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Things to Learn from Tech Startups at CES 2018

Eureka Park, the home for startups at CES, served as a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their ingenuity. ITRI’s Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) indicated that the number of startups participating in this year’s CES hit a new record—over 900 exhibitors from 42 countries. The proportion of European firms was the highest, while the number of companies attending from Taiwan was near the top, pointing to the impressive innovation and entrepreneurial energy of Taiwan.

Over 900 startups from all over the world exhibited at Eureka Park this year.

Over 900 startups from all over the world exhibited at Eureka Park this year.

IEK also found that at Eureka Park, smart home-related technologies led the number of exhibits, followed by mobile applications, with health and biotechnology in third place. IEK Deputy General Director Jim Chung analyzed the features of the startups participating in CES 2018 and discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by startups.

Based on product development strategies, IEK divided the positioning of startups at CES 2018 into four categories:

  • Developing products by utilizing existing resources

    Startups utilize resources already existing in industrial ecosystems, such as built-in AI processors, voice assistant platforms, high-precision sensing modules, or array microphones in the development of products. For instance, the French startup Soben has used existing LiDAR perceptual computing in the development of autonomous goods delivery vehicles employed in hospitals, warehouses, and retail stores.

  • Adding value on existing products to provide unique features

    The CES 2018 exhibition featured many innovative products employing smartphone camera functionality together with an adapter to engage in sensing and in scanning for the applications of AR or biometric identification. Unique functions and application services will be provided with specialized content and apps. One example is the development of low-cost, high-precision 3D face sensing by U.S. startup Bellus3D, which can be used with an optical scanner to create a detailed 3D face model in a couple of minutes.

  • Providing solutions based on the next generation product roadmaps

    Many innovations focus on the needs of mature industries, such as automobiles and mobile phones. The product evolution roadmaps provide startups the opportunities with novel approaches. Emotient, for instance, uses facial recognition software to gather data on emotions, providing the features of next generation smartphone required by Apple.

  • Creating crucial value of technological innovation or new business model

    Startups develop innovative technology or brand-new business models in an attempt to create value and subsequently revolutionize the existing industry. For example, R-PUR has developed the world’s only anti-pollution mask that filters out the toxic particles and viruses under PM2.5 size. The filter material has innovation value and could lead to major changes in the mask industry.

Watching for the tech trends from CES 2018, IEK observed that voice interfaces have been entirely integrated into life and that commercial operation of unmanned vehicles is no longer a dream, with many application services already emerging. Meanwhile, AR/VR and AI are accelerating their development in applications and intelligent edge-computing products. IEK concluded that startups should take advantage of these opportunities, where the integration of hardware and software is required, and that mastering data analytics and seeking new business models are crucial to create blue oceans. “They should hone in on specific target users or niche markets, addressing customers’ pain points and exploring innovations, such as those in Baby Tech, Beauty Tech, Sleep Tech, Sport Tech, and more,” added Chung.