The number of technologies aimed at protecting the environment has steadily increased at CES since the Sin City exhibit was established fifty years ago.
But observers often doubt the seriousness of the consumer-tech industry’s commitment to environmental protection, with the real excitement focusing on smart TVs and robots instead of the more complicated project and less profitable to save the planet.
“Until this really, really matters to consumers, it’s just going to be kind of a sideways trend here,” said Ben Arnold, consumer electronics analyst at the firm of NDP research.
“As someone who studies the market, I don’t yet see where the environmentally friendly technology makes a difference in terms of units and dollars,” he added.
Israeli Ran Roth, director of the technology company I will feel, recognized that successful devices are those that make financial sense, and it believes that is exactly what its products do. His devices use artificial intelligence and sensors to better manage air conditioning, a major concern in the often sweltering heat of Israel, where his company is based. Its sensors measure humidity and temperature, and use software that learns user habits, saving energy and money.
According to Roth, new technologies must have a “path to profitability” if they are to thrive, a recurring flaw of so-called “green” technologies that so often are not bankable.
“The great thing about smart thermostats is that they’re readily available and offer the best return on investment,” said Roth, who called air conditioning a “human right.”
But as the climate emergency deepens, industry watchers said big tech companies are under more pressure to commit to sustainability goals.
For his part, the Frenchman Patrick Torbey, co-founder of NeoPlants, believes that “one should not believe that this annual gathering, which takes place just after the New Year, concerns “only machine technology and electronics”. “It’s also about the natural technology that we can harness using these really cool engineering techniques,” he said.
His Paris-based startup, NeoPlants, featured a bio-engineered plant capable of purifying indoor air of toxic pollutants “by doing the work of 30 ordinary indoor plants.”
Another company, the French start uo ACWA Roboticswas awarded at CES for a robot designed to detect and prevent water leaks in underground pipes.
In France, it is estimated that 20% of drinking water is lost due to leaks in pipes.
Fighting for the environment “is the challenge of the century,” Elise Lengrand, engineer at ACWA Robotics, told AFP.
“I mean sure it’s really cool to do big TVs and stuff, but that’s really what matters,” she added.
Source : RFI