Thought Bubble: Four Exciting Ideas from CES

January 13, 2023
7 minutes read

The ringing in of a new year was quickly followed by the ringing in of a new era of technological innovation at CES 2023. Brands across categories unveiled their latest, greatest, and most forward-thinking solutions to consumer pain points.

Here are a few innovations introduced at CES that stood out to Mintel’s tech and media experts:

Brian Benway, Research Analyst – Gaming and Entertainment

Sony showed several interesting new pieces of hardware at CES 2023, including their take on an accessibility controller, tentatively called Project Leonardo. However, the bigger reveal was the much anticipated PlayStation VR2. With Meta/Oculus/Facebook seemingly on a cooling-off period after laying off 11,000 workers shortly after revealing its Meta Quest Pro, Sony’s sequel product could be poised to take a more dominant position in the Virtual Reality space. Featuring 4k visuals, intelligent eye-tracking that almost makes a player’s vision another controller, and an adjustable wide field of view, the product is a feature-rich match for the PlayStation 5. With that said, it still requires a matched PlayStation 5, bringing the total price tag for this experience closer to the Meta Quest Pro cost level. Starting with a digital-only model PS5 at $399, adding the VR2 hardware for $549 brings the entry-level experience to $949. That’s without factoring in additional costs such as controller charging, high-quality audio options, or even games.

Image Source: PlayStation

Speaking of software, Horizon: Call of the Mountain is reportedly as amazing a VR experience as the current VR gaming king Half-Life: Alyx, but in order for PlayStation VR2 to reach these heights, Sony had to forgo backward compatibility with previously purchased titles. Sony, and the budding Virtual Reality industry in general, continue to reach great heights of technological achievement, but may continue to be brought down by the equally great costs for the foreseeable future.   

John Poelking, Research Manager – Tech, Media, and Telecom
One of the most important advancements at CES 2023 wasn’t a device or a service, but a new standard called Matter. Matter was developed in collaboration with many big brands (including Apple, Google, Samsung, and Amazon) to create a consistent standard making it easier to set up and connect a wide range of devices. Matter also connects devices locally so it doesn’t need to go through the cloud, cutting down on latency. A new standard like this should also encourage innovation from brands that won’t need to worry as much about cross-device compatibility.

Image Source: Connectivity Standards Alliance

Smart home systems have become more instrumental in consumers’ lives as the technology powering them has become more intuitive and less expensive. The promise of a more cohesive cross-brand ecosystem could lighten the pain points of a disjointed ecosystem, and create more justification for internet providers to include new smart home hardware in upcoming promotions.

Jenni Nelson, Research Analyst – Tech and Media
The most buzzed-about home health tracking devices at CES 2023 are going down the toilet – literally. At least four different monitors were on display that claimed to monitor biomarkers in urine in order to provide a nearly-instant snapshot of the user’s health. The most popular in terms of press coverage is Withings wifi-enabled U-scan prototype. U-Scan is a flat, circular device that hangs over the front edge of a toilet, much like toilet bowl cleaners. It can sense when someone is urinating, prompting a pump to pull a small amount of urine into the unit. Inside is a cartridge with many microfluidic assays which are then run in front of the device’s infrared scanner to check gravity (ie chemical particles), pH, Vitamin C and ketone levels. Results and actionable insights are shared via Withings’s Health Mate app. The cartridges are refreshed after each use, and the company claims the device is smart enough to distinguish between users in the same household. Currently, there are two cartridges in the works: one to measure nutrition and hydration, and another to track menstrual cycles.

Image Source: Withings

It hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA, so a US release will follow Europe’s, which is scheduled for Q2 2023. The most basic model will cost about $500 with replacement cartridges around $30. As personal health tracking matures, moving beyond a smartwatch or ring is the next step – wearable devices have reached their limit in terms of what biometrics they can track without piercing the skin. Given that urine analysis is already widely used to detect a plethora of illnesses, a home-based version isn’t far-fetched. It could be a game changer for those monitoring kidney and liver diseases or diabetes, either for themselves or for others within the home. It could also cut down on the number of clinic visits and lab tests among patients, freeing up time, effort and expense for both patients and the healthcare industry alike.  

Nicole Bond, Associate Director – Marketing Strategy
While new TVs with enhanced specs and capabilities are nothing new for CES, start-up Displace TV flipped the script by delivering a new kind of “wireless” TV that has opened the door to the next chapter of TV device advancements. The 55-inch 4K TV promises to alleviate the burden of wire clutter and deliver a truly innovative experience for at-home entertainment. The Displace TV will be powered by a proprietary hot-swappable battery system, weigh less than 20 lbs, bypass the need to permanently damage walls with a mount, and provide the flexibility of multiple screens operating at once to deliver a completely innovative role of TV in the home. The start-up’s innovation uses active-loop vacuum technology to stick to any wall, and can be moved around the home at the user’s preference. While sticking a TV to a wall and trusting that it stays put may make some consumers nervous, the appeal of not having to deal with cord management is likely universal.

Image Source: Displace TV

The device is also modular, meaning it can be used in a combination of multiple Displace displays to form customizable TV sizes. The flexibility and aesthetic appeal of the new device mark a shift in the role of TV in the home. Not only is it about having the best specs, but it is also now about the entire user experience from start to finish. It puts control back in the hands of consumers, and opens the door to immense opportunities to change the way TVs have been perceived. Displace has addressed common consumer pain points while innovating based on modern technology to truly build out a one-of-its-kind (for now) experience with a household staple. It pointed to how the future of TVs can and will evolve to better serve the needs of consumers at home. Notably, LG also presented M3—a wireless, port-less 97-inch OLED TV that would also operate on Wi-Fi 6 and offer a cordless appeal. Despite its teaser, LG did not mention the price or release date of its wireless model, which suggests it may be a ways off. Meanwhile, reservations for Displace TV are open, and are expected to be available to ship by late 2023.

 

If you are a Mintel client, please reach out to your Account Manager for additional information and key takeaways from CES, otherwise for more information on how Mintel experts can help your brand strategize future initiatives, click here.

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