Consumer Electronics Association Archives - Shopfloor

Manufacturers Partnering to Drive Innovation in Vegas

By | Technology | No Comments

We all know the good ol’ days of stopping at a gas station in a strange town asking for directions are behind us. So are the days of searching through your glove box for change to make a phone call. All of these tasks can be done with a screen on the dashboard or with the help of a virtual co-pilot just a voice-command away. Today’s vehicles are even more technologically advanced than ever, inspiring the term “cloud car” – showing how connected we can remain even behind the wheel.

The car is the ultimate mobile technology and manufacturers in the U.S. like Bosch, Chrysler, Ford, Garmin International, General Motors, Hyundai, Subaru, and Toyota are taking significant steps to improve safety, convenience, navigation and customer service through innovation. Americans spend a lot of time in their cars, from commuting to work, driving our kids around to the countless other things in life that keep us on the go. The NAM saw first-hand today at the 2013 CES what technology is doing for the future of vehicles.

Garmin International unveiled their “next-generation infotainment system” that is turning the dashboard into a digital cockpit that gets drivers where they need to go by providing critical communications, vehicle information while keeping their eyes on the road.

General Motors has developed a mobile system that allows drivers to add apps/features to vehicles after purchase. With technology constantly shifting and improving, this keeps car owners from being left out of the latest and greatest mobile options.

Subaru is using the cloud for an internally developed streamlined communications for its direct parts suppliers, increasing the efficiency of production, reducing errors, and getting vehicles to consumers more quickly.

Toyota revealed “self-driving cars,” a stunning breakthrough showcasing vehicles equipped with devices that allow it to detect and automatically respond to its surroundings. It’s an impressive step forward in technologies that help drivers avoid accidents and improve automobile safety.

What You Can’t See at CES is what Really Drives Innovation

By | Technology | No Comments

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest convention of the year in Las Vegas. The organizers estimate that close to 160,000 people will visit the show this week. Attendees come from all over the world to see the latest smartphones, in-vehicle technology, gaming innovations, and home appliances to name just a few. Every square inch of the convention center is packed with new technology – even the parking lots are tented over. But it is what you don’t see here that is really the secret to all these technology advances: the wireless telecommunications infrastructure that differentiates many of these innovations.

Wireless technology is what allows the navigation systems being showcased in many of the vehicles at CES to work. It is how smartphones can show you the latest movies in the palm of your hand. It is what powers the connected homes that give all of us the ability to reduce our energy consumption.  Wireless technology is not only what we want for our electronic s, it is frankly what we need.

This need for wireless technology and services is also putting stress on the airwaves – known as spectrum – on which the information travels. Spectrum is a finite resource and users of it are working hard to develop more innovative and efficient ways to use it. But the users can only do so much. The government plays a major role. The agency that regulates the use of spectrum is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and it has been directed by Congress to repurpose and auction unused or underutilized spectrum. How the FCC handles these auctions could have a major impact on all manufacturers.

The NAM has repeatedly communicated to the FCC the importance of wireless technology to manufacturers. Our member companies use it to communicate with their employees, manage supply chains, and connect with their customers. We have therefore stressed to the FCC that it cannot pick winners and losers when setting up the rules of the road for these auctions. The process should be open to all and no conditions should be placed on the participants. This will ensure the market drives the next wireless innovations and the regulatory process does not unnecessarily slow it down.

Patient Centered Health Care: Modernizing Health Care Through Technology

By | General, Health Care, Technology | No Comments

Controlling healthcare costs is a serious concern for manufacturers and consistently ranks as one of the top cost drivers for companies. Healthcare information technology (HIT) provides an opportunity to streamline processes, put more power in the hands of consumers and lower costs.  This week, at the Consumer Electronics Show, the intersection between healthcare delivery, consumers and IT is highlighted.  Mobile applications that allow consumers to manage their health and healthcare resources 24 hours a day, such as mobile applications and telehealth capabilities, allow for management of chronic illnesses. These technologies bridge critical gaps in access for some and provide additional flexibility for others. Employers and employees can manage healthcare costs by reducing complications associated with chronic disease, such as diabetes.

In addition, HIT and other technologies can facilitate more informed decisions, greater use of preventative services, assist care coordination, reduce fraud and abuse, improve delivery of services, and generate better overall health outcomes. For example, in-home assessments performed on a tablet, can improve the quality of care by improving care management services and reducing hospital readmissions while also identifying potential issues for patients to discuss with their primary care doctor. These are important issues to health care industry and NAM member United Health Group is one of the companies striving to make the system better.

Dr. Reed Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for the United Health Group, said today that the health care technologies they are offering allow patients to utilize information to achieve the goals of their health care plans. Specifically he says that, “Health care cost calculators like those offered by United Health Care Group technologies allows consumers to know the exact price of all their clinical engagement – how much it costs for a procedure, hospital, by clinician, and more importantly, know the quality of the care delivery system. That information made available online allows people to truly participate in and make better medical care choices. We need the NAM to continue to be a leadership force for change that will improve health care for employers and consumers.”

