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CES 2018 Lights up Las Vegas

California
Innovation Center January 17th, 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has just come to an end in Las Vegas, and I was lucky enough to be there again. Since 2002, when CES was still focused on consumer electronics (TV, DVD, audio and some first smart home concepts), I have been visiting CES regularly. Walking around this year’s world’s largest consumer technology show, you come across many things – holographic technology, smart pet assistants, wallpaper televisions, VR/AR, autonomous vehicles, and motorcycle-riding robots, just to name a few. What spikes my curiosity however, is how will these innovations improve the lives of people? Do they fulfill real needs or are they just smart gadgets? Surely, not all of them will improve the lives and the health of people. However, many of them will truly impact consumers – innovative solutions that deliver against unmet needs.  

What was really exciting, is that two examples of our recently unveiled partnerships received a lot of attention at CES and especially at our J&J suite. The first one is the next phase of collaboration with Rest Devices, Inc. which has led to the birth of the Nod app, a baby sleep coach that tracks infant sleep habits in the palm of parent’s hands. The second one is our collaboration with FitSkin, in which we co-created the SkinScanner beauty tool that provides on-demand imaging and analysis. Paired with Neutrogena’s Skin360 app, consumers can now receive customized skincare regimens based on their individualized measurements of their skin condition. After the keynote presentation by Naomi and Josh, we learned that already 1200 people pre-ordered the tool online.

Walking on the huge floors of the Sands Expo and the Convention Center (yes, I wore my sneakers), I saw impressive booths of large companies such as Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Philips, and Nokia. There were multiple booths in the baby tech area, where our partner, Rest Devices, showed the Nod app. There was no specific beauty tech area, as start-ups in this space were spread around the various expo floors. One remarkable startup was Foreo (Sweden): they had set up a sort of well-protected, top-secret area where they showed a beauty device that can heat and massage mask solutions on your face in 90 seconds.

The area that got much more attention than last year, was sleep: there were more than 20 sleep-related companies in a large sleep tech area. As you know, we are working hard on the sleep adjacency. It is clear that we are on to something and we need to move fast with competition waking up…

I spent most of my time at the Eureka area, which was in the basement of the Sands Expo hall. In this area, there were over 900 startups, which had no more space than size of a table. Many early and a few more mature startups showed their innovations and talked tirelessly about what keeps them busy day and night. This was great fun and the best place to be. I saw quite a few startups that we know, but also many new ones. Unfortunately, most of these 900 startups will likely not exist anymore next year.

I value the journey of a game-changing innovation and the passion of inventors and entrepreneurs. I think of ways my teams can elevate external technologies to higher levels, bringing more life-changing innovations to our consumers. Co-creating with external innovators is a huge part of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc’s success. 

As a company that provides some of the most iconic brands and products in the world, it is important to remember that we simply cannot solve all consumer needs alone. We must work to revolutionize our ways of thinking and look outside of our walls to harness the latest (digital) technologies. That is why we look to others with common goals and values, to partner to achieve success in delivering meaningful consumer experiences and better health outcomes.

It was fantastic to see our external collaborations come to life at CES this year. Stay tuned…. More to come from our Johnson & Johnson Consumer partnerships.

All the best,
John Bell
VP External Innovation

Sony’s new Aibo Robo Dog.

Sony’s new Aibo Robo Dog.

Innovative virtual reality surgeon training to drive better patient outcomes.

Innovative virtual reality surgeon training to drive better patient outcomes.

Huge wall of OLED TVs from LG with impressive colors and brightness.

Huge wall of OLED TVs from LG with impressive colors and brightness.

Luxury RV complete with a mini helicopter.

Luxury RV complete with a mini helicopter. 

Baby sleep and activity tracking wearable that pairs with the Nod app created by Rest Devices, Inc., in partnership with JOHNSON’S®.

Baby sleep and activity tracking wearable that pairs with the Nod app created by Rest Devices, Inc., in partnership with JOHNSON’S®. 

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