The last time I went to CES was in 1988 in Chicago when they still held it there. Was I too young to officially get in? Yes. Did I still go? Yes. Was it mind blowing? Yes.

Back then, the most amazing thing was the Karaoke machine which was just being brought onto US shores via companies like Pioneer. There were lines and lines waiting to get into those booths and sing some rock or country song.

But alas, those days are over. I did see one karaoke machine with a lady with a very nice voice singing, but the sound coming out of it seemed as though someone had locked the speaker in a wooden box with a pillow strapped to it. But besides that, enjoy this photo rich look at Day 1 of CES.

The day started off listening to Jen Easterly and George Kurtz talk about cybersecurity and how it relates to consumer electronics, but then how it relates to the Russians. Which.. I get that Russians are an issue but maybe not the most critical issue when talking about booming electronics without security built in from the start (which is one of the things Jen mentioned we need, and I agree!)

Then it was off to the expo floor, which turns out is in 3 different locations in Vegas and in this location, in 3 different buildings. I ended up in the Automotive part first which… was filled with e-bikes?

This was one that I think was made out of Europe somewhere. They were all roped off. To me, when something is roped off it probably means it is a delicate prototype and fragile. I really like seeing things at CES that people can get their hands on and see what it actually does, feels and how it handles 3 days of 10,000 people messing with it.

Moving along, turns out.. Blackberry is still in existence.

They have a vehicle operating system called QNX. At the moment (in the car on the left the Ford Mach-E) it is a kernel that runs different parts of the vehicle – from the infotainment systems, to the actual functioning of the car. On the right is some of their newer tech in the Jeep (black, white and grey). The demo wasn’t working when I stopped by. But they said they are moving to a hypervisor design (which is good). I asked about security updates and patches and most of the integration testing is left to the OEM (in this case Ford). He listed off about 5 different manufacturers – besides Ford – that are in that car in just the electronics part. I get the feeling that some of that testing isn’t being done well.

Moving along there were other sub-vendors in the booth showing off what they can do with car infomatics systems. And just what you thought was going to happen.. is going to happen.

The first is good, predictive maintenance. It is done with data models based on the existing sensors on the vehicle. So for instance, instead of putting a sensor on the brake pad to see when it is wearing out, it measures how often, how hard, and for how long the brakes are used. Then it uses an onboard data model to calculate when the brakes need to be replaced.

The thing I didn’t quite get a warm fuzzy about is, what happens when they are replaced with a non OEM brand that might wear out differently. Or what happens if you switch drivers frequently and you have two totally different braking styles (slow stop, or rush to the line and slam on the brakes). How do the data models fare out? I guess we’ll have to see.

The next stop in this booth was about insurance. You know how you can plug in a little adapter into your OBD port and that data can get sent to your insurance company to get discounts? Well, no longer will you have to have that port, because your car is going to tattle on you automatically.

There was A LOT of products and functionality built around what the driver is doing and even what is happening inside the cabin (air quality, motion, etc.). This was specifically about insurance data. So whether you like it or not, soon will come the day when your insurance will be directly tied to how well (or how bad of) a driver you are.

The next booth I went to was VinFast. This is a Vietnamese automaker of luxury ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles in Vietnam. They are expanding into the US market in a BIG way. They just dropped 999 (a luck number in Vietnam) vehicles at the port in SFO and will be delivering them to pre-orders soon. The booth did NOT disappoint. They had their 6,7,8,9 vehicles there with the 9 being the biggest SUV and the one that I sat into. As you can see, I fit pretty well, and let’s compare it to the other EV SUVs on the market… Oh wait… There aren’t any. I think that if VinFast can get the VF9 into the states quickly they could win a good amount of market share as people (especially me) want an EV SUV.

They also had bikes there, which… I couldn’t really tell why. Yeah, the looked cool, but no pricing or anything. I thought maybe they should take pre-orders for the vehicles at the show, and everyone who puts down a non-refundable deposit gets a bike they can keep, even if they cancel their pre-order reservation.

But wow, just look at that book. They even had a section inside that was all projectors in 180 degrees and on a vehicle so they could put all sorts of art on it. Quite impressive.

