The Consumer Electronics Show presented by the CTA takes place in Las Vegas annually featuring the biggest innovations and announcements in technology, products, companies, startups, and brands from around the World. This year is no different, the show, in its 50th year, kicked off yesterday with a record-breaking show floor that spans more than 2.75 million net square feet, hosting over 3,900 exhibitors (including 900 startups), the launch of over 20,000 products this week alone, however, one thing remains the same - the lack of diversity.
As a society, we've been down this road before, in the past year, (or just yesterday), you've most likely read other articles (like this one) shedding light on the lack of inclusion and diversity in many other industires, besides technology. From the world of social media influencers, Hollywood, travel, and the list goes on, however, technology has been infamous.
If you take a look at the CES keynote speakers, you'll "see no women, no members of the black, Latina or Native communities. Not a single person who identifies as LGBTQ, nor any other attribute that places them outside the dominant culture of tech." This is not a mere coincidence. In the past seven years, only three women have spoken on CES's main stage.
Anyone can clearly recognize why this is problematic, and many, both men and women alike, agree. A month ago Twitter's CMO, Leslie Berland tweeted about this issue. As well as, Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase, Kristin Lemkau, she even gave a extensive list, which eventually encouraged others to add to a thread of women who were qualified to speak this year. The amount of time she spent creating the list? - "in less time than it took to drink coffee".
A community dedicated to ensure that women are always part of the public dialog, Gender Avenger, directly addressed CES numerous times about the issue, however, with no prevail. This years excuse for lack of female inclusion? Organizers claim the reason being a "limited pool". This ignitied the commuity to protest this week at the show, as well, create the hashtag #CESSoMale to raise much-needed awareness, as well, start yet another (repetitive) conversation... where are the women at CES? While CES has yet to address the lack of diversity in the lineup this week, many women execs are currently speaking out about this issue.
By now, we all should understand the dire need, numerous advantages, and benefits of diversity and inclusion in all industries, as well as, the fate without? (i.e. H&M) All voices, especially women, deserve and need to be heard more than ever in every industry.
Down below are a few women founders, companies, and products that are currently exhibitng at CES 2018. These companies are worth checking out if you're currently attending the show or be sure to keep an eye out for this year.
Keen (by HabitWare) is a smart bracelet that helps people like its founder, Aneela Kumar, take control of unwanted behaviors like hair pulling, skin picking, and nail biting. These mental health disorders are collectively known as body focused repetitive behaviors and negatively impact the lives of 30 Million Americans.
"I was a hair puller for 20+ years." says Kumar. "It began as a coping mechanism for my father's battle with cancer. Until my husband caught me without eyebrows and we set out on a journey to make something that made me aware: Keen."
Launched in April 2017, Keen has been helping thousands take control using customized gesture detection. Keen is trained using a mobile app for the specific behavior/motion and sends a vibration as a gentle reminder to move the hands away. With this awareness, our Keen family is retraining their brains to healthier habits and taking control of these debilitating disorders.
From Portugual, Winner of 2017 Women Who Tech Challenge in VR, AR and AI (hosted at Google) female founder, Verónica Orvalho of My Didimo will be exhibitng at CES. Orvalho explains My Didimo: "We aim to humanize technology by automatically crating a virtual representation of yourself in seconds that looks, speaks and acts like you. You will now be able to interact in any digital world VR, AR, games, mobiles you name it. With Didimo we help you overcome digital isolation and bring back empathy into digital interaction."
JunYi Liu is the CEO of Echo Music, the music software experts, present the ultimate audio wearable at CES 2018 - IP6 waterproof bone-conduction sunglasses and glasses for prescription wearers that play music and radio without cutting off the outside world. The MusicLens range of sunglasses and prescription glasses marry ultimate personal listening with supreme style. Echo Music will demo its innovative range of wearable audio technology to test and trial at CES 2018 in Las Vegas between the 9th and 12th of January at South Hall 3 booth #30061 (located at Insta 360’s booth).
Yates is the CEO and Co-Founder of Nima, startup bringing peace of mind to meal time. Nima just announced (this week) a second portable sensor - a device that tests food for peanuts. Nima's first product was a sensor that detected gluten for the millions of Americans with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Nima is exhibiting at Digital Health Summit booth #43434 (Sands Expo).
ClickDishes is the first social foodie app and mobile platform to enable all restaurants to offer Starbucks-esque mobile ordering. Its main feature is ‘Grab&Go’ ordering, allows consumers to order their meal from their phone, skip the line, and pick up their food from the selected restaurant’s pick-up area when it is ready. The ‘Grab&Go +’ feature is an invitation function that allows users to invite friends and family to place an order with them when they are ordering via the app. Vicki Zhou is an experienced entrepreneur, having been the Operations and Marketing Manager of another startup, Nomme, which is a food delivery app that has partnered with over 400 restaurants and is one of the top tech women entrepreneurs in Canada.
A bonus women founder you should know of...just because:
BlueSmart mia is a silicone sleeve that slips on the bottom of a baby bottle that uses Wi-Fi to connect to an accompanying app to track when and how much your baby has been fed, the milk temperature, and angle you’re holding the bottle. It also lets users share their baby’s app profile with trusted family members and their pediatrician. BlueSmart mia will be exhibiting at Sands Expo Hall throughout the week.
I'm sure there are many more amazing comapnies (women founded) attending and/or participating at CES this year - feel free to leave others in the comments below. The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) concludes on January 12.
For more information about CES, the events this week, and more visit here.