January 18, 2023 | Updated: April 21, 2023
For more than three decades, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been a showcase for the latest and greatest in digital technology. But over the past two years, it’s undergone something of a pandemic-induced isolation. In 2021, the event was entirely virtual, and the next year, attendance had fallen by more than two-thirds.
CES roared back this year, resuming its place as the most influential tech event in the world, with a footprint that was 70% larger than last year.
The impact of the show, held in Las Vegas, is far reaching. It’s an opportunity to exhibit the most cutting edge ideas and concepts. But the show is no longer solely about consumer technology and the coolest new gadgets. Over the years, it has transformed into a celebration of boundary-pushing ideas across multiple disciplines and innovations that have far reaching implications for society and the world in which we live.
“What I’ve observed over the past five years is that things have moved from a technology stage to a systems stage,” said IEEE Fellow John Verboncoeur, IEEE vice president for Technical Activities. “We have things from automotive melding with the entertainment sector, and those are melding with smart cities. We’re seeing all that come together in one ecosystem.”
Electric vehicles, for example, played a prominent role in the show. But there were also a number of vehicle charging solutions on display.
Beyond the integration of digital technology, IEEE President Saifur Rahmanan, an IEEE Life Fellow, saw a number of technologies devoted to making technology more sustainable.
From new e-bikes to appliances that turn household waste into useful products, Rahman saw the impact of the engineering discipline on sustainability efforts.
“Electrical engineering is shaping the world to make life not only better, but more responsible so we don’t create more pressure on the environment,” Rahman said.
IEEE Life Fellow Stuart Lipoff, who first visited CES more than 35 years ago, said the pace of change is what struck him. When he first attended the show, most exhibitors focused on entertainment.
“I’ve seen some things that really inspired me,” Lipoff said. “The show floor has a much larger number of exhibitors showing emerging technologies that didn’t exist on the show floor last year. All these products that are showing the latest and greatest are really creating a tremendous sense of wonder.”
Learn more: Yes, CES can offer you the big picture on technology trends, but it’s also about the gadgets. Check out IEEE Spectrum for a look at the best tech from CES 2023, the best AI from CES 2023 and the wildest gadgets from the show.