CES is cool again! What was once a giant display convention has now returned to showcasing the full spectrum of near future hardware – plus some incredibly cool new displays out there with 4k, curves and native 3D.
The three big themes to rise to the top: Robots, Wearable Tech and 3D Printing. We, of course, love this because these are three things we know a lot about, given our roots at iRobot and our longstanding relationships with Pebble, MakerBot and others who are disrupting these categories.
3D printing is no longer an inaccessible new technology; in 2013 it went mainstream. It feels like yesterday that we started working with MakerBot when they were a handful of passionate visionaries with a dream and a BotCave in Brooklyn. We are in awe of how fast they have scaled over the last couple of years to be the belle of the ball with an incredible showcase of their technology. Pebble was once again a star at CES with the announcement of Pebble Steel. It’s easy to forget that less than 18 months ago they were a bootstrapping team tasked with delivering 85,000 watches to their backers.
It’s been extremely gratifying to work with these teams as they continue to grow and thrive, paving the road for more established companies attempting to catch up to them – a scenario that wasn’t even imaginable a couple of years ago.
There was a growing trend of hardware manufacturing in smaller unit sizes with fast turnarounds and higher device complexity. These are the kinds of clients we love to work with: innovative new companies with big ideas that we can help grow and scale.
Sifteo, Romotive, Orbotix: it was a who’s who of the hardware community, and an opportunity to hang out with clients whom we have worked with for many years. At times, CES 2014 felt more like a Dragon family reunion than an electronics tradeshow!
I also enjoyed watching our newest clients who are on the cusp of something great – Coin, Rest Devices (partnering withIntel), Atlas Wearables (Hardware Battlefield finalists) – and had fun envisioning where they will be a year from now. History tends to repeat itself so I’m guessing their future is very bright.
When I started Dragon Innovation in 2009, it was with a very simple mission: Help entrepreneurs succeed. Five years later, that principle continues to guide everything we do and it was an incredible experience to see this mission really come to fruition at CES. Can’t wait to see what happens in 2014!