The next place I went to was TOGG. They also had a VERY beautiful booth. It was amazing. There were a lot of people standing around a circle in the middle of the booth. I asked one of the TOGG people what was happening and she said, “These gentlemen are about to experience the vehicle”. That’s when I recalled that TOGG is Turkey’s effort to get into the auto market. I think it might even be government sponsored or at least heavily subsidized.

I’m 6’6″ and even I couldn’t see what was happening, so I found (on the right hand side) the technical director who was on site producing a TV show (?) of the entire event. I looked on his screen, and if you look too, you can see in the upper left… It isn’t a car. It’s some kind of really cool looking couch, and then around it was a projected screen. So I think when the lady said they were going to “experience the vehicle” that is what she meant. There were no vehicles, I didn’t even see mockups.

Later on when I went back to the booth, that whole circular area was curtained off so you couldn’t even see into it. Which… I really don’t understand. So… That was TOGG.

If you are going to CES to buy car parts, then you are in luck. You won’t find transmissions (though there were EV power systems there) but things like LIDAR systems, charging systems (everyone seems to have their own charging system) and other parts were there.

Chatting with a gentleman from Waymo, he mentioned that it is hard to evaluate these types of systems without getting them on the bench and looking at their data streams. What is their resolution, view angles and false detection rates. He said they rarely publish that data on the CES floor, so you really need to get this equipment in hand before you can evaluate it. But everyone seemed to have something cool to put on the next self driving car.

This next booth I thought was really cool, and it goes along with the whole car parts thing, and I apologize for this blurry picture, but check this out.

This company has taken the side view mirror, replaced it with a camera on a fin, and moved the display into the vehicle. I thought this was one of the most innovative things I saw at CES (so far) and of course, a blurry picture!

The booth (Gentex) also has other parts and pieces for the vehicle. Mostly around rear view mirrors and other things you’d find on the above your head control planes (like Home link). They even had things for detecting particulate matter inside the vehicle. Click on the images below to see more about that.

I have a close up in that last photo of in cabin sensing and driver monitoring. Consider what I mentioned earlier about insurance companies getting access to this data. Imagine if they could base your policy premiums on how attentive you are when you drive. Interesting!

But don’t think this is only about cars, boats (a few) were there too. Here we see a HUGE electric boat motor, and a really cool cockpit. There wasn’t much else to see here, but that boat looked REALLY nice!

There were some other interesting vendors at CES.

People who just make electronic dashboards. It looked pretty slick. There is also Green Hills which is a competitor to BlackBerry/QNX. They also had IOT vendors like Askey selling different types of wireless and connectivity gear. Every now and then you’d find a car from a manufacturer that you’ve never heard of. This one was from Faraday Future a company started in 2014 that I’ve never heard of. They only had this one vehicle on the floor and it was in someone else’s booth, so I couldn’t really tell what was happening. Last was What 3 Words. I always thought this was a really cool company and concept. My son even used it to do a neighborhood geo-caching contest where he hid things around the neighborhood, and then participants had to solve clues to find the words, and put those 3 words into the app to find the treasure.

The next one caught me by surprise. It was a personal aircraft.

This was from a company called Ryse, and they seem to have a good trajectory to bring this to market. There weren’t a lot of people to ask questions, so I’m still wondering what kind of pilot’s license is required, if there is an altitude limit and if flight plans are recommended and supported by the airspace system.

I wandered back to the VinFast booth to find one of my collegues (as it was an easy booth to find!) and wandered into that 180 projector room I mentioned before. I took 2 photos and a video, check it out, it’s pretty sweet.

John Deere was there with a huge field sprayer showing off their technology to spot weeds and spot treat them. But they also had some construction gear there too, and I think the whole point was that this excavator was electric which was pretty cool.

I found some cool e-bikes. These you could even touch and hop onto, which I thought was great. You could even buy these on their website shipped out of Utah right now. For $2800, it seems like a well priced electric bike, and the people in the booth were really nice and informative. They also had an electric scooter and an electric surf board.

I think this Cyrusher company is one to watch in this market space.

