Key Technology Leaders Speak at 2004 International CES
Jan 12, 2004
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More than 110,000 consumer electronics executives traveled to Las Vegas, NV, U.S. to experience how digital products and technology are transforming the way consumers access information and communications, as well as listen to pioneers helping to shape a digital world at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The show, which APPLIANCE magazine attended, ran Jan. 8-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, U.S.

"It's amazing to see how seamlessly connected and portable consumer technology has become," said Karen Chupka, vice president of events and conferences for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the producer of the International CES. "With nearly 2,500 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest consumer technology in the world, one steps foot into CES, entering a world of products and technology that is helping revolutionize the way we work and we play."

The International CES opened to a standing room only crowd as CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro delivered his annual State of the Industry Keynote Address. Mr. Shapiro announced that CEA is forecasting industry sales to top U.S. $101 billion in 2004.

He then discussed several initiatives or "New Years Resolutions" he would like see accomplished to help move the industry to the next level of growth and success.

Mr. Shapiro's first goal is for the industry to simplify the way consumer electronics (CE) products operate for consumers. Mr. Shapiro said CEA is working hard to achieve this goal by helping educate consumers about technology. In particular, he announced the expansion of several retail training programs covering audio, mobile electronics, home networking, and HDTV. Mr. Shapiro also announced the launch of a teen spokesman program aimed at educating the teen market on the latest developments in consumer technology.

Mr. Shapiro's second resolution focused on changing the way government thinks about consumer technology. "CE products help keep democracy as our right and our freedom," Mr. Shapiro explained. He listed home recording rights and product recycling as two central policy issues facing the industry.

Katherine Gornik, president of Thiel Audio and chairman of CEA, then described in detail the invaluable opportunities available for both large and small businesses that join CEA. Ms. Gornik touted the new CEA Small Business Council as an "excellent way" to foster growth and opportunity among small businesses. She also touted the opportunity to attend CEA events, network with peers in a non-competitive environment and becoming involved in CEA's many divisions, sub-divisions, and special-interest groups as ways to grow business.

Mr. Shapiro's and Ms. Gornik's State of the Industry Address segued into the 2004 International CES Opening Keynote Address by Fumio Ohtsubo, president of Panasonic AVC Networks and senior managing director of Matsushita Electric. Mr. Ohtsubo described his vision for a truly connected world through his concept of Lifestream.

"Products must help people maximize their time and save memories -- all the while making them easy to use," Mr. Ohtsubo said. "Our goal is to make products people want and the concept of Lifestream helps accomplish that."

Lifestream enables consumers to enjoy whatever they want whenever they want, Mr. Ohtsubo stated. He said the revolution would change life forever by simplifying products and their connectivity by allowing the access and editing of content and communication on demand.

Intel's Paul Otellini discussed the company's initiatives to move "from inside the computer to inside the home and consumer electronics products." He announced several new products and Intel's newest corporate division, the Intel Consumer Electronics Group (CEG).

Sharing his insights on the digital home Michael Dell, founder, president, and CEO of Dell Computer Corp., delivered a presentation on the company's recent move into the consumer electronics market. Dell already offers a wide range of products from LCD televisions and HD-capable projectors to handheld devices with built-in WiFi capabilities and "Dell DJ" MP3 players with a 15-hour battery life.

Mr. Dell also dedicated a significant portion of his presentation to the issue of electronics recycling and announced a community grant program through which Dell will be awarding funds to communities interested in implementing local recycling programs.

In his speech, Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, proclaimed that broadband and mobility are bringing about a transformation in how consumers communicate with each other. Mr. Seidenberg announced the addition of new EVDO technology that brings broadband to a laptop on demand. In addition, he touted iobi, a new network-based multi-modem technology developed to enhance communication.

Mr. Seidenberg also announced Verizon One, a multi-functional device that serves as a wireless phone, DSL modem, and Wi-Fi router.

During show's second keynote presentation by Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard (H-P), Ms. Fiorina said that the world is entering an era where all content is digital, mobile, and virtual. Ms. Fiorina also announced a partnership with Apple that will allow the popular iTunes service to run on the new HP digital music player set to hit the store shelves later this year.

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