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Three Things From CES You Should Know About: Wednesday Edition

At least 70 crowdfunded devices, a sprinkling of advertising talk and a question of demographics.

Lauren Goode

Like many in the technology world, much of team Re/code has taken up residence in Las Vegas this week for International CES, the industry’s biggest gadget convention. Rather than bombard you with rewritten press releases of gadgets and stuff nobody will ever buy, we plan to pick just three things — themes, news, or something quirky — we think you should know about every day of the show.

1. Gadgets by the People, for the People

Crowdfunded gadgetry is everywhere this year. At CES, there are more than 40 hardware devices that were funded on the site Indiegogo, including Canary (a home security device), Scanadu (a medical sensor), Misfit Shine (an activity tracker), Panono (a 360-degree, ball shaped camera) and the Lightercase (a heat-resistant lighter that’s also a smartphone case).

There are also about 30 current or completed Kickstarter projects, including Olloclip (smartphone camera lenses), Occipital (a 3-D scanner for iPad), Ninjablocks (a connected home controller) and Alpha (a heart rate monitoring watch).

Indiegogo is taking the opportunity to announce a widgetized version of its crowdfunding service, which it calls Indiegogo Outpost. Available in private beta now, it will allow campaigns to borrow the code from their Indiegogo page and reformat it on their own website with their own brand and traffic.

“We think this has potential to be like the YouTube embed for crowdfunding,” said Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin at CES’ all-new Indiegogo Zone startup demo area.

Other companies like Crowdtilt offer white-label crowdfunding, Rubin noted, but they make companies choose either to do it on their site or break off on their own. With Indiegogo Outpost, crowdfunders will be able to piggyback on the trust, payments, customer support and audience that Indiegogo has — but also make it their own.

2. Headliner Roundup

You might have thought CES was all about real objects you can hold in your hand, but today it’s also about advertising, with speakers including Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy.

Plus, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has already managed to make Las Vegas his stage this week, but today is the day the “uncarrier” actually has its presentation, where Legere will talk about the latest plans to combat AT&T — not on the Macklemore show floor, but in the U.S. market.

And in case you missed it, on Tuesday Yahoo showed new news and magazine apps, plus its own jumbo media team; Samsung and Lenovo dropped hints about wearables; Sony became the latest bigco with pay-TV aspirations (or perhaps delusions); and Cisco said the Internet of Things is a $19 trillion opportunity, because everybody likes big numbers.

3. Finding the Non-Traditional Tech Audience … Or Not

Paging through the CES program, I came across the Silvers Summit, a mini-conference that promised demos and discussions about technology for the boomer generation. “As they approach retirement, and create an unprecedented tilt in the demographic, technology is a well-won badge. We’re looking at the first generation to expect high tech solutions to help them transition into active retirement and beyond.”

Sounds like it might be a neat story, I thought. Though obligations kept me from seeing speakers such as a futurist from Ford, I stopped by the demo area to check it out. Only … there didn’t appear to be any boomer technology to be found. The designated Silvers Summit area was small, but I went to each booth and asked, and found just one company that said it was trying to be there: a six-year-old home medical alert product with nary a smartphone app or stylish wearable or Bluetooth LE integration to speak of. The rest of the section was overflow from the enormous fitness tech exhibitor contingent, plus a few e-cigarette companies.


My colleague Lauren Goode had a somewhat parallel experience when she went to the MommyTech Summit. “No moms, but a bunch of men crowded around the Play-i booth looking at educational robots,” she wrote, and snapped an illustrative pic.

Perhaps CES is not yet for boomers and moms. Or maybe Lauren and I stumbled into non-representative samples. Or it could be that splitting out seniors and moms is the wrong idea when technology can be for everyone.

This article originally appeared on

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