Summary from CES, 6-9 January

CES is an annual consumer electronics convention, taking place in Las Vegas.

150,000 people attended this year’s event, making it the world’s largest show for people with a fascination for gadgets. Amongst this year’s key trends were wearables, especially an abundance of fitness bands – often hard to tell apart. Further trends included 3D printers, smart homes, drones, and virtual reality.

As representatives for Nordic Innovation House, Arne Tonning and I were aiming to gather the Nordic community and offer support to Nordic start-ups attending the show. Half way into the conference, we arranged a social event for Nordic start-ups and investors, enabling some much needed R&R for the hard working attendees. This event proved very successful and will hopefully generate new leads and opportunities for the ones who were present. 

Three start-ups from Nordic Innovation House’s community launched at CES’s start-up pavilion, Eureka Park. Finnish start-up Haltian displayed their new device, Thingsee One, an open source developer device designed for Internet of Things innovations. It is ready to be used out of the box, comes with a mobile application and has numerous applications. Also from Finland, V1bes offers a triple bio-signal sensor - all in one ring. By measuring the electrical signals from brainwaves, heart rate and electromagnetic field-absorption, you receive a more complete understanding of what causes your stress.

Activetainment officially launched their product with great success. In fact, we were not able to interview the Norwegian start-up because they were constantly busy demoing their concept to tech-savvy people craving new gadgets. We therefore conducted a Skype interview after the conference. We have pasted the transcript below. 

Hi Jan, it was fun meeting you guys at CES. We barely got to talk to you though, you were constantly busy demoing your product. Tell us what you guys do.

Activetainment is an innovative technology company that wants to make indoor exercise as fun and energetic as the outdoors.  Our first product, ebove, is a unique training concept that combines exercise and gaming. We think it is the most engaging, entertaining and realistic exercise experience in the world. This allows for a more fun, more effective and more rewarding training session.

What were your goals of attending the convention?

The goal of attending CES was to officially launch our concept to the public, receiving feedback from enthusiasts, and scout for potential partners. By launching at CES we were able to demo ebove to a large number of relevant industry players.

How was it?

We outperformed our expectations and received a lot of positive feedback. We truly believe in our concept, but the response we got confirmed our belief and showed that we are very close to product/market fit.  There was a constant line of people wanting to try the bike, and when we even had to keep going after closing hours because all the other exhibitors wanted to test it as well, we knew we were a hit.  We released a video of the ebove bike which received over 200 000 views in five days, we were interviewed by Engadget and Techcrunch, and established contact with potential partners all over the world. To summarise, Yes! We definitely achieved our goals – and then some.

That’s really cool! What are your key takeaways after, what sounds like, a busy week?

Considering this was our first time attending a convention like CES, we learned a lot. You really need to focus on media coverage and prepare a press kit. Second, we learned a lot just by talking to people who saw our product for the first time by interpreting and understanding their feedback. We signed up late and had very little time, so I would recommend anyone attending to prepare well ahead of time.  Lastly, be happy and show enthusiasm for your product! 

That is some very useful advice indeed. So were do you go from here?

Now we need to follow up our leads, keep the momentum going, and develop partnerships. We are opening for pre-orders in 2015 and will keep spreading the word that fitness is about to become fun! Hopefully we’ll be back next year, bigger and stronger.