Likely The Greenest Yet
I certainly had my reservations about how interesting or engaging an all-digital CES would be? To my delight, I found many parts of it more focused and less difficult to see than the live event. By its very nature, a trade show of this magnitude is going to have a huge carbon footprint and be responsible for thousands of tons of waste, so I’m delighted this virtual event cut that carbon footprint dramatically which is a step in the right direction toward saving the planet. I think we are all discovering that we don’t need to experience many things in person with all the great technology available to us (although I missed seeing everyone, my liver is thanking me after 23 CES years).
Highlights from my 2021 CES experience
Electrification – Transportation, delivery, and recreational vehicles seem to be moving towards becoming all-electric in the near term. The Jetsons cartoon is close to becoming reality.
GM had an excellent keynote which showcased the electric Cadillac, Hummer, and other GM brands concept vehicles that are on the cusp of being available to the masses. Impressive tech in this entire fleet. They also showcased the Cadillac Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), which it hopes will one day power an air taxi service.
Audi showcased a high-performance electric concept car that is utilizing R&D from it’s Formula-E race car. These designers are all having a blast bringing this electric tech to the forefront with style. Battery technology is the foundation and making huge strides in regard to what is possible. The torque and speed of these cars is amazing.
Kohler had an interesting variety of problem-solving product offerings. New smart kitchen and bath products ranging from a smart water monitor systems, a touchless faucet and toilet (also a voice-controlled version). Kohler’s stillness bath is truly a high-end spa-like experience designed for the home. The square infinity tub combines light, fog and aromatherapy for a truly indulgent experience. I am happy to see companies putting effort focused on experience and wellness.
Toto also continued its trend with smart toilets. When you sit down on this smart throne, it scans your body—and your stool—to determine if you’re healthy. After analyzing, it offers recommendations to help improve your digestion, such as dietary changes, via a companion mobile app.
COVID also surfaced technology such as ultraviolet disinfecting products in many arenas. LG has implemented ultraviolet LED light to “virtually eliminate” bacteria on the nozzle of its water dispensing unit in its refrigerator. LG also showcased an Autonomous Robot with Disinfecting UV Light for commercial applications.
Mojo won the last gadget standing competition with its AR contact lenses that give your eyes superpowers, fascinating to see this technology implemented at this scale.
My Top Takeaways from 2021 CES
1. ELECTRIC & SELF DRIVING VEHICLES ARE HERE TO STAY
Those of you who know me, know if it has wheels and a motor, I’m into it. I have to admit I fought wanting to adopt electric vehicles. Now that I’ve actually experienced what they truly offer in the midst of our climate crisis- I am excited to immerse myself in this experience and advocate for them.
2. TECHNOLOGY IS INTEGRATED INTO ALL HARDWARE PRODUCTS
If it is electronic, it will likely analyze, facilitate, or offer suggestions in some regard. We can talk to products, ask questions, unlock things with a touch or a glimpse. I’m not sure all of this tech is actually improving the human experience or even necessary. Are we solving real problems or creating new ones? The questions we should be asking ourselves as we continue to develop new products.
3. ROBOTICS AND AI ARE AT THE FOREFRONT
So many companies are working on and improving what this technology can do. Many of us already have some form of robotics or AI in our homes now. This trend is definitely going to continue into the foreseeable future and be present everywhere.
4. GREEN INITIATIVES ARE BEING NOTICED AND APPRECIATED
It’s fantastic to see so many companies with green initiatives that are serious about implementing them now and into the future. Zero carbon footprint is a goal for many big players. The pandemic has shown us what a greener world can and should look like. I know I am going to support a greener world through design and manufacturing any way possible going forward and hope you do also.
— Kyle Swen