In Las Vegas, tech on the lookout for consumers’ precious free minutes

San Francisco (AFP) – Ever more connected vehicles and devices and services to access the metaverse will be honored this year during the annual high mass of technologies and electronics which opens Thursday in Las Vegas.

From January 5 to 8, 2023, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will take place on more than 18 hectares, from stands in hotels to outdoor spaces dedicated to cars.

This show should be the one of the mass return of exhibitors and investors, after two editions compromised by the pandemic.

In 2021, it had stood in line. And in 2022, “there were large empty rooms, the CES was a shadow of itself”, recalls Avi Greengart.

The Techsponential analyst rejoices at the prospect of “the return of crowds, difficulties in getting around and meetings behind closed doors – everything that makes a trade show!”.

On this year’s program, a lot of vehicles (cars in search of autonomy, electric boats and planes, connected agricultural machines), inflated gadgets with artificial intelligence, and a new category: the Web3, that is to say say the new generation of the internet, which includes the metaverse.

“It’s going to feel like an auto show,” warns Kevan Yalowitz, chief software officer at Accenture.

The organizers have announced that they have sold all the stands available at the West Hall, the space dedicated to manufacturers and suppliers.

These companies will promote their software, predicts Kevan Yalowitz. “We believe that by 2040 around 40% of all vehicles on the road will have computer operating systems that can be updated remotely.”

brain time available

This evolution will pave the way for developers to “create experiences” for drivers and passengers, as well as for users of any digital service.

More and more vehicles will therefore participate in the “battle for consumer time”, one of the topics at the heart of CES 2023, according to the expert.

“We are seeing the emergence of a certain annoyance from consumers in the face of the number of requests. A third of users of the main streaming services canceled at least one subscription in 2022, and this trend will continue”, he underlines, citing a study carried out by Accenture in ten countries.

Hence the need for the various platforms and mobile applications to offer ever more irresistible experiences, especially in the metaverse, which is struggling to convince for the moment.

The metaverse, supposed to embody the future of the internet, consists of immersive universes accessible in particular via virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).

Photo provided by Meta Connect showing a person using the Meta Quest Pro VR virtual reality headset © – / Meta Connect/AFP

It was already a dominant theme at CES in 2022, hot on the heels of Facebook’s pivot, renamed Meta, to these technologies.

A year later, the social media giant has invested tens of billions of dollars in its Oculus VR headsets and platforms, scaring investors who see it as a bottomless pit.

The Web3 category at CES will bring together companies specializing in the sector, and also in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Many engineers hope that a decentralized internet will one day emerge from these technologies.

“But there may be less crypto than expected because of FTX,” remarks Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.

The implosion of this cryptocurrency platform, and the arrest of its boss Sam Bankman-Fried, who had popularized digital currencies, indeed concluded a dark year for the sector.

Stuffed animals, humanoids and drones

The new products that will be presented at CES were designed during the pandemic, recalls Avi Greengart, who therefore expects a lot of objects to facilitate teleworking.

Health will also occupy the minds, from accessories connected day and night, to the latest innovations at the service of emergency doctors.

The area of ​​the show called Eurêka Park should welcome some 1,000 start-ups from 20 countries, with a large French delegation, but also young Ukrainian shoots and, for the first time, African, with companies from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Whatever their innovation, most exhibitors will showcase their progress in terms of sustainable development.

Robots will not be left out. Visitors will come across stuffed animals with big innocent eyes, astonishing humanoids and high-performance drones in the aisles.

“I think we’re going to see great advances in personal robotics, for the home, and also demonstrations inspired by technologies originally designed for the military,” says independent analyst Rob Enderle.

“But there will also be a lot of cheap junk,” he adds.

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In Las Vegas, tech on the lookout for consumers’ precious free minutes

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