CES 2019 Recap — An interview with Parkbob CEO Christian Adelsberger
Every year the tech world unites at CES to launch new products and showcase cutting-edge technology. Parkbob Founder and CEO Christian Adelsberger, who attended for the first time, tells us about the reaction around Parkbob’s big announcement and his overall impressions.
Christian, you visited the world’s largest consumer technology fair CES in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. What was it like for you?
It was very special. Last year, we visited the Detroit Auto Show. As a startup that is affiliated with the automotive industry, the “Motor City” is an obvious place to showcase what Parkbob is doing. What was surprising was that during the auto show many people told us that CES is a must visit for us. We did a bit of research, took the plunge and wow, they were right..
What was your first impression?
What totally struck me was the fact that CES has transformed into a huge auto show in itself. The big TV and Smartphone manufacturers are still there, but the car related exhibition is growing at a rapid rate. The number of companies dealing with mobility and connected cars is enormous and it’s not just a few startups or big automakers. The topic touches all industries.
Parkbob is a good example of a company that is benefiting from the tech explosion in the automotive world. You were able to make a big announcement in Las Vegas, can you give us an insight?
Of course, I am super happy that we were able to announce that we teamed up with Amazon. Amazon Echo Auto, to be precise. The announcement generated a lot of positive buzz and it is an example of what I said before. Startups, car manufacturers and software companies are all teaming up to start a new phase of mobility, the major push to autonomous connected cars
Did you see any examples of the mobility of the future?
One of the most striking examples that I saw were the autonomous cars deployed by Lyft. They had a lot of self-driving cabs in Las Vegas. Granted, there was a still someone in the car as a security backup, but the car picked a client up and drove that person autonomously to their destination. This was truly amazing.
What were other big trends at CES this year?
Voice assistants are clearly the next big thing. Alexa, Google, Siri just to name a few. Daimler showed a new version of their MBUX-System with better voice recognition. And there are progressive new challengers coming up like “Chris” from German Autolabs. So far, voice assistants have mostly been used in smart homes, but cars are a perfect use case due to the fact that it keeps driver’s eyes on the road.
So IoT will be connecting everything, as has been predicted for a few years?
I firmly believe that, yes. Just think how a voice assistant can help you find parking. You don’t have to look for one yourself or drive around for hours. You can ask your Incar-Entertainment system “Where is the next parking spot” and it will help you find the next open parking spot via Parkbob right away.
What did you learn from your visit to Las Vegas personally?
That would be two things. The first thing is the openness towards new technology everybody has in the US. Most people there think about opportunities, not about risk. It’s a totally different mindset compared to what we often experience here in Europe, and I like this way of thinking. Instead of being anxious about the future, Americans embrace it.
And the second thing?
That was a bit funny. When you tried to leave the conference, you had to stand in line to get a cab for an hour or more. Even if you tried to get an Uber or Lyft, it took 40 minutes until you got one. At the same time, buses that were going from the conference center to nearly all Hotels in Las Vegas were totally empty. Even though they left every 10 or 15 minutes. This goes to show that despite all the talk about micro mobility and innovation there is still a huge focus on cars. We should think more about mobility as a whole, not the mode of mobility.