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Consumer Tech Trends from CES 2023

I’ve just come back from CES 2023 and as usual it was a feast of lights, innovation and mayhem.  For those that couldn’t make it, here are some highpoints for me that underline key tech trends for 2023:

Lots of robotics!  From delivery services through to floor cleaning, smart devices for the home market continue to evolve. Key updates include identifying what type of floor surface robots travel over and mapping these areas to enable more useful applications. Plenty of home product companies that haven’t specialised in these types of robotics previously are expanding their product portfolios now.

New shower by Kohler – users can personalise their shower experience, by adding body oils and fragrances into the water flow. This is a great example of a durables brand generating a new consumables revenue stream. A lesson for other companies who have a long gap between customer purchase points, like Kohler have between shower unit purchases – how can you add to your portfolio to encourage incremental product sales?

Battery power is everywhere from standalone units you can take camping or for home use, in car or in micro device. Gardening tools are now extending their ranges very successfully through cordless battery use even going as far as sit-down lawn mowers, all using universal connections and battery units that can move across products / systems for better battery management. The immediate future is battery powered!

Ultimate relaxation – Do you want a full body massage experience in the comfort of your own home?  The in-show product demo from Japanese company, Daiwa, showed a variety of movements and vibrations that massage and touch all elements of the body simultaneously. You could see in the delight on people’s faces as they saw the benefit of a massage chair, both as a luxury device but also a health device. I would have had a go, but the queue was far too long! They don’t come cheap, most have price tags starting at $10,000. With more working from home and muscle complaints from desk work, perhaps having a massage chair in every home is a very sensible investment.

Gaming and AR glasses – Showcased at CES were headset technologies developed as smaller, less cumbersome pairs of glasses. It’s an essential move from the full AR headsets we’ve seen in the past. They can display full screen resolution, centered on the glass lens, yet you can see beyond the picture frame, and the game you’re playing. Focal distances are the equivalent to 4m’s away. They feel less bulky whilst on, and you don’t look “silly” compared to the full AR headsets. Movement isn’t affected using the lighter glasses and from my design perspective, this is far nicer than its industry predecessors.

Gaming, body suit haptics – There were several haptic companies present at CES. Gloves, vests and headsets can all provide haptic feedback and you experience interactions whilst submersed in virtual reality. From one company, each fingertip of their gloves had vibration capability and their vest had full sections that could vibrate during battle conditions. Although developed for the gaming world, they are now being associated to other industries as training devices, such as being used in pilot training simulators

Femtech – from beauty to wellness and medical, there was a great buzz around female led technologies.  The femtech market size was valued at $30B in 2022 with CAGR of 16% (2023-2032) due in main to the adoption of digitalised healthcare and more awareness of the different requirements in female health to traditional male-led healthcare. Within beauty, I saw diversification of well-established companies into new product applications. With wellbeing & healthcare, there is an astounding number of tech startups ready to improve the lives of women in both developed and underdeveloped countries.

Autonomous driving – Key take away from the automotive sector is that all brands are striving for the same thing: object recognition. Who will win the race to develop the most robust system? Lots of LiDAR technology talk which is an area that Ignite and Plextek are very familiar with.

I hope this whistlestop tour of CES gives you some insights into the exciting areas of the latest product innovations. All new and exciting market areas we hope to work in over 2023!

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