With Elliot Grimm, communications specialist for the Consumer Technology Association
In today’s ever-changing world, it’s good to stay abreast of the latest tech innovations. To learn more about the latest cool gadgets and trends, Steve speaks with Elliot Grimm.
Elliot Grimm is a communications specialist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), home to innovative startups. He also serves as spokesperson at CTA’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which showcases the next generation of tech innovation every year.
Tech Innovation: An $84 Billion Industry
Money is pouring into tech innovations. In 2017 alone, venture capitalists (VCs) poured $84.2 billion into startups. Investments are expected to increase every year, with no signs of slowing down.
2018’s Hottest Innovations
Reemo helps caregivers and loved ones stay in touch with the people they are caring for. Reemo has standard functions such as heart rate monitoring and health fitness tracking. What differentiates it is cell phone connectivity that lets caregivers or emergency personnel speak with someone who wears a Reemo.
BenjiLock is one of Grimm’s favorite tech innovations, a padlock that uses fingerprint technology. With BenjiLock, you don’t have to remember combinations or carry keys. All you do is touch your finger to it and it unlocks. BenjiLock stores ten fingerprints, so it can be used by multiple trusted people or by any of your ten fingers!
TouchPoints is a wearable innovation based on neuro-scientific technology. Worn as a wristband, it sends vibrations to your body. This provides quick relief from stress at the touch of a button. The wristband is supposed to relax you, put you in a calm state of mind, and train your brain to better handle stress.
LifeDoor was developed by a firefighter in New England. It’s a smart sensing technology for the doors in your house. In the event of a fire, LifeDoor hears the smoke alarm and automatically closes the door that it’s attached to. This simple device keeps out smoke and noxious fumes and keeps residents safer than if the door wasn’t closed.
The next tech innovation that Grimm talks about is the Modobag. It’s the world’s first motorized carry-on that you can ride on at the airport. The Modobag’s battery lasts six hours on one charge and has a top speed of seven miles per hour. TSA approved, it can be carried onto planes across the globe.
BallotReady is a handy online voter guide to local elections. It tells you who is standing, their education and career backgrounds, and family details. It also tells you where they stand on issues relevant to the offices they seek and the organizations backing them. With BallotReady, voters no longer have to make wild guesses but can cast votes that matter.
LifeFuels is a smart bottle that helps you stay hydrated. It comes with three slots for FuelPods. These FuelPods mix with water in the bottle and give you the electrolytes or nutrition you need.
The smart bottle can connect with an app on your smartphone and monitor how you stay hydrated. You can regulate the amount of fuel you’re injecting into the water. The bottle also connects with health tracking devices such as the FitBit.
The Mavic Pro Platinum is DJI’s newest drone. It comes with 60 percent noise reduction, a new high-precision camera stabilization system, and a camera that recognizes gestures. For instance, a wave could make the camera take a picture.
Clearly, our world is getting ever more sophisticated. If you have a cool idea or want to know more about new products across the planet, visit CTA’s Startups section.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: I always want to know what’s cool, the new innovations that are coming in consumer technology. And who doesn’t want to know all the new stuff that makes our lives easier? So I’ve asked Elliot Grimm who’s a specialist for the Consumer Technology Association, which is home to innovative startups and great small businesses and the world’s best known brands. And he also serves as a spokesperson at the Consumer Electronic Show which is that big show in Vegas where everybody gets to see the next generation of tech innovations that are being introduced into the marketplace. Elliot Grimm, welcome to the show.
Elliot Grimm: Glad to be here.
Steve Pomeranz: So we’re talking about all these new products that we’re seeing kind of exploding on the scene. How big is this innovation space? In other words, how much money is actually pouring into these companies to create these new products?
Elliot Grimm: I mean each year there’s an increasing number. In 2017 alone, venture capitalists, they invested $84.2 billion just into startups like innovative tech and stuff like that. It’s a growing market we’re going to see expand every single year.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, no signs of it slowing down, I guess.
Elliot Grimm: No, not at all.
Steve Pomeranz: Wow, okay. It’s an awful lot of money, who are the main players? Are they the big VCs that have won big on Google and Apple or is there a lot of angel investors? How does that break down?
