A Look Back at #CES2017- Corporates, Startups, Investors Seek Innovation

As CES 2017 drew to a close, predictable themes of voice recognition, connected homes and vehicles, virtual reality, and wearables emerged from the sea of tech giants, startups, and anyone looking to get a scoop on what technology will dominate 2017. 

Many of these themes are not new--wearables and VR were hot tickets at CES 2016 and smart homes have been on and off the agenda countless years. Many companies focused more on the possible experiences and applications of these technologies rather than the tech itself, like Amazon’s Alexa. Throughout the show, various robots and IoT home accessories with Alexa capabilities established Amazon as the frontrunner in voice assistants. The approximately 700 Alexa-enabled products and apps released during CES from the likes of Ford, Lenovo and Dish TV, prove that software is essential, but hardware still matters. Inevitably what comes next is the question of where all the voice data being recorded and fed into algorithms end up. And, who is really listening, an issue yet to be seriously addressed at CES or elsewhere.

In recent years, CES has made a shift from big companies that opt to launch products or product lines toward smaller startups that seize the opportunity launch their entire company at the show to make connections and receive coverage they otherwise might not. Now, CES depends on innovation, making Eureka Park, the startup HQ at CES, a hotspot among the cavernous conference halls throughout Las Vegas. Over 600 startups saw the show as a launchpad for new products, participating in events like Shark Tank Open Call and Hardware Battlefield competitions to maximize chances at press coverage. 

The show also served as a launchpad for other types of new ideas. Similar to TechNexus’ belief in the value of corporates connecting with early-stage ventures, Samsung followed suit. While they had a large booth in the CES main hall to showcase their latest appliances, VR, smartphones and televisions, Samsung also had a presence in Eureka Park. At the latter, they announced Samsung Global Innovation Center (GIC) will become Samsung NEXT, along with the Samsung NEXT Fund, a $150 million venture capital investment fund to boost Samsung’s involvement with early stage startups across the globe. 

CES is an opportunity for CVCs, investors and corporations across every industry to see the latest technology applications in one fell swoop. What is shown at CES is a strong indicator of what technology will disrupt consumer and B2B markets over the next decade, and help form investment strategies for VCs and big players alike. 

Although these events are noisy, chaotic and more square feet than one person can cover in a weekend, trade shows still matter, even in tech. The connections made waiting in line to be shuttled from hall to hall, in hotels, or other seemingly random run-ins can be the most valuable aspect of this type of event. By bringing together great innovators, corporations, technologies, products, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world in one place, CES echoes the smarter venture development model we believe in on a grand scale and has become integrated in the system of global innovation.

*Image from Pixabay