• Linda Ellett, Partner |
5 min read

CES 2024 delivered an impressive array of the very latest in exciting new consumer products that promise to revolutionize how we work, live and play. I was pleased to see so many companies presenting products and capabilities that are designed to improve people’s daily lives in highly personal ways, including thinking about people with health conditions or physical disabilities.

A global cosmetics giant featured an amazing new beauty product on day one of the show that will assist people with limited mobility in their hands or arms. The ‘smart’ handheld makeup applicator combines motion controls and customizable attachments to help users easily apply cosmetics.

The engaging video of a model applying lipstick with the compact, computerized applicator proved to be a hit at CES. The model, who lives with cerebral palsy, voiced glowing praise for how the company has “reached out to people with disabilities” and is making life “so much easier.” And further, as our population ages, continuing to make beauty accessible is both the right thing to do and a great market opportunity.

I was also impressed by an informative session exploring the impact of social media and screen time on children’s brain development. The key takeaway was clear: We don’t know enough – and more research is needed – to truly understand the mental-health impact of today’s digital communications tools and how to keep young people safe while using them.

Several consumer electronics giants demonstrated the importance of the circular economy and emerging opportunities to improve how resources are used in order to eliminate costly waste. The idea is to keep using and recycling products and materials in a ‘closed loop’ that reduces pressure on natural resources, lowers carbon emissions and creates more economic opportunities. Consumers can play a significant role in the circular economy by choosing products that are durable and recyclable, as well as repairable.

KPMG takes the spotlight at CES

KPMG was front and centre on day two at CES 2024 as we proudly presented a timely and fact-filled panel discussion titled The Future of Smart Industrials during the CES Research Summit. The KPMG-hosted event provided revealing insights and was well received by an attentive CES audience. To remain competitive and protect future investments, industrial manufacturers, automotive companies and other major industries must invest now both in technology – and the people who can use that technology effectively – in order to transform from traditional businesses to ‘smart’ organizations.

So key challenges ahead for industrial manufacturers include the ongoing need to attract and retain modern skills that include AI, data analytics and cybersecurity capabilities in the digital economy. And this applies as much to the consumer-products and retail sectors, and beyond, where these skills cross sectors.

A key takeaway from the panel’s insights was clear: in today’s dynamic new reality of fast-evolving industry landscapes and customer expectations, organizations everywhere have no time to lose on the inevitable need to evolve and compete in a dynamic new reality.

The future of food and healthy living is here

The popular Food Tech Summit featured a wealth of compelling consumer-related exhibits and revelations. In sharp focus were today’s increasingly popular and fast-evolving consumer wearables that digitally track fitness activities, deliver personalized diet advice and monitor physical and mental health. Technology is clearly making great strides in the race to ‘bio-hack longevity’ as we age and that’s good news for us all.

Also raising a few eyebrows was a new ‘landless-agriculture’ food product that promises to redefine the future of healthy food production, not just in busy cities but in war or natural disaster zones, for instance. Food production is indeed entering an exciting new frontier as technology expands our capabilities to feed the growing global population with protein-rich foods that are accessible, affordable and sustainable.

Also creating a buzz was the step forward in self-checkout technology at the retail level. The implementation of self-checkout kiosks to date has been accompanied by some consumer backlash where checkout lines still exist and unreliable bar-code scanning technology means constant help is needed.

One company presenting a touchless self-checkout system that scans multiple items at a time claims an impressive accuracy rate of 99.9% and checkout times that are up to 400% faster after processing about 40 million touchless transactions. The smart AI-based system is already being used in thousands of retail outlets in North American and Europe. Coming soon to a grocery store near you?

Also in the spotlight were amazing new capabilities to generate, store and distribute electricity in the home with revolutionary battery technology that enables batteries placed in home appliances to store energy from the power grid and deliver it where needed, for example to a power-hungry oven at family meal times. Whether we move to renewable generation in our homes or from the grid, battery storage will be needed – and hiding it away is far more attractive than some of the other options.

Explore the world from your living room

Day three provided a fascinating look at how augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are poised to transform how we travel and interact with the world. As these ground-breaking immersive technologies advance, they are becoming increasingly popular as a tourism tool – delivering digital highlights of global travel destinations that eager travellers can view from the comfort of home before choosing their next trip.

For those who prefer to stay at home and ‘travel’ the world at the same time, for example the elderly or those with disabilities, one company presented amazing new ways to explore famous landmarks via ‘interactive livestreaming travel.’

Consumers can tap into the company’s ecosystem for interactive virtual tours that are led by travel guides located everywhere from Lisbon, Amsterdam and Paris to Barcelona, New York City, Vancouver and beyond.

The virtual tourism market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30% between 2023 and 2028 to reach an estimated valuation of US$23.5 billion. I look forward to a future in which global travel is an exciting combination of VR, AR and ‘RL’ – Real Life!

All told, CES 2024 was a truly fascinating and informative event and I look forward to seeing the trends and themes it spotlighted continue to evolve and gain popularity among consumers everywhere.