Tales from CES 2014

March 26th, 2014

by Rachel Holm, Communications Coordinator

Last week, Team KITE convened in Las Vegas to attend the king of all trade shows: International CES. Over 155,000 reporters, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, brand reps and agency execs flocked to Sin City to explore the latest tech trends and catch a glimpse of what’s to come. The result? An exciting cross-section of the tech industry and its players, both large and small.

While the large corporate keynotes and press conferences proved interesting, we spent most of our time helping our partners to sift through the information overload and find the emerging technologies that were most relevant to them; it was a real-life version of what our app does every day.  

The Exhibition Halls

It’s impossible to check out everything at CES– we did our best to cover a lot of ground, splitting up and visiting different shows and booths. We found someclunkers, but on the whole, we were impressed by the ingenuity and creativity behind the products on the floor.   

After walking the floor for three days, our team unanimously picked Eureka Park as our favorite exhibition floor. Eureka Park was an area for new companies and inventors to showcase their ideas and inventions, in partnership with UP Global, the National Science Foundation, GE and AT&T.

We had fun testing out early stage technologies and chatting face-to-face with some of the industry’s most promising entrepreneurs. Take a look at some of our Eureka Park Favorites:

1) keecker: keecker created a prototype projection robot that’s integrated into a mobile app, designed for the home. The keecker can project movies onto walls, play music, snap and send photos, and even measure CO2 levels. It’s a quirky and useful gadget. However, with a $5-7,000 price point, it’s a luxury item until they figure out how to produce these at scale.

2) Instabeat: Instabeat has created a waterproof wearable that clips onto swimming goggles to monitor heart rate. It displays a swimmer’s customized target heart rate zones. Users can upload their information to view detailed reports and track their progression over time.    

3)LifeDomus: LifeDomus has an innovative piece of hardware and complimentary app that helps turn the connected home into a reality. Users can view a picture of their home in-app and turn on lamps, adjust their thermostat, play music and change a channel, simply by tapping on the device in the image.  It’s a beautiful interface that’s stands out in the increasingly more crowded connected home sector.

4) Integrated Surface Technologies:  We all, including several members of the KITE team, have killed a phone by dropping it in water.  Integrated Surface Technologies has created a truly groundbreaking process that can waterproof any electronic device. The coating is invisible and doesn’t affect normal device usage. Take a look at a their demo— it’s pretty amazing.   

Trend: Wearables Eat CES

Connected homes and cars, drone technologies and curved TVs were everywhere at CES this year, but fitness wearables proved to be this year’s most talked-about and abundant technology. Over the last year we’ve seen a steep rise in VC funding levels for health and fitness startups, not to mention many major consumer electronics manufacturers producing wearables, like LG and Sony. Mashable even outfitted each of their reporters with a wearable and compared results. You couldn’t turn a corner at the show without seeing another device to monitor your daily activity.    

Established wearable companies like Fitbit and Withings had strong presences in Vegas, but several newer technologies emerged at CES, addressing a range of problems from posture and back pain to infant care.

Kiwi Wearables, out of Toronto, impressed us a lot. They created the Kiwi Move, a multi-sensor device that serves as a real-life IFTTT– a DIY hardware hack. The Kiwi Move incorporates a variety of different functions or apps that a user can combine as they please. Kiwi’s insight: multiple sensors can be used, together or separately, for different applications/benefits, so why limit devices to just one or two sensors like many of today’s offerings do? Kiwi is launching an open platform for developers to create applications too. We get very excited about platforms that allow the genius developer crowd to build upon a strong foundation – we’ve seen amazing results from this approach, time and time again.

Sony’s new offering, the Sony Core, is a small chip that partners with a variety of devices to record not only your fitness data, but your life moments.  It consolidates pictures, video, location and fitness data to create a personal journal.

There’s no way all of these devices can survive, but the category is maturing quickly and consumers are adopting. There are certain to be some rich marketing partnerships with some of the leaders that will create exciting partnership opportunities with those devices that do survive, allowing brands to engage with consumers in extremely meaningful and personal ways.

Other Perspectives

Even with our team on the ground, we could only see a fraction of the thousands of exhibiting companies International CES had to offer.  Luckily, the press was there in force.  Take a look at some other CES highlights:

engadget’s Best of CES 2014 Awards

AdAge: Wearable Tech for Marketers

TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield recap

Mashable’s Best Tech of CES 2014

PandoDaily: The Real Action at CES

Pinterest CES 2014 board, curated by MRY CMO David Berkowitz, our CMO Tarah Feinberg and others

If you attended CES or are excited by some of these featured companies, we’d like to hear from you. Comment or send an email to Rachel@getKITE.co to share your thoughts.