Personally, it’s hard to judge just how big of an impact external health and safety factors had on the finished product that was CES 2022 — because those very health and safety concerns are what resulted in my viewing from afar this year. What I can say, though, is that from all of the interactions I’ve had with in-person attendees of the show, including some of our own Nationwide Marketing Group staff, the show was still packed with innovation, meaningful engagements and plenty of exciting new technology.
The FOMO was real. But, thanks to Al Gore, I had the internet to fall back on as a way to stay in touch with the happenings out in Las Vegas. And in “attending” CES from the comfort of my computer desk for the second year in a row, two major trends really stood out this year.
Let’s dive into them.
We’re Gearing Up for a Serious OLED Battle
To the typical consumer, the differences between all of the various display technologies isn’t going to mean much. Rather, they look for the best value in a display based on the Size x Price equation, and they move on. And that’s been a fair method of decision making given the lack of true consumer-grade innovation in the space over the past few years. Sure, we’ve been introduced to displays that roll up and others that can scale to the size of an entire wall. But with price tags in the 10’s of thousands to north of $100,000, these haven’t meant much to the typical consumer.
CES 2022 showed us that there is plenty of room left for innovation in the TV space at a level that can compel the average consumer to consider upgrading their TV — or adding one in another area of their home.
For the longest time, LG Electronics has been considered the absolute standard when it comes to producing quality OLED TV displays. It’s well documented — through various industry competitions and awards programs — how strong the manufacturer’s displays have performed up against others in the TV industry.
That narrative may soon change thanks to a CES 2022 introduction made by Samsung, albeit, via a Sony announcement.
The short of it: Samsung is diving headfirst into the OLED market. Their new Quantum Dot OLED displays, which have been in development for some time, will hit the market later this year.
While it may be considered something of a middle ground between traditional OLED and Samsung’s QD LED TVs, the technology is said to produce better brightness and more consistent colors than LG’s displays. That’s thanks to Samsung’s use of blue light that shines through a quantum dot layer to convert colors into reds and greens, rather than passing light through a color filter like traditional OLED displays. The Verge has a really awesome breakdown of the new displays in their CES 2022 coverage if you want to geek out on it.
Point being, a display market that’s long been cornered by one manufacture is about to be busted wide open thanks to some added competition. And, as we know, that can only mean better products which benefits the retailers who sell them and the end consumers who use them.
The Smart Home Market is Maturing — Fast
One of the biggest frustrations in attending CES over the past several years has been the difficulty in sifting through all of the smart home gadgets that get introduced and trying to find the things that will ultimately stick. I’ve seen, undoubtedly, thousands of brands and individual products demoed at the show in the five years I’ve gone, a majority of which have either fizzled out, never made it to market, or end up just flopping.
Honestly, that’s no fault of the product or the brand — in most cases. Rather, the smart home market has been held back by its own disjointedness.
That said, CES 2022 felt like something of a growing-up moment for the space.
In an odd sort of roundabout way, perhaps thanks to the chip shortage that forced the tech world to pause on myriad product intros, brands took the opportunity to look inward and figure out how to bring the smart home market back together and simplify things — for themselves and the consumer.
While there was still a laundry list of new intros at CES 2022, a lot of attention was given to brands coming together to ensure all of these products rolling out can actually work together and create a truly connected experience for the consumer.
The first group to make a splash out in Vegas was the Home Connectivity Alliance. With a unique focus on the connected appliance market, the HCA rolled out its plans to develop guidelines for cloud-to-cloud interoperability for appliances, HVAC systems and TVs. The group features a number of Nationwide’s key vendor partners, including Electrolux, GE Appliances, Arçelik (Beko) and Samsung.
Elsewhere, while no specific news was released at CES 2022, the hundreds of members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly the Zigbee Alliance), displayed products built around the group’s new Matter standard. Rolled out in Summer 2021, the new open-source standard has been adopted by a number of major connected tech manufacturers and promises to create a smart home ecosystem that’s simpler, more reliable, better inter-connected and more secure.
Being able to tell a simple, unified story around the connected home is great for these organizations. But it also matters for the retailers who sell those products. Being able to show a customer how all of these things work together in a simple-to-use fashion will ultimately make them easier to sell.
CES will always be packed with plenty of excitement and countless futuristic products that will never see a retail shelf. But, as these two trends show, the tech showcase still has the ability to generate excitement for the here and the now.