Each year, CES 2023 kicks off for the media two days prior to the official show opening. One of the first events to attend is the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA’s) official Tech Trends to Watch presentation. This is where Steve Koenig, Vice President of Research at CTA, discusses what we can expect to see at the show, and for the year and future going forward. This year, it’s all about things like the metaverse, transportation, health tech, sustainability, and gaming.
Koenig discussed each of these areas in deeper detail, including what we can expect to see from these categories in 2023 and beyond.
It’s poised to be a big buzzword for CES 2023: the metaverse. And the concept is “closer than you think,” says Koenig, even though it’s still very much a speculative term. This year, he predicts we’ll start to see “legitimate substance” when it comes to tech innovation related to the metaverse. He even used the term the ‘Metaverse of Things,” a throwback to the “Internet of Things” that was the phrase du jour at CES a few years ago.
This will be characterized by next-generation online experiences that provide an elevated immersion, he explains. It will manifest in two ways: through virtualization, like with 3D interactive spaces you can access from a tablet, laptop, or smartphone via consumer-facing “digital twins,” and immersion via VR-based enterprises. Don’t be surprised if the metaverse retail space becomes a hot topic.
Transportation and Mobility
The West Hall exhibit returns for a second year in a row to CES, shedding light on the latest in automotive tech. this year, the focus is on electric vehicles, battery design and charging systems to help you go further on a single charge.
There will also be advancements in autonomy, along with the transformation of the in-vehicle experience through things like voice control, 5G V2X, retail and entertainment services, and features as a service (FaaS) that allow for recurring revenue opportunities. Koenig doesn’t think it would be out of the realm of possibility for car manufacturers to begin charging a fee, for example, for access to AM and FM radio stations in the future.
One of the most dominant categories at the show, it seems, and one that is growing the most quickly, is that of health tech. This is growing in three main categories: digital therapeutics, characterized by new ways to manage chronic conditions; telehealth for remote monitoring and better access to doctors; and fitness tech through connected exercise, sports equipment, and home gyms.
There’s also a bigger spotlight being shed of mental wellness and a variety of tech devices that are designed to help you feel better, relieve stress, manage anxiety, and monitor conditions like depression.
The goal, overall, is to monitor and help people take charge of their health in between doctor visits.
Sustainability and ESG
Koenig also noted how sustainability and ESG topics will be big this year. This includes products, technologies, and innovations related to helping provide cleaner air, alternative power, food, and agriculture. There’s also a focus on water purification and battery technology innovations.
We’ll look at the “farm of the future” and what that might look like, including things like intelligent silos, connected farmers, drones and soil sensors, satellite and terrestrial 5G connections, farming robots, offsite analysis platforms, and optimized food production. John Deere, which has a keynote at the show once again, will be showing off innovations like a self-driving tractor.
Gaming and Services
Finally, another big area at the show will be gaming and services. According to CTA’s The Future of Gaming 2022 report, there were 164 million gamers aged 13-64 in the U.S., 25% of which labeled themselves “hardcore” gamers and 45% of whom engaged in gaming via mobile devices. Most surprisingly, however, is that 41% of U.S. consumers between those ages label themselves as “casual” gamers. As mobile devices get faster, better, and sport longer battery life, mobile gaming will be a continuing trend.
Meanwhile, services we picked up during the height of the pandemic, like grocery delivery, continue to be popular. When asked about the services they had pre-pandemic and after, in many cases, such as with grocery delivery, video streaming, food delivery, e-commerce websites, video gaming, and music streaming, consumers reported leaning into them more, not less.
Even with services like health, wellness, and fitness as well as job-based services and home services and repairs, consumers said they are spending about the same. Koenig notes that some of this could be a factor of inflation as well. Nonetheless, the lesson here is that subscription services are on the rise, and consumers are poised to spend more on them in the future.
Bottom line: we have a lot to look forward to at CES 2023 in these categories and others once the show officially kicks off on January 5, 2023 in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more reports, live from the show.