CES 2022 was presented as a hybrid event this year, allowing attendees to experience the energy of the show in person or take in the digital content from the comfort of their own homes. With the threat of omicron, many large companies withdrew at the last minute, including keynote presenter General Motors, and notable tech giants Amazon, Google, IBM, and LG.
I attended the in-person event in Las Vegas to gain insights on the latest tech and how it will apply to the real estate industry. Typically, the event attracts more than 170,000 attendees each year, but this year the Consumer Technology Association reported a total of 40,000 people on-site including 1,800 from the media. I sure didn’t mind the lack of crowds and felt comfortable with the protocols in place, which included proof of vaccination, social distancing, and mask mandates. Plus, each attendee was provided with a complimentary Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self Testing kit upon check-in.
I believe the way we think about conferences has been permanently changed. CES has proven that the hybrid approach can offer the best of both worlds for those who choose to participate virtually or in person. Bill Strang, president of corporate strategy, e-commerce, and customer experience at TOTO, a bathroom product manufacture, said he missed the moments of serendipity that occur at CES, but that the virtual event was still productive for them. The company does plan to attend the Kitchen & Bath Show next month in Orlando.
Roei Friedberg, CEO of Aura Smart Air Inc., which produces air purification products and AI air quality management, found that the scaled-down audience was formed more of decision makers who were there for a specific purpose.
“It certainly helped reduce the extra noise,” he said. “We don’t see the conference going fully virtual as nothing can really ever replace in-person face-to-face meetings.”
During CES 2022 and the weeks leading up to the event, I was able to connect with many companies virtually and in person to learn about the latest technology trends and how they might affect real estate professionals and their clients. Here are four of the biggest trends I discovered this year, plus three bonus products every real estate pro will love.
1. Electric Vehicles: One of the big trends this year was electric vehicles, with GM announcing specs for the Chevy Silverado EV and electric versions of the Equinox and Blazer, which will be available next year. These are in addition to previously announced GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, and the redesigned Chevrolet Bolt. GM announced big plans, including a promise to produce 30 new EVs by 2025, which is interesting considering they currently do not have any available to buy, and only shipped 26 units in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the EQXX luxury EV sedan concept car that can get 600 miles per charge, BMW showed an electric crossover that can change colors, and even Sony announced Sony Mobility Inc. and had its prototype EVs Vision-S 01 and Vision-S 02 on display.
2. Charging Stations: With the adoption of EVs set to rise in the next decade, consumers will need a place to charge their vehicles, so of course, several companies offered various charging solutions at CES 2022. Among the recent technologies is the concept that an EV could act as a backup battery for your home by using what’s called bidirectional charging. I spoke to a representative from Wallbox about the new Quasar bidirectional charger. They’ve proven the technology works are in conversations with manufacturers. There aren’t yet EVs with this capability, but this is what’s coming down the pike.
“In order to transition to an electric future, the EV industry must take a holistic approach to product development—there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution,” said Mike Battaglia, senior vice president of Blink Charging, which launched seven charging station products at the show that span home, fleet, multifamily, and retail. The company also has four new products geared towards home and multifamily use. “CES was a great success this year. We saw incredible interest in the charging infrastructure that will power the transition to electric vehicles, alongside the show’s major spotlight on the growth of the EV industry overall,” he added.
3. Air Quality: The next big trend I saw at CES was a focus on air quality. I’ve previously covered Airthings Wave Plus systems, which can detect Radon, TVOCs, CO2, humidity, temperature, and pressure. This year, they announced the new View series which shows the information on display including radon, particulate matter, and CO2. I was pleased to see that they switched the radon measurement to pCi/L, which is more commonly used than Bq/m3. Other companies such as Alen and Aura Air have focused on air purification, offering solutions for homes, offices, and commercial spaces.
“We are now at a point where we no longer have to explain the importance of air quality—it is inherent,” said Friedberg. “Along with sustainability, health and wellness, and of course COVID-19, air quality is certainly one of the biggest trends coming out of CES. It’s not a ‘nice have,’ it’s a ‘must have.’”
Bharti Patel, chief technology Officer of Alen, said that indoor air quality has become more important than ever before because people are now aware of the dangers of aerosols spreading particulate matter. In addition, wildfires present dangers to millions of people throughout the country.
“Air purifiers can dramatically improve the air quality in the spaces where people live, work, learn, and play every day,” Patel said. “Alen's Pure Air Platform is designed to monitor, control, and manage multiple geographically dispersed air purifiers and provide an easy-to-use way to stay on top of air quality management and potential safety issues, continuously provide vital data and alerts, and use data-driven intelligence to provide confidence in air quality, safety, and health.”
4. Smart Home Tech: On the smart-home side of things, companies such as Cync, Array, TP-Link, Eufy, are expanding into related smart-home categories, relying less on integrations and instead of creating end-to-end solutions. This solves challenges with connecting different devices and getting set up and allows the user to do everything in just one app. However, the desire to work together remains, as demonstrated by the strength of the Z-Wave Alliance as well as collaborations between companies like Schlage and Apple.
“The smart home market is growing exponentially and as demands increase for a seamless connected home experience, Z-Wave is there leading the way,” said Mitch Klein, executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance.
Dave Ilardi, general manager at Schlage, a brand of Allegion, said the company’s collaboration with Apple has the goal of convenience and secure home access for consumers.
“The Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt provides homeowners with an even simpler and secure way to access their homes,” Ilardi said. “This is just another step in our vision to create purposeful experiences that deliver simplicity and peace of mind.”
Klein mentioned examples of products introduced to the market that are the first of their kind, such as the Masonite M-Pwr Smart Door and the award-winning DEN SmartStrike. “According to our newly released 2022 Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report, smart door locks are in the top five devices consumers are interested in adding to their smart home system,” he said,
Belkin launched Wemo in 2012, which has been at forefront of the smart home evolution, bringing various products to market like energy-monitoring smart plugs and app-and-voice-controlled lighting solutions. At CES 2022, the Wemo announced its new smart video doorbell.
“With the proliferation of smart devices and reliance on smart home hubs for convenience and security, Wemo is well-poised to bring continued innovation to the market with the latest smart home technologies,” said Belkin International CEO Steve Malony.
Bonus! 3 Special Finds for Real Estate Pros: There were a few products for real estate pros that I thought were quite impressive:
- Kizik shoes have cut the hassle of putting on shoes with hands-free footwear technology which would be great for showings.
- Popl is a cutting-edge solution that replaces paper business cards—simply tap your phone to the slim circular device and you can instantly share all your contact information.
- Lastly, Insta360’s ONE X2 is the latest prosumer version of the company’s 360-degree cameras. ONE X2 is compatible with Matterport, Google Street View, and even BoxBrownie’s 360-degree tour solution. The camera is perfect for those that want to quickly create immersive tours for their listings.