CES® 2017, the largest consumer electronics showcase in the world, sets the stage for the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2017 Semi-Finals taking place January 7th at 1PM PST. Ahead of the Semi-Finals, the masterminds behind XTC, MaiTai Global, are thrilled to reveal the Top 10 who will pitch their venture live on-stage at CES in hopes of being one of three companies selected to move onto the final round taking place on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. A hotly-contested battle thus far, the Top 10 Semi-Finalists were announced December 3rd at MaiTai Global’s annual Ocean Gala in San Francisco and now forge on to the glittering backdrop of Las Vegas.
When buying a car, for example, the consumer not only can choose between a Lexus and a Chevrolet, but also decide on particular features, such as wire wheels or gold trim. Patrick Freuler, chief executive of Audicus, an online company that partners with a German manufacturer to sell private-label hearing aids, makes the point that consumers are not being offered the low-cost choices, but are being presented with only luxury devices.
When Medgadget was offered a chance to test drive a new direct to consumer personal audio amplifier from Audicus, we picked up on the invitation. You see, one of our editors, just like Charles Darwin, is a life long sufferer from Ménière’s disease, with the resultant tinnitus and bilateral low-pitch hearing loss. So for this editor the idea of a discounted behind-the-ear device is a matter of personal necessity.
Audicus, a startup that sells hearing aids through an online shop at much lower prices than its storefront counterparts, has a vast team of representatives readily available to hop on the phone with its customers — a rarity in Silicon Valley, which almost exclusively handles questions or complaints through digital channels.