Elliot Grimm: You see a little bit of both. Especially a good way to view it, at least each year for me, is at Eureka Park at CES. That’s where all the startup tech companies come and they sit there and it’s all new technologies. Last year we had over 800 companies and that even is growing just every single year. We had a 50% increase there. And you’ll have investors, you’ll have the big ones, you mentioned Google. But there’s a lot of kind of like angel investors, unknown ones that walk around, and they’re looking for new opportunities to get this innovative technology.
Steve Pomeranz: Sounds exciting. All right so you’ve furnished me with some great new products that have broken through. They have risen to the top.
These companies got their funding, they have viable products for sale, or you can go in and preorder. So let’s talk about this little list that you gave me. I went through them and I found them quite fascinating. The first one is Reemo, R-E-E-M-O, and it’s for caregivers and loved ones to stay informed about seniors that they may be caring for. Tell us a little bit about that.
Elliot Grimm: Yeah, so the Reemo Smartwatch, it has your normal functions that a lot of smart watches on the market have, the heart rate monitoring, health fitness tracking. But the thing that separates it a little bit is that is has a two-way cell phone service in it.
So if you push a button, you’re a senior, you’re a caregiver with someone you want to check in on them, it has a cellular service you can connect with a loved one. Or, in case of emergency, you can push the button and be connected with a live concierge who can send assistance.
You can let them know what’s happening. And it’s just a really quick way to stay connected at all times. And that’s what this Reemo Smartwatch is helping you do.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, it’s fantastic, in our own family we just had a situation where an elderly person fell, was on the floor for 20 hours in her kitchen and luckily a neighbor saw that. And she wouldn’t wear the thing that hangs around her neck. But maybe she would wear a watch which she could use as a signal or something like that. That would have been very, very helpful. All right so that’s Reemo, and R-E-E-M-O for anybody interested.
The next one I’ve seen, and the next one I really like because I need it because I can’t remember combinations for squat. And this is called Benjilock, tell us about that.
Elliot Grimm: Yeah, Benjilock, I think is one of the best ones on the list. It’s so useful and it’s just a simple idea that kind of just hasn’t been done before.
But the Benjilock is a padlock, your standard padlock to store your valuables. But it uses fingerprint technology so instead of remembering those numbers, instead of having to write it down, put your finger against it, opens up, closes with just a touch of the finger. And it stores ten of them as well so.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s what, it stores-
Elliot Grimm: Ten fingerprints up to ten.
Steve Pomeranz: So it can be used with multiple users in other words?
Elliot Grimm: Yeah, multiple users, or you don’t know what finger you’re going to use that day.
Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH], I see, ten because you have ten fingers. I guess I missed that totally.
All right, the next one is Touch Point. This is described as twin neuro-scientific wearable, what is that?
Elliot Grimm: So these are kind of the same size as a smart watch. But these are little wristbands that have, I guess you would call it kind of a little square rectangle that sends vibrations to your wrist.
And what they are, there’s micro vibrations that go to your brain. And you’re supposed to wear them any time you’re stressed, you’re anxious, you’re feeling angry. And it kind of relaxes you to a calm state. And then if you do that repeatedly enough, the touch points are supposed to help you kind of remember that in the future.
And your brain gets trained to have a better reaction to stress. And these touch points are just the way to help kind of solve a lot of anxiety we have during the day.
Steve Pomeranz: So if you’re going in for a raise, right? And you know that kind of the cards seem stacked against you and the last thing you want to be is nervous and sweating and all of that.
You put on this wearable. It sends micro-pulsations through your body and somehow it relaxes you. And if you do it enough, your brain like a rat in a cage gets used to pulling a lever. It’s like you don’t even need the lever anymore. Just think about the vibrations and you’re cured.
Elliot Grimm: That’s exactly right, yeah. And it has different settings for stress, anger, hunger even, so there’s lots of different scenarios.
All right, LifeDoor, a smart sensing technology for the doors in your house. What’s that?
Elliot Grimm: So this was created by a firefighter up in New England. And I think he saw a lot of times that when a fire broke out, the most undamaged room in the house was normally the one with the door closed.
So he invented this device called the LifeDoor, which you attach to any door in the house, your bedroom, a loved one’s bedroom. And in the event of a fire, your smoke detector will go off. And the LifeDoor will hear the smoke detector alarm, it will automatically close the door that it’s attached to.
It will turn on the lights and it will also sound a secondary alarm. And it keeps out the smoke and all the chemicals and stuff like that. So it’s pretty useful for any kind of that emergency.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, but what if there’s somebody in the room?
