Quebec companies hope to hit the jackpot at CES tech show in Las Vegas

A contingent of around 100 Quebec companies is in Las Vegas this week, hoping to raise their profile at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

Event attracts thousands, serves as way for companies to help launch their products

There are 100 Quebec companies among the 4,400 businesses exhibiting their wares at the 2020 CES tech show in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

A contingent of around 100 Quebec companies is in Las Vegas this week, hoping to raise their profile at the annual CES tech show.

The four-day event, which attracts thousands of professionals in the consumer technologies business, is a way for companies to help launch their creations.

"Even if you're building the most amazing product …, you need to get your product out there," said Awane Jones, CEO of Montreal-based technology and entertainment company Phenomena.

"You need to get it to the Asian market. You need to get it to the American market, and that's where CES is so important, because you're going to find and get those relationships."

And besides the business opportunities it provides, Jones said the scene itself is incredible.

"I've seen segways going up stairs here," he said.

His company makes a bracelet that enhances live entertainment events, such as music festivals. They use haptic technology, which simulates the sensation of touch.

"When you listen to music, that's something you feel, right? With haptics ... you're going to feel the music, you're going to feel the experience," he said.

"If you're in a stadium and we want to send out lights and vibration to be synched with the DJ, we can do that."

Alain Phaneuf, president and founder of Phaneuf International, is at the event promoting his automated, fully electric ice resurfacer that cuts down on wasted water.

It's a smart machine, adding a scientific component to the creation and maintenance of ice.

They have also developed a smart hockey net that moves itself out of the way when the resurfacer passes, all controlled by an app.

Phaneuf said the products are known locally, but they want to work with big players — the NHL, or the Olympics, for example.

Gunnar Grass is the CEO of YPC Technologies, a startup in the food robotics business.

He explained that the industry is pretty young, and most inventions are focused on fast food — making pizzas, frying chicken wings and flipping burgers, for example.

His company takes existing technology in commercial kitchens and operates them with a robotic arm.

"Essentially, we built a system that can prepare thousands of different recipes at restaurant quality."

He said the system can cook meals, but steps that require a certain level of dexterity — such as peeling vegetables or plating meals — will still require humans, he said.

The Quebec trade mission is fronted by Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon. The event wraps up on Friday.

Reporting by Simon Nakonechny


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