CES is always a whirlwind but incredibly fast paced and lots of fun. I’m constantly impressed by how many deals get done into the wee hours of the night. For IOTAS, it was no exception. 9 of us went to CES and we all got up early to greet the throngs of visitors waiting to get a demo at the IOTAS booth. Word must have gotten around about the demo of our Smart Building Management Platform since there were often +15 people waiting to see it. We demonstrated building management via voice commands, such as “Hey Google, tell IOTAS to put all my vacant units into Tour Mode,” which would turn on all the lights in 5 vacant units and change the thermostat to Cool. We have found that a voice experience for building Property Managers is much easier than getting out an app or going to their computer to change settings. Imagine simply walking into the leasing office in the morning and asking IOTAS via voice assistant “What’s going on today?” and either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa telling you how many showings, move-ins, and move-outs there is today. For leasing agents and building managers, this is the easiest and most powerful tool they can use. We also demonstrated resident’s voice commands such as “Hey Google, tell IOTAS to play my Good Morning Story,” which would raise the blinds, turn on the TV, change the dimmable RGB lights from low blue to bright warm white and change the temperature on the thermostat. (Though, I have to admit, by the end of day 3 we had demonstrated the voice capability so much that all of us were starting to sound hoarse and would sometimes use the IOTAS app to show some of these capabilities.)
Then we often worked late into the night in more meetings but the IOTAS team also loves a good party and we were honored to be invited to a few of them to join in the CES celebration. Why do 180,000 visitors come to CES to celebrate, party, meet and discuss partnerships and new opportunities? Because it really is a spectacle of the newest and coolest products and a way to see trends and sometimes very odd gadgets you would have never thought of before. We were invited to visit the 2nd floor of Google’s Playground which is centered around a storytelling experience of Google’s Assistants newest capabilities. It was filled with cool product integration but what really struck me was that none of it on it’s own is very interesting. What makes it a special experience is when it all works together to be able to tell a story. That is what IOTAS does for Smart Apartments and Google and Alexa, we allow for easy setup of these devices and group management which allows the buildings and apartments to tell a story. If Google or Alexa were to enter an apartment on its own the experience would be fairly limited. If Google or Alexa were to enter an apartment with 20-40 devices, someone would have to setup those devices and then when the resident moved-out they would have to go reset all those devices to default. IOTAS automatically does the setup and removal. We made it easy.
Other things we were truly excited to celebrate was the strong pitch/story around the Future of Transportation. Before I created IOTAS, I was seriously thinking about Car-as-a-Service but worried that the regulations around vehicles would be limiting. However, I see a trend emerging where vehicles such as the Toyota Palette could work in a Smart Community. In a large enclosed community, the Palette could easily shuttle people around it’s closed roads making it a viable solution with potential advertising and sponsorship revenue for community owners. However, this tech along with most of the tech at CES is not pitched as a solution for the MDUs, instead, often they pitch it for the government or industrial or consumer.
I think this is a travesty that the tech industry does not understand the size or the opportunity with MDUs and so do not create products designed for the scale of the MDU industry. I hope that next year at CES we will start seeing more products that are MDU focused. I’m hoping IOTAS success will be a signal to the tech industry to start changing their pitch story to include MDUs and create products that focus on this great opportunity.