I also found an electric motorcycle. It was more of a sport bike, so I wasn’t too interested as I like the touring bikes, which made me wonder why Harley Davidson wasn’t in the house with their e-bike line, but oh well. Yadea makes 2 electric sports bikes, and also some scooters and e-bikes too.

These next two photos are an effort for people to get into the space of public transportation.

The one on the left is Holon and is a cool mini bus for public type transit.

On the right is some cool design out of Italy. The whole idea is that those 4 “wheel” looking things are a base and that stays on the ground, but then the module can be picked up and moved around. If you’ve seen the warehouse systems that will take a “pod” and move it around vertically and horizontally, and then set it down on a carrier to be moved on a ground plane, that’s the idea. Pretty neat, but it would take a LOT of buy in to get this to a economical solution.

This ended the wandering through the transportation section. Next up was health care.

It seemed to be a lot about customized healthcare (with many different definitions of healthcare) and remote enablement of diagnostics.

Let’s look at this customizable solution.

On the left, you line up to enter in all your information to a cute little “thing”. It asks you all sorts of questions, while being cute. It was a lot of personal health information. It then dispenses a bottle. You take that bottle over to the middle station, and it dispenses a customized set of vitamins and supplements based on the data you’ve entered.

Once you’ve done the circuit, then you go to the third station and get a key chain with another cute character on it.

A couple of things to learn here. One is that the US had REALLY missed the mark on using cute characters to get people to do stuff they might not normally do. The US seems to really use basic types of user interaction, when maybe to get people over some of their issues we need some cute little prompts and animals.

Second is the fact that this is highly customized, and is only one of many groups that are doing this. Some are even making liquid “cocktails” of different nutrients for you to ingest to make yourself better. It’s certainly a market to watch!

The next product is MedWand and is one of many products whose goal is to help clinicians do remote diagnostics. This could be anything from someone on an oil platform unable to “see” a doctor in person quickly, or sending someone home from the hospital after heart surgery and needing to be monitored for any anomalies. This device had a camera with lights, an ECG, pulse, stethoscope and other sensors that can be transmitted back to the healthcare professional. It is a light handheld device that connects to a tablet to interpret and send back the data. Seems pretty neat, and one of many in the product space.

There was also a product to help do at home eye exams. Now I have seen an optometrist religiously every year since I was about 5 because I have pretty bad vision. So I’m always amazed when I hear of people that don’t go at all. This group has made a couple of devices and a web app to help measure the patient’s eyes. It can do distance (for glasses fitting) and evaluate reading glasses (if needed) and a few other features. This will be great especially in places where you can’t bring an entire optometrists office.

I also really like their name EyeQue – I mean, that’s really creative!

Now we get to something that even surprised me, but it makes sense. At home urine testing. There were two companies there doing this Vivoo an Withings. I didn’t see anyone that did poop testing, but I don’t really know how that could be done safely. But this appears to also be a next generation of checking yourself out to see if you have everything you need.

Think about it though, integrate this with the cute little animals asking about how you are feeling, and we start moving into the Jetsons where we get little pills dispensed to us to balance out whatever might be happening in our own personal biosphere.

There were at least 3 vendors who were selling over the counter (OTC) hearing aides. That was cool to see as someone who will probably need one at one point, and has helped others obtain them. They are crazy expensive, and probably don’t need to be. They actually just look like earbuds.

There is also robots there to help you with rehab, which I thought was pretty darn cool.

Imagine doing this in your own home, or in a nursing home, where you can’t get the patient easily moved to a rehab center.

There was brain health stuff too. Many people looking to help the brain either through Deep Brain Stimulation or to help identify and deal with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

This company had an app to diagnose and help rehabilitate people with TBI

They also had remote dentistry. I saw one of the first DaVinci surgeries when I worked at iNova Fairfax hospital, so it is cool to see some of these other medical sectors get robotics too.

Open the photo big and look on the bottom right… Those are fake teeth

There is some tech that might not be ready for prime time, but it is cool to see. This one was a blood pressure monitor you could wear all the time. I sat down and put one on, but was quickly redirected as I had to measure my wrist first. I got measured, then band was adjusted, and then it was placed on my wrist. I held my wrist at my heart level and got a reading that… well… I don’t think I’d be alive if it was correct. They then did it again, and it was a bit better, but the guy came over with a Omron cuff. It actually seemed as though there was worry in his eyes.

