The international CES Las Vegas, is one of these events which, as a tech passionate and as a member of the startup community, I always dreamed of attending. Finally, I made it into this massive, 100% all-American show, and what follows is my experience after 3 days of endless walks, a thousand “wowwwws” and even a few “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” moments…
First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m Ignasi Capellà, responsible for communications and business development at Broomx Technologies. We are a technology-based startup from Barcelona with a creative soul, and we have created a unique home-projection system to enjoy VR & 360° media content without the need of VR headsets or other devices, called MK Player360. With our system we can create immersive 4D experiences in any room or corner, with projections covering the entire surface that user can see at a consumer price-point. You can find some good examples of what we do in our Youtube channel.
Broomx went to CES 2017 with different objectives. First, we wanted to meet potential partners to boost the development of our project. Also, we wanted to understand if CES is really an interesting event for a company like us. Moreover, we also wanted to have a clear picture of what is going on in the VR sphere, check if somebody is doing a similar product as our MK Player360 and get introduced to the best VR & 360 content creators from all over the world.
With all these objectives in mind and after analyzing different options, we decided against taking a booth in the startup area and to attend CES as a visitor instead. After all, we can say that it was a good choice, taking into account that we had the freedom to move around during the show and arrange meetings with some of the potential partners without being stuck in the both all the time.
We participated in the EAEC (European American Enterprise Council) matchmaking event which took place 2 days before CES started, and it was a hit! We arranged our participation through ACCIÓ Barcelona, the cost of the participation was very fair and you could request a short meeting with all the other participants (different profiles, from public administrations to big corporations, VC’s, channel managers, consultants, startups…). In the end, I had 16 meetings, some of them very promising and fruitful for us. In addition, 2 tickets for CES were included.
The first 2 days of CES were just crazy. The size of the event, with different venues located in 3 major areas and almost 23.000 square meters in total; the size and spectacularity of the stands of the big players of the consumer electronics industry; and the number of attendees (177,393) made me feel sometimes excited and surprised, but also very small and surpassed in some sense, especially on the first day.
These are some of the highlights of CES 2017: the wide range of 4K TV’s from different brands (LG presentation was just impressive, check out the video 4K immersive tunnel I took from their area); the variety of smart projectors and home theaters; lots of AI applications with Alexa being consolidate when it comes to digital assistants; many Internet of Things examples specially in the automotive industry and in the smart cities / smart home sphere; different types of drones; and the evidence that nowadays technology is just everywhere. Also, I could find some really strange technological objects, from “smart” hairbrushes to “intelligent” toothbrushes and dozens of different robots with no clear functionality at all (apart of dancing strident songs).
A specific article could be written just for Augmented & Virtual Reality at CES 2017. Aside of tones of different VR headsets, 360 cameras and different tracking softwares to allow users to interact with the content in a much more fluid way, as well as other complements to enhance VR experience, it was very encouraging for me to find that VR live-streaming is improving considerably. Intel is playing an important role in this field as well as NextVR, who is partnering with different American major sports leagues as I could confirm by enjoying the replay of an NBA game which was held the day before.
Also, I could see that VR is not only about gaming. Many different industry applications for VR were presented, from city management, real-estate and healthcare to the aerospace industry, with the NASA offering a trip to Mars via the HoloLens headset.
Eureka Park, the startup area of CES, is a really a place to be if you are a startup looking for media attention. Lots of journalists, cameras, microphones, … all over the place. I also consider that is an interesting place in terms of business, as I found many R&D members from big corporates hanging around. Preparations and arranging meetings before the event is always very important during trade fairs, but especially so at CES considering the volume and the level of the attendees. Some startups accelerators, as the Hardware Club, and crowdfunding platforms as Indiegogo had their own cool spaces in the Eureka Park, as well as national pavilions like France, Holland or Ukraine. It would be really interesting to have a Spanish or Catalan pavilion at CES in the future …let’s see if we can achieve it in the next editions. I leave it there…