With the pandemic still affecting travel and crowd gatherings, The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has kicked off in 2022 with a “hybrid setup”; people who are physically attending, but with a large amount of people (including the QinetiQ team) attending virtually.
The initial sessions have been interesting, with some notable trends emerging. Reflective of a trend beyond this show, but demonstrated clearly there, is a rise in the investment that the private sector is making into Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The chart below is a good illustration of this, where you can see a significant spike emerging during 2020; perhaps also a sign of the pandemic and investing to keep the wider market afloat. Whilst the source of funding is likely to be Venture Capital, it also illustrates a further trend whereby larger companies are ‘hedging’ their portfolios in order to remain market relevant, by using funding from Mergers & Acquisitions to acquire a portfolio of innovative SMEs – specifically not integrating them and allowing them to flourish.
Another interesting highlight is the move from Products to Services. As can be seen in the chart below, Services growth is going to continue to increase much faster than products. This trend is now particularly apparent in the Consumer sector where, for example, the average adult in the US already has eight subscription services; (think Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) Whilst the Enterprise (and therefore Defence) sectors are falling a little behind, it’s clear this trend will continue and we would expect to see more companies within Defence offering Services on a subscription (based on Operating Expenditure budgets) basis rather than the need for Defence to acquire capital assets; particularly in areas such as autonomous software, intelligence and platform servicing.
The concept of the Metaverse is drawing particular attention, not least because of the recent announcements by Facebook to change its parent group name to Meta and to invest $10bn+ in technologies in this space. The Metaverse may be closer than we think – but what is it? If we think of the Metaverse as the next evolution of the Internet, where immersive multi-channel engagement blends the physical and virtual worlds together, then I am sure we can already think of examples in the Consumer sector where this is starting to happen. One of the key enablers for the Metaverse is the continued growth of Enterprise Extended Reality (XR) technologies, where five pillars of XR were discussed (as shown below).
84% of XR-engaged businesses are expected to spend more on their AR/VR initiatives over the next 2 years (source: Consumer Technology Association (CTA)). Whilst we are familiar with Virtual Meetings and Remote Collaboration, we expect Enterprise XR to really start to stimulate the Defence sector in the area of Digital Twins, Simulation and Immersive Design. As a good example, QinetiQ recently announced a partnership with AM General where a lot of the design work for the electrification of the HumVee was all remote and based on modelling & simulation.
Finally, according to early insight from CES 2022, the top trends to watch are as follows:
- Transportation - Electric Vehicles, Micro-Mobility Solutions, Urban Air Mobility etc.
- Space Tech - Commercial apps, Communications, Tourism.
- Sustainable Technology - Alternative Power, Smart Homes and Cities, Food Technology etc.
- Digital Health – Wearables, Mental Wellness, Telemedicine etc.
From the list above, it is notable (and positive) that “Sustainable Technology” now features in its own right as a trend. Whilst this will be initially catalysed by alternative power sources, other areas of innovation will include technologies to improve the efficiency of our homes and cities, as well as new innovations in farming and food technology.
There is still much more to come from this year’s CES event, but hopefully the above blog gives people some early insight into the trends that are emerging from “Virtual Vegas”!
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