Local companies make a splash at CES

Courtney
Courtney Symons
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Bright lights, shiny new tech toys and near-naked girls: The Consumer Electronics Show in a nutshell.

The Bentley Continental GT convertible concept car that QNX Software Systems loaded with technology for CES 2013.

Bob Huggins, an entrepreneur-in-residence at local economic development agency Invest Ottawa, flew down to Las Vegas, Nev. to check out the annual spectacle showcasing the latest consumer technology. 

Mr. Huggins made his way through the packed showrooms – crammed with 150,000 attendees – to check in on some local companies.

QNX Software Systems showed off a Bentley Continental GT convertible concept car in which it integrated its latest machine-to-machine technology including a curved touchscreen surface in the centre console, voice recognition technology, smartphone integration and video conferencing.

It’s the same type of showcase that got the company recognized with a best in show award from CES 2012 with a technology-loaded Porsche 911 Carrera.

Local software firm YOUi Labs showed off its smart TV operating system called FLIP from its spot within the Texas Instruments booth. Live demonstrations showed customers the natural user interface displays that combine content, television and mobile technology.

iWatchLife, a local tech startup, used the show as an opportunity to announce that its video surveillance technology will be used in Samsung’s SmartCam Wi-Fi IP camera, a cloud-based video monitoring service.

Cellphone chip-maker Qualcomm Inc, which has a presence in Kanata, introduced its chips that will allow smartphones to record video in ultra high definition.

Mr. Huggins, who attended the conference as a delegate of Invest Ottawa and has been blogging about his experience, also had his eyes on the smart TV booths and new camera technology. Everything is bigger, lighter and thinner with more storage, he said in an interview with OBJ.

While CES is a great opportunity to get noticed, not just anyone should take out a booth, Mr. Huggins said.

“You can’t be conceptual to be down here,” he said. “The product has to be ready to ship. A third of the audience are buyers who are asking questions like, ‘How many of these can I fit in a shipping container?’”

For those local companies that have something market-ready to show off, however, CES is pure gold.

“The reality now is, once you hang your shingle out, you’re a global company,” he said. “It’s only natural that you have to acquire customers outside of your city.”

The most conspicuous absence from the show was Microsoft, which didn’t make an appearance to promote its latest operating system and hardware.

It’s easy to get starstruck by the newest gadgets, Mr. Huggins said, but the technology showcased is evolutionary – not revolutionary.

“I don’t see a way for me to beam myself home from here yet,” he said.

Instead, Mr. Huggins will fly home Thursday evening, as the show comes to a close on Friday.

Organizations: QNX Software Systems, Texas Instruments, Samsung Qualcomm Inc Microsoft

Geographic location: Ottawa, Las Vegas, Nev., Kanata

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  • Bob Huggins
    January 11, 2013 - 14:51

    Thank you for the article Courtney. Just to get your facts correct, my attendance at CES was paid for out of my personal pocket. I'm not a civil servant,, nor am I an employee of at any government level. I am a Canadian entrepreneur, who had the good fortune to sell my business to Google. I work with 12 other Entrepreneurs at the Innovation space of Invest Ottawa and many others in supporting roles. Our collective group has over 700 million dollars in private company exits from selling our businesses. We proudly give back to our city and community as we want Ottawa and Eastern Ontario to continue to prosper and lead innovation in this country. Comments such as the one you received from 'ANONYTRON', are at best inaccurate and at worst, not helpful in moving our start up community forward, leaving me feel this person has never played the "game" at any level. - Bob Huggins

  • anonytron
    January 10, 2013 - 17:12

    Why is Invest Ottawa in this story again? Why are tax payers funding Mr. Huggins' trip to CES? Why is half of this article Mr. Huggins' spewing his wisdom, when he has brought nothing to the game? Why does OBJ insist on branding every good-news high tech story with Invest Ottawa, or OCRI in the past? Holding Invest Ottawa up as the official