Automotive, metaverse, BtoB turn… What to remember from CES 2023

After five boiling days in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, CES 2023, the world’s largest tech show, ended on Sunday evening. At the time of the balance sheet, this first physical edition since the Covid-19 pandemic has indeed reconnected with the crowds, but above all confirmed the trends seen pre-crisis, the strengths but also the weaknesses of this great rout which has brought together more than 2,500 exhibitors and welcomed more than 100,000 visitors.

CES 2023: fewer French startups but better equipped to do business

The automobile, the real star of the show

Faurecia, Valeo, BMW, Mercedes, Peugeot… all the manufacturers and suppliers of the automotive sector were there to present their latest vehicle models, their new on-board systems, software developments and other innovations in the mobility of tomorrow, preferably intelligent and electric.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, announced both a new vehicle but also the implementation of a new network of charging stations in North America, as well as the crossing of a new milestone in terms of safety and reliability in terms of autonomous driving. Others, like the American Chrysler, presented in Las Vegas not a vehicle, but a passenger compartment equipped with screens and comfortable seats dedicated to work and entertainment, to give an idea of ​​the car without driver of the future. For its part, Fiat has unveiled its online store in the metaverse, where the consumer will be able to test the vehicles in virtual reality (planned in France for the winter of 2024 after an experiment currently in Italy).

Many start-ups also took advantage of the presence of industry players to showcase their innovations. Thus, Holoride, a nugget supported by the Audi manufacturer, presented its virtual reality helmet intended for passengers in the back seat of the car. The idea is to allow them to watch a film, a series or play a video game without having motion sickness, which is the main obstacle to the adoption of in-car entertainment in the vehicles of tomorrow. The trick of Holoride: the content is synchronized with the movements of the car.

CES 2023: BMW presents a chameleon car, a prototype packed with digital technologies

An increasingly marked BtoB shift

Historically the consumer electronics show -hence its name, Consumer Electronics Show-, the CES has become over the years more and more a professional show, where the giants of tech and the actors of the sectors which live a profound digital transformation come to present their latest innovations. It is therefore no coincidence that the CES has tended to supplant the Detroit motor show in recent years: the profound transformation of the automotive industry -and mobility in general-, under the effect of the electrification of fleets and of vehicle automation, makes CES the place to be for OEMs and OEMs.

This BtoB shift can also be seen among startups. Of the approximately 200 startups in the French delegation, around 90% are BtoB according to Eric Morand, director of the BtoB events department at Business France. ” In line with recent years, they are mainly distributed in the sectors of mobility, energy transition, professional software and health/well-being. “, he says.

The nuggets that present innovations in the traditional areas of the CES such as video or audio, are an extremely small minority, around fifteen at most. Blame it, too, on the global economic crisis which caused the valuations and fundraising of startups to fall in 2022. The CES being used mainly to communicate with the general public by BtoC startups, some have chosen to cut this budget perceived as non-essential at a time when tech is discovering rationality.

Metaverse Everywhere Despite Very Low Adoption

Smelling imaginary roses, learning fighter jet maneuvers in augmented reality, treating Alzheimer’s with virtual reality… At CES, startups competed for ideas to build the metaverse and solve a whole host of problems virtually. .

Automotive suppliers have thus used the term all over the place to invent the passenger compartment of the future in autonomous cars. New virtual and mixed reality headsets (i.e. virtual and augmented reality) have been presented, such as the Indian AjnaXR, which is intended to be lighter and more functional than existing models so that users can wear it for hours. For its part, the French nugget SocialDream has also launched its own mixed reality headset, called Dreamsense, specially designed for its immersive videos intended to stimulate the memory of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Less directly useful, many olfactory technologies were presented at CES. The American startup OVR has developed an accessory that attaches under the virtual reality helmet to diffuse odors, in order to perfect the metaverse experience. Thus, the user can smell the smell of his virtual barbecue, and tomorrow of perfumes that he will be able to smell before buying online…

Problem: for now, the metaverse remains mostly speculative. Despite the coming of age of augmented and virtual reality technologies, the general public does not yet seem ready to spend hundreds – even thousands – of euros to equip themselves massively with headsets and applications for the metaverse, in addition to an already expensive real life. Despite the buzz and its disproportionate place at CES 2023, the metaverse remains, for the time being, a niche: the metaverse of Meta (Facebook), Horizons, has barely 200,000 active users per month, and the equipment in reality headsets virtual remains weak compared to smartphones and tablets. Thus, the CTA, the association which organizes CES, expects 3.1 million VR headsets sold in the United States in 2023 (still an increase of 20% compared to 2022) and more than 380,000 glasses of augmented reality (+100%). Still far from the promised wave.

Meta: a year later, the metaverse still stuck on the take-off runway

The “bullshit innovation” of the year: the lawyer scanner

Like every year, the gigantic cave of Ali Baba that is the CES presented its share of spectacularly useless innovations. If the famous French connected potatostar of the 2020 edition, was precisely a satire of the sometimes sterile race for innovation, nothing like it in One-Third, the very first degree lawyer scanner and which caused a sensation this year. For ” fight against food waste », this American nugget has developed an infrared scanner which detects if the fruit is not yet ripe », « ripe ” Where ” overripe “.

Obviously, the result can be read on a mobile application with a color code that varies according to the maturity of the lawyer. In addition to avoiding choosing an overripe avocado at the supermarket – which could in fact increase unsold products and therefore food waste? – the tool is supposed to prevent consumers from feeling the fruit, which damages it. But still, that would require everyone to have a smartphone and take it out to do their shopping…

CES 2020: Potato, the ironic connected potato that is “trolling” the tech industry

French regions on display

As every year since 2016, France is one of the leading nations exhibiting at CES. Largely thanks to its army of startups that make the trip to Eureka Park, the space dedicated to young shoots. This year again, more than 170 nuggets exhibited at Eureka Park, all united under the same banner of the red rooster of French Tech, organized by Business France.

As in 2020 – the last 100% physical edition of the show – almost all regions (10 out of 13) played the collective game. From Ile-de-France by Valérie Pécresse (LR) to Occitanie by Carole Delga (PS), via the Aura by Laurent Wauquiez (LR) and Brittany by Loïg Chesnais-Girard (PS), all have agreed to dilute their own logo a little to highlight the strength of innovation made in France. For years, the CES has been considered a powerful lever of attractiveness for the French regions, which make the trip to expose the dynamism of the regional economic fabric, in the hope of attracting talents, companies and French and international investors.

This year, the Minister Delegate for Digital and Telecommunications, Jean-Noël Barrot, made the trip in person to support the French innovation team and recall that one of its main missions is to develop tech everywhere. in the territories. But for the time being, the results remain mixed, because Ile-de-France continues to concentrate around half of the creations of startups in France and 80% of investments.

CES 2023: fewer French startups but better equipped to do business