Typically, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gives us a sense of where technology is going in the future. However, this year’s show was arguably more about technology catching up with how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives. While gathering in person was not an option, we still had the opportunity to witness incredible technological feats virtually – primarily those meant to help us better adapt to the new normal.
From devices aimed at making the world more sanitary to new work-from-home solutions, here are some of the highlights from this year’s first ever virtual CES:
Extreme Home Makeover: Digital Edition
Every year, CES introduces a plethora of smart home devices aimed at making our lives easier. But now that our homes have expanded beyond where we live to function as a workplace and classroom, companies have developed new gadgets to improve our lives while we stay at home. In fact, the smart home market grew 6.7% from 2019 to 2020 to $88 billion and is expected to reach $246.42 billion by 2025.
This year, Kohler showed off voice control features for its sinks and other fixtures, so homeowners can turn on faucets without touching them. And while every CES is paved with an array of flashy new TVs, LG drummed up lots of excitement with its new 55-inch transparent TV that you can see through when it’s turned off.
From monitors to keyboards and Wi-Fi upgrades to charging stations, plenty of the gadgets coming out of this year’s show were designed to improve the remote work experience. Take Dell’s UltraSharp 40-inch Curved Ultrawide U4021QW Monitor, for example. Ultrawide is the functional equivalent of two 4K monitors side-by-side, but without the seam. Belkin and Satechi also brought their latest charging stations to CES 2021 to improve the home office, allowing users to charge multiple devices at once. With so many companies creating innovative devices to make our work-from-home lives more manageable in the long run, it’s clear that remote work is likely here to stay.
Staying Healthy at Home in Global Health Crisis
CES 2021 also brought us a whole new lineup of technology designed to help us monitor our health at home. Fluo Labs debuted Flō, a device that stops your body from releasing histamines when pollen, dust, and other allergens enter your body. HD Medical also introduced HealthyU, a device smaller than a GoPro that includes a seven-lead ECG, a temperature sensor, a pulse oximeter, microphones to record heart and lung sounds, a heart rate monitor, and a blood pressure sensor. HealthyU is designed for people with heart issues to keep tabs on their health every day and send that information to their doctors remotely. Not only will these devices enable us to take better care of ourselves if we can’t physically go to a doctor’s office, but they will also enhance our awareness of ourselves and our loved ones.
Touchless Tech is on the Rise
In 2020, we became hyper-aware of germs and how they can easily spread – one of those ways being on digital devices. While disinfecting these surfaces with an alcohol solution can help, many look to taking a different approach to avoid germ-spreading: touchless technology.
While no one technology can win the battle against the virus, many companies are doing their part to promote a cleaner, healthier future. For example, Plott built a doorbell called the Ettie that can take people’s temperature before they’re allowed to enter. Another company, Alarm.com, created a Touchless Video Doorbell to cut down on the transmission of bacteria and viruses that we otherwise often leave on places we touch. Kohler also built a toilet that flushes with the wave of a hand. As we head further into 2021 and beyond, be on the lookout for more voice-activated and touchless devices to help slow the spread of germs and help us live our lives free from worry.
Adapt to the Cybersecurity Landscape in a Hyper-Connected World
We’ve become more reliant on technology than ever before to stay connected with loved ones from afar, work from home without missing a beat, participate in distance learning, and find new forms of digital entertainment. But with this increase in time spent online comes a greater risk of cyberthreats, and we must stay vigilant when it comes to protecting our online safety. Hackers continue to adapt their techniques to take advantage of users spending more time online, so we must educate and protect ourselves and our devices from emerging threats. This way, we can continue to embrace new technologies, while we live our digital lives free from worry.