Every January the technology industry comes together to preview the latest and greatest innovations and to network with like-minded professionals who will set the innovation agenda for the forthcoming year.

This year the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, returned to its optimal format, a live, in-person event, after two years in remote/hybrid mode. With over 3,200 exhibitors and 115,000 people attending, it is a magnet for anyone involved in technology.

2023 saw the customary range of tech, from crazy tech gadgets to significant productionised technical developments and product trends. Here are five key themes from CES that will set the innovation agenda.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) embedded in everything

AI is one of the hottest technologies of 2023 and this year looks like the year it will break through to become embedded in devices across a range of sectors.

There were multiple companies showing off AI-based digital assistants for the home or customer care, including Samsung’s Project Neon which has developed a complex AI that will have his or her own unique personality and can show expressions, movements, and dialogues.

In video, NVIDIA demonstrated its RTX Video Super Resolution web service which has the ability to upscale those older blurry videos to 4K. Other manufacturers demonstrated similar capabilities in their screens, including the LG α9 AI Processor Gen6 which uses machine learning to clarify, sharpen, and upscale images (or AI Super upscaling as it is called) without losing its defining characteristics.

In connectivity, AI is being incorporated to enhance meshed WiFi to reduce latency for gamers and reduce the power consumed by devices.

You will see AI everywhere this year, from the kitchen and bathroom, to the gym and the bedroom, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what this technology is capable of.

Matter promises to help the Smart Home talk the same language

The Smart Home took a tangible step forward with the emergence of Matter – a platform that is designed to make smart home devices work together in a better, more unified manner. The technology is backed by the most prominent names in the tech industry and we have begun to see the first generation of devices released.

Samsung, Amazon and GE Lighting were among many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) releasing products that support Matter. This ever increasing portfolio of devices will drive the Smart Home to a new level of interoperability.

Innovation for Human Security

The core message CES 2023, “Innovation for human security”, saw large brands announcing reuse, recycle and reduce initiatives.

Samsung’s keynote speech announced innovations designed to bring about a “new era of sustainable living” while Panasonic launched the “Take Back For Tomorrow” scheme where they will cover all the costs for shipping end-of-life products.

The event saw multiple panel sessions focussed on consumer electronics and sustainability, with LG Electronics, 3M, Qualcomm and Mitsubishi emphasising the industry-wide commitment to achieve NetZero emissions in ambitious timeframes.

“Sustainability is now part of every business. It is no longer a separate concept from the core business of a company” – Bob LeFort, President, Infineon.

Connected Vehicles continues to grab the attention.

CES has, in recent years, moved to also become an auto show, and this year they really doubled down. Electric vehicles and tech for autonomous driving were front and centre, as well as the tech to support their adoption, such as innovative home and streetside chargers.

Alongside infrastructure, we saw the focus expand to the car as a centre of entertainment. Sony has partnered with Honda to create a joint-venture that promises a unique in-car experience. NVIDIA has announced their popular cloud gaming service, GeForce NOW is coming to cars from Hyundai and Polestar. All these services will rely on great network connectivity.

Extended reality and the Metaverse

There was a range of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR)  headset announcements at CES, from Sony’s new PSVR2 for the PlayStation 5, to HTC’s new cross-platform, Vive. Some early AR glasses were also present, including an interesting design from TCL, albeit these are still handset tethered.

While the metaverse theme persisted in the background it was actually curiously absent from the show floor, symptomatic of how far the industry has to go to make pervasive, persistent virtual worlds a mass market consumer proposition. However there was evidence of continued investment in content, applications and experiences that will be the on-ramp for consumers on the journey in the metaverse.

It’s a wrap

CES continues to be the key innovation event in the technology industry and provides us with an exciting agenda-setting kick-off for 2023 as we explore the future and continue to strive to deliver outstanding innovative products and services to delight our customers.