Consumer Electronics Show - Day 1
My journey at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show began in a little suite at the Venetian surrounded by light bulb technology. I am lucky enough to know two prominent members of the media that attend CES each year: my uncle, David Isaac, who writes for Techwalla, and our good family friend, Scott Tharler, who writes for Techwalla and Maxim (et alia). Because of these connections, my experience at CES has been a whirlwind of luck, guidance, and excitement. I am also thankful for my father, Raphael Isaac, the filmmaker/CEO of South Mountain Films and my adventure buddy, who walked around all day with me as we ventured from booth to booth in Tech West and Eureka Park.
Back to the bulbs. Did you know that blue light inhibits proper sleep cycles? It’s an old discovery, dating back to before I was born, but even the 20+ years of research proving the ill effects of blue light have yet to truly impact smart home technology. The company whose intimate presentation I attended is called Soraa, and its lightbulbs already power businesses across the globe. However, as Soraa soars (sorry, I had to do it) to the consumption level of individual homeowners, their technology becomes intrinsically personal, to the point where the lightbulb and its detectors can sense which family member is in the room and adjusts itself to provide more or less blue light based on that person’s sleep patterns. Your child’s bedroom will be lit differently than yours at their bedtime/your wine and Netflix hours. What I really loved about this presentation and this company was how many problems were eradicated by something as simple as a light bulb: sleep issues, electricity consumption (⅕ of standard bulbs), longevity (20 years), etc.
Next, my dad and I split from the rest of our little party and wandered into a huge convention floor and straight to the Fitbit booth. I think the appeal here was the sheer size of the massive space. There were easily ten thousand people milling about inside the same four walls. The Fitbit booth was pretty, but the tech just seemed to be shinier than what they’ve had in the past - literally shinier, as they now have wearables designed by Tory Burch and Vera Wang - but nonetheless I love the company and am proud to say that after 12 hours of walking, I finished up the day with 22,961 steps on my tracker.
We spent a fair chunk of the day in Eureka Park, the international startup section of CES that is crammed with tech from all around the world. It felt like more than half of the companies were French, a lovely trait for me, a starving French major with a thirst for linguistic companionship. Unfortunately, my zeal for français may have hurt me in the end, as the presentations were quite technological and my vocabulary does not include the words to describe carburetors. Of the French companies that I spoke to and understood, one of the coolest was D-Vine, a contraption that’s basically a Nespresso for wine lovers. You pop in a test tube of wine (available in French department stores and online) and the machine creates a perfect temperature and decantation in one minute. It’s quite beautiful, and if you don’t know what kind of wine to have that night, it will recommend a wine based on what you’re eating. It even remembers who you are, so next time you have someone over you can find them in the system and see what wine they’ve tried and how they rated it.
After a few minutes sitting on the floor and mourning the loss of our beautiful heels to the unforgiving floors of the Venetian, we headed to a private showing of a new Bang & Olufsen Play (B&O Play) speaker, Beoplay M5. The presentation was quite impressive, and the speakers talked about the magical quality of listening to and sharing music. I wanted to snap along to their points the whole time, but it was a fancy press event and not a poetry reading so I chose to refrain. The speaker is quite small, covered in fabric that is interchangeable to match with indoor decor. Our room had two of them playing during the presentation, but the speaker could have easily filled the entire hall on its own if turned up loud enough. B&O’s innovation with this speaker is the True360 sound, and its crafted aluminum top has smooth tactile interaction that adjusts volume and can play/pause the music, which is streamed through the B&O Play app alongside whichever platform you feel most accustomed to, whether it be Spotify, Apple Music, or another. I thought that this presentation was most tailored to what I was looking for in my CES experience as a member of KAMP: innovation in audio.
Finally, I saw Nick Offerman speak at the TechCrunch area about American Greetings, a greeting card company that takes us back to our need for human connectivity and encourages us to interact lovingly and tangibly instead of relying on technology to do our interactions for us. His speech felt a bit ironic (at the world's largest hub of tech), but he offered anecdotes that only he could deliver with that perfect amount of Nick O cynicism and sarcasm. I am a huge fan of Nick Offerman, and at the end I told him I enjoyed his Full Bush comedy show in Tucson. Afterwards, he shook my hand. I’m still not quite over it.
That was only the first day. Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing this journey and my Fitbit will applaud me for having once again superseded my 10,000 step-a-day goal.
Until tomorrow, everyone.