CES 2023 was full of handshakes and even hugs between long-lost colleagues eager to talk shop and exchange ideas—drawing 115,000+ attendees and exhibitors.
The event, as usual, showcased innovations across transportation, mobility, health and wellness, sustainability, and, for the first time ever, Web3.
From robotic pets to immersive podcasts, there’s no shortage of highlights to share. What struck us, however, was the focus on people and solving real needs. So, here are five takeaways that tell us great things are possible when technology and experience intersect.
1. Keynote POV
Publicis Groupe hosted its very own keynote session with Brian Cooley, editor at large for CNET, who touched upon major transformations from automobiles to healthcare, but challenged companies to stay focused on the consumer experience behind every innovation.
Technology, he stressed, should be little more than the enabler. “What does it help people get done?” he asked.
According to Cooley, new tech should be transparent, intuitive, intimate, and constant. In other words, seamless, super personalized, and able to effortlessly replace what came before it. Affordability, of course, is also key.
2. Enhancing the human experience
The convergence of technology and experience was impressive with robotics, AI, and remote sensing moving swiftly from prototype to human helper.
The auto show, for example, displayed more software and operating systems than vehicle manufacturers. Amazon Alexa now connects mobility and the home with AWS, turning a car’s data signals into clear recommendations for the driver. From the healthcare industry, we saw Withings’ smart toilet, which translates bathroom activity into longitudinal health insights. John Deere’s ExactShot enables farmers to reduce starter fertilizer by more than 60 percent, which could save 93 million gallons of fertilizer annually. And HD Hyundai’s autonomous shipping system will address overcrowding in shipping lanes while protecting marine life.
In short, the show floor did a remarkably good job of demonstrating the human benefits of new and emerging tech.
3. Putting Web3 to real-world tests
As promised, the metaverse showed up loud and proud, delivering a new level of practicality as well as experiences aimed at all five senses.
Mastercard announced its launch of Mastercard Artist Accelerator, a Web3 platform merging music creation, collaboration, and ownership. Inviting musicians, DJs, and producers from around the world into the metaverse, this first-of-its-kind curriculum will teach artists how to build a brand, represent themselves, and foster community in the digital economy. Fans can also join the platform and learn right along with their favorite artists.
As for solving practical problems, metaverse platform MedicalIP turns CT scans into 3D images that physicians can use in place of invasive surgeries. Haptx brings digital training and tele-operative robotics to wearers of its gloves. And the city of Seoul built its own metaverse for smart city planning.
Aromajoin featured a neck-wearable smell dispenser with over 100 fragrances to complement video content. Returning to CES, OWO extended its haptic vest to sleeves and pants that use electric pulses to mimic touch. And HTC’s Vive XR Elite designed the most versatile headset yet, delivering AR, VR, and mixed reality in one.
4. Preparing for cars that catch feelings
With the shift from gasoline to gigawatts accelerating, EVs may not be breaking news, but what we saw at CES tells us there are wild upgrades on the horizon. While electric trucks are all the rage, there’s plenty of innovation around the driving experience itself.
BMW will continue to develop color-changing cars in 2023 with the BMW Dee, which stands for Digital Emotional Experience. Its features include a voice that talks back, windshield-sized visual display, and a knack for mimicking facial expressions. (Yes, you read that right.)
A strategic launch from Stellantis, the Ram 1500 Revolution is meeting increasing demand for EV trucks tough enough to tow and carry heavy loads. Its AI-powered “shadow mode” will even respond to voice commands from outside the car.
5. Celebrating products with promise
Always as a bastion for big promises, this year we saw products that captured imaginations as well as immediate and long-term needs.
Samsung’s Smart Monitor M8 connects and manages devices through its SmartThings Hub, which serves as a central base for merging home, work, and passion projects together with just one monitor.
Advanced AI and robotics boasted adaptive and sleek innovations with GlüxKind Ella’s self-driving stroller. Named a CES 2023 Innovation Award honoree, the stroller is packed with safety features plus hands-free steering and soothing assists for little passengers.
L'Oréal's Hapta’s brow and lipstick applicators for people with limited motor skills was one of the few products focused on the intersection of accessibility and DEI, addressing direct consumer needs.