In Las Vegas, Switzerland presented a united approach to promoting Swiss innovation abroad under the umbrella Swiss Made Deep Tech. 5 Swiss organizations joined forces, Presence Switzerland, Switzerland Global Entreprise, innosuisse, swissnex and digitalswitzerland to showcase 30 Swiss start-ups at the CES, the world’s largest consumer electronic show. With 4’500 exhibitors and over 1’200 start-ups attending, this is THE event you need to be at if you work in consumer electronics.
30 SwissTech start-ups conquering Las Vegas
With over 180’000 visitors to the CES, this was a unique opportunity for these 30 SwissTech start-ups to showcase their innovation with activities drawing crowds to the Swiss Pavillion for drone demonstrations, VR flying and a start-up pitch competition. Uniqfeed took home the prize from the pitch competition with their virtual advertising technology that targets specific countries with different brands and content. The runner up creal3d showcased a state-of-the art technology that creates images with real optical depth, allowing your eyes to naturally focus between virtual objects at different distances. Altoida, the finalist in the life science category, provides healthcare professionals objective measurements of cognitive performance, and is indicated for use as an adjunctive tool to aid in evaluating perceptual and memory functions in patients over 50. The finalist in IT tech, foldaway haptics pitched a product that enhances virtual and augmented reality with a portable and low-cost touch joystick for professional and consumer users who want to “feel” VR objects by providing a realistic touch feedback instead of simple vibrations.
3 out of the 22 innovative technology start-ups to watch at the CES mentioned by Forbes were Swiss or Swiss-based start-ups. Padrone‘s digital ring replaces the computer mouse, pigzbe educates children of age 6+ on modern money management and bitlumens builds a decentralized blockchain-based micro power-grid for 1.2 billion people without access to electricity and banking.
You can find information on all 30 SwissTech start-ups present at the Swiss Pavilion at the CES here.
Trends at the CES 2019
The main trend at the CES was definitely autonomous solutions. If you were lucky you could ride an autonomous lyft-taxi or see how Continental works with the ETH spin-off anybotics on robot package-delivery. 5G is definitely an ongoing topic in the mobile world and artificial intelligence is integrating every industry from drones to sport tech. The growth in home automation and the adaption of voice assistants were fascinating as well as the digital solutions in health and sport.
Voice assistants and home automation – the race is over before it even started
The two main voice assistants omnipresent at CES were Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. The race for the next big voice platform seems already in its final phase, whereas Switzerland and Europe are still just warming up. It is interesting to see the speed and openness with which the two platforms are binding developers, start-ups and established companies to their solutions. Ford implemented Alexa to “voicestart” its engines. The smart glasses company North works with Alexa and Uber on voice controlled holographic glasses and various home automation solutions that let you talk to your smart mirror or your intelligent toilet seat. Everything connects and automates.
Health and sport tech – making everything digital and smart
Tracking and hacking everything – from your boxing movements to your vital parameters. The number of start-ups working in this area is overwhelming. From the Swiss start-up xsensio that tracks your biochemical information at the surface of your skin to provide you with real-time health and wellness information for the tracking system of tomorrow to botboxer and snowcookie who turn you into the next Rocky Balboa or Beat Feuz. Digital health is a big trend, from tracking data to a smarter application of all the gathered data.
Are all these new gadgets that track you in your sleep, control your daily routine and tell you when you’re sick stressing you out? We just might have a solution for you. Touchpoint offers you two wrist bands that reduce your stress levels by vibrating. And for those of you wondering which was the most used gadget at CES? AI powered massage chairs.
Connecting two worlds
Bringing Swiss start-ups to the US is not just about entering the largest consumer market in the world. It helps to accelerate growth, speed and think big. By connecting Swiss precision and deep tech skills with the marketing and sales power of the USA, you create a combination that is fit to conquer the world. And, you have the venture power from the Silicon Valley that can make it happen. The market is moving at an ultra fast pace and plenty of other companies are already working on similar solutions. There is no time to grow steadily within Switzerland. You need to scale fast and companies such as ava already demonstrated that this works.
Overall, the Swiss Pavilion was a great success and Switzerland made a good first appearance at CES. Swiss start-ups are technologically at the top of what we saw at the show and the Swiss Pavilion offered an attractive space to showcase them.
However, the competition is alive and well. Other countries promoted innovation and new technology from their ecosystems. Le Village by Crédit Agricole and the stand of the Paris Region provided exciting examples of future models Switzerland could use.
Crédit Agricole’s Le Village is an incubator network that has several locations in France (more information). They gave 20 start-ups the opportunity to be present on their stand. The Paris region followed a similar model, corporates sponsored start-ups they collaborate with. In both models, corporates positioned themselves as open and innovative. They could expand their start-ups’ networks as well as their own, find capital and get to know their customers, interesting models, especially if they held shares in the start-ups.
With so many great Swiss corporates, we could use this model to show the whole Swiss ecosystem and not just part of it. Switzerland could better demonstrate its attractiveness to the best international talents, start-ups and VCs. The goals for next year are clear: more start-ups, a larger booth and a holistic presentation that represents the manifold facets of the Swiss ecosystem.