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CES 2018: Interview with Gary Shapiro (CTA)

An exclusive interview with Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Just before the start of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, our editor, Julia Froolyks, had the opportunity to talk exclusively to Gary Shapiro, who is the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The CTA is a US American business association for consumer goods. It also organizes the annual CES in Las Vegas.

If you want to read the German version of the interview, please have a look at the article: Ausblick auf die CES 2018: Interview with Gary Shapiro.

handy.de: If you think about the highlights visitors of CES can expect this year, which technology would you say will be the most innovative?

Gary Shapiro (CTA): The innovative spirit that embodies our industry will be felt across the entire spectrum of technology at CES 2018, from the latest in self-driving tech and smart cities to smart home, robotics, AR, VR, biometrics and more.

Connectivity will be ubiquitous throughout the show, and 5G will fuel new innovation as it binds together our digital and physical worlds. Voice and speech recognition will also move further into the mainstream in 2018, changing the way we interact with technology and becoming more prevalent across devices, especially in cars.

And CES 2018 will showcase the latest in smart city and Internet of Things technology. Today, over half of the world lives in cities and soon that will increase to two-thirds of the global population. Cities are facing new challenges that strain resources and impact the quality of life for residents. CES 2018 will feature the latest in Smart Cities technology, including AI, 5G, self-driving technology and the power of data that will help to solve many of the challenges of urban living.

handy.de: In an interview with twice.com, you mentioned the consumers‘ resistance to changes in technology. How does CTA try to counteract this behavior? How can CES help people not be overwhelmed by new technologies?

Gary Shapiro (CTA): Technology is fundamentally changing our lives for the better—and that’s happening right now, all around the world. Drones deliver medical supplies to people living in remote areas; 3D-printing produces less-expensive prosthetic limbs for growing children; virtual reality helps doctors treat burn patients and people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But change can be unsettling. At the turn of the last century, if Henry Ford had asked Americans how transportation could improve, they wouldn’t have envisioned the automobile—instead, they’d have told him, ‘We want faster horses that eat less!’ But as consumers experience the benefits of innovation, they get more comfortable with new technologies.

At CTA, we are passionate about innovation—we protect and advocate for policies that encourage innovation in the U.S. and countries around the world. At CES, we’re unveiling our inaugural International Innovation Scorecard to identify the countries most conducive to innovation—Germany graded well on fast, affordable internet; strong R&D spending; an educated workforce and policies on self-driving vehicles. And CES is the perfect place for us to help policymakers experience new innovations for themselves. We’ll welcome more than 200 international government officials to CES 2018 to discuss the policies that affect technology and see, touch and try the innovations their own countries’ laws may help or hinder.

handy.de: With regard to the automobile industry, Ford will show up at CES with some of their latest innovations in self-driving cars. How long do you think it will take to see a lot more self-driving cars on the streets worldwide?

Gary Shapiro (CTA): More than 400 companies will unveil advancements in vehicle tech at CES 2018 that will make our cars more connected and our roads safer, including 10 major automakers. Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett will also share his insights on where the market is headed, including self-driving technology, during his opening CES 2018 keynote on January 9.

Self-driving tech will soon be an everyday reality in many parts of the world. To propel self-driving technologies, countries should set up a national, unified goal to cut traffic fatalities by a specific date – encouraging key stakeholders embrace self-driving vehicles, which have the potential to cut the majority of crashes caused by human error.

More than 1.25 million people die each year around the globe due to road traffic crashes. Self-driving technology will bring added safety to our roads. Self-driving vehicles will also bring $1.3 trillion in savings from productivity gains, reduced fuel costs and accident prevention. Self-driving innovation is changing the game for the automotive industry and the latest will be unveiled at CES 2018.

handy.de: What do you consider to be the most powerful invention on the Internet of Things and why?

Gary Shapiro (CTA): IoT touches nearly every product category, from automotive to smart home, robotics, digital health, sports tech and more. IoT will continue to have a major impact on our global cities. With a focus on IoT and connectivity, cities are solving challenges by investing in self-driving cars and buses, emergency preparedness and reducing waste. The future of smart cities is bright as technology transforms urban transportation, energy use and utilities, health and public safety through the use of IoT, 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

handy.de: What do you find lacking on the Internet of Things? What do you imagine might go online in the future?

Gary Shapiro (CTA): The possibilities are endless with IoT. We live in a world so connected it would have seemed unimaginable just 20 years ago. IoT brings a personalized connectivity to the devices we use every day – our phone, refrigerator, thermostat, home security system, car, watch and even our clothes. IoT makes our world smarter and faster and it will revolutionize nearly every market, including healthcare, agriculture, engineering, urban infrastructure and beyond and the latest will be on display at CES 2018.