The latest tech trends, an Intel Innovation keynote, a candid conversation with the Department of Homeland Security and a robotics demo kicked off programming at Innovate Celebrate, an event bringing together the biggest names in tech with some of the most promising startups. Co hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and TechCo, Innovate Celebrate runs through today at the InterContinental in San Francisco, CA.
General sessions opened Tuesday morning with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, and Frank Gruber, co-founder and CEO, TechCo, discussing the power of bringing together large companies and innovative startups to discuss, partner and learn. The event will focus heavily on technology that empowers people and democratizes access to information and services. “Tech is about innovation,” said Shapiro. “Innovation fuels the economy and improves the human condition.” Gruber added, “With this event we are meshing large and small – big brand or emerging entrepreneur, right now innovation means investing in making the future brighter with technology.”
Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager, New Technology Group, Intel Corporation, addressed Intel’s current initiatives with startups and data in the digital age, comparing data today to oil during the industrial revolution. “Right now, data is the single most valuable resource critical to the digital revolution and the future of our economy,” said Walden. He touched on the importance of data analysis to solve problems, identify issues, improve processes and reduce costs, and used Intel’s heavy involvement in the drone and startup spaces as case studies for data capture and analysis in developing full end-to-end solutions.
Data drives DHS as well. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Technology Officer Michael Hermus highlighted several technologies critical to DHS’s success: sensors, biometrics, image recognition software, wearables and advanced analytics. “We have a very diverse mission portfolio. It ranges from law enforcement, to disaster recovery, national security and counter-terrorism,” Hermus said. “Each one of those missions relies critically on information technology.” Hermus said DHS is constantly scouting new technologies, by working with venture firms and attending events such as Innovate Celebrate. Hermus encouraged startups to find avenues to engage with DHS and share their technologies and innovations. “We do a lot of volume – we’re big. If you have a product or solution that works for us, that’s going to be a big revenue stream for you.”
A conversation on company turnaround with GoPro COO CJ Prober was led by Amy Jo Martin, author and podcast host, and focused on GoPro’s return to profitability after struggling since going public in 2014. Prober’s advice to those in the room, “Develop specific goals and actions needed to achieve those goals, then measure yourself and your company’s progress constantly. Make progress and measurement visible.”
CTA released its 5 Technology Trends to Watch report today with the future of work and 5G/smart cities topping the list. Jeff Joseph, senior vice president, communications and strategic partnerships, CTA, explained that 52 percent of industry leaders said most or some job functions will be automated in the next five years. “As tech advances, factory workers won’t be in charge of the more repetitive, simplistic tasks when a machine can do it twice as fast,” said Joseph. “5G is a game changer and will pave the way for new technologies and services in many industries.”
Justin Fishkin, COO, Local Motors, took the mainstage to describe the company’s two-pronged business model, known as Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM). The two-prongs include global co-creation and local microfactories that keep production high and prices low. Fishkin explained how the company takes only six months to bring an idea to market, compared to the industry average of seven years. “Local upgradability is a huge component of what we do,” said Fishkin. “We are empowering local creativity and creating jobs in the process.”
Holly Liu, co-founder and chief of staff, Kabam, spoke Tuesday afternoon on the three phases of a company from inception. She focused on startups and explained how lack of attention for most startups could prove beneficial, and give entrepreneurs the freedom to have no limits and take more risks compared to established companies. Liu described her three phases as a Founding Phase, Growth Phase and Scale Phase.
Kara McGuire runs the consumer strategist team for Gartner and is also the mom of three GenWe kids – those born after 1996. Her presentation followed CTA’s announcement that Gen Z and Tech was selected as Five Techs’ fifth topic. She said, diversity, technology and society have shaped the 86 million GenWe kids. “They are the most technologically literate generation yet,” McGuire said. “These technados check social media 100 times a day and juggling multiple screens is just part of daily life.” She gave a sneak peek at Gartner’s new research that finds the top five traits of GenWe include: kindness, self-confidence, common sense, hard work and self-control. She added, “The idea of a shared experience and the power of being connected to each other is very important to them.”
The day’s programming ended with exciting robotic demos from Soft Robotics and Mayfield Robotics. Sub Datta, chief business officer, Soft Robotics, showcased its Soft Robotics System, demoing the robot’s soft robotic grippers, control system and software that can manipulate and identify items of varying size, shape and weight. Then Kaijen Hsiao, co-founder, Mayfield Robotics, introduced Kuri, a personal home robot. Hsiao explained how Kuri is designed with personality, awareness, and mobility that adds a spark of life to any home.
The day ended with the TechCo’s Startup of the Year celebration. Semifinalists showcases diverse innovations and captivated several hundred attendees. The top 5 finalists will be announced today and the Startup of the Year winner will be announced this afternoon on the Innovate Celebrate main stage.
Innovate Celebrate programming concludes today, with sessions covering holiday trends and sport technology, as well as the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) finalists, the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards and TechCo’s Startup of the Year announcement. Full event information and session details can be found at CTA.tech.
About Consumer Technology Association:
Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade association representing the $321 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry services.