Ottawa

Viva Las Vegas: Ottawa tech firms place bets on massive trade show

Ottawa technology companies are among the thousands from around the globe making the pilgrimage to Las Vegas this week to drum up deals, build relationships and scope out the competition at the world's biggest tech trade show.

CES the place to be 'to see what's new and hot'

Driving the future: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets a front-seat view of QNX autonomous vehicle technology in Dec. The Ottawa company is launching the system at CES in Las Vegas this week. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa technology companies are among the thousands from around the globe making the pilgrimage to Las Vegas this week to drum up deals, build relationships and scope out the competition at the world's biggest tech trade show. 

Spread over exhibition space equalling a jaw-dropping 30 football fields (Canadian ones at that), CES — formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show — expects to welcome more than 170,000 visitors and nearly 4,000 exhibitors as it marks its 50th anniversary. 

Ottawa tech firms will be there, too. 

Among the leaders is QNX, the Blackberry subsidiary that officially opened an autonomous vehicle research centre in Kanata just last month. A lot of the excitement at CES this year is about driverless vehicles — and QNX is using the show to launch the new autonomous operating system it's developed for Jaguar XJ and Lincoln MKZ concept cars.  

Biggest event of the year

"You go where your customers and prospects are," said Trisha Cooke, the vice-president of marketing for Ottawa's You.i TV. With nearly 200 employees, it's the company's third year as an exhibitor at CES.

The company designs applications that allows clients, such as the National Basketball Association or the Cartoon Network, to deliver their content straight to consumers via smart phones, tablets and other digital devices. 

Cooke said CES is the biggest event of the year for You.i TV. The company has sent 15 of its staff members, and taken more than two conference rooms covering nearly 325 sq.m.

Ottawa's You.i TV pulls out all the stops at CES in Las Vegas by taking over two conference rooms for its exhibition space. (Supplied)

"It's a show that drives the most significant innovation in the world. People always come here to see what's new and hot," Cooke said. "A lot of prospective customers are here. This is a big business generator for us."

Opportunity to connect

Along with QNX and You.i TV,  other Ottawa companies at CES include: photo-app startup Kwilt; Nuvyyo, the developer of a gadget that streams media from your home to your mobile device; and Design 1st, which provides design services to other companies. 

"Design 1st may be in Ottawa, Canada but our market and clients are across the globe. CES opens your eyes to possibilities, discussions and potential," Ian Kayser, the company's vice-president of sales for Design 1st, wrote in comments posted to the company's website.

"It's a tremendous opportunity to connect."

CES runs until Jan. 8. 

now