Living Map at CES2018

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Living Map at CES2018

Impressions from the world’s biggest tech event

Every January, the Las Vegas desert turns into a melting pot for the world’s most innovative ideas. It’s the time of the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the biggest event for the technology and entertainment industry.

The show was unlike anything I have ever witnessed. Between the crowds of people, the thousands of fascinating innovations and the sheer creativity of some of the exhibitors, the atmosphere was simply electric. From AI in drones to “the car of the future”, wireless VR and everything in between, the word “incredible” simply doesn’t cut it!

Eureka Park

Eureka Park is a newer area of the event that has only been going for a few years to offer a stage for start-ups showcasing new technology. More than a market place, Eureka Park serves as a forum and a network for pioneers that are looking for ways to solve the challenges of today and the future.

At Eureka Park we had a booth on the ENGIE & Partners stand, where we demonstrated our smart building management tool for the British Library. It’s an interactive digital map of the complex environment of the UK’s national library, developed in cooperation with ENGIE’s facility management team. The platform intuitively visualises the location and status of key assets and live sensor data. In the hands’ of facility managers and engineers the mobile map eases routing to critical assets, saving time and costs in the process.

It was great to connect with our partners’ wider team and to get to know representatives from all over the world.

The whole atmosphere around Eureka Park was amazing. I met a lot of creative thinkers from all kinds of industries and investors who were ready to help ideas grow. Here are some of my personal favourites:

Smart homes: Investing in sustainability

Sustainable solutions to cope with restricted natural resources in the future were one of the key themes at CES.

No one knows that better than Julius from Supersola, who was our booth neighbour from the ENGIE innovation network. Julius and his team have developed a solar panel that anyone can install in their home in 15 minutes! All you need to do is open the solar panel up, fill the base with water to weigh it down and plug it into one of your power sockets. Just like that adds solar energy to your conventional power circuit. With no installation or additional infrastructure needed this “plug and play” solar panel is the first of its kind.

Voltaware offered a different solution to the same problem of saving electricity in your home and business, exhibiting just a few meters down the exposition hall. They produce sensors to measure energy use in smart homes. Fixed on the fuse box, the sensor enables you to track your daily consumption and gain insights into your efficiency. This ultimately helps you to lower the amount of energy used.

Smart cities: Reclaim our streets

In addition to smart buildings, the topic of smart cities was filling talks and panels.

This image, snapped at the Ford’s booth gets to the point.  Smart cities not made for tech, they are made for living. The city of tomorrow needs a human-centric and sustainable approach. The role of technology is to make it easier to achieve this goal in an efficient way.

Consumer electronics: Screens, screens everywhere

Even though there were only few iPhone sized announcements this year, there was incredible variety to exciting consumer tech products at the show: I tried the latest headphones from Sony and they were absolutely crystal clear. Health and sport’s tech companies added cool new features to wearables and from coffee machines to fridges, every household item got equipped with a screen and the “smart” label.

One of the greatest visual attractions was the installation at the LG stand: A forest of high definition screens that went from the floor to the ceiling and gave a “larger than life” experience. “Digital Wallpaper” is the fitting term for the paper-thin screens.

Weird and wonderful new innovations

One of the greatest things about CES is being surrounded by so many new bits of tech that I never knew existed.

For example, at the booth across from us, ACloud was demonstrating their product: a giant cloud floating above their heads. This celestial body was much more than decoration as it served as a noise dampener. Taking your conversation under the cloud enabled you to limit the potentially damaging effects of background noise of a busy convention centre. It can be installed at any location where background noise is a problem, such as restaurants and cafes, nurseries or offices and create a more relaxed and productive environment for people to concentrate and work.

I also got to try the Tilde earphones by Orosound, which baffled me even more than the ones from Sony. They could turn down the volume of background noise and focus on the voice of the person you were having a conversation with. I think it is safe to say that this could potentially be the future of audio in the workspace!

IBM Watson was showcasing an inspirational project in which it helped people to understand exactly what IBM Watson is capable of.  Interactive case studies featuring doctors, researchers and teachers explaines how it helps them to achieve more on a day to day basis. They also had a cool LED floor that tracked your footsteps like you were walking in puddles.

By far the strangest things I saw at CES was the world’s first “automated laundry organiser”, a bot which was able fold clothes and sort them by colour, and a smart bin that organised your recycling by material. I think I will stick to the manual option for the time being!

Let’s move forward!

Beneath all the tech, CES is about connecting people. The whole experience was amazing and the atmosphere was so positive, especially at Eureka Park. There was no competition over who had the best tech but more as though everyone was interested in helping each other out and showing a mutual respect for technology moving forward.

I think this is a credit to the industry and CES itself for bringing so many players to the table and giving small businesses the platform to show the world what they can do!

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