Acumen's tech wizard Aki Anastasiou explores the latest laptops, tvs and intelligent hair dying.

CES 2022 – Technology Forecast

https://www.ces.tech/

Las Vegas

It’s 2022, almost two years into the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected every single aspect of our lives.

The world’s largest and most influential technology show, CES, held annually in Las Vegas, has been hard hit by the pandemic. The 2021 version was virtual, and the 2022 edition had high hopes of reclaiming many visitors to the technology spectacle.

But omicron had its own plans and various large companies, including Microsoft, AWS, Intel, Lenovo and Facebook, pulled out, although the show went ahead.

CES has been a technology pilgrimage for me for well over a decade. My last visit to CES was in 2020, when the show attracted over 175,000 visitors. Sadly, the 2022 version attracted just over 40,000 people – a fall of more than 75% from its peak.

Despite this, this year’s edition showcased some fascinating insights and trends in automotive technology, digital health, and artificial intelligence.

Against a backdrop of a massive global chip shortage, the procurement of key components and logistical issues, innovation and production of any form of technology was dealt a severe blow. I get the sense that companies are holding back on the ‘good stuff’ because they simply can’t produce them in large quantities. We could well see a spectacular range of very impressive innovations in technology towards the end of 2022 and into 2023.

LG G2 OLED TV

Bigger, better, brighter TVs

https://www.lg.com/za/ces2022

What would CES be without brand new TVs? LG has been pushing innovation hard, and just when you think that a TV can’t get bigger and the picture quality can’t improve, they trump your expectations. LG’s 2022 OLED TVs have already won several accolades and been awarded Best TVs at CES 2022.

The new GT OLED models are thinner and lighter than any other display technology. With a new built-in processor and a more advanced algorithm, LG’s new top-of-the-range units deliver improved brightness and even more realistic colours. They also introduced a 97-inch model, which is just under 2.5 metres wide. Pricing is not yet available, but I think I know what I am saving for this year!

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Dell’s flagship laptop taken to a new level

Priced from US$1200

https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/blog/xps-13-reinvents-itself-embracing-simplicity-as-the-new-premium/

In 2020, Dell first introduced the XPS 13 range, which has since been a best-seller globally, and at CES 2022, an updated version was announced. The current award-winning XPS is absolutely magnificent with a solid aluminium body and incredible battery life and performance. It has often been described as the best overall Windows machine you can buy.

Dell’s latest version of the XPS 13 Plus has been redesigned from the ground up, and performance has been enhanced significantly thanks to the 12th Gen Intel processor, which packs some serious horsepower. And, with Express Charge 2.0, you can get your laptop to about 80% battery life in less than an hour. Did I mention it is just as light and thin? The keyboard has also been redesigned to include larger keycaps, and a capacitive touch function row replaces the previous physical function key row. In addition, the 4K InfinityEdge display makes the XPS 13 Plus virtually borderless. Dell’s minimalist approach to the design aims to make this laptop modern and stylish.

John Deere Autonomous Tractor

The future of farming

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvFoRk4JsPc

John Deere, the famous American company that manufactures agricultural machinery, is synonymous with farmers worldwide. From humble beginnings in 1837 to their first tractor in 1918, John Deere has pushed the boundaries of innovation and taken farming to the modern era. The world’s population is expected to grow to 10 billion people in the next three decades, which will increase the demand for food by 50%. Consider climate change, water shortages and the availability of the land we need to farm as efficiently as possible.

At CES 2022, John Deere launched a fully autonomous tractor that can be controlled by a farmer via a mobile phone! It has six pairs of stereo cameras that monitor everything around the tractor. They provide a 360-degree view of the surroundings and obstacles and measure distances. These high-tech cameras constantly monitor, analyse, and classify every pixel every 100 milliseconds. This information is used to determine where and how this tractor moves with an accuracy of less than 3cm. The farmer can monitor and control the tractor via an app on their phone.

L'Oréal Colorsonic

Reinventing the hair colouring experience

https://www.loreal.com/en/press-release/research-and-innovation/loreal-unveils-latest-beauty-tech-innovations-ahead-of-ces-2022/

Not that I am talking from experience, but whoever I have spoken to about colouring hair at home tells me that it is messy, and it isn’t the easiest experience. L’Oréal, the French cosmetics company, launched a lightweight, handheld device at CES 2022 that they hope will reinvent the entire hair-dyeing experience. So how does it work? The device itself is the size of a hair straightener. The top part features nozzles with bristles that move in a zig-zag pattern through your hair, dispensing the dye. The bottom part is where the magic happens. It has a cartridge that dispenses the exact colour formula to the oscillating nozzle. So, as you brush the device through your hair, it dispenses the colour evenly by moving at 300 times a minute. Then, all you do is wait 30 minutes and rinse your hair. Done! The cartridge can store the balance of the colour for future touch-ups.

The at-home hair colour market grew by 6% during the pandemic, according to L’Oréal, in an industry that is worth over US$10 billion. L’Oréal, traditionally a cosmetics company, has introduced some fascinating technology to enhance their existing core business. It is a fantastic example of how companies should expand beyond their core business strategy. Who would have thought 10 years ago that a cosmetics company would be featuring innovations at a technology show?

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro

External drive build for almost every condition

Price R8,000

https://www.lacie.com/gb/en/products/rugged/

Moving away from CES, I have been playing with an extraordinary hard drive made by LaCie, a company whose mission has been to build external hard drives for photographers, videographers and audio professionals that are reliable, super tough and very resilient. Today’s high-end cameras and phones produce massive amounts of data. A simple 10-minute, 4K DSLR video recording can easily take up at least 4GB of memory. Anyone who has dropped an external hard drive will understand how fragile they are. One drop, and you could easily lose everything!

The Lacie Rugged SSD Pro lives up to its name. With its rubberised enclosure, not only is it IP67-rated for extreme water resistance, but it is also drop-resistant (a 3-metre drop isn’t a problem), crush-resistant (you can drive over it with a two-tonne vehicle, and it will be fine), and dust-resistant. But it is the drive’s performance that blew me away. The Seagate FireCuda NVMe SSD with a Thunderbolt 3 interface can produce speeds of up to 2,800 MB/s. So transferring a 100 GB, 4K movie can be done in under 40 seconds. Move over Usain Bolt!

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