CES 2015 Attracts AREA Members and Their Customers
Few trade shows and exhibitions compete with the annual Consumer Electronics Show in sheer magnitude. Over 170,000 people, including representatives of six AREA member companies, gathered between January 6 and 9, 2015, to see and touch the latest real (as well as imaginary) high-technology products first hand.
While CES is large in size, the prepared visitor can find and focus on the latest in specific segments. For example wearable technology, fitness, optics, cameras, robotics and automotive gadgets. For AREA members, the primary reason to attend CES is to try on — and, for Augmented Reality providers, to help potential customers to explore — options across the entire gamut of optical see-through hands-free displays for Augmented Reality before ordering prototypes and developer kits.
The growth of the optical see-through hands-free display product category was very rapid in 2014. As a customer, gathering information about products from web pages, brochures and media reports is insufficient. Research must include actually trying on hardware and speaking with product team members. If you’re not the largest automotive or airplane company in the world, these devices and teams do not come to your facilities.
After actually donning more than one optical see-through display it becomes clear that there’s a huge spectrum of experiences possible. Even one model of hardware can “feel” very different and support different use cases. Going from one station to the next in a pavilion such as those organized by Sony and Epson, and using the same device running different software offers a glimpse into the possible range.
Providing this hands-on experience to a wide variety of potential customers in a single place is what makes it important for software developers targeting these platforms and devices to participate and attend CES as well.
AREA members APX Labs and NGRAIN demonstrated in partner booths. Other companies manning stations nearby included Scope, XOEye Technologies and Metaio. Elsewhere at CES, ODG, Optinvent, Atheer Labs, Seebright, InfinityAR, FOVE, and Vuzix demonstrated optical and video see-through AR displays in their own dedicated stands. DAQRI and Technical Illusions, maker of CastAR, hosted guests and conducted demonstrations of their pre-release hardware and software in private suites.
For other CES visitors (including those who are considering or already embarking on integration of their own hardware-based solutions) meeting with providers of enabling technologies such as chip sets, power storage and transmission components, sensors and sensor hubs can help define the spectrum of choices before making recommendations or purchasing decisions.
For EPRI, an AREA member attending CES 2015, the challenge was to identify possible wearable computing platforms for field agents. Some field agents will be able to use wrist bands. Others may find efficiencies with 3D scanners and 3D printers.
There was no shortage of booths to visits and companies offering new technology to discover in domains adjacent to Augmented Reality at CES 2015.
Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps. After CES exhibition hours, business continues as people gather in the streets and in all the popular entertainment venues. The AREA hosted a reception of members and companies focusing on enterprise Augmented Reality in the Marriott Las Vegas, a short distance from the Las Vegas Convention Center.
All the AREA members at CES had representatives on hand to meet and greet guests including executives and engineers from OPTIS, SAP, Bosch, SmartReality, ZigBee Alliance, Vuzix and Epson. The first AREA case studies were shared with visitors as were AREA plans for growth.
As this organization grows it’s not difficult to imagine having a greater presence at CES and a large group of companies participating in a CES enterprise AR mixer in the future.