Leaders from CBS, Cisco, Comcast, Condé Nast, Fox, Google, McDonald’s, MediaLink and The Walt Disney Co. Dazzle CES Keynote Stage; Mobile Apps Showdown and Last Gadget Standing Winners Take Top Tech Accolades at 2015 CES

The Evolution of the Smart Home, Wednesday afternoon’s SuperSession, was moderated by Grant Clauser of Electronic House, and featured executives from Bosch Software Innovations, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Lutron Electronics and Yetu. The panel noted that security is the top feature driving growth in the smart home market. The panelists discussed the most effective methods of selling the concept of the smart home to consumers. All agreed that retailers must build an experience allowing customers to fully grasp the range of smart home capabilities. When addressing challenges in the smart home space, the panelists noted that manufacturers must create user-friendly and open systems to allow for ease-of-use applications across all platforms.

The C Space Headliner with iHeartMedia highlighted the many ways technology is transforming the media industry. Featured speakers were Ryan Seacrest, Host On-Air with Ryan Seacrest and Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia Inc. Both agreed that radio is far from being in decline and that Internet radio sites like Spotify and Pandora are no threat to the business. “Radio is America’s companion,” said Bob Pittman. “That emotional connection is why it hasn’t died. You know someone is on the other end of the line curating and putting together content for you.” They also stressed the importance of preserving the element of humanity in media since the very core of their business is managing relationships. Seacrest added, “You can’t think of radio as just radio, you have to think of it as everywhere. It’s connection, great content, engagement and emotion.”

Alan Murray, editor of Fortune, interviewed Nick Woodman, president and CEO of GoPro at the Leaders in Technology Dinner at the Venetian. Woodman described the founding of GoPro as a way to capture his friends’ best surfing moments. He explained how GoPro is known for its incredible content and for allowing people to capture and share their passions. “People don’t buy things, they buy solutions,” he said. Woodman explained how 6,000 video uploads of GoPro branded content were uploaded in 2014, a 40 percent increase over 2013, representing 2.8 years worth of content. “Storytelling is everything,” he stated.

Day three of the 2015 International CES kicked off on Thursday with The Last Gadget Standing competition where attendees voted on the hottest gadgets of the 2015 International CES. Produced by Living in Digital Times, the competition was emceed by Jon Hein of the “Howard Stern Wrap Up Show.” Products ranging from molecular sensors to connected pet monitors and non-wearable sleep monitors to environmentally-friendly 3D printers faced off on stage with the audience being the final judge of what would reign supreme. In the end, CES attendees chose the MeccaNoid robotics building system from Meccano as their favorite. Much like an erector set, owners can build the four-foot tall humanoid robot which features built-in voice recognition. Next to MeccaNoid on the winners’ stage was the winner of the Online Voting competition, SCiO, the world’s first molecular sensor. This no-touch optical sensor can fit in the palm of your hand and can scan and detect what an object is made of and give information on it such as how much fat is in a specific type of cheese or salad dressing.

Also emceed by “The Howard Stern Wrap Up Show’s” Jon Hein and produced by Living in Digital Times, the Mobile Apps Showdown followed the Last Gadget Standing competition and featured ten finalists. The mobile apps focused on everything from a wearable, portable and app-integrated breathalyzer, Breathometer, to Pure Imagination’s Perfect Bake app-controlled baking system and Fitnet’s fitness app that includes features like more than 200 free video workouts, webcam scoring and heart rate monitoring. At the end of the competition, the top prizes went to uCiC and Lyve App. uCiC (you see I see) is a location-based app that enables users to reach out to others in any area of the world to share pictures and video. Sharing the stage, the Lyve App also focuses on digital imagining. Lyve App allows consumers to gather, collect, organize, view, rediscover and protect their entire digital photo and video collection from any device and from any location. The app takes care of all the organization, creating a single library of photos and videos scattered across your multiple devices.

The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) came to CES for its semi-final round of competition. Ten startups in the areas of digital design, facial recognition, medical devices and applications, aerial robotics, automotive safety and DNA laser printing competed for the opportunity of a lifetime: to pitch Sir Richard Branson on his private Necker Island. The contestants delivered five minute presentations to a panel of guest judges including CEA’s Gary Shapiro; former CEO of Priceline Jeff Hoffman; Co-Founder and CTO of BioHeart Howard Leonhardt; Founding Partner of Pacific Investments and Innova Capital Veronica Serra; Head Monster Noel Lee; President of Monster Neal Bobrick; Tech Evangelist and Author Robert Scoble; and Scientific Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Dr. Boris Nikolic. The competition was emceed by XTC Executive Director Kym McNicholas.

The three winners were Breathometer, an FDA-registered medical device which uses sensors to monitor alcohol consumption and detect halitosis, diabetes, asthma and various types of cancer, Wanderu, a ground travel aggregation platform and Doctor on Demand, an app which allows users to communicate with board certified physicians for non-emergency issues and therapy. IBM Watson also announced that XTC applicant Nextuser, a computing company, would accompany their team as the fourth competitor to pitch to Branson on Necker Island. Ford CEO Mark Fields awarded Bikee Bike, one of the 2,000 XTC applicants, with $50,000 and Boosted awarded Skully, a smart motorcycle helmet which competed in the semi-finals, with $1,000 for its massive social media presence. In a video address, Branson invited the other finalists, if they wished, to also come to Necker Island at their own expense.

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