The annual CES is always a memorable event for many reasons, not the least of which is the over-the-top displays and gimmicks the sprawling show affords attendees. However, this was a bit diminished this year, given that CES was virtual for the first time in its five decades of existence. Nonetheless, the trends coming out of the show were just as impactful as previous CES showcases.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the five key areas of CES were, as they’ll be worth keeping an eye on in the future:

Personal Health

Peloton is just one example of a personal health company that experienced rapid growth as the pandemic hit. Numerous other at-home equipment and connected health trackers also grew in popularity, and this interest is likely to stick even when life returns to normal due to their convenience. In addition to exercise technology, smart home devices like smart air purifiers, water filtration systems, and UV disinfecting lights were also highlighted at CES. With these innovations comes the opportunity for companies to collect and analyze usage data to provide customer recommendations or more targeted services. 

Voice Assistants Move into Wearables

Alexa has become a familiar voice in many households. CES took this a step further, with the launch of an array of wearable devices directly linked to Alexa or other voice assistants.

5G Matures

According to Qualcomm, there will be 22.8 million 5G-related jobs and $13.1 trillion in global sales enablement by 2035. In the near-term, mobile carriers are quickly rolling out 5G networks, which will pave the way for innovations like self-driving cars, drones, 5G-enabled warehouses, and more. The opportunities inherent in 5G were a central CES theme. For more on the importance of data analytics as 5G adoption increases, check out this previous Apex of Innovation blog.

TVs: Bigger, Brighter, and Not Just for Entertainment

CES brought more 8k sets, more OLED panels, and larger screens. As we close in on one year of social distancing, most people are accustomed to holding video calls with colleagues, friends, teachers—the list goes on. In this environment, it’s no surprise that innovations that streamline these virtual connections via TVs were on display at CES.

Robots Get More Practical

Whether it’s assisting in warehouse operations, taking patients’ temperature and vital signs upon hospital admittance, or delivering food in a restaurant, there are numerous applications of robots across sectors today. This year’s CES offered insight into other ways in which robots can alleviate administrative burdens on employees, help companies streamline operations, or do more with less.

We’ll be keeping an eye on these and other trends that came out of CES 2021. For more on other interesting areas to watch, take a look at this CNN article.