Israeli companies and technologies ready for the “big time” have been flocking to Las Vegas, where the world’s biggest and best tech show – the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – is taking place this week. Over 3,200 exhibitors – manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more – will descend on Vegas to show off their wares to more than 150,000 visitors from 150 countries.
Despite its name, CES isn’t only about consumer goods – it’s about technology in general, and as a result, Israeli companies that have advanced tech will be joining the swarm at CES. Among them are Comigo, eyeSight Technologies, PointGrab, and Silentium; all of which have unique technologies that will show tens of thousands of visitors what the Start-Up Nation has to offer.
This year’s CES will emphasize smart ways to watch video and listen to music via tablets, TV’s, and phones, say the CES prognosticators, and Comigo, developed by Israeli tech veteran Dov Moran, fits right in. The company uses cloud computing technology to develop a content social network, letting users watch content on their own devices based on recommendations from others. It’s like an integration of smartphones and smart TVs, enabling the full sharing of experience and content between users of either or both.
Also contributing to the smart TV revolution is eyeSight Technologies, which develops gesture technology for TVs and many other devices. Unlike other gesture companies, eyeSight’s solution is software-based, so it can be easily integrated into almost any kind of device. Last year, the company developed for South Korea’s InnoDigital the world’s first Android smart set-top box with integrated gesture recognition technology. The box not only lets users control just about any function of their TV set with hand gestures, but can turn any digital-capable set into a “smart TV,” with Internet, Youtube, video call, and other capabilities.
PointGrab, another gesture company, has been making a huge splash in the world of digital hardware over the past several years. Established in 2008, the company has quickly climbed to the top of its vertical: 90% of two-dimensional hand gesture recognition software is made by PointGrab. PointGrab recently developed a software kit (SDK) which for developers of iOS apps for iPhones, iPods, and iPads – the first such SDK for use by developers, whom, PointGrab hopes, will come up with innovative gesture apps for the Apple devices. Many smart TVs already use PointGrab’s technology, the company said.
Silentium, meanwhile, has technology to help keep the noise down while you watch TV. Silentium has a computer algorithm-based silencing technology that can be applied to a wide variety of business and consumer products. The company’s Active Noise Control (ANC) is based on producing an “anti-noise” signal that destructively interferes with the original sound wave and cancels out the noise.
The system, an advanced form of noise cancellation technology, is placed within the body of a device, comprising a sensor microphone that picks up the sound and measures its frequency and amplitude, and a microchip that absorbs the noise input emitted by the noise source and transforms it into output in an inverted phase, thus canceling it. The ANC can be integrated with an existing product, cutting off the noise at its source and allowing products to operate up to 90% more quietly, according to the company.
It’s not just local companies that will be showing off its Israeli-made tech. Israeli-developed technology is likely to show up in many places at CES; most of the large high-tech companies that will be showing off technology there, including Broadcom, Qualcomm, Samsung, Intel, and others all have extensive R&D organizations in Israel.
Broadcom, for example, has acquired eleven Israeli companies that have helped develop, among other things, Passive Optical Network processors, mixed signal semiconductors for microwave backhaul systems, system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for femtocells for better Internet connections, switch fabric solutions for data center networking equipment, and more. Some of those technologies, or their derivatives, will be showing up in new 5G WiFi SoCs for connected home devices, allowing users to beam content at smart TVs with a minimum of bandwidth and power usage.
At last year’s CES, QualComm demonstrated its multi-gigabit wireless WiGig chipset produced in cooperation with Israeli fabless chip maker Wilocity. The blazing fast system can transfer even high-definition video at distances of up to 40 meters with speeds more than 10 times faster than current average Wi-Fi transmission rates. This year, QualComm is introducing a series of products for home entertainment, including the Snapdragon 802 processor, an integrated SoC designed for smart TVs, smart set-top boxes and smart digital media adapters. Key to the SoC is speed and quality, with the system able to transmit games, video, music, and other content to multiple devices.
Several months ago, Israel hosted its own “mini-CES,” one of a series of pre-Vegas events held around the world to recruit CES exhibitors. The event, called CES Unveiled, was held in only four cities – London, Paris, New York and Tel Aviv. That Tel Aviv was chosen as the fourth city is clearly an honor, one not bestowed gratuitously, said Dan Cole, a vice-president at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which sponsors CES.
“We have a lot of visitors who come to see infrastructure in networks, telecom, and information technology, as well as security systems, connectivity, and many other non-consumer areas,” said Cole. “These are exactly the areas Israeli start-ups excel in. Per capita, Israel has the most start-ups in the world. Israel’s innovation around the world is legendary, and we are happy that Israeli companies are coming to CES to share that innovation.”