My colleague who was with me tried it as well. Her BP reading was also WAY high. She knew she had some high BP issues, but she said that if it was that high, she’d be able to feel it. A second reading was more in line, but she still said it was high. I do hope these VERY smart people figure out the tech as I think it would be really helpful to a lot of people.

That ended the healthcare section, so then I went into the part that seemed more familiar to my old days of CES, the home stuff. Walking in first was LG. WOW. These people win the booth award. It was pretty amazing.

This whole thing was animated, and it was GORGEOUS. Whomever thought this up got it right.

Walking in were 4 beautiful 4K displays “bouncing” up and down showing LG’s wireless 4K frameless displays. If you were about to bust open your wall to run an HDMI cable… No need, just wait for one of these to show up at a big box store and get 4K on your wall with just a power cable.

One of the amazing things to see there was this roll-up TV that LG made. It was flat, clear and amazing. Check out this video

There was no sacrifice on image quality either

Exiting that brought us into the gaming section. It had the stuff you’d expect. Nothing was too wild so I’ll summarize quickly. Atari was there showing some of their older video games just in different form factors for playing. It didn’t seem like anything new was there. Pinball was big, glad to see that making a comeback

There were a few groups selling PC parts. Look at that MASSIVE CPU cooler. They also had keyboards. They were looking for a vendor in the US to wholesale them. That clearly wasn’t me. On the bottom center is one of the FEW cases for VR I think is really worthwhile and that is training someone in complex and physical type systems. This happened to be a helicopter training simulator. Looked REALLY cool, and even portable. Then on the bottom right was a haptic feedback vendor. They had gloves and a chest plate. Getting closer to “Ready Player One” everyday!

This one caught me by surprise. Walking into another section there was TDK (you remember the cassette tapes) and RCA. RCA!!! They even had stuffed Nipper and Chipper there!

I was surprised to see the bikes, which they said were just a prototype and they were seeing what kind of interest there was in the market. But they had plenty of other products from laptops, to projectors, to radios, to home appliances. I think if I went to look at RCA’s website, I’d be quite surprised – especially if it matched what I saw at CES. Hopefully they can make a comeback.

Check out Bosch above! Turns out they make a LOT of EV car parts, as well as things like home appliances. Seems like this group is pretty busy. Many booths that I went to (especially the EVs) mentioned at least one Bosch part. Good for them!

Next up was the Samsung booth. It was massive, but not as impressive as LG. They were limiting the number of people in and out, so that at least allowed for better flow. LG was pretty cramped.

You wandered through all of their different products, but I found somethings lacking. They were talking about their new watch and it’s health aspects, but no one there could answer why the heart monitoring features weren’t available in the US, but only in Europe (a fact my son told me about). I was referred to PR. They also didn’t have ANY of the “S-Line” of phones. They are going to be releasing (according to rumor, the internet, and again.. my son) the new S23 in a month or so, what an interesting thing to at least have one behind some glass or something. But I guess now is not the time to announce a new phone? They said they will do it at their own event to go along with Mobile World Congress.

So yeah, Samsung has some products, they were pretty cool. They were really pushing their SmartThings offering. Which I think is still mostly cloud based (so if the internet goes down, you can’t control your stuff). They had a LOT of SmartThings stuff out there. Cool for the SmartThings guys, I met them at a Hack-a-thon event in DC right before they got acquired. Seems to have worked out well for all!

I thought their watch display was pretty cool. They even have an Android there now since their new Watch 5 has adopted the Android / Wear OS instead of the previous Tizen.

After spending the entire day on the floor, it was time to go to the BCG suite and meet up with other BCG’ers and invited clients. I got to talk to some REALLY great people (as usual). from Waymo, from investment bankers… Just really smart people on top of their game. I always learn so much, so I’m always thankful to BCG and our clients for their expertise and willingness to share the knowledge.

I collect views out of windows, and this one was pretty good.

Going home, I also thought of elf….

Oh, I forgot to give you a hug.

I’m headed to a totally DIFFERENT part of the conference for Day 2. So I’ll be back with more… right after this!

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