Here are my thoughts regarding the Virtual CES 2021. I really enjoyed it!
Gary Shapiro, Headlined Impressive Presentations, Panel Discussions and Product Launches During Digital CES 2021. Part 1
Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) President and CEO commented to virtual attendees about the digital event, and how the COVID 19 pandemic and its effects have pushed the digital transition of the Consumer Electronics Show.
Said Gary Shapiro, “COVID has changed the pace and arc of technology, along with having altered the 2021 CES. I see the 2022 CES shaping up as both a physical event and a hybrid event, both digital and physical. Combining hugs and handshakes and masks.
“With the addition of a new convention center building set to physically welcome back CES visitors next year; Vegas is ready for us. The underlying premise of CES, has not changed, even if the format out of necessity, did change in 2021. Attendees want to connect, be educated, learn and network. The 2021 show’s successful execution, proved the industry could get products out there and keep pushing innovation forward to improve the human condition.
“We took the opportunity to re-create our event and find new ways to connect people. This was different than anything that’s been done before. Microsoft played a significant role in powering the show’s events and pacing and we were thrilled to go on this journey with a focus on connectivity and personalization.”
In its 50th year as a CES exhibitor, Sony showcased its latest initiatives based on the theme of “Redefining Our Future with Tomorrow’s Technologies”. Sony offered virtual viewers a slew of products, technologies and market positioning. Said Mike Fasulo, President and COO of Sony Electronics of North America, “We are a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. This is perfect timing for us to be here with you today as we are offering our best in class technology and solutions and the industry has taken notice and presented us with many recent accolades and awards.”
Announced was the new Cognitive Processor XR technology, that powers every TV in Sony’s new range. The new BRAVIA XR TV series – 4K, OLED and 8K TVs, as well as Sony’s Crystal LED super-large modular displays. Sony was also the first company to officially announce a new size of OLED: 83 inches, the largest 4K OLED to date. Next up was the new Master Series Z9J, 8K LCD (85- and 75-inch), Master Series A90J 4K OLED (83-, 65- and 55-inch) and the A80J 4K OLED (77-, 65- and 55-inch) followed by the LCDs, the X95J 4K (85-, 75-, 65-inch), X90J 4K (100-, 75-, 65-, 55- and 50-inch)
Additional product introductions included unveiling the AirPeak, a compact-sized drone for professional photography use that is designed to carry Sony’s Alpha cameras.
Sony also announced an expansion of its 360 Reality Audio services and product offerings, including new video streaming capabilities and content creation tool technologies.
Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment, also heralded the company’s gaming success by stating, “Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 5 console, which hit retail shelves in November, was in fact the biggest console launch of all time.”
LG had its own OLED news with the G1 series new OLED panel, the OLED evo. The OLED evo is an evolution of the company’s renowned OLED technology that promises improved luminosity for brighter and punchier images. The LG C1 series is getting a new screen size that makes sense for the increase in demand for big TVs. The C1 ranges from a compact 48-inch version to a massive 83-inch model.
Said LG’s Tim Alessi, “There has understandably been a sharp rise in TV usage over the last year, and LG has responded with new panel technologies, AI capabilities and a redesigned WebOS experience.” The new LG OLED evo TV, offers high brightness and using the Alpha 9 Gen 4 AI processor. It sports better-sounding audio via a 5.1.2-channel audio upmix feature to improve the TV’s sound using only the TV’s speakers. A new content discovery method, a refreshed Magic Remote and NFC Magic Tap for screen sharing and mirroring are other features.
In addition, the smart TV webOS 6.0 platform is included in LG’s 2021 OLED, QNED Mini LED, NanoCell and UHD smart TVs. Paired with the new Magic Remote, viewers should have a better and more intuitive content discovery experience. The upgraded LG ThinQ AI in webOS 6.0 supports new voice commands for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, making TV management and searching across streaming services, internet and broadcast channels easier.
LG has also been working on a smartphone with a rollable screen. During the company’s CES press conference, it teased a handheld device that morphs from phone to tablet in a rolling motion. Stay tuned.
Kohler, long known for their unique line of kitchen and bathroom products, had several major announcements at Digital CES 2021. Kohler’s Smart Home Innovation Lead, Jonathan Bradley, discussed how the Smart Home is changing our lives and that, “Consumers are looking for convenience in addition to cleanliness. We start and end our day in the bathroom. We should walk into the bathroom and have the toilet open and have it interact and provide information.”
Kohler’s Innate Intelligent Toilet Seat includes a heated seat, auto open and close, intuitive remote, blow dryer, gravity flush and personal bidet functionality. The touchless bathroom faucet has a hands-free activation, a welcome technology in these COVID times of spreading bacteria and germs in the space.
Water monitoring in the home is a trend the custom integration industry is addressing and Kohler is as well: Kohler’s Konnect voice-activated and touchless kitchen faucets can eliminate the use of a measuring cup by using Alexa to ask the faucet to dispense the desired amount of water, while also monitoring water usage.
The Stillness Bath features water, light, fog and aromas for a true spa experience in your home. There is an infinity overflow feature that gently cascades water into the Hinoki wood moat. Lighting surrounds the bath and fog envelops the surface of the Stillness Bath. Essential oils can be added into the bath’s experience tower.
Kohler will also launch two co-branded products with Phyn (a company focused on bringing intelligent water solution into homes and businesses), in 2021. There will be a DIY unit and a Pro version with an automatic shut off. The DIY version mounts under a single sink and can be installed by a homeowner. The Pro variation is installed at a water main, either inside or outside the home, and can mitigate costly damage through an automatic water shutoff feature. Additionally, the Kohler OnCue® Plus Generator Management System will now be available with additional voice control with a new OnCue Plus action on Google and a new OnCue Plus skill on Amazon Alexa to help homeowners control their Kohler standby generators from anywhere with their voice.