CES: a eureka moment

At this year’s CES, trade association techUK secured support from the Government’s Department for International Trade (DiT) to run a UK Pavilion within the Eureka Park start-up arena. It worked with 12 innovative UK companies, including Ruark Audio, to showcase the best of British at CES. Paul Hide, techUK’s director of market engagement and membership, reports on how the show is evolving to embrace much more than just consumer tech

It was an eventful, exhausting, chaotic and productive week in Las Vegas.

Obstacles were put in our path that we might not have expected. Tuesday (January 9) saw the wettest ever January day in the city. Crossing the street could be likened to riding the rapids of the Grand Canyon.

All that water had to go somewhere, that somewhere being through the ceilings of the main halls [in the Las Vegas Convention Center], the rooms of the suites in the MGM and the doors of Eureka Park. I’m not sure that Samsung and Sony had imagined a collection of buckets across their multimillion-dollar stands as part of the original design specifications.

Greater challenges occurred when the water found its way into the main electricity supply, plunging the main halls into darkness for over two hours on the Wednesday, impacting on the likes of LG, Intel, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and hundreds of other exhibitors.

But through adversity, business flourished. The techUK Pavilion was a destination point for thousands of international buyers, distributors, financiers and media partners.

All 12 of our supported UK companies collectively secured order opportunities of many millions of pounds, far above their expectations, and many excellent global connections, which can lead to new business opportunities after the show.

I spoke to many of the other UK companies in Eureka Park and the Connected Home halls and they too were incredibly positive about the value they gained from attending this international trade fair. The location may be the USA, but the audience is most certainly global.

I’ve been attending this show on and off for the past 20 years. It has evolved massively over time and is no longer the preserve of consumer electronics alone. The motor industry now has a massive presence here, as does the health tech sector.

‘Tuesday saw the wettest ever January day in Las Vegas. Crossing the street could be likened to riding the rapids of the Grand Canyon’ 

Many of the 4,000 exhibitors were focused on B2B tech solutions spanning hardware, software and services. The media headlines may be led by the major brand players in consumer-focused tech, but when you get onto the show floor, your eyes are opened to the breadth and spread of companies from across the globe doing B2B, B2C and B2G (business to government) business.

This was the first year that techUK partnered with the UK Department of International Trade to run a UK Pavilion at CES, giving exposure to some superb examples of the quality of the tech start-up entrepreneurs and their innovative products and services that the UK can offer.

It proved an unequivocal success. UK Government branding resulted in the Pavilion being a destination point for media and business people to seek out UK companies at the show.

We were packed out with visitors talking real business opportunities every hour that the show was open. Our start-up partners went home exhausted, but excited, about the orders and opportunities secured over the four days.

We proved how successful a coordinated approach at CES could be and we saw how this show provides opportunities for many sectors of the tech industry, home, health, mobile, transportation, energy, data and automation to name just a few.

TechUK will be working with DiT to start the planning process for 2019. We want to build on the success of this year and support more techUK members and start-ups to use CES 2019 to grow their businesses.

CES 2019 will take place from January 8-11. Put it in your diary. Viva Las Vegas!

The Brits at CES

Ruark Audio at CES
Ruark Audio at CES

TechUK supported 12 start-up companies/ brands from the UK at CES this year. They were:

  • BinaryBots – a manufacturer of smart, educational toys;
  • Bluelight – a research and development company in the paperless (digital) transaction sector;
  • Doppel – a wristband that creates a heartbeat-like motion and is used to reduce stress;
  • Kino-mo – a provider of hi-tech visual displays for businesses;
  • Mous/Barisieur – a ‘virtually indestructible’ iPhone case and a tea/coffee brewing alarm clock;
  • Planet Computers – a mobile computing business;
  • Quick Energy Technologies – recyclable battery packs for mobile phones and other gadgets;
  • RiVR – a Virtual Reality training company;
  • Ruark Audio – DAB radio and speaker brand;
  • Speechmatics – Real-time speech recognition technology;
  • Studio19 – a speaker design and engineering company;
  • VR Electronics – smart clothing company which has developed the Teslasuit – a full body, haptic feedback, motion capture, thermo-controlled suit.