also a prominent promotion, that isn’t something people should be super concerned with at the moment.
Going by quantity alone, the availability soon of smart masks like the AirPop Active+ and the LG PuriCare Air Care face mask will be everywhere soon. Technology infused pandemic wear was by far the most dominant item around.
If Not New, Then Newer And Fresher
Kohler launched a whole suit of in home devices and improvements that can help keep our surfaces cleaner with contactless on/off and more. Mix that with the amazing new soaking tub, many companies decided to add to and update rather than innovate completely from scratch.
A pleasant and welcome update was the bringing of Nvidia 30 Series GPUs inside laptops, promising the greatest in gaming experience on the go, whenever we can finally return to being on the go.
Past Computer America Guests Debuting New Products
Caseta Smart Outdoor Outlet is another one of those products that is from a previous guest on the program. Adding to their already impressive lineup of simple-to-install smart home solutions, this one is for controlling and automating holiday lights and other yard lighting features.
SenseGlove Nova debuted out a CES 2021 with improved design and features to make it one of the most responsive and easy to use VR training gloves. Equipable in under 5 seconds, a massive improvement in form and function to further make training in VR a possibility in industry applications. Maybe one day the home!
And many more that we didn’t have time to cover, but be on the lookout for their next appearance on the show!
Crazy Tech For A Crazy Future
Now for the crazy concepts, and one of the first comes from Razer. These folks have been working on Project Brooklyn and Project Hazel. Brooklyn being a concept chair with “angel wing” style monitor arms that extend out and around to make a 180 degree curved monitor. The Hazel face mask is a modern solution to a modern problem, with a see through guard and RGB lighting.
Along with concept and new designs, Samsung caught attention once again with three new robots. The JetBot 90 AI+, a smarter smart vacuum. Samsung Bot Care, which has the ability to be a digital assistant on wheels. And last the Samsung Bot Handy, sporting a literal hand to do all the small household tasks a hand might accomplish.
Consumer Electronics Experience Going Forward
Is this the future for CES? Will all digital become a thing, not just for trade shows in general, but for exhibitors and attendees?
No. This was obviously done very quickly. To switch from the largest technology trade show held in one location for decades, to a completely virtual space was a tall order. Some adapted better than others, but the need to do business in person will always exist. No Zoom call or Skype feature will ever replace a handshake and hands on experience.
Although, I want to give a shout out to Showstoppers for putting together a program with a lot of panels, many intriguing guests, and showcasing their booths well. Computer America of course missed the opportunity to broadcast live from the Showstoppers floor, but next year, we’re looking forward to it.
Also, Pepcom was another great program that I feel the entire CES event could learn from. Easy to navigate, intuitive to initiate conversations, with live chat features and product videos embedded all in one place. The crew behind Pepcom really went above and beyond for this year.
While this isn’t a fundamental shift in how conventions and trade shows will operate going forward, I hope that the work put into making companies and peoples online presence more accessible will stick around. An ideal world would see covid behind us, trade shows resume, and the legwork of an all digital show continue on simultaneously.