2011 CES Round-up

by Fred Showker

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International CES WOWs World With Innovation And Optimism Keynotes From Ford, Cisco, Ge, Xerox And The Entertainment Community Top Day Two Of The 2011 CES... FCC Chairman Genachowski Discusses Broadband, Spectrum Reform and Competition Policy with CEA's Shapiro

A keynote address from Ford CEO Alan Mulally, the Innovation Power Panel with leaders from Cisco, GE and Xerox, along with the first-ever Entertainment Matters keynote panel were the day two highlights of the 2011 International CES. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2011 CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, runs through Sunday in Las Vegas.

Friday morning's CES Innovation Power Panel keynote provided a unique discussion with three U.S. business luminaries -- Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox; John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco and Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE. Moderated by CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, the Innovation Power Panel discussion included many issues that affect American businesses' ability to innovate, including the U.S. education system, trade and exports, immigration policy and tax policy.

On education, the panelists agreed the U.S. K-12 system is broken. They recommended a measurable program with ambitious goals that would move the U.S. education to the top five in the world, from the top 30. Panelists agreed that the U.S. needs an immigration policy that encourages the best and the brightest not only to come attend college, but also to start companies in the U.S. and remain.

Burns expressed dismay about the process of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, noting that she's on President Obama's Export Council, and called so much of the information she receives "illogical." Noting that innovation can help grow our economy if the right public policies are adopted, Chambers cited with approval many themes from Gary Shapiro's new book, "The Comeback:  How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream." The panel agreed with Chambers’ observation that the U.S. is at point of inflection, a tipping point, emphasizing that for all of these issues, we have "got to do better job of government and business working together."

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, took to the stage for the second morning keynote. Mulally introduced the Ford Focus Electric, Ford's first electric vehicle and the first car the company has unveiled at CES. Mulally announced that Ford will have five electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2012. 

"Today we are plugging in more than electric cars, but the whole Ford company," said Mulally.  The Ford Focus Electric will charge in just over three hours using a 240 volt outlet. Owners will be able to use Value Charging Powered by Microsoft, which will only charge the vehicle when utility rates are at the absolute lowest.

The Entertainment Matters keynote panel, moderated by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, featured Akamai's David Kenny, The Coca-Cola Company's Joseph Tripodi, Interpublic Group's  Michael Roth, Microsoft's Mich Mathews and WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell. The executives discussed the interconnection between technology and marketing, the need to leverage technology to build brand and engage customers and the challenge of managing communities rather than exclusively pushing content. Kenny encouraged companies to develop technological strength because “great innovation comes from companies that have depth."

This afternoon's one-on-one session with the FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and CEA's Shapiro discussed developments in broadband, spectrum reform, competition policy and other issues impacting the consumer electronics industry.  Genachowski began by discussing spectrum saying, "what's happening here at CES so strongly illustrates both the immense opportunity and the critical challenge around this vital public resource."

Genachowski concluded, "To the hundreds of companies and groups that have called for incentive auctions, I share your vision of what's necessary for U.S. leadership in mobile. I look forward to working together to fight for our future."

At a morning SuperSession, Big Thinkers Disruptive Technologies, panelists from AT&T, Zoran Corp., NVIDIA, Real D and Synaptics pointed to advancements in smartphones and tablets, cloud computing and wireless connectivity. Ted Theocheung, vice president of the PC and digital home division at Synaptics, remarked that tablets acting as remote controls will compel consumers to be more interactive with content.

The final SuperSession, Consumer 360 – Gadgets Everywhere and the Role of Wireless, was moderated by Rajeev Chand, Managing Director and Head of Research, Rutberg & Company, LLC. The panel featured executives from GM, Intel, AT&T, Motorola Mobility and Best Buy's The Geek Squad.  The group had a wide-ranging conversation about the role wireless networks will play with emerging devices, like tablets. The panelists agreed that at some point in the near future, consumers will be able to access all of their content anywhere, anytime across multiple devices. 

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Unless noted otherwise, this page and content was authored by Fred Showker, Editor and Publisher of DTG Magazine and 60-Seconds.com. You can hook up with Fred at +FredShowker, on Google+ or most social medias @Showker



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