A tech taste of Vegas comes to Tel Aviv

Exhibiting at CES is the dream of many start-ups, and the man who runs that show was in Israel to make those dreams come true

On the floor at CES 2013 (photo credit: Courtesy)
On the floor at CES 2013 (photo credit: Courtesy)

If you want to get noticed in the tech world, Las Vegas in early January is the place and time to do it. That’s when the annual Consumer Electronics Show, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, is held. Over 150,000 industry professionals — retailers, manufacturers, investors, and corporate executives — come out to see the latest and greatest in the electronics industry.

Despite the fact that over 3,000 exhibitors already show off their wares at CES, there’s still plenty of room for Israeli companies, according to Dan Cole, a vice president at CEA. “A lot of people have the misconception that CES is only for consumer products, but we also feature a lot of the technologies that Israel excels in — back-end communication and networking, security, IT infrastructure, and much more. We are very interested in growing the number of Israeli companies at CES.”

Cole was in Israel this week for the first-ever CES Unveiled Tel Aviv, a “daughter” event of the main CES that is held only in select cities — London, Paris, and New York. That Israel was chosen as the fourth city is clearly a great honor, one not bestowed gratuitously. Although the “start-up nation,” Israel is not known for the electronics and devices that often are introduced to the world at CES — but despite its name, CES isn’t just about consumer products, said Cole, and the “back end” work many Israeli start-ups specialize in is welcome at the show.

Dan Cole (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Dan Cole (photo credit: Courtesy)

“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, and we want to see more of them at CES.”

Over the past few years, the shine has faded a bit from CES, as the largest device companies — especially Apple and Samsung — host their own shows where they introduce their latest technologies. But presenting at CES is still a major dream for start-ups and mature companies around the world and a major milestone for those who do make it to Vegas. Technology innovation goes far beyond the next iPad or Galaxy phone; this year’s show, for example, featured the latest in car tech, wearable devices, home theater, televisions, apps, 3-D printers, and much more, presented by giants like Ford, Lenovo, Garmin, Intel, Toshiba, and many others, as well as hundreds of start-ups from around the world.

There is no event on earth that has the scope and breadth of CES, said Cole. “We cover the whole ecosystem, and that’s what 150,000 people come each year to see. For companies that want to get in the game, this is the place to do it.”

On Monday, Cole, along with Intel Corporate Vice President Mooly Eden, Google Israel director Meir Brand, tech guru Yossi Vardi, Yoel Marks of Yahoo Israel Labs, Elisha Yanai, director of the Israel Association of Electronics & Software Industries (co-sponsor of CES Unveiled), and others, rang the opening bell at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Speaking at the event were Dan Cole, US Ambassador Daniel J. Shapiro, Eden, Brand, and others.

And while the show part of CES Unveiled paled in comparison with the “real thing” — only about a dozen companies were there to show off their technologies and products — the point was to rally excitement for the main event, said Cole.

“Being a part of CES is affordable and doable,” he said. “The start-ups at the show especially get a lot of media interest. The Tel Aviv event was nice, but there really is only one CES, and that’s the place to be.”


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