The gadget show held in Las Vegas last week might be officially known as the Consumer Electronics Show, but make no mistake – there was plenty of business-to-business interaction as well.
That’s one of the main reasons Ottawa-based Espial was there, its vice-president of marketing and business development told OBJ.
Espial, which develops software for interactive and smart television applications, counts corporate giants Sony, Toshiba and Philips among its customers. Other clients include satellite and cable operators and telephone companies.
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“We’re not demonstrating our solutions directly to consumers at the show, but we are taking the opportunity, because these key customers of ours are all gathered together in one geographic place,” Jeff Huppertz said during a break between meetings last week.
“It provides us the perfect opportunity to meet with those customers of ours that are there meeting with their consumers directly themselves.”
He said Espial’s trip to CES in 2015 was a success and suggested this year’s appearance was even more fruitful.
“We’re going to continue to use this as one of our events that we go to,” he said, adding both the quantity and quality of meetings increased this year.
Espial was demonstrating an application with partner TransGaming out of Toronto that would bring games one might play on a smartphone such as solitaire to smart TVs through Espial as well as the cable or satellite or telephone company video service providers.
The firm has also partnered with Philadelphia’s OneTwoSee on a sports app aimed at enhancing the live sports television viewing experience.
“We were demonstrating a live NFL game, where … if you activate the application on our platform, you could be able to see specifics on the current play, how many yards, (and) based on score and who has the ball, the odds of victory for both teams,” he said. The app also lets users keep track of how specific players are performing in the game, an especially handy perk for members of fantasy football leagues.
With the majority of sports television viewed live, it’s an area where Espial’s customers have an advantage over Netflix or Youtube, Mr. Huppertz said.
“There’s so much money in sports in all aspects of it, from what the players make to the advertising value. It’s sort of a unique value to the operators,” he said, adding the demonstrations got a very positive response.
In addition to the NFL, OneTwoSee has apps for the National Hockey League and NASCAR, said Mr.Huppertz, with more on the way.
The show meant more than just the meetings for Espial. Some of the company’s software engineers were touring the various displays and exhibits searching out the latest trends that could affect Espial’s business in the future.
It wasn’t a tough sell to get them to attend, according to Mr. Huppertz.
“This is them in candyland,” he said. “We have to keep them away from the drones.”