CES remains the biggest tech week of the year. Each January, the show connects the world’s biggest tech companies, the next generation of startups looking for disruptive ideas, tech journalists and influencers, big-box retailers looking for products to fill their shelves and tens of thousands of tech enthusiasts trying to catch a glimpse of and after.
While it won’t reach the height of a decade ago, this year’s show will have exhibitors, international press, and attendee numbers that look much more like the pre-pandemic tech industry. There will also be many aspects of the show that will be broadcast live to a global audience – a welcome holdover from the pandemic-dominated shows of the past two years.
This year’s 2023 release will look much more like the flashy CES you’ve seen in countless internet news stories and videos over the past two decades.
Nevertheless, there will be four big questions that weigh heavily. Keep an eye out for these themes as reports arrive this week.
1. Will the big tech companies give us more than gimmicks?
At CES, big tech companies are notorious for showcasing concepts no one will ever buy, such as 100-inch TVs, rollable screens, silly robots and single-seater helicopters speeding by like flying cars. While stingy consumers hard hit by inflation could certainly use a little entertainment, it would be a welcome development at this year’s CES if big tech companies didn’t rely on their old parlor tricks but instead emphasized on useful innovations with more substance.
2. Can anyone convince us to care about the metaverse?
Right now, the Metaverse is a lot like a lost puppy wandering around and smelling everything. There are bound to be plenty of companies – from hardware makers to NFT peddlers – looking for a place in the metaverse ecosystem, just in case it comes to fruition.
We have our eye on Thursday, January 5 for the next big HTC Vive reveal. Will HTC’s new headset make the Metaverse more appealing? We’ll see. Apple’s long-awaited headset is of course looming in 2023, but Apple won’t be at the show and no one knows how long we’ll have to wait to see what they have in place.
3. Will AI start automating useful things?
AI burst into consumer consciousness in 2022 with Lensa, Dall-E, ChatGPT and other tools. He wowed us with his abilities to produce human-like work and raised troubling ethical questions about intellectual property and fair attribution.
These ethical concerns will only deepen in 2023. But AI’s biggest gains are likely to come from how smarter AI and machine learning will connect the dots behind the scenes to automate work and simplify life. This is where many of the most impactful opportunities lie ahead, and we have to hope that this year’s CES will bring forth exciting projects and startups that can make humans smarter and more efficient.
Also: Tech CES 2023 I’m watching: Metaverse, ER of the future, food tech, NFTs
4. Will the best stuff come from unexpected places?
More than 3,000 companies will be exhibiting at CES 2023 and a third of them are coming to the show for the first time. While big TV vendors, PC companies and automakers will monopolize a lot of the spotlight, it’s many of the smaller startups and entrepreneurs who will have the most disruptive technology at the show. Over the years, I’ve seen tiny startups years ahead of big companies — including things that later appeared as features in mainstream products.
The bottom line is that the most innovative elements at CES 2023 are likely to come from companies you’ve never heard of. ZDNET is on a mission to find them. So stay tuned.
You can watch our short video summarizing the four major themes of CES 2023 as a YouTube short (embedded below), on Instagram Reel or on TikTok.
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