Sunday, 09 January 2022 22:41

CES 2022: still a solid success despite half the exhibitors and 40,000 attendees Featured

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From a new, COVID-test device that gives instant results just with your breath, to a colour-changing electric BMW to autonomous, electric farm robots that can hoe, weed, seed and more, through to ever-smarter smart home tech, including wireless energy at a distance to robots with ever more realistic facial expressions, and whether it is the latest GPUs, CPUs, start-ups, smartphones, TVs, flying cars, accessibility-friendly tech, fintech, wellness, wearables and much, much more - CES 2022 was definitely smaller, but it still succeeded in launching tons of terrific tech.

iTWire has been at CES 2022 in person all week, and we've recorded dozens of video interviews from a range of different companies across the event, covering some impressive technologies, from all the sectors just described above and many more.

But what was it like in the venue, and in Las Vegas itself in the middle of a global pandemic? One Uber driver told me that December 2021 was busier than he'd ever seen it, but since things ticked over to January 1, 2022, Omicron fears have seen the city's normal visitor-levels plummet.

If that's the case, the 40,000 people and 2300 exhibitors that attended CES 2022 from at least January 5 to 7 was clearly a very much needed boost for the economy, and for all of the associated activity before, during and after the event 

Compared to 171,000 attendees and 4,400 exhibitors in January 2020, the 40,000 attendance figure for 2022 looks low, but in the context of Omicron COVID-strain fears, it's fantastic, especially when you consider there were zero physical attendees at CES 2021 with COVID at the time forcing it to become a digital-only, virtual event. 

Over the course of this week, we'll publish dozens of videos of interviews with people, companies and technologies that caught my eye, and which will hopefully catch yours, too - there really was some great technologies on display!

CES isn't just held in the Las Vegas Convention Centre, but across several venues, with a range of private company suites, meeting spaces and more, alongside the Pepcom and ShowStoppers side events, making it all combine to create the incredibe new technology CES experience.

While there were visible gaps in various sections of venues where companies chose to pull out at the last moment, which you'll see in videos as I walk around, there's nothing like physically attending an event, even with the hassle of wearing masks, which Omicron made mandatory in all indoor settings.

While you rarely saw people without masks in Las Vegas, you did see quite a few people whose noses had popped out of and above their masks, lowering mask efficiency for those people dramatically lower than wearing a mask intends to have happen. Hand sanitiser is also very widely available, although I always carried my own as a backup, and the vast majority of people were respecting mask wearing, and while it presumably happened to many people in Las Vegas during the time I've been here, I heard no reports of anyone testing positive.

The CTA is the Consumer Technology Association, which puts CES on every year, and rather than providing a CES bag or backpack, insetad provided Abbott-brand COVID Rapid Antigen Tests, with two tests in the pack, and offered all attendees a second pack on Friday, the last day of the event.

All the rapid antigen tests I took before I travelled, during my stay, and now my PCR test required to fly back, have all consistently and thankfully been negative, and I have followed maskign and sanitisation requirements, as well as using UV-C sanitisation boxes to sanitise masks, phones, glasses, AirPods, microphones and more on a regular basis.

CES ended a day early

Presumably to mollify the pressure the CTA was under to cancel CES completely for another year, the organisers decided to end CES a day early, on Friday, January 7 instead of Saturday, January 8.

Of course, a lot of companies would have booked hotel rooms and flights based on the original schedule, with the decision taking place a few days before the show started, and with many attendees still in Las Vegas anyway and out and about on Jan 8, I was not a fan of the event closing one day early.

CES is still massive, and while I was counting on that fourth day to see and capture even more cool tech and content from the event, and wish the decision hadn't been made to shorten the event, I can nevertheless understand CTA reluctantly deciding to do it, and pray the world's COVID-woes are much closer to being over so no similar action is needed in 2023.

I'm going to leave you with two videos to start with - the first being BMW's full CES 2022 event, which has more detail than the few seconds of colour changing cars that you might have only seen on the TV news, or in short onlne videos, while the second video is the CES 2022 "Trends in Technology" event, held on the first of the two media days on January 3.

There's plenty more post-CES content to come each day as I catch up on editing and posting all the content I captured across a wide range of companies - which even included interviewing the digital video twin, as such, of William Shatner - who really was answering a wide range of questions posed by CES attendees - with this video just one of the any to come.

1. Here's that CES 2022 BMW presentation in full:

2. Here's the highly-anticipated CES 2022 Trends in Technology presentation, in full!

 My trip to CES 2022 was supported by LG, eftpos Australia, ASCCA, the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, iTWire and my family. 

 

 

 

 

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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