Where stand-alone devices once reigned supreme on the show floor, International CES 2015 illustrated the myriad of ways these devices currently connect with each other and how they could interact in the future thanks to their complementary pairing through the Internet.
From Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Association, the owner and producer of CES, launched its first Internet of Things (IoT) showcase to a captive audience of professionals who may have felt like kids in a candy store.
From signage to exhibit design, other than the products and keynote speakers themselves, indicators were all over the show’s three major venues – Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), Sands Expo Center and the ARIA – that IoT was the technological wave of the future.
“Anything we have today in terms of consumer or industrial devices, if we can use it, chances are at some point, it will be connected to the Internet. It is just a matter of applying that to more and more devices. Five years ago, homes weren’t connected to the Internet — same thing with cars. We are in the early days of Internet of Things. It will only continue to accelerate. The human race is endlessly innovative,” stated Timothy Sheehy, CEO, Webee.
More than 170,000 attendees sought out the show’s 3,600 exhibitors, including many who used IoT as part of their branding strategy to stand out at the show. Exhibitors like Samsung, Qualcomm and Freescale Semiconductor used their exhibits, or mobile tour bus in Freescale’s case, to highlight how they’re an integral part of the IoT revolution.
IoT drives first-time exhibitors
The technological phenomenon brought out many first-time exhibitors, including technology veterans like Freescale.
Coming to the huge consumer tradeshow was a different experience for Freescale since it usually focuses on business-to-business events. The company parked its bright orange mobile trailer at the outdoor exhibiting space in front of South Hall at LVCC. Freescale is currently on a two-year mobile tour to see existing customers as well as gain new leads at CES.
“We had a few arranged tours with CEOs and executives. So that’s been fantastic. We had opportunities to talk about how Freescale fits with their strategies to make them successful,” stated Iain Galloway, manager of technology strategy, Freescale Semiconductor.
Freescale highlighted a range of connected devices that use chips it produces, so this is why, Galloway explained, the company brought its three-story open-air trailer rather than a traditional booth to CES. The trailer also provided much-needed meeting space.
“The complexity of showing the entire range of the Internet of Things – we’re showing the home environment, the wearables, automotive systems and the networking systems that go behind it. There is a certain level of complexity, and we want to leverage that investment over and over again,” he added.
Webee, the creator of a SmartHub that controls third-party smart objects from any mobile device, also had previous experience attending a business-to-business event. Its CEO found this year’s CES to be a whole different ballgame.
“We exhibited at a show called CEDIA [Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association] in September 2014. That was our first show. It was a smaller show where we talked to custom electronics designers and installers, dealers and distributors. CES is a broader mix of people. It’s a big gamut,” said Sheehy.
A record-number of start-ups focusing on IoT
Webee was included in the record 375 nascent start-ups forming the Eureka Park TechZone at Sands Expo. Many of these companies were less than a year old like Sezam Labs, the France-based creator of a connected wearable called Sezam Event.
Sezam executives explained how the wristband’s use of Near Field Communication (NFC) could mean good things for the future events industry. NFC, a short-range technology, provides opportunities to exchange information between mobile devices.
With Sezam’s wearable acting as an admission and payment system, users wouldn’t have to carry tickets, badges or money at the event. The wristband would also allow event organizers to learn information about the attendees and personalize the event as a result.
“Sezam Event is designed to simplify the life of any event planner. We have opportunities with tradeshow planners, festivals and also soccer teams and stadium managers. Our ambition is simple: to guide and support organizers and managers before, during and after each event,” explained Benoît Pascal, president, Sezam Labs.
For those hoping to see the next technological phenomenon, International CES will return to Las Vegas’ multiple event venues from Jan. 6-9, 2016.