Connected cars. Smart homes. Health care technology. 3-D printers. We saw all of this and much, much, more from the 3,200 companies participating in the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Manufacturers had a dominating presence once again this year. What we also saw was a heavy dose of participation from government leaders and manufacturing policy experts talking about how Washington can impact their business.
At a discussion on connected cars NHTSA Administrator David Strickland called CES a must-see auto show and observed that automobile manufacturers have become technology companies. On the panel following his remarks were representatives from NAM members Verizon, Toyota, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. All were in agreement that Washington cannot stifle innovation through regulation. They called for collaboration on issues like data security, privacy, and cybersecurity
FTC Commissioner Maureen Olhausen led a panel discussion on the internet of things which quickly brought to light importance of big data and the airwaves needed to move it. That also led to the privacy implications of this data and who owns it and will businesses and consumers adopt the technology widely. We were pleased to hear Olhausen say that government must approach new technology with “regulatory humility” which ended up being one of the catch phrases of the show.
And of course this issue of intellectual property and how to protect it was on everyone’s mind. The NAM has been very active in this space given the abusive patent litigation that faces manufacturers. FTC Commissioner Julie Brill called for changes to the patent system that improves patent quality and reduces frivolous lawsuits.
Manufacturers are clearly leading technology development in all industries. What’s also clear is that there is a lot on deck for 2014. The NAM and our D.A.T.A. Policy center will lead the partnership with and education of government officials to make sure our leadership and job growth continues. We invite you to join us!
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