Focusing on the future: U.S. Bank Innovation team offers insights on CES 2022

January 14, 2022

The annual technology trade show is a key signifier of emerging trends.

Imagine a world where you don’t need to push a button to turn up the volume of your ear buds – you control them with just your thoughts.

A world where you can change the color of your car, or order coffee in the metaverse and have it delivered to you in real life.

Computers that “breathe.” And a TV remote that converts the radio frequency waves from your WiFi router into energy, so it never needs batteries.

These things aren’t in the future. They were all demoed this year at CES, the massive annual technology trade show in Las Vegas. Like last year, much of the event was online. And a contingent from the U.S. Bank Innovation team took part virtually as we continually look to take a leading role in creating new possibilities for our customers.

“The world is changing fast, and CES gives us a glimpse into what’s coming and how we can integrate with the latest ideas and tech innovations,” said Todder Moning, head of applied foresights at U.S. Bank and a CES attendee for many years. “The pandemic shifted customer behavior and made digital more important than ever. U.S. Bank is well-positioned to provide the technology, advice and help our customers have come to expect.”

Top Trends at CES 2022

The most high-profile topics at CES 2022 were the same ones that have been dominating the tech headlines for some time: Cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the metaverse, electric and autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, content creators and sustainability.

While there is never a shortage of eye-popping new gadgets, the biggest trend our team noticed is that many of these major topics are intangible – they are ones and zeroes in code that facilitate experiences, creative expression, and ideas – instead of things you plug into an outlet.

“CES has morphed from an event that was all about devices and physical hardware into one that highlights technology as an enabler of new innovations,” said Valerie Lancelle, the Innovation team’s intellectual property, research and prototyping leader. “With such a focus on things like social audio and NFTs, platforms are providing creators new ways to share, own and sell their digital assets.”

A further sign of that: For the first time, CES featured an entire program track on blockchain-based technologies like cryptocurrency, which was a major theme.

“U.S. Bank has had a blockchain and cryptocurrency practice for the past six years and is a leader in the space,” said Chris Collins, who is part of the practice as a member of the Innovation team. “To see the elevation of cryptocurrency and blockchain at CES this year is a validation of the focus and work that we’ve put in.”

The focus on sustainability was widely evident across products and industries – from electric vehicles, to food tech innovations that address overfishing, to automated machines and autonomous systems that optimize farming, often utilizing AI. Not to mention that TV remote we mentioned that recharges itself via your Wifi.

What U.S. Bank is doing

Keeping a close eye on all these trends is the U.S. Bank Innovation team.

“What we do is look out over the horizon to imagine possibilities and scenarios that impact our future customers’ lives, and CES is a great place to get a wide perspective,” Moning said. “No one can tell the exact future, of course, but we can start taking smart actions to help the bank prepare for the possibilities.”

Such as: What is the role of money in the metaverse? Already you can buy and sell land, avatar wearables and more in the Decentraland Marketplace. You can even order coffee in a virtual coffeehouse that is delivered to your physical home.

As the future marches forward, U.S. Bank is already creating the amazing experiences our customers might not even know they want yet.

“Technology continues to provide new ways for communicating and connecting, and we’re continuing to see these signals that suggest a fundamental shift in how we interact with each other,” said Lancelle. “We as a bank are exploring how to participate in those virtual worlds – those virtual economies – and how to support them in such a way that’s authentic and real.”

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