This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) served as a grand experiment on how to hold an in-person event during a pandemic. Running as a hybrid trade show, the week included both in-person events in Las Vegas and virtual sessions. Over 40,000 attended in person, including 1,800 global media members, across 11 indoor and outdoor venues. The show was truly a global event, with 30% of attendees traveling from outside the U.S., representing 119 countries.

YPO member Rainer Gunzelmann, Managing Partner of Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff, is an international technology enabler bridging technologies and patents. The draw for him, as with many of the YPO members who attended the 2022 event, was not necessarily the technology. “The No. 1 highlight for me was meeting in person with clients and my peers who I have not seen for more than two years.”

Despite the thinner-than-normal crowds and the no-shows from many major tech companies and media outlets, there was plenty of talk about the technology on display this year. 

Exhibiting and networking at CES remains an opportunity for “thousands of smaller companies, entrepreneurs and innovators who have made investments in building their exhibits and are counting on CES for their business, inspiration and future,” Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro wrote in an op-ed for the “Las Vegas Review-Journal.”

This year’s show focused on pioneering technology such as the metaverse, 5G, FoodTech, space technology, drones, self-driving cars, smart homes, artificial intelligence, crypto currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

We asked several YPO members who attended CES to share their top takeaways. Here’s what they had to say.

It’s all about individualization

Auto tech is always a big part of CES, but this year’s cars took center stage. One announcement after another seemed to make headlines including John Deere’s self-driving tractor and new electric vehicles offered at competitive price points.

In the spotlight was the BMW iX Flow with E Ink, which allows automobile owners to change the color of their vehicle’s exterior by simply pushing a button. 

“This concept follows the general trend to product individualization and may even be extended to a safety feature automatically adjusting the vehicle’s exterior color to current weather conditions,” says Gunzelmann. “The next development step I hope to see is a car completely encapsulated by a display screen. Just imagine the new business models, like for advertising, such a ‘driving display’ may enable.”

Trucking leads the autonomous driving convoy

It makes sense that the trucking industry should embrace autonomous driving, as it operates 24/7 often over long distances. “Having an autonomous truck driving long distance will drastically impact the life of drivers who will work more on the short distance and will now be able to be back home every day,” says Mathieu Boivin, President and CEO of E-SMART. Boivin’s company develops and manufactures innovative Advanced Driver Assistant Systems (ADAS) solutions that increase the safety of fleet vehicles. 

The purchase cost of all the sensors and software can be easier absorbed by commercial trucking than personal cars, according to Boivin.

“This will accelerate deliveries, reduce gas emission, and make our road safer. The objective is zero death.” Boivin says that renewing the truck inventory will take 12 to 15 years when the adoption really starts but, “that means ADAS technologies will be leading the way for many years ahead to assist drivers to improve the safety of our roads.”

Remodeling the definition of property ownership

Being in the property tech (PropTech) world, Tyler Prochnow, President and COO of  Homebase is extremely intrigued by technology’s impact on where and how people will live in the future. Homebase is a smart building infrastructure company. Through a single app, they can connect devices and provide access control, proprietary Wi-Fi, and payment portals for multi-family, office and other commercial buildings. 

“Given that remote work seems to have fundamentally changed the way people are tied to a location, the technology dedicated to allowing individuals to live and work from anywhere is of special interest,” says Prochnow.  

“It’s a fascinating concept that homes, apartments, and other spaces will allow people to move from city to city staying in properties in the same ownership portfolio,” he continues. “A person can sign a “lease” and move from city to city and property to property without having to sign new leases, deal with security deposits or get new keys. Access, rent and communication will be controlled through a phone app and require little to no interaction with a landlord or property manager.”

AI impacts our everyday lives

A slew of smart tech innovations driven by AI aimed at improving lives and businesses were unveiled this year. For Rupesh Sanghavi, Founder and CEO of ErgodE Inc, AI combined with machine integration has real-life implications especially on lifestyle- and health-related issues. The AI applications that act as your own personal trainer stood out for Sanghavi. Portable and activated by voice command, AI trainers know you by data and not personality. “The impact on lifestyle could be as enormous as the impact of phones on our lifestyle, and an added benefit is it would provide health on the go,” he says. 

A prime example of this is Altis, which tracks every body movement from any angle without any wearables. Once the technology matures further, it will be able to instruct users in an interactive and personalized fitness experience. 

Sanghavi explains, “The impact of the economy would not be limited to be the personal fit coach or gym but if the entire population can improve the health quotient, the cost of health would reduce significantly. The business would rush to serve new segment of in-home, everywhere, on-demand fitness club.”

2022 will be the year of smart glasses

AR glasses are quickly moving beyond prescription-ready safety glasses to enterprise applications and hands-free assistance for workers at warehouse and other job sites. AR glasses will free you to leave your smartphone in your bag or at home, keeping you on top of your digital life in a rich, seamless way. Organize your work and family, gain quick access to your home security system and so much more. 

Gunzelmann says he was impressed by TCL’s Leiniao AR smart glasses, which combine elements of augmented and virtual reality. “Such glasses have the potential to become user interface supplements for all kinds of mobile devices and may extend your natural field of view to various digital services. As Apple has shown with the first iPhone in 2007, user interface simplification will attract new services and business models.”

Robots increase their foothold in our homes

The smart home kicked into high gear at CES 2022. Whether increasing safety, improving accuracy or reducing waste, robotics is advancing with impressive speed especially in the home space. 

YPO member Jerry Callahan, CEO of Heatworks, is invested in improving our homes. His products increase the quality of our lives while guarding our precious resources such as water and energy. Callahan was especially impressed with labrador’s personal robot. They have pioneered a new generation of robots specifically designed to help people live more independently creating practical robots that physically assist in everyday tasks. “I think the advances in robotics technology, especially around home use,” he says, “is really interesting when it comes to helping older or handicapped people to empower them to do more independently.”