India At CES 2023: Desi Tech Players Address Global Market At World’s Biggest Consumer Tech Show
CES 2023 in Las Vegas (US) sees small but growing number of desi exhibitors.
Indian innovations were showcased in car computers, 3-D printing, e-mobility, drones, audio wearables and Mixed Reality.
Start-ups vie with established players to address global concerns.
After a few years of a restricted format due to the Covid Pandemic, CES (formerly Consumer Electronics Show), the world’s largest expo on personal and consumer-focussed technologies and products, reconvened in Las Vegas for four days from 5 January and wound down on Sunday (8 January).
The forum traditionally sees a very wide spectrum of announcements which range from futuristic to funky, from genuinely innovative to just jokey… and many of the solutions showcased, will never translate into commercial products. But as a barometer of tech trends, it has been usually a good indicator of the shape of things to come.
This year saw participation by Indian companies, from start-ups to established players, vying to enlarge their business from the national to an international market.
The two biggest technology directions that India witnessed in 2022 were in the area of drones and electric vehicles. Not surprisingly, CES’23 saw Indian start-ups in both fields graduating from the local to global.
Drone Traffic Management
Skye Air Mobility, a leading Indian provider of drones and drone-related software services used the CES for the global launch of its Made-in-India Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) solution, which helps to manage the air space to enable multiple drone operations Beyond Visual Line-Of-Sight (BVLOS).
It is already in use in India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is regarded as one of the most advanced UTM platforms in the world, with numerous layers of data for the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operators to make use of, in case of flying in urban or rural environments.
The platform integrates with the UAS and captures more than 255 parameters of UAS movements and stores them into its ‘Blackbox’ which is a published systematic description of the entire flight.
The platform also offers the first 3-dimensional view of the UAS airspace, along with operations and regulations mapping servers which offer the latest airspace status, verified paths, and display real-time UAS movements.
Skye Air’s solution is backed by hardcore experience: the company recently reached a milestone of delivering over one million packages via drone.
India is potentially the world's second biggest global market for electric vehicles (EVs) and the bulk of EVs on the road are two wheelers — bikes and scooters.
Within the two-wheeler category, Yulu is a key player in the micro mobility category and has many clients among hyperlocal delivery providers.
The company used CES this year to showcase an array of its electric two-wheeler products at the pavilion of its strategic investor Magna International, who also has a joint venture with Yulu, called Yulu Energy which offers Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS).
Says Yulu co-founder, Amit Gupta, "As a mobility tech pioneer, Yulu is delighted to be present at CES, with other tech leaders. We are very excited about the potential of our plug-and-play solutions to build green, scalable and profitable businesses around urban mobility and take them across the globe with the right set of partners.”
3-D Medical Implants
A Nagpur (Maharashtra)-based start-up, Lucid Implants, co-founded by three medical practitioners has created an innovative niche at the confluence of 3-D printing and facial/orthopedic implants.
Using the 3DS (for 3-D Experience) solution, provided by France and US-based global leader in 3-D printing — Dassault Systemes — the company has carved out a business, helping surgeons to predict and to validate a medical device for a specific patient.
This they do by providing custom polymer and metal hard tissue implants as a bone replacement. Their total solution seamlessly integrates virtual surgical planning, intraoperative patient-specific tools, and personalized implants.
In Las Vegas, they exhibited their products and services in the Dassault-3DS stand and as Prashanth Ray, co-founder and director of LUCID Implants reports: "Visitors were excited to hear how surgeons and patients alike can observe, comprehend, and predict surgical procedures and outcomes — even before the patient is treated.”
The field of wearable devices, especially earphones and audio neckbands, is one of the most crowded — with many international names selling in India.
One brand that competes aggressively in this niche, proudly flashing its Made-in-India credentials is boAt, which has entered into a canny partnership with leading audio technology providers like Dolby, Mimi and Dirac.
At the CES this week, boAt showcased some of its flagship products — including the Boat Neckband Powered by Dolby, the boAt Rockerz 330/333 ANC neckband with Dirac Opteo, the Boat Rockerz Apex neckband and boAt Airdopes True Wireless Stereo (TWS) products.
The boAt 'Nirvana Eutopia' was the first headphone from the brand to offer head tracking capabilities to further enhance Spatial Audio.
“It is a moment of pride that products designed and engineered in India are now showcased on a world stage like CES”, says a boAt statement.
Mixed Reality Glasses
Another Indian start-up, AjnaLens, created history of sorts, by launching India’s first ‘Made in India’ True Mixed Reality glasses, named AjnaXR at the CES 2023 for learning in extended reality.
The glasses are built to work in tandem with its learning platform, AjnaVidya which enables users to up-skill or re-skill themselves in the virtual world.
The headset is among the lightest in the world with very simple and intuitive user interfaces.
Says Abhijit Patil, co-founder and COO, AjnaLens: “We are thrilled to launch India’s first True Mixed Reality Glasses and world’s first complete immersive learning ecosystem at CES 2023, representing India and showcasing the talent we have in India. We aim to provide an immersive learning experience with real-life tools to help trainees get placed at a highly competitive pay scale globally.”
Software Defined Vehicles
Finally, a respected name worldwide in the IT and IT services arena — Wipro — exhibited its prowess in a newly emerging area: Automotive computers.
The company’s proprietary solution in the area of Software Defined Vehicles (SDV), allows car manufacturers and third-party accessory providers to reimagine how safety and entertainment features are developed, deployed and maintained.
Modern vehicles are essentially computers on wheels, with 30-40 different platforms and millions of lines of code.
Integrating and updating these systems is critical to longevity, durability, sustainability and performance. And Wipro’s cloud-based solutions compete with the best and brightest in the world.
CES always has its share of headline-grabbing gadgetry that is too weird or too pricey to be taken as commercially serious propositions: This year, the media went gaga about a Wi-Fi sensor that can be attached to your toilet bowl, to automatically analyze your urine and send the result to your mobile phone. A good idea? Perhaps. But at $500 (Rs 45,000)?
Other offerings included a car that can change its colour in sync with a music player and a bathroom shower that also dispenses sweet smells.
The Indian exhibits this year, on the other hand, were down to earth, practical and attractively priced. Canny visitors to CES 2023 could — we venture to say — tell the difference.
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