Every January for over five decades now, tens of thousands of tech enthusiasts have descended on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES), an event owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). CES is the place to see the newest and most innovative products from every corner of the tech sector. Of course, CES 2021 was vastly different than any before it in that it was completely virtual.

That little detail changes everything. Not only were there less than half the total vendors from past years, but the 2,000 or so that did attend offered very different presentations. While this year’s event might have lacked the usual hum of activity, the products were still spectacularly cutting-edge. Here are some especially hot techy trends to keep your eyes peeled for in the coming months:

Pandemic-Related Products

Unveiled at CES 2021, Razer's

Last year introduced a host of new challenges on the home and business fronts, but on the flip side, it also created lots of opportunity for new and necessary products. Expect to see inventive solutions for both work-from-home and homeschooling challenges. There’s also ample mask, air purifying, and germ-fighting technology on the horizon.

The coronavirus pandemic has really driven home the message regarding hand-washing and keeping surfaces clean, so it’s no surprise businesses have responded with a renewed emphasis on hands-free technologies and UV-powered germ killers, too.

The Smart Home

The new Ampere Bluetooth Shower Speaker, unveiled at CES 2021.

It’s a trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, smart technology in general is a growth market. Look back a few years to when the now-ubiquitous Ring doorbell camera was new. This year expect smaller and better equipped cameras inserted into more products than ever before. Smart features have already infiltrated the likes of TVs, watches, shower heads, thermostats, and vacuum cleaners. You can even check the contents of your fridge using a phone app, and we’re definitely look forward to seeing more remote-control options like that in the future.

Also in the mix here is the 5G technology that drives many of these smart gadgets, which is sure to remain a hot topic for at least the foreseeable future.

Electric Vehicles

CES 2021 also saw the unveiling of the much-awaited Cadillac Celestiq flagship EV.

EVs are consistently part of CES, but this year the industry had a lot to share. From Tesla reaching its 500,000 cars sold goal in 2020 to innovations around EV battery advancements and solar cars, there was certainly no shortage of engaging conversations regarding electric cars at CES 2021 (and not all of them are standard cars and trucks, mind you!).

Gaming

Asus Zephyrus G14 Gaming Laptop, unveiled at CES 2021.

Another industry whose 2020 success could be attributed to the effects of the pandemic is gaming, which saw a big uptick amid waves of global lockdowns. Of course, the gaming industry has always leaned into cutting-edge technology to enhance the gamer’s experience visually, audibly, and interactively. And with last year’s biggest games eclipsing movie releases, it was only natural for graphics, VR, displays and monitors, and new gaming consoles to all be highlighted in spades at CES 2021.

TV Tech and Home Entertainment

Officially unveiled at CES 2021, LG's futuristic OLED TVs hide neatly at the foot of your bed, popping up when it's time for your favorite show!

In addition to working, gaming, and attending school from home in 2020, we also enjoyed the majority of our entertainment there, too. Listen: if ever there was a time to consider the options for a newer, fancier TV, it’s during a pandemic. With that in mind, LG just revealed an ultra-affordable line of OLED TVs, some of which can rise out of your bed’s footboard, among other things.

Check back with us soon for even more sci-fi-ish finds from from this year’s virtual CES.