Five things to watch at CES, the Las Vegas tech show

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Las Vegas (USA) (AFP) – The world’s largest technology and consumer electronics trade show, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), opens Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, with hopes of a revival after two difficult years marked by the pandemic.

Here are five big numbers to follow until Sunday.

Which size?

Three years ago, the high fair in Las Vegas attracted more than 117,000 visitors, just weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic paralyzed part of the planet.

In 2021, only 40,000 remained to attend a hybrid version of CES amid a tidal wave of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which had prompted many people to stay at home.

“It’s a great feeling to see people reunited after two or three dark years,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organizes this big convention in the middle of the desert.

Organizers hope to gather more than 100,000 attendees for this year’s CES, an event whose first edition dates back to 1967, in New York at the time.

The car takes off

The automotive sector will be dominant this year, with almost 300 exhibitors from the industry gathered in a dedicated exhibition hall, including presentations from Stellantis, BMW and the presence of Honda executives.

“This year, you’ll almost feel like you’re at an auto show,” says Kevan Yalowitz, head of software and platforms at Accenture.

The technological acceleration of the car now makes CES an obvious destination, given the loss of momentum from the Detroit show, which was suspended for three years before a smaller-scale restart last September.

Although the arrival of fully autonomous cars seems further away than originally expected, a good number of the innovations presented this year aim to replace the driver with software.

Among the novelties is the possibility of remote updating of the vehicle management software, such as a computer or a smartphone.

These programs could “change the vehicle’s operating parameters instantly and identify problems that can be fixed without the driver even noticing,” says Yalowitz.

The metaverse sticks

Last year, CES was dominated by the idea that virtual reality, accessible with a headset, was the future of the Internet.

But enthusiasm ran out of steam, weighed down by the bad year of Meta (ex-Facebook), considered the locomotive of the metaverse. The group from Menlo Park (California) is still struggling to convince users to take the plunge, despite colossal investments.

The metaverse “is not yet a mainstream category,” said Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.

Virtual worlds will continue to be in the spotlight this year. Several companies and lecturers will thus show the possible applications of these parallel universes.

The Connected Revolution

Connected devices have been gaining momentum for nearly a decade, but the market remains highly fragmented, with dozens of manufacturers and many competing standards and standards.

Under the auspices of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), more than 550 companies have collaborated to define a common protocol that experts see as a revolution.

Installing the Google brand in Las Vegas © Robyn BECK / AFP

With the new standard, called Matter, the first version of which was launched in October, it will now be possible to buy a device of almost any brand and connect it to the existing ecosystem in your home, whether it is the works of Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Nest apps.

“Some products have already achieved their certification” for compliance with this new standard “and there will be many more in the aisles at CES,” announced Avi Greengart, from the company Techsponential.

“We will see Matter devices synced with doorbells (entrance), vacuum cleaners and others,” adds the analyst.

green technology

The topic of climate change has been a big topic at CES for several years, although the events devoted to it attract less public attention than the latest electronic gadgets.

Green technology is getting its own exhibition space this week, a sign of the organizers’ desire to give the subject more visibility.

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