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“ShowStoppers LaunchIt is about giving innovative entrepreneurs a shot at getting the attention of angel investors on the lookout for innovation and new ventures. It’s also about gaining additional visibility with other industry influencers and dealmakers, as well as with the press who are always looking for the ‘what’s new’ story at CES.”
“ShowStoppers@CES 2018 is an invitation-only media reception that enables exhibiting companies to directly meet with more than 1,500 pre-qualified journalists, analysts and key industry influencers.”
The two Showstoppers events have become two of the most interesting and valuable events at CES and I-Connect007 has been covering them since the very beginning. If you want to learn about some of the top new kickstart-type products directly from their founders, Launchit is the place to be. If you want to see firsthand over 100 up-and-coming companies as well as many who are established and well-known, see the products they are focusing on at CES, and have a chance to try them and speak to their representatives (often senior management), then Showstoppers is the place to be.
I covered both events, and here are the highlights, a description of some new Launchit companies, and a review of the products that caught my interest at the following day’s full Showstoppers press event.
First, let’s discuss Launchit, who was supported by Indiegogo and NSAF this year. This year there were 12 finalists from over 110 entries at this Shark Tank-like event. Each of them had a short period of time to discuss their new product idea and demonstrate their product. This was followed by a series of questions and comments from the four distinguished judges who choose the winner once the last presentation is finished. All of the participants get great coverage and visibility to investors in the audience, and the winner has the opportunity to exhibit at the following day’s Showstoppers event.
Following is the list of contestants in order of presentation, along with my brief opinion and commentary on each.
Athom Homey There are so many remote controls in our lives, so why don’t they all work together? We all live with so many devices and ecosystems running on seven or eight different wireless standards in use right now. Homey can connect eight different wireless technologies with one easy-to-use product, one integrated smart home to work with all devices. Homey has an app store with all presently used apps, and a universal remote for Ring, Nest, etc. I found this product very interesting and promising.
Big Boy Systems A startup in the VR arena, the Third-I head-mounted display lets you capture real-life video and sound while you wear it. It can transmit image, video and sound. I felt it was a little expensive, over $3,000 for the high end (medical use, etc.) and about $500 for more commercial/consumer use. This device is not aimed at the home entertainment market, it seems to be more commercially focused—think lifelike medical training, remote control, military training, etc. They stated that this is the first one doing both binary and 3D in the same device.
Cardiomo This wearable analytics monitoring is designed to save lives. It records vital signs, informs you (or your family, if necessary) if something is wrong. While this would be valuable to patients who can be monitored by their doctors or medical groups, there is a lot of competition. It appears to be user-friendly. Patents are already issued.
Cinema Snowglobes This company specializes in designing interactive experiences. This is a snow globe type of device, but instead of turning it over and seeing artificial snow fall on a model village, this globe shows a cinema; it looks very interesting. (Think of having a small globe with a video of your kids playing, or you surfing.) It is basically a digital picture frame in the shape of a snow globe. They have already started manufacturing and the first runs sold out. They cost about $250 each. The new third-generation device is much easier to set up. Very Interesting. I want one.
CuboMania This is a colorful light-effects cube-shaped toy used during game play for kids. It can also help kids develop skills such as exercise, and they can view animated character friends. It helps with motor skills, creativity, etc. but it still needs augmented reality and AI development.
Pebby This next-gen entertainment solves the issue of pets being left at home alone. It is a fully maneuverable camera remote-controlled ball. It has various playing functions; it lets you play ball and make sounds by remote-control using an app. It also can be used for kids using the more powerful version and kids can use it to begin to learn programing. The cost is reasonable at $250.
Pico This device makes kids play outside again instead of spending their lives on their tablets and phones. It is interactive active play with no screens. Old games with new technology such as Buzz Tag allow kids to chase the one with the buzzing and/or flashing device. Kids seem to love it, and they get lots of exercise. It can be used anywhere and is not dependent on Wi-Fi. and it looks very interesting. Still needs an app to upload new games. Sells for about $5,000 for a set of 12 (enough units for up to 12 kids to play together), so it seems ideal for a school playground environment. While that sounds expensive, you have to consider what it would cost to get 12 tablets for a group of kids to play with and then consider the exercise and group/team play. I feel this is very promising and it is one of my favorites.