CES 2023 debuted the show's first-ever sustainability panel 

CES is far more than just its consumer electronics, as proven by this year's motto, "Innovation for human security."
Sade Agard
Left to right: The panelists represented Qualcomm, LG, Infineon and 3M
Left to right: The panelists represented Qualcomm, LG, Infineon and 3M

Sade Agard/Interesting Engineering 

This year, the world's largest stage for innovation, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), had the motto "Innovation for human security," underscoring that it is far more than just consumer gadgets.

In fact, Gary Sicuro, the CEO of the Consumers Technology Association (CTA), the organisation that owns and produces CES, established this theme with a passionate speech regarding global human security for all. 

Sustainability also works well in this context. After all, the foundation for achieving this goal will be set by our impact on the world.

As such, CES 2023 saw innovation, tech, and sustainability go together to a level not seen before and delivered the show's first-ever sustainability panel through a conference titled, "The Era of Sustainable Consumer Electronics."

The product that has yet to be invented

Dr. Jayshree Seth, Bob LeFort, Angela Baker, and John Taylor served as the panelists. Each of them discussed their businesses' actions to improve their sustainability.

"The most sustainable product is the one that has not been invented just yet," said Dr. Jayshree Seth, a Corporate Scientist at 3M who works in the division that makes its tapes.

"Everybody's thinking about the next tape. But some of the new products we launched are, in fact, 'the product that was never made'- they're not taped," Seth added. She explained that people tend to expect solutions that look similar to what they're already used to. 

Using her example of a new type of extrudable tape that was automated (using robotics) and bondable yet sustainable, Seth said that its innovations like this are "needed to make a step change. They create a disruption." 

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John Taylor, VP of LG Electronics, spoke about electronic goods (obviously). Every new technological product, he said, ought to be sustainable. From the beginning of its life cycle until the very end, his business's goal is to ensure that efforts towards that occur for all of its devices.

Good bye to heavy metal stators

The president of Infineon, one of the biggest manufacturers of semiconductors in the world, Bob LeFort, spoke about incorporating sustainability into products. "At Infineon, our motto is 'help people to do more with less.' In a lot of areas, doing good for the environment is also good for business," he said. 

LeFort shared an example about a company called Infinitum that offers a whole new approach to motors. "They don't use the heavy metal stator; they use this small little PC board," he said. Lefort then highlighted that this was a concept for many years and has now been made possible, thanks to technology making it viable.

"It makes more efficient motors; they're lighter and smaller. And so you start to see that there isn't really a penalty to pay when you have this technology and innovation that comes together with the right focus," LeFort explained.

5G will be transformational

The Chief Sustainability Officer at Qualcomm, Angela Baker, discussed her organization's objective to achieve NetZero emissions. She asserted that building a solid 5G network will be essential to doing that and assisting other businesses in doing the same.

For example, "[With 5G] manufacturing floors will be running more efficiently and more effectively, or large-scale agriculture farms that use Ag tech," Baker said. She also noted that 5G enabled-drones could reduce pesticide usage.

"This large capacity for data and the low latency that 5G will offer- or that it does offer- really allows it to transform these industries that have been around for hundreds of years. But making them work more efficiently and effectively with other benefits as well," she said.