CES 2022 wraps up today, but earlier this week, Pepcom’s kickoff Digital Experience event took the opportunity to show off some of the expo’s most exciting new tech from a wide range of industries and manufacturers. There were some 120-plus in-person exhibitors who demo-ed new products to in-person media attendees, as well as a makeshift livestream on YouTube for those attending virtually. Like CES itself, the event included everything from home robotics and remote work tech to advancements in air filtration monitoring and new smartwatches.
Here, we’ve picked the best of Pepcom Digital Experience CES 2022; most of these highlighted products were announced for the first time this week. 2022 looks to be another huge year for consumer technology, shaped by the needs of a culture rapidly changing in so many ways.
Anker’s newly announced B600 Video Bar is a video conferencing camera for the 21st century. It’s designed to sit atop your monitor or television, with a webcam boasting a 2K sensor capturing at 30 frames per second. Like many webcams these days it features autofocus, field-of-view adjustment, and AI-powered image enhancement and zoom. AI is applied to its microphone array as well, designed to help make noisy environments sound quieter to folks on the other end of the line.
More interestingly, the B600 features a key light and built-in speakers. The former includes a feature Anker is calling “MagicSight,” which can make automatic lighting adjustments using its multicolor LED ring light, as well as a slider on the front that can be used to make lighting adjustments manually. (There’s even an accompanying app to further tweak these settings.) The Video Bar will cost $220, and launches on January 25th.
Robot routers, anyone? The AXE200 features four automated antennas that fold out and rotate on their own, in order to seek out the best possible signal. While it looks more like a videogame enemy design than a router, as anyone who has had success manually maneuvering an antenna around in order to get a better signal, the utility is clear. As you
might expect from a new TP-Link router, it’s got some heavyweight specs to boot: the AXE200 features improved tri-band speed, with a 6Ghz band alongside its existing 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz bands, gaining it access to additional bandwidth and reduced latency. While there’s no release date yet, this is one to keep an eye on (lest it steal your sandwich out from off your plate).
Belkin’s Wemo line of smart home accessories is entering new territory with the Wemo Smart Video Doorbell, designed to work exclusively with Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. The Smart Video Doorbell features a 178-degree field of view, and a 4-megapixel camera with night vision. For Apple users, HomeKit Secure Video integration is definitely the star of the show: Not only does it make integration easier, it also means you don’t need to use the Wemo app, and instead controls and monitors everything directly in the Apple Home app. HomeKit Secure Video-compatible doorbells have been few and far between, so Belkin should capture a fairly sizable chunk of this emerging market. The Wemo Smart Video Doorbell is available to order starting today for $249.99 in the US and Canada.
The dream of the robot butler has been around for decades. At CES 2022, Labrador has announced two robots, named Caddie and Retriever, which may finally answer that call. Essentially, they’re automated shelves roughly the size of a side table, designed to help you around the house by carrying goods, with wheels and sensors (think: Roomba) that enable them to navigate your home without knocking over the fishbowl (or running over the cat). They can be directed either by using the accompanying app, or via spoken commands using Alexa integration. Though they could have utility for many, they’re primarily meant to help those with mobility problems, such as those struggling with conditions like arthritis or Parkinson’s disease. Labrador is aiming to ship machines to customers by the second half of 2023. Starting today, customers can put down a (refundable) $250 deposit for a Caddie or Retriever; prices will be around $99 a month for Caddie, and $149 a month for Retriever, with total costs for the machines $5,000 and $6,800, respectively.
Primarily a fitness-focused device, the Venu 2 Plus has more than 25 indoor and outdoor activity modes. These include cycling and cross-training options, including yoga, strength training, and pilates. It also includes automatic incident detection for runners and cyclists, can let authorized friends and family follow your location, as well as sleep tracking and menstrual cycle/pregnancy tracking for women. Finally, the Venu 2 Plus’ heart rate alerts are meant to detect and warn you if your heart rate is abnormally high or low. Like smartwatches from Apple and Google, Garmin’s new Venu 2 Plus GPS smartwatch aims to sync with your iOS or Android phone’s voice assistant, letting you reply to messages or answer calls with the press of a button. The VENU 2 is available now in a number of colors and sizes, starting at an introductory sale price of $349.99.
Wagz is an attempt to make using baby gates, barriers, and locks to keep dogs from where they shouldn’t be a thing of the past. Newly announced at CES, Wagz Tagz are designed to be paired with the Freedom Smart Dog Collar ($249, released in 2021). The idea is that you put the Freedom Smart Dog Collar on your dog, then place the Tagz wherever they’re not meant to roam: under a mattress, the compost container, etc. When the pup gets too close, it triggers a shock-free correction on the collar—according to Wagz, it uses a combination of vibration, audio cues, and ultrasonic sound to do the job, and you’re able to get a notification on your Android/iOS device about your pet’s attempted transgression. Wagz says the setup is simple and works for both Android and iOS devices. Boundaries can range from 3 to 15 feet and are designed to work with multiple dogs (and thereby multiple Freedom Collars). Wagz Tagz will be available for purchase in March of this year.
Aura Air, which manufactures air purifiers for the home and workplace, is using CES to launch its Aura Web Platform. The enterprise solution is designed for businesses to maintain indoor air quality in various public and private spaces. It offers a toolset for managing multiple purification systems at once, while providing insights and recommendations in real time. Rules can be used to automate devices, both in order to maintain clean air and save energy. Aura is also announcing a partnership with Tomorrow.io, which will provide its outdoor air quality monitoring — including things like upcoming unhealthy air quality warnings and other climate concerns — and factor these variables into its air circulation schedule.
The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra does not hold back on the naming conventions, nor is it holding back at the biggest technology convention around. The robotic vacuum cleaner is designed both to vacuum debris, as well as clean floors with a custom-built mopping pad. When it detects a carpet in its path, it automatically raises the pad out of the way, and vice versa. Like many vacuums, it creates a map of your home and has the ability to avoid certain areas. The new model is meant to be better at avoiding objects, regardless of the lighting conditions it might be dealing with.
Perhaps most potentially interesting is what the company calls the Empty Wash Fill Dock. When docked, the S7 MaxV Ultra automatically refills itself with water and empties its dust bin into a container inside the dock. The dock is designed to then wash the robovac’s mop, and even clean itself in the process. The Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra costs $1,399.99 when purchased alongside the dock, or can be purchased separately for $859.99. It will be available in the U.S. on Amazon, in the second quarter of 2022.
Oral-B’s CES 2022 announcements revolve around its latest smart toothbrush—the iO10 with iOSense, the follow-up to the original iO toothbrush, released back in 2020. The iO10 adds an oral-health coach that’s built into the toothbrush’s charging base, keeping track of brushing time, pressure, and mouth coverage without needing to get your phone involved every time you brush (as had been the case previously). This data then syncs to the Oral-B app, in order to suss out the patterns and make sense of them. The rechargeable toothbrush features seven different cleaning modes, and the pressure sensor display informs you when you’re brushing too hard. Oral-B didn’t reveal pricing or a release date for the iO10, but has opened a waitlist for customers to be notified when it’s shipping.