Local firms make the trek to the International Consumer Electronics Show


Dan Simpkins with a remote control produced by Hillcrest Labs. The company will have two suites for the Consumer Electronics Show. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)
January 8, 2012

The Washington region isn’t exactly known for its consumer electronics. Though the region ranks among the top markets for technology talent, those skills more often are applied to fields such as information technology, cybersecurity and software.

But the region will not go unrepresented at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show.

Exhibitor records show that 76 companies from Maryland, Virginia and the District have registered to participate. Scores of other local businesspeople and tech enthusiasts undoubtedly will attend as observers.

Capital Business spoke with a handful of companies before they boarded planes to Las Vegas about their plans for the show. Here’s what they had to say:

Hillcrest Laboratories is no stranger to CES. In fact, the Rockville firm’s motion sensor technology that allows a television remote control to be used much like a magic wand has won praise for its ingenuity.

But this year, the company is doubling its presence — literally. Chief executive Dan Simpkins said they’ve upgraded from one to two suites at a nearby hotel where they’ll have products on display and conduct 60 meetings with prospective clients and partners. The suites, he said, are more conducive to business than the showroom floor.

“The excitement for us is the world has finally figured out that this technology is no longer even a differentiator, it’s critical to making these products function in the way consumers today expect them to function,” Simpkins said.

The company has pushed four products to market in the past year that it’s eager to sell. It has a new line of remote controls that companies can rebrand as well as software that allows others to embed Hillcrest’s motion technology in their own products.

You will find Dulles-based Echo360 on the showroom floor. The education technology company will have video cameras set up where attendees can record mock lectures and watch the recordings play back.

Colleges use the technology to capture lectures for later viewing. Chief executive Fred Singer, a former Washington Post executive, said it can help students with language barriers or learning disabilities, and can be used for distance learning.

The show also will serve as a launchpad for its two newest products: A video software where lessons stream in real time and a Web site where colleges can host and store recordings.

Germantown-based Hughes Network Systems plans to showcase its next-generation satellite network, which will deliver Internet at higher speeds to the firm’s 600,000 subscribers across North America.

Senior vice president Mike Cook said Hughes already has made improvements to the network, including increasing the amount subscribers can download each day, and plans to launch a new satellite, called Jupiter, in the second quarter.

“There’s much more media-rich content out there that people want access to,” Cook said. “What we continue to do is upgrade our networks to be at pace with the increasing appetite our subscribers have for media-rich content.”

Video Semantics plans to make its CES debut this year as part of the Eureka Park exhibit, a portion of the show devoted to start-ups. The Ellicott City firm has received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop technology that analyzes the content of videos so it can turn up in relevant searches in social media and search engines.

The application of electronics to health and fitness will be among the major themes at CES this year. District-based Audax Health hopes to capi­tal­ize on that. The firm plans to debut its Web site, called Careverge, that connects people to other users and information based on their medical history.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
SECTION: {section=business, subsection=capitalbusiness}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=business, subsection=capitalbusiness}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Business