A little innovation goes a long way! Three Montréal companies at CES 2017

The 2017 edition of the world-renowned Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—an international trade show focusing on technological innovation in the field of consumer electronics —was held in Las Vegas in early January. A delegation of some fifteen Québec companies was able to attend during a trade mission organized by the Chamber’s Acclr team of international trade experts. New technologies, opportunities for B2B meetings, exploratory steps… Three business leaders—Damien Lefebvre, Co-President of Valtech; Chris Houle, President and Co-Founder of Phazon; and Jean Manassé Theagene, President of 360Medlink—shared their thoughts on their experience with us.

You go to CES to…

1. Increase B2B opportunities

Phazon’s wireless, waterproof, Bluetooth earbuds have been getting a lot of buzz lately[1]. The final prototype of this innovative technological device took its latest victory lap during a presentation at CES 2017. “The goal of the trade mission was to meet with a maximum number of distributors and retailers,” explained company president Chris Houle. Indeed, the firm scheduled over 80 meetings with interested parties from around the world, even though Canada represents around 20-25% of Phazon’s clientele.

For Jean Manassé Theagene, President of 360Medlink, a company that produces digital solutions and applications dedicated to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, there were business opportunities all around: “Networking activities, targeted meetings, visiting stands, and—in less conventional ways—by sharing taxis, engaging in discussions…” stated Mr. Theagene. “At this type of trade fair, you need to stay alert, as opportunities can arise from improbable exchanges,” he added

2. Take exploratory steps

Yet, 360Medlink is not a regular CES attendee. This was, in fact, the first time the company took part. “Innovation related to healthcare technology is a recent thing at CES, as it has only been part of the show for the past five years,” explained Mr. Theagene before going on to say, “We were therefore taking part in an exploratory process; our goal was to gauge the relevance of attending CES as an exhibitor.” The verdict? 360Medlink will most certainly have a stand at the show next year.

3. Enrich your product catalogue

For Valtech Canada, an agency specializing in the design and development of digital and connected experiences, CES is a not-to-be-missed event. “Every year, our team goes to the show to seek out new technologies that we can then offer our clients,” explained Valtech co-president Damien Lefebvre.

Techno takeaways…

1. The explosion of virtual reality

Chris Houle (Phazon) noted how this technology has grown in importance since last year, and, according to Jean Manassé Theagene (360Medlink), it now extends to the healthcare field.

2. Artificial intelligence and the rise of vocal recognition

One of the most notable technologies for Damien Lefebvre (Valtech) is Alexa, Amazon’s voice interaction tool, which can be integrated into all manner of devices (refrigerators, coffee makers, cars…).

3. BMW’s holographic dashboard

This technology—called “HoloActive Touch”—uses a virtual touchscreen that displays a car’s audio and navigation commands. The driver accesses these functions via a gestural recognition program.

The presence of Canadian and Québec companies at CES bears witness to the innovative nature of our entrepreneurs. For Chris Houle, this is a trend that is bound to grow stronger, notably due to government support in this area.

More to read: CES 2017 – Lessons Learned, by Louis-Pierre Gravelle (ROBIC)

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