CE Pro Podcast #88: The best of CES 2022 for personalized integration

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Don’t believe what you see or hear in the general media… CES 2022 held January 5-7 in Las Vegas was a successful show. In fact, for custom integrators, low footfall actually meant vendors weren’t distracted by untargeted attendees who, in recent years, have been swarming aisles and filling booths in search of trade show giveaways.

You can even move between the venues of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC, where the automotive and video displays were located) and the Venetian Expo Center (formerly the Sands) where the Smart Home, Wellness, and Eureka Park splash zones were located. . . In the past, getting between sites during the day was a 2 hour ordeal with traffic and lines. This year the shuttles were ready and waiting. At the LVCC, you can even take the new underground Tesla Hyperloop tunnel to migrate between the new West Hall and the Central and North Halls. Plus, low footfall also meant cheaper hotel rates (as low as $45 per night at 4-star hotels like the LINQ within walking distance.)

In terms of safety, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the producers of the event, took extreme precautions. When you arrived in Las Vegas you had to show your vax card to get a badge. The association also distributed free COVID test kits to everyone and encouraged testing. (After the show, the CTA donated the remaining test kits and any additional food to the local community.) And EVERYONE wore a mask.

Normally the lounge has over 4,000 booths and there were still 2,300 booths. Overall official attendance was not announced, but it is estimated that there were over 50,000 attendees compared to the normal 180,000. Not bad.

There were empty cabins which were disappointing. LG, Ring and Schneider Electric were among those that pulled out. Others that stayed, like Sony, brought only a handful of hardware. In fact, Sony didn’t bring any screens, but only showed off its new Vision electric car, drones, Playstation5 and satellite gear.

LG’s marketing department got creative with their empty booth. The company had colorful lines drawn on a wooden floor that represented some of its past CES booths, were QR codes on signs so attendees could see some of past innovations.

Of the large booths that were still there, Samsung had a full display, but the company actually walled off its booth. You can only enter by appointment with a private tour. In its stand, it showcased its new SmartThings Energy system which tracks the usage of individual appliances in the home in one app, its new bespoke range of smart appliances with new colors, its new sustainable packaging which can be transformed into fun origami structures, The Frame TV with its new matte finish, and The Wall MicroLED among others. Samsung also showed off a giant 55-inch Odyssey Ark curved monitor set vertically for gaming and updated its solar-powered remotes.

Hisense was also very present. The company made waves in the custom market with its Laser TV combination of an ultra-short-throw projector packaged with a screen. At the show, Hisense announced that its new PX1 UST comes without a display, allowing integrators to sell more expensive displays if they wish.

The company also showed off a dual UST side-by-side setup projecting two 120-inch screens mixed together. The digital signage app costs just $15,000, compared to $500,000 for a similarly sized MicroLED setup. Finally, Hisense also showcased its Connect Life W-Fi ecosystem connecting to high-end devices like ASKO, a leading brand in Europe.

TCL was another company with a big stand. The company’s displays are primarily retailed at places like Best Buy and Walmart, but integrators were interested in an incredibly slim and impressive dual 8K MicroLED TV.

On the audio side, Voxx International was there with its automotive equipment but also a section dedicated to its Premium Audio. This is the first time that Klipsch, Onkyo, Integra and Pioneer Elite have come together under the Premium Audio name. The stand was unique in that it paid homage to Paul Klipsch and other pioneers. In the stand were exhibited the impressive 75and Klipschorn Speakers anniversary and the new Klipsch Cinema 800 soundbar, which has a sleek metallic finish and a large digital decibel display right on the soundbar.

SureCall was also present at the show with its new Fusion4Home Max cellular booster compatible with all 4G and 5G devices from all North American carriers. The unit offers the highest system gain in its class, providing maximum indoor coverage and producing high quality signals.

Smart Home Pavilion at the Venetian Expo Center

At the Venetian Expo Center, the Smart Home pavilion was significantly more sparse. Z-Wave Alliance was there with several key players including the DEN smart deadbolt, ZOOZ sensors and automatic water shut-off system, and Air Zone Control wireless modules for mini-split control.

Moen had a large booth showcasing its smart shower with an interface that allows for pressure and heat presets based on the person. In addition, the company also had its motion-sensing and voice-activated faucets, which can be connected to Flo by Moen, which is the company’s automatic water valve shut-off device that integrators can sell.

Speaking of water, another pretty cool stand is Rainstick. It’s a WiFi-controlled shower that captures 80% of the water that goes down the drain, hits it with an intense UV treatment, and returns it to the showerhead.

On the ground floor of the Venetian was the Eureka Park area which houses the startups. The area was busy and featured robots, gaming systems and other unique technologies with sections showcasing companies from France, Israel, Japan, Korea, Italy and other parts of the world. Most of the products aren’t even on the market yet.

Among the coolest startups was Parity Mirror from Japanese company Parity Innovations. The device creates a floating interface of any design that can be swiped and squeezed, similar to interfaces in Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report” movie.

Finally, among the casualties was receiving the CTA Smart Home Division Excellence Awards. The CTA canceled the reception at the last moment for security reasons. Winners and nominations are available online.

For more from CES 2022, check out this week’s podcast episode via the video or audio player above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the EC Professional Youtube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast stream.

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