CES 2022: opens the largest technology fair with the metaverse, the food of the future and the NFTs as protagonists | Digital Transformation | Technology

In 2021, CES – the world’s largest consumer electronics fair held annually in Las Vegas (USA) – was held for the first time in its history only virtually, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this year the event will also be held in person. It is expected that between January 5 and 7, more than 2,200 exhibitors will show their technological innovations in the city of the State of Nevada. If 2021 was the year in which digital health gained more force than ever, in this edition food and space technology, the metaverse, autonomous vehicles or NFTs (unique digital assets) become the main protagonists .

Large companies such as Samsung, LG or Sony have confirmed their presence at the fair. But when many believed they were touching the end of the pandemic with their fingers, omicron arrived, a more infectious variant of covid-19 that has caused an increase in infections in recent days in multiple countries. The health situation has led several technology companies to cancel their face-to-face attendance at CES. Among them, giants like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft or Meta (the company that includes Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram).

After the incessant trickle of casualties in recent weeks, the CTA, the organizing association of the event, has decided to shorten its duration and dispense with its last day. The CES kicks off this Wednesday and instead of ending this Saturday, as was originally planned, it will end on Friday. During those days, the fair will experience a frenzied display of advances and new devices that will mark the great trends in consumer technology in the coming months.

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Presentation at CES in Las Vegas of the therapeutic robot Amagami Ham Ham.
Presentation at CES in Las Vegas of the therapeutic robot Amagami Ham Ham.Ellen Schmidt (AP)

The metaverse

A few months ago Facebook decided to change its name and call itself Meta. This decision, taken in the middle of a reputational crisis, was quite a declaration of intent: the company intends to develop the metaverse, a kind of virtual world in which users can interact with each other, entertain themselves or even buy and sell products and services. . Several companies have been trying to develop this type of space for years and will take advantage of the CES to showcase all their advances.

“Games like Roblox and Fortnite have allowed users to easily program their own games and build virtual worlds to build shared experiences such as concerts and even graduation ceremonies in digital universes,” they say from the CTA. Exhibitors such as Razer are expected to showcase the latest in gaming technology and its connection to the metaverse.

Some technology companies are working so that extended reality – a concept that brings together augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (RM) – is the gateway to the metaverse. MAD Gaze plans to showcase its augmented reality glasses as an example of hardware to power these virtual worlds. It will also attend the Snap fair, which will show how it uses this technology so that the user can ‘try on’ clothes virtually.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are one of the great technological promises that for years have taken center stage at CES. The increase in purchases during the pandemic and the lack of carriers and trucks have caused chaos in the terminals of some ports. “As current limitations persist in the global supply chain, automation in parts of the process, for example with autonomous trucks from TuSimple, could be implemented to provide much-needed solutions to bottlenecks in shipments,” they say from the CTA.

Parking assistants and technologies for collision avoidance and emergency braking are redefining all types of vehicles: “From delivery commercials to racing cars.” Although large companies such as General Motors or Waymo have resigned to attend the fair due to the health situation, companies such as Mitsubishi Electric or Hyundai Mobis are expected to show their technological innovations in Las Vegas.

Delfast electric bike presented at CES with autonomy for about 320 kilometers.
Delfast electric bike presented at CES with autonomy for about 320 kilometers.Joe Buglewicz (AP)

Food Technology

From bleeding hamburgers that do not carry meat to machines capable of kneading up to 235 loaves a day, kitchen robots that use artificial intelligence to reproduce dishes from prestigious chefs or indoor gardens connected to the Internet. All these products, exhibited at CES in recent years, demonstrate the potential of technology to transform the food industry.

This year the fair opens an area dedicated exclusively to food technology and innovation. Among the companies that will initially attend this great annual event, is Impossible Foods. The company aims to eliminate the need for animals in the food chain by 2035 and, to do this, it tries to develop 100% plant-based seafood, chicken, milk or eggs. Others like Yo-Kai Express also stand out, with its vending machines that prepare hot food in less than a minute; Bear Robotics, with its waitress robots; or Cecilia.ai, an assistant capable of chatting with customers and preparing multiple cocktails.

Space technology

Space technology is another of the new categories in this edition. In recent years, great tycoons like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson or Elon Musk have tried to carve out a niche in the space race. “Collaborations between NASA and American entrepreneurs have the potential to further transform space travel and lead to otherworldly breakthroughs and discoveries,” they say from the CTA.

The organization is convinced that advances in this sector “guide everything”: “From life and discovery on Mars and the Moon to weather forecasting, satellite systems and long-distance communications in the home.” While some companies like the Sierra Nevada Corporation try to create inflatable space habitats for long-term stays, others seek to create machines useful in space missions. Bosch has developed a robot whose objective is to detect faults in the International Space Station from the noises that sound around it.

HG Robotics Vetal Drone Unveiled at CES 2022.
HG Robotics Vetal Drone Unveiled at CES 2022.CAROLINE BREHMAN (EFE)

NFT fever

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have grabbed all kinds of headlines in recent months. What if the first tweet in history is sold for 2.9 million euros. What if the film industry uses them as a means of financing. Or if a 12-year-old child earns 340,000 euros from the sale of his collection of digital images of whales. The CES will have this year for the first time a space dedicated to NFTs, unique digital assets that cannot be exchanged with each other, since no two are alike.

“The growing popularity of non-fungible tokens offers a new opportunity for creators, artists, musicians and influencers to sell work that otherwise would not find a market,” they say from the CTA. For example, some startups They allow you to apply for a loan using NFTs as collateral. Once the loan is repaid, the asset will be transferred back to the user. There are also several platforms that connect artists and investors who are enthusiastic about new technologies and companies that create devices to show and verify which NFTs a user owns. Brian Comiskey, manager of industrial intelligence at CTA, assures that “NFTs can make technology blockchain be more popular in the eyes of the general public ”.

Apart from the fever of NFTs, space technology, autonomous vehicles or the metaverse, many other technologies will be addressed at the fair. Karen Chupka, vice president of the CTA, emphasizes that some of them, such as digital health or the smart home, are growing. Among the trends that will be discussed at CES, there will also be 5G, wearables (Wearable technology), robotics, drones, artificial intelligence or video games.

How many people will attend the appointment?

Gary Shapiro, CTA CEO, defends the decision to hold CES in person. “In the United States, every weekend there are indoor soccer, hockey, volleyball and basketball games that thousands of people attend. A maximum capacity is not required and tests are not requested ”, he assures. The organizers insist that “strong security measures” will be taken at CES, including mandatory vaccination, the use of masks and the availability of diagnostic tests.

They also claim to be “actively tracking emerging news and science around the new variant of omicron.” “We will continue to monitor and adjust our health plans and protocols as necessary,” they say. According to Shapiro, attendance will not be the same as in 2020. Given the health situation, it is difficult to predict how many people will attend the fair this year. “We don’t know,” he says. The head of the CES insists that there are many registered people, but acknowledges that some companies may eventually choose not to travel.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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