CES 2022: Can hope defy Omicron?

Cupertino, December 22, 2021

It may be ironic that CES 2022 will likely be a banner year for a variety of devices, including smarthome hardware, given so many people not attending the event in person.

Can hope defy reality?

Organizers of the Consumer Technology Association continue to insist that CES 2022 will be a one-on-one event when it takes place on January 5th. They really want the event to continue and implement strict health protection measures, including insistence on vaccinations.

These efforts may not be sufficient. I saw a wave of big names giving up the show: Twitter, Amazon, Nvidia and even the show's main sponsor, T-Mobile, announced that they would not participate, citing the Omicron threat.

Several big names remain employed: Asus, Samsung, AMD, Qualcomm and OnePlus remain determined, while Google has installed its stand, according to AdWeek.

The champions of the CES show remain full of hope. "Right now, this hugely popular technology event is ready to deliver another stellar show that helps our industry grow and advance," wrote Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin, who still hopes to attend. "We are crossing our fingers that the show will be safe and successful for everyone involved."

These commitments can be tested during the holiday season.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns: “Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from Omicron infection. However, revolutionary infections can occur in people who are completely vaccinated. . "

The significance is that the current situation may be very different until January 5 and this uncertainty is reflected in the wave of companies leaving the event.

What to expect

The tragedy is that the event promises to be quite interesting. CES 2022 pre-event announcements so far suggest interesting news in some major areas of the technology industry: virtual reality, smart vehicle technology, health technology and smart home equipment, among others.

It's the smart home that will generate the most interest, I think.

The show's announcements are likely to reflect the imminent introduction of Matter and the continued expansion of the Thread-enabled smart device ecosystem. These standards came from what was the pan-industrial group Connected Home over IP, with which Apple has been working since 2019.

Regular readers will remember that these standards work in many smart home ecosystems to provide users with better experiences. One device developed for one platform should work well on another, which hopefully means more solutions will become compatible with Apple's HomeKit. And what starts at home often migrates to the office.

[Also read: 12+ tips to make remote meetings more effective]

Samsung has helped develop both Thread and Matter. Although the company did not say much, it promised at CES that it would introduce: "A new solution that helps you better integrate all our smart devices at home", which suggests an announcement there.

Although I will not give names, I recently noticed a volume of messages from various companies in the smart space that will make announcements on the show, which I hope will include support for these standards.

They should. The entire industry expects Matter and Thread to accelerate the deployment of smart homes, and CES 2022 will be an obvious forum at first glance for these solutions.

Apple will not be at the show

Apple last attended CES in January 2020, when its senior director for global privacy, Jane Horvath, joined a roundtable event on privacy. That moment came 28 years after the company's last appearance, when former CEO John Sculley introduced Newton's personal digital assistant in 1992.

Back in today's world, Apple's decision to postpone the return to work in its offices suggests endlessly that even if it ever intended another surprise appearance, such plans were most likely abandoned.

The sad truth is that the whole industry will be watching CES for the wrong reasons this year as it tries to figure out if 2022 will be another year of remote initiatives and events.

Relationships with Apple developers and CEOs will be closely watched as they try to decide whether WWDC 2022 in June will once again be an online-only show.

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