Elliot Grimm: Well, if there’s someone in the room it keeps them in there, it doesn’t lock the door or anything. It just prevents the fire from coming.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, because that would be really terrible. Okay, the next one is Modobag, M-O-D-O bag, Modobag. And it’s the world first motorized carry-on that you can ride in the airport when you’re getting ready to go on vacation. So tell us about that.
Elliot Grimm: [LAUGH] Yeah, this is one of the more interesting ones that we have. Like you said, it’s a carry-on, it’s the first kind of scooter that you ride on the airport. It goes about seven miles per hour, and the battery that charges it will last for about six hours.
It is approved to be on any airline and used in any airport around the world. So you don’t need to worry about meeting TSA requirements or anything like that. But, yeah, if you were looking to travel in style throughout the airport, the Modobag might help you out.
Steve Pomeranz: I just get this image of being in the airport and all these people riding on their carry-ons. I just don’t want it to happen [LAUGH].
Elliot Grimm: No, we’re seeing the scooters. It feels like there’s a new way to get around every single day.
Steve Pomeranz: I get it, I get it, all right, the next one I really liked is called BallotReady, what is that?
Elliot Grimm: So BallotReady is for when you go into the voting booth, I mean when I go I know my congressman or my senator, but there’s always local country commissioners.
Steve Pomeranz: Judges, whatever.
Elliot Grimm: Randoms that I don’t really have a good idea of what it is. And so if I’m in there and I go to ballotready.org, enter in my address, it gives you a very easy and clear breakdown of the candidates or the different topics that you’re voting on. So you don’t kind of need to guess or leave it blank anymore.
Steve Pomeranz: So is this an app or are you actually going to an Internet site on your phone?
Elliot Grimm: So currently it’s just going to be an Internet site, ballotready.org. But if you go to the URL, it works just like an application.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, the next one is LifeFuels, L-I-F-E fuels, LifeFuels, and it’s a smart bottle for drinking water. What’s that all about?
Elliot Grimm: So LifeFuels was recently acquired by Keurig. It is a water bottle that comes with three slots for what they call fuel pods at the bottom. And what these fuel pods do is mix into the water in the water bottle, and they can put in energy, vitamins, nutrients.
And you drink it, obviously, but you connect the bottle to your cellphone through the LifeFuels app and it’s a new way to monitor how you’re staying hydrated. And it will even connect to other apps such as the Fitbit app, any other kind of tracking app so really it’s a new way to stay hydrated. I drink water at work but I don’t always recall how much I had.
Steve Pomeranz: I got a new Fitbit, and it tells me like, hey, you got 100 steps left for this hour. So I guess it’s going to do something similar. It’s going to say, well, you need to take like about ten sips of this water.
Elliot Grimm: Yeah.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, I think the other thing too is these pods. To me they looked a little strange, you’re kind of injecting the stuff into the bottle. But you can control the amount that actually goes into the bottle so that’s pretty cool.
Elliot Grimm: Yeah, through the app or just manually on the bottle.
Steve Pomeranz: All right, one more I didn’t really understand this one, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, what is that?
Elliot Grimm: So this is a new drone from DJI, it’s their newest model. This one comes with 60% noise reduction, new stabilizer on it. And the thing that separates this from a lot of the other drones is the 4K camera on the front can recognize gestures.
So if you waved to it or you’re making some kind of motion, you can train it to take a picture or any kind of other thing that it does. So it’s almost a smart drone.
Steve Pomeranz: So it’s like a selfie from 1,000 feet high, you just…
Elliot Grimm: Exactly, exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH] That’s great. Now if I’m a startup or entrepreneur at my local market, how do I break into this marketplace?
Elliot Grimm: So if you go to cta.tech/startup, we have a lot of great resources. At CES each year—like I said, Eureka Park is one of the great places. We welcome all startups, and there’s a lot of investors walking around. But cta.tech/startup, I would point people to go there first.
Steve Pomeranz: Cta.text?
Elliot Grimm: Tech, T-E-C-H, technology.
Steve Pomeranz: Cta, okay, very good. All right, well, unfortunately, we are out of time. And remember, we are going to list all of these links on our website. Of course, that’s stevepomeranz.com. And if you want to read this again or listen to the segment or look at all of other segments and also get something weekly in your inbox, don’t forget to sign up at stevepomeranz.com.
Elliot, thank you so much for joining us.
Elliot Grimm: Thank you.