Automotive, the metaverse, the BtoB turnaround… What to remember from CES 2023

After five days of waves in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, CES 2023, the world’s largest technology show, ended on Sunday evening. At the moment of balance, this first physical edition since the Covid-19 pandemic has reconnected with the crowds, but above all it has confirmed the trends before the crisis, the strengths but also the weaknesses of this great tragedy that has united. more than 2,500 exhibitors and welcomed more than 100,000 visitors.

CES 2023: fewer French startups, but better equipped to do business

The car, the real star of the show

Faurecia, Valeo, BMW, Mercedes, Peugeot… all manufacturers and suppliers of the automotive sector were there to present their latest vehicle models, their new on-board systems, software developments and other innovations in the mobility of tomorrow, preferably intelligent. and electric.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, announced a new vehicle, but also implementing a new network of charging stations in North America, as well as passing a new historical moment in terms of safety and reliability in terms of autonomous driving. Others, such as American Chrysler, presented in Las Vegas not a vehicle, but a passenger compartment equipped with screens and comfortable seats dedicated to work and entertainment, to give an idea of ​​the driverless car of the future. For its part, Fiat has revealed its online store in the metaverse, where the consumer will be able to test vehicles in virtual reality (planned in France for the winter of 2024 after an experiment currently in Italy).

Many start-ups also took advantage of the presence of industry players to showcase their innovations. Thus, Holoride, a part backed by the manufacturer Audi, introduced its virtual reality helmet intended for passengers in the back seat of the car. The idea is to allow them to watch a movie, a series or play a video game without getting motion sickness, which is the main obstacle to the adoption of in-car entertainment in the vehicles of tomorrow. Holoride’s trick: the content syncs with the machine’s movements.

CES 2023: BMW presents a chameleon car, a prototype packed with digital technology

An increasingly visible BtoB shift

Historically, the show of consumer electronics -from its name, Consumer Electronics Show-, CES has become over the years more and more a professional show, where technology giants and actors of sectors experiencing a deep digital transformation come to introduced the latest innovations. Therefore, it is no coincidence that CES has tried to replace the motor show in Detroit in recent years: the deep transformation of the automotive industry – and mobility in general -, under the effect of fleet electrification and vehicle automation, makes CES the place to be for OEM and OEM.

This BtoB shift can also be seen among startups. Of the 200 or so startups in the French delegation, around 90% are BtoB according to Eric Morand, director of the BtoB events department at Business France. ” Consistent with recent years, they are distributed primarily in the mobility, energy transition, professional software, and health/wellness sectors. “, he says.

The pieces that feature innovations in traditional CES areas like video or audio are an extremely small minority, about fifteen at most. Blame it, too, on the global economic crisis, which caused startup valuations and fundraising to drop in 2022. CES being primarily used to communicate with the general public by BtoC startups, some have chosen to cut this perceived non-essential budget at a time when technology is revealing rationality.

Metaverse Everywhere Despite Very Low Adoption

Smelling imaginary roses, learning fighter jet maneuvers in augmented reality, treating Alzheimer’s with virtual reality… At CES, startups competed for ideas to build the metaverse and solve a host of problems virtually.

Automotive suppliers have thus used the term everywhere to invent the passenger compartment of the future in autonomous cars. New virtual and mixed reality (ie virtual and augmented reality) headsets have been introduced, such as India’s AjnaXR, which is intended to be lighter and more functional than existing models so users can wear it for whole hours. For its part, French nugget SocialDream has also launched its own mixed reality headset, called Dreamsense, designed specifically for its immersive videos aimed at stimulating the memory of Alzheimer’s patients.

Less directly useful, many olfactory technologies were introduced at CES. American startup OVR has developed an accessory that attaches to the virtual reality helmet to diffuse scents in order to perfect the metaverse experience. Thus, the user can smell the aroma of his virtual grill, and tomorrow of the perfumes he will be able to smell before buying online…

The problem: for now, the metaverse remains largely speculative. Despite the advent of the era of augmented technologies and virtual reality, the general public still does not seem willing to spend hundreds – even thousands – of euros to be massively equipped with headsets and applications for the metaverse, in addition to an already expensive real life. Despite the hype and its disproportionate place at CES 2023, the metaverse remains, for now, a niche: Meta (Facebook’s) metaverse, Horizons, barely has 200,000 monthly active users, and virtual reality headsets remain weak. compared to smartphones and tablets. Thus, CTA, the association that organizes CES, expects 3.1 million VR headsets sold in the United States in 2023 (still a 20% increase compared to 2022) and more than 380,000 augmented reality glasses (+100%). Still far from the promised wave.

Meta: a year later, the metaverse still remained on the rise

“Damn innovation” of the year: the lawyer scanner

Like every year, the giant Ali Baba cave that is CES presented its share of spectacularly useless innovations. If the famous French connected the potatostar of the 2020 edition, was precisely a satire of the sometimes sterile race for innovation, nothing like that in One third, the first-rate jurist scanner that made a splash this year. for ” the fight against food waste », this American part has developed an infrared scanner which detects if the fruit is not yet ripe », « Baked “where” overripe “.

Of course, the score can be read on a mobile app with a color code that changes according to the lawyer’s maturity. Besides avoiding choosing a ripe avocado at the supermarket – which can actually increase unsold produce and therefore food waste? – the tool is supposed to prevent consumers from smelling the fruit, which damages it. But still, that would require everyone to have a smartphone and take it out to do their shopping…

CES 2020: Potato, the ironic connected potato that’s “trolling” the tech industry

French regions exposed

As every year since 2016, France is one of the main exhibiting countries at CES. Mainly thanks to its army of startups making the trip to Eureka Park, the space dedicated to young startups. Again this year, more than 170 nuggets were exhibited in Eureka Park, all united under the same banner of the red rooster of French Tech, organized by Business France.

As in 2020 – the last 100% physical edition of the show – almost all regions (10 out of 13) played the collective game. From Ile-de-France by Valérie Pécresse (LR) to Occitanie by Carole Delga (PS), via Aura by Laurent Wauquiez (LR) and Brittany by Loïg Chesnais-Girard (SP), have all agreed to dilute their logo a bit to emphasize the strength of innovation made in France. For years, CES has been considered a powerful lever of attractiveness for French regions, which make the trip to expose the dynamism of the regional economic structure, hoping to attract French and international talent, companies and investors.

This year, the delegate of the Minister for Digital and Telecommunications, Jean-Noël Barrot, made this trip in person to support the French innovation team and to remember that one of its main missions is to develop technology everywhere in the territories. But for now, the results remain mixed, because Ile-de-France continues to concentrate about half of France’s startup creations and 80% of investments.

CES 2023: fewer French startups, but better equipped to do business