CES 2020: Six products where you may ask: Is this a good use of technology?

There were over 4000 booths displaying different technology products at CES 2020. I only saw about a 100 which were located mainly Eureka Park area where new innovative products were displayed. The next 6 products, in my view, seem to have dubious value. I saw them as products that belonged to what I call “a hammer looking for a nail “ category. All prices cited are in U.S. dollars

Lovot  is a small plush robot.  When you touch it, embrace it, or even just watch it, you are supposed to find yourself relaxing and feeling better. Its goal is to enhance positive levels of comfort and feelings of love as it will react to your moods, and “do all it can to fill you with joy and re-energize you” according to the person at the booth. I had a close encounter with Lovot and while it makes cute sounds and looks at you with big eyes, it did not energize me. I admit it gave me joy for about 30 seconds until I found out how much Lovot costs. I’m sure it will have more features in the future but the price is too high. $2800 upfront with a monthly fee of $80 is a steep price to justify its functionality, but then can you put a price on love?


 Inudpathy Dogs  is also a mood detector but this one is for your dog. It is a harness (that consists of a small heart rate monitor, onboard processor and LED display), that measures the dog’s heart rate to determine if the dog happy. Based on this, one of 5 colour LED lights will be displayed on the harness.  The person in the booth called the LED lights “small messages from your dog such as joy and stress”. At $400, I call it expensive. It will be available in Q4 2020.

Opte  (website accessible only in the US) digitally scans your skin and analyses your complexion.  Then combining a special cream and the Opte device your  age spots, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation will be camouflaged on contact and promised to fade over time. The Starter Kit is $599 and it has to be used daily with the cream.  This system needs to be used for at least a couple of months before the spots lighten.

The Charmin RollBot ( ) is a smartphone-controlled robot that can deliver a roll of toilet paper to you via Bluetooth.  According to a survey commissioned by the toilet paper people at Charmin and conducted online by The Harris Poll, 58 per cent of people ages 18-34 admit to being on the toilet before realizing they had run out of paper. You would think it would be easier to reach under the sink and pull a roll-out yourself. Unfortunately, according to the P&G presenter, the technology isn’t here yet to replace the toilet paper roll on the roll holder. It is not known what this robot can do if it is unable to find toilet paper because there is none in the house  Estimated cost $3,000.

The Pix backpack’s claimed differentiator is that it has a programmable LED sign on the back where you can display images, animations and messages. It is a sturdy backpack and sells for $199.  Other than the increased visibility and having a unique backpack, I do not see anything that merited that price. But other people obviously do. According to their representative, last year they sold almost 10,000 units worldwide, and this year they are forecasting double the sales. He mentioned that delivery services are interested to display their logo and/or people are interested in displaying advertising to hopefully gain additional income. 

And lastly an honourable mention goes to Varna Halo+ who designed a smart lid for mason jars. It is a secure way to store your valuables, medication and/or cannabis products or your favourite chocolate. The lid has a motion detector and is Bluetooth connected.  The system lets users remotely lock and unlock the jar, control access permissions, log content, check usage history, track device location, and receive proximity alerts through the  Halo+ app.  I am not making this up. This is all cited from their brochure and the people at the CES booth. It will be sold for $40 to $50 depending on the jar size and will be l available in Q2.

 And that is it for this blog. My next and last blog will describe products that I may use. 

Catherine Aczel Boivie
Catherine Aczel Boivie
Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie is a widely respected executive with over 30 years of experience in the leadership of advancing the value of information technology as a business and education enabler. Prior executive roles includes: CEO Inventure Solutions and Senior Vice President of Information Technology/Facility Management for Vancity Credit Union; SVP of IT and Chief Information Officer at Pacific Blue Cross and Canadian Automobile Association of British Columbia. Catherine is also an experienced board member serving on several boards, including those of Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-television Services, Canada Foundation for Innovation and MedicAlert Canada. Dr. Boivie is the founding Chair and President of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Association of Canada that has over 400 Chief Information Officers as members across Canada. She has been publicly recognized for her contributions, including being named as one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network in the "Trailblazers and Trendsetters" category and the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for being a "catalyst for technology transformation".

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