This year (2014) was my first time at International CES. I’ve been to a few different events, MWC, DroidCon and even an event I helped create called March of the Droids. All of these have their own unique and interesting parts but none compare to the cacophony that is CES. Over the next few weeks I shall be posting about my experiences and some of the interesting things I saw but I wanted to talk today about Mini Shows.
There are two major Mini Shows at CES that the press seem to congregate at called Showstoppers and Pepcom. There are other parties as well but they are put on by the individual companies and as such are quite limited Showstoppers and Pepcom are both designed for companiess to showcase their wares in a relaxed atmosphere. I’m going to talk about Showstoppers here but they are so similar it applies to both
Run by the Leon brothers, Showstoppers is a Mini show that is at all good gadget shows. I attended one at MWC which was informative and this year at CES it was even better. The show floor was filled to the gunnels with interesting startups and seasoned veterans alike. I will include a gallery with notes so you can see the varied products for yourself. I think the singing robot was at once the best and most creepy thing I saw there.
I also found it a lot easier to connect with companies at showstoppers than at the CES booths themselves. A lot of the people manning the booths were the Founders of the companies and as such were enthusiastic and, most importantly, knowledgable about their products. I cant tell you how frustrating it is talking to a booth babe who is only passingly familiar with the product at hand. A good example of the networking opportunities of Mini Shows is my Sphero story.
While I was up getting us some food at the rather snazzy buffet ( they had hand carved rare beef!) my colleague was joined at our table by a young lady who was also eating. When I returned they were deep in discussion and as I joined them I found out that the new lady was Kelly Zachos the VP of marketing for Sphero. If you don’t know what Sphero is then I am ashamed of you and go and Google it. It’s amazingly good fun and off of the back of our food conversation I managed to find out some details of the new launch and try a Sphero 2.0 myself!
This was just one of the many people I spoke to that evening, almost all of whom were either a “VP of Important Things” or the actual CEO themselves which as you can imagine helps when you are trying to get review units for your site.
The gallery above showed some of my favourite companies at the mini shows this year. I’d like to make special mention of a prototype from Sony that I had a look at the E-Ink booth. From what I could see it was an amazingly thin electronic notebook. You can download PDF’s and then write notes on the screen as well as writing on lined or graph paper which saves when you “turn” the page. I really hope its something Sony bring to market for a good price as it would be perfect for schools.
From the android powered oven that can play YouTube cooking shows to the amazing, emotive robot that can be programmed to sing, each of these was a product that made me say “that is so cool!”
And as a true Nerd that’s all I ever really want.