CES remains the most important tech week of the year. Every January, the show brings together the world’s largest tech companies, the next generation of startups chasing disruptive ideas, tech journalists and influencers, big box retailers looking for products to fill their shelves, and tens of thousands of See what’s next.
While it won’t reach the heyday of a decade ago, this year’s show will have exhibitors, international media and attendee numbers that look more like the pre-pandemic tech industry. Many aspects of the show will also be broadcast live to a global audience — a welcome remnant of the past two years of pandemic-dominated programming.
This year’s 2023 edition will be more like the flashy CES you’ve seen in countless news reports and Internet videos over the past few decades.
Still, four big questions loom. Keep an eye on these themes as this week’s report rolls out.
1. Will Big Tech give us more than just gimmicks?
At CES, big tech companies are notorious for showing off concepts that no one buys, like 100-inch TVs, roll-up displays, silly robots, and one-man helicopters that parade as flying cars. While stingy consumers battered by inflation can certainly enjoy some entertainment, it will be the year if Big Tech stops relying on their well-worn parlor tricks and instead focuses on more substantive, useful innovations. A welcome development at CES.
2. Who can convince us to care about the Metaverse?
Right now, the virtual world is a lot like a lost puppy wandering around, smelling everything. There will certainly be plenty of companies — from hardware makers to NFT peddlers — looking for a place in the Metaverse ecosystem in case it succeeds.
We’ll be watching the next big announcement for the HTC Vive on Thursday, January 5th. Will HTC’s new headphones make the Metaverse more appealing? wait and see. Of course, Apple’s long-awaited over-ear headphones will shine in 2023, but Apple won’t be at the show, and no one knows how long we’ll have to wait to see something from them.
3. Will artificial intelligence start automating useful things?
AI enters consumer consciousness in 2022 through Lensa, Dall-E, ChatGPT and other tools. It wows us with its ability to produce human-like creations, and raises troubling ethical questions about intellectual property and fair attribution.
These ethical questions will only deepen in 2023. But AI’s bigger gains could come from the way smarter AI and machine learning will connect the dots behind the scenes to automate work and make life simpler. That’s where many of the most impactful opportunities await, and we have to hope this year’s CES showcases some exciting projects and startups that can make humans smarter and more efficient.
Also: CES 2023 Tech I’m Watching: Metaverse, Future ER, Food Tech, NFTs
4. Do the best things come from unexpected places?
More than 3,000 companies will be exhibiting at CES 2023, with one third exhibiting for the first time. While big TV suppliers, PC companies and automakers will get the limelight, many smaller startups and entrepreneurs will have the most disruptive technologies at the show. Over the past few years, I’ve seen small startups with technologies that were years ahead of larger companies — including things that later showed up as features in mainstream products.
Best of all, the most innovative stuff at CES 2023 will likely come from companies you’ve never heard of. ZDNET’s mission is to find them. Stay tuned.
You can watch our short video summarizing the four major themes of CES 2023 on YouTube (embedded below), Instagram Reel, or TikTok.