5 buzzwords from CES 2022 that marketers need to know
CES 2022 showcased innovations with concepts, prototypes, and fully-formed promises of a new world driven by technology – with hopes of better connection, personalization, efficiency, and sustainability. Although the current COVID-19 surge loomed large over the in-person and digital event, industry leaders still plotted out the future beyond the pandemic.
Here are the buzz-worthy topics we suggest marketers get comfortable with as they will likely continue to demand attention as the present becomes more futuristic:
Metaverse – a virtual world allowing for new social and digital interactions
Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in October 2021 set off a flurry of conversation about the metaverse. Most of it revolved around this question: what is the metaverse? In the broadest term, the metaverse is the intermingling of digital and real-world experiences. Many brands looked to capitalize on the hype at CES by showcasing how their products and services could contribute to one metaverse or many. Some examples were bigger stretches than others.
Despite the trendiness of the term, the metaverse is still undoubtedly a concept with traction that many brands – tech or otherwise – will be building toward over the coming years. AR/VR brands will figure out how to extend their virtual experiences to the physical world, while anything from concerts to retail to offices could be affected by a more integrated environment. Entertainment brands will also look to find ways to establish building blocks now that will lead to greater metaverse experiences beyond these early days.
Web3 – the next generation of the internet focusing on ownership
A key element of the metaverse will be digital ownership, enabled by cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and the third generation of the internet. The World Wide Web continues to evolve from the ‘read-only’ webpages of the ‘90s (Web1) to the current ‘read-write’ where web content is interactive and contributed by users (Web2). In the not-so-distant future will be the full emergence of Web3 in the form of ‘read-write-own,’ the addition of an ownership layer onto the internet that enables individuals to control their own content, data, and assets.
The decentralized nature of Web3 will entail both a shift in infrastructure and mindset, neither requiring permission from big tech companies that have long wielded outsized power over the individual consumer nor requiring trust between users that has long been facilitated by an intermediary. Web3 is already creating incredible momentum within the creator economy, including many of the up and coming blockchain-rooted innovations that were discussed at CES: non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
Digital Health – using technology to improve health outcomes
Even in the last decade, health wearables have come a long way from the days of clunky wristband trackers that only counted your steps. These days wearable devices offer a plethora of functionalities paired with a low-profile design. Abbott CEO Robert Ford unveiled in his keynote updated biosensors that can track a variety of biomarkers and then make actionable recommendations via a phone app. With many disparate health wearables flooding the market, many of which offer different ways of providing consumers with their own health data, it remains to be seen which ones will rise to the top.
In more general terms, the healthcare system is still struggling with the digital revolution, with many challenges that are the result of legacy systems and the distended bureaucracy between healthcare providers, health insurers, consumers, and sometimes the government. Much of the dialogue at CES involved both the opportunities and challenges of integrating tech into a complex healthcare system. One thing is clear, the future of health innovations in 2022 will be driven by the democratization of telehealth, at-home testing, and medical devices like health wearables.
Smart Community – an ecosystem of interconnected devices in a city or town
5G will enable smart cities to better connect people with the services they interact with on a daily basis. Low latency connections have been touted as the key to unlocking autonomous vehicles and more integrated public services. But what happens when that technology goes outside of urban areas?
Much of the 5G discussion at CES was making sure that everyone would have access to this next wave of innovation. Rural smart communities are an aspirational goal for many tech providers to create this next step in 5G adoption. Accessibility and transparency will be instrumental to tech brand strategies going forward as they look to seize this opportunity that has thus far not been prioritized.
EVs – connected cars and The Auto Revolution
Autos being spotlighted at CES is nothing new but this year it felt different. In the past, we became accustomed to seeing ultra-futuristic concept cars with wild designs, but all the while knowing that they would likely never get made. There was a shift this year. The excitement came from cars that consumers can get their hands on – some within a year’s time. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, set the tone in her keynote that was dominated by the announcement of the new electric Chevy Silverado. The Silverado is one of the best- selling pickup trucks in America and the electric version has been eagerly anticipated since Ford unveiled its electric F-150 last year.
The EV revolution has finally arrived. Led by Tesla, Ford, and Volkswagen, more electric cars are pulling into driveways all around the world every month. But the new electric drivetrains are not the only reason consumers are snapping to attention. The idea of a constantly upgradeable, over-the-air, user interface is drawing parallels to smartphones and tablets. This new software will create millions of connected cars and revenue opportunities for manufacturers, developers and brands through subscriptions. The car will soon be an extension of the home – complete with streaming entertainment and productivity solutions. Afterall, travelers are going to need something to do while waiting to recharge and they’ll have even more time on their hands once we achieve full-autonomy.