Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 Review - 50 Years of Consumer Hardware Technology

Michael Keer, PRG Founder and CEO, Product Realization Group, shares his experience at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, its 50 year.

 

50 Years of CES

CES 2017 celebrated 50 years of consumer hardware technology. This year’s show in Las Vegas featured record crowds, with global attendance. We focused on Eureka Park™, the exhibition hall that houses the best innovations from startup companies, and included neighborhoods of startups collected under incubators, funders and accelerators, and even sponsor countries.

  

Le French Tech

La French Tech Has a Big Presence

 

Notably France (“La French Tech”), the Netherlands and Israel each brought large contingencies of startups to demonstrate new product. La French Tech brought 178 startups to CES, up from 66 in 2015 and 128 in 2016. Overall, there were over 275 French companies at CES, the third largest global presence after the US and China, and we sensed it here!

  

HAX Booth

Hax Brings 82 Startups

 

Hax, a hardware accelerator and investment fund, brought 82 startup companies to CES under its umbrella, favoring demo booths over the old school “pitch day” for newcomers. Hax startups included numerous CES award winners: Amber (Best CES Startup by Engadget); Joy and startups (winners of the CES Innovation Award) and Bloom (#2 in TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield). Hax also brought 3 Chinese startups, who were named among the top 10 Chinese Innovations: Elephant Robotics, Cell Robotics and Sonicam.

 

You could feel the increased presence from China at CES this year, both among the startup companies and in the general attendees.

  

Indiegogo Booth

Indiegogo Goes End-to-End

Indiegogo, another hardware crowdfunder and a PRG friend, had a busy booth in Eureka Park™, demonstrating its expanded services to support hardware startups from end-to-end. With recent partnerships from Arrow Electronics for design and prototyping, and Riverwood Solutions, a PRG Consortium partner, for Supply Chain and Manufacturing.

  

Connected Shower

Hardware Trends for 2017

Wandering through the booths and demos in Eureka Park™ we saw many similar “smart” and “connected” products, some of which had questionable value (see image — a connected shower, really?!), and then there were products we expected to see, that we didn’t, like products designed for behavioral change, useful robots, and artificial intelligence.

  

Earbud Translators

Similar “Smart” Products

One of the areas in which there were lots of products was wireless headsets. Was this a natural follow on from Apple dropping the microphone plug from the iPhone 7? We were intrigued by the offering from Mymanu, a wireless earbud that promised instant translation of conversations through voice recognition. Will we all be using universal translators soon?

 

Some previously hot markets seemed saturated, like drones and 3D printing. Although we saw a particularly relevant application of 3D printing by an Israeli startup, Nano Dimension. Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020 3D Printer combines inkjet printing, precision 3D printing and nano ink technology to print high resolution multilayer printed circuit board prototypes in hours. Imagine the impact on your product development schedule if you could reduce the time to prototype from months to days.

  

Connected Baby/Hatch Baby

Connecting to Everything?!

Everywhere we turned, there was another new smart device, tracking information for the user. Areas of growth appear to be the smart home and the smart baby. One of PRG’s former clients Hatch Baby demonstrated the Hatch Baby Grow, a smart changing pad and connected scale. It tracks information like baby’s weight, growth, feeding, diapers and sleeps and shares it to multiple devices. 

  

Toyota Concept Car

Emerging Technologies – Autos, Audio & Artificial Intelligence

We saw cars, cars and more cars. Each of the major manufacturers brought its concept car to CES, whether it was autonomous (self-driving), electric, connected, or some combination. We can expect the growth to continue for the self-driving car. There was also much hype around Amazon’s Alexa, with growing opportunities for voice activated devices.

  

PRG Party at CES

Party at Caesars Palace – Hangover Suite!

The party at Caesars was a smashing success, and included drinks, appetizers, product demos and lots of networking. Over 500 people attended the party on Friday January 6, which was co-sponsored by PRG, Rush Order, Keating Consulting, Techwah, and Indiegogo — and music provided by Pandora.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Michael Keer 

 

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