By Laura Kobylecky
In an online session entitled “CES 2022 Tech Trends to Watch,” Steve Koenig VP of Research at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) talks about the behaviors, global trends, and emerging technologies to watch out for this year.
Consumers Level Up
One trend that Koenig observes is consumers “leveling up” their technology in a sort of “home makeover.” situation. He describes this overall trend by saying that consumers “want a 21st-century lifestyle.”Consumers leveling up their technology in a sort of home makeover situation #TechTrends #CES2022 Click To Tweet
This lifestyle may include “smart technology.” People are purchasing more IoT technology in order to have a connected home that serves their needs and wants more efficiently. These smart technology devices may have “attached services” instead of being “just a simple, dumb, device.”
These devices include things like “connected fitness.” Products like this can track progress of individuals with IoT tech or be connected to online experiences. Koenig explains that “research has shown if you buy one or two products you tend to want more.” So, after these smart home purchases are made, these customers may continue to expand their ownership in that area. Koenig emphasizes that this trend is a worldwide phenomenon.
The average consumer now subscribes to 8 streaming services #TechTrends #CES2022 Click To Tweet
More growth has also occurred in the field of “premium brands.” Koenig describes this as a “simmering” trend that has risen over time. He points to Beats headphones and Nintendo Switch as good examples of premium brands that has been embraced by consumers. According to Koenig, consumers want that premium brand experience, and “maybe we’re willing to open our wallets a little bit wider to get that,” he says, adding that this trend increased with the pandemic as more and more people decided to level up their tech.
Another area of growth is the increasing use of subscription services. Koenig says that “customers’ zeal for services” is growing in the socially distant world. The average customer is subscribed to eight services. These “pandemic pivots” are a “product of this season of the pandemic” and according to Koenig, this increasing use of subscription services is set to continue into the future.
One pandemic trend that Koenig hopes will end soon, is the issue of the “supply chain.” He shows a chart highlighting how this issue has increased during the pandemic.
Technology could help address future supply chain issues so that they don't affect the industry so badly as they have done during the pandemic #TechTrends #CES2022 Click To Tweet
The chart also shows that shipping costs are already going down, so the trend may not remain so severe in the future. He mentions some technology solutions that could relate to this issue, like the possible use of “autonomous trucks.” He says that several companies at CES may be relevant to that future.
Another issue in the supply chain is the “chip shortage.” Koenig says that some semiconductor fabrication plants are responding by increasing their productivity, adding additional shifts to increase production. He also mentions that new chip fabs are being built, but that this solution will take years to address the issue. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are semiconductor fabrication plants.
Trends in Innovation and Industry
Koenig also sees some larger, relevant, and potentially-positive trends. 5G is a part of this vision. He explains that 5G will “provide the connective tissue for a lot of innovation in this decade.” This 5G wireless generation will be a bit unique in that it is turning away from the previous generations’ “consumer focus.” 5G is “the first wireless generation that will be led by the enterprise and not by the consumer” according to Koenig.The “real value of 5G” is “the enterprise quotient” and the possible use of this technology in things like industrial IoT #CES2022 #TechTrends Click To Tweet
He says the “real value of 5G” is “the enterprise quotient” and the possible use of this technology in things like industrial IoT. Industry can use IoT to keep their production connected in real-time using the increased connectivity made possible by 5G. Also, data centers are increasingly pushing more things to the cloud and 5G will be crucial in making that happen efficiently.
Another big trend that Koenig mentions is the growth of AI. He says that it’s getting better and better, and that this may allow for transformative new applications and use cases. He uses the “see and spray” function of the new John Deere tractor presented at CES 2022 as a good example of this: This function uses AI to differentiate between plants and weeds and targets pesticides at the weeds, reducing the overall pesticide use.
And of course, the Metaverse
Koenig sees the Metaverse as “the next generation of the Internet that will convey increasingly immersive digital experiences.” This Internet will “become inextricably linked with our physical reality,” he says.
The Metaverse is the next generation of the Internet that will convey increasingly immersive digital experiences #CES2022 #TechTrends Click To Tweet
According to Koenig, “the metaverse is closer than you think” and “the building blocks are already present and in place.” According to his reckoning, haptics and volumetric video technology will help make the metaverse more realistic and immersive. Cloud technology combined with the “robust connectivity” of 5G will make this world more possible. He cheekily reminds the audience that “Ready Player One was set in the year 2045,” so perhaps we should begin to anticipate that future.
CES 2022 may be over, but the online content and video on demand sessions remain available until January 31. And CES remains an interesting place to become aware of the future of technology. Keep your eyes wide open to see which of these trends continue and which of these predictions come true in 2022.
Laura Kobylecky is a contributing writer to Tech Trends. She is particularly interested in new and emerging technology and culture. Connect with her on LinkedIn