The 2022 Incarnation of the Consumer Electronics Show, saw a wealth of ground-breaking, and sustainability-minded, tech innovations on display. With the expo itself being delivered via a hybrid model, CES itself could be leading the way for a more climate friendly future in conferencing.
CES welcomes guests on-site once more, but also provides a digital alternative
With the Coronavirus pandemic still causing disruption globally, there were fears CES 2022 would have to be cancelled, however organisers were able to run the event in a hybrid format- both allowing in person attendance, alongside the option to join the conference virtually. With CES 2022featuring a range of environmentally sensitive innovations, the delivery of a hybrid conference was timely- highlighting how events may take place in a more sustainable fashion in future.
According to Edie.net, several larger vendors, including Microsoft, Google, Intel, Mercedes and AMD, modified or cancelled their in-person plans amid concerns over the Omicron variant. We also saw a number of slick digital presentations “Samsung, for example, had a digital ‘forest’ and ‘city’, co-developed with Patagonia.”[i]
Numerous Cleantech Products Announced
As with every year at CES, there were a wealth of new products announced, with a number of these focussed more specifically on the Cleantech space. These included the following:
- Mercedes displayed their EQXX concept car. The vehicle can reportedly travel 620 miles on a single charge of its battery. According to Business Insider that is “over 200 miles farther than the best Tesla and 100 miles farther than the rangiest EV you can buy today, the $170,000 Lucid Air.” [ii] Further, the car has solar panels on its roof, adding an additional 15 miles of range under ideal weather conditions. The car also includes vegan leather and interior parts made from recycled bottles. Whilst the car will not be on sale to the public, the advancements it displays will likely find their way into future Mercedes vehicles.
Source: Business Insider
- GAF energy announced ‘Timberline’ a new solar shingle, which can be installed with a nail gun directly onto roofs. GAF state that installation times are half that the more traditional ‘rack’ installations yet are comparable in terms of cost.
- Lasso showed how the future of recycling may look. The company’s device is similar in appearance to a dishwasher, and it utilises more energy efficient and environmentally friendly steam cleaning to purify household recyclable waste. The device identifies whether products can be recycled in the first place, stores them ready for on-demand collection, and tracks items in real-time. It also comes with an app that allows users to scan product bar codes whilst shopping, to see whether packaging in recyclable.
Big Brands Announce Their Own Sustainability Drives
Several of the major brands at CES provided insight into how consumers will see sustainability changes in the products they buy. Samsung was at the forefront of this, announcing that 2022’s batch of Samsung TVs and displays will use 30 times more recycled materials than in 2021 and within three years, every newly produced phone and appliance will have reused materials. Further, the brand is seeking to deliver products in recycled packaging. “The company's products are also being tuned to be more energy efficient, from enabling its solar-powered TV remotes to be powered by radio waves to making its TV and phone chargers work on near zero standby power by 2025.”[iii]
Samsung’s TV remote can be charged with solar energy, as well as via RF harvesting
Source: The Verge
The ’Metaverse’ comes to the fore with its own CES summit
The pandemic has certainly driven demand for virtual communication and interaction, both on a personal and business level. However, such changes have impact on the environment, where the use of virtual conferencing and events can help reduce carbon emissions, say from travel to and from location, as well as the smaller space requirements and associated energy usage. Subsequently, an area which is now seeing rapid rise, is that of the Metaverse, where digital and physical worlds combine, “generally it refers to shared virtual world environments which people can access via the internet. The term can refer to digital spaces which are made more lifelike using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR)”[iv]
It also has further implications, translating to a digital economy: “where users can create, buy, and sell goods. In the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, it's interoperable, allowing you to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another. In the real world, you can buy a shirt from the mall and then wear it to a movie theatre. Right now, most platforms have virtual identities, avatars, and inventories that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse might allow you to create a persona that you can take everywhere as easily as you can copy your profile picture from one social network to another.”[v]
MyTona’s virtual meetings are just one offering in a rapidly evolving sector, as enterprise metaverse products & applications emerge
Products emerging in the enterprise metaverse space include virtual meetings, webinars, and conferences, alongside applications in training as well as well-being in providing employees with a sense of being present ‘in person’.
Of course, moving day to day business operations online can have positive implications in terms of reducing emissions from travel, as well as mitigating the need to occupy office space. Yet, there will be concerns raised around the energy requirements to run such products- for example the data centres and equipment needed to participate in VR or AR meetings. Likewise, the production of electronic devices for these services will likely be of environmental consequence.
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