The NAM is committed to continuing that leadership in order to ensure that the 97 percent of manufacturers that provide health benefits remain on the cutting edge. Technological innovation is driving modern manufacturing and can also drive modern healthcare, which provides for better outcomes and reduced costs. The future of healthcare is here and many manufacturers are leading the way by adopting these technologies.

Manufacturers Take the Lead In STEM Education

By | Technology | No Comments

The U.S. the leading producer of cutting-edge products such as those on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Whether it’s in IT, biotech, aerospace, medical devices or heavy machinery, US companies will be the ones to constantly and consistently create new and better things. This future promises to be bright, but only if we have the workforce capable of pushing that leading-edge. And right now, that doesn’t look like a very good bet.  The lack of a skilled workforce is a constant threat to manufacturing growth. In fact in a recent survey 82% of manufacturers reported a moderate-to-serious shortage in skilled production labor.  Worker shortages abound not only among machinists and welders but also in occupations requiring expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where the unemployment rate today lies well below 4%.

The US needs to refocus our workforce training resources and reform our immigration system to continue to grow and innovate. Immigration reform is a serious issue for Manufacturers not only in the High-tech arena but across manufacturing sectors. Without a skilled workforce – from the PhDs to production labor, the nation’s economy will suffer and jobs will be moved overseas. Access to the right individual with the right skills at the right time will ensure that the US remains a global innovation leader.

The Bosch Group and Global Foundries are two companies taking this critical issue head on. The Bosch Community Fund launched last year to improve STEM education and will award up to $3 million in grants annually, providing additional support for the company’s charitable and community efforts in the U.S., with a focus on science, technology and environmental initiatives.

Global Foundries has committed to growing their talent through partnerships with community colleges and universities. At their Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York their workforce development efforts have begun to bear fruit with hundreds of hires made through ongoing collaboration with local partners including Hudson Valley County Community College, Schenectady County Community College, RPI, College of Nanoscale and Engineering at U Albany and Saratoga Board of Supervisors.

The Consumer Electronics Show puts on the display the best of American innovation and a skilled workforce invents, plans, produces and markets that innovation. We should focus American resources towards ensuring the CES of tomorrow will be even stronger than this year.

Corning @ CES: A Show Made of Glass

By | Technology | No Comments

Today at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it is hard not to go anywhere without seeing the impact of manufacturing innovation. We were amazed to learn more about NAM member Corning and how their products have revolutionized the tech industry.

Corning Incorporated is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Drawing on more than 160 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences. This innovation going back to the 1800’s was on full display here in Las Vegas.

For example, if you are reading this blog post on your mobile device, the odds are you are viewing it through Corning® Gorilla® Glass. Gorilla Glass is the standard for protective cover glass performance and can be found on more than 33 brands, 900 models, and 1 billion of the world’s coolest smartphones, tablets and PCs.

As cool as Gorilla Glass is what’s even cooler for the U.S. manufacturing economy is that it is designed and produced in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and other Corning facilities, from which it is then exported all around the world. It is a true U.S. manufacturing success story – driven by Corning’s strategic innovation – that capitalized on the technology boom around the world. Even in the economic downturn, Corning’s plant in Kentucky and its 400 workers were busy supplying their global customers.

Another part of the Gorilla Glass story is that Corning made another strategic decision to keep their research, development and the resulting intellectual property (IP) here in the United States. IP is what separates Corning from its competitors around the world and they need to ensure they operate in a system which protects it.

This year on Capitol Hill the issue of intellectual property and how to strengthen the system that protects it is likely to be a hot topic. The NAM will continue to be the voice of manufacturers so that products like Gorilla Glass continue to be developed in the U.S. – and create jobs here.

Manufacturers: A Solid Bet at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show

By | Technology | No Comments

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas and manufacturers are all over the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow. The NAM is here at the convention center with a front row seat and talking with our member companies and the policy makers in town for the event. We are excited to see the latest innovations from manufacturers that will be on display this week and we plan to tell you all about it in real-time through this blog series and the NAM twitter feed, @shopfloorNAM.

Manufacturers are leading technology innovators. The NAM hears from our members around the country almost every day about the high-tech solutions they deliver. They know they need to innovate in their products, processes, and delivery if they are to compete globally.

At CES, which is owned and produced by NAM member the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), consumers and customers alike will see manufacturers’ innovation leadership up close and personal. They will see it in the stand alone products from semi-conductors to home appliances. They will feel it when they sit in the driver’s seat of the newest vehicle or download the latest app to reduce their home or office energy costs.

Eric Reed, Verizon’s Vice President of Entertainment & Tech Policy and chair of the NAM Technology Subcommittee, had this to say about the 2013 CES. “The International CES show is important to the manufacturing community because it demonstrates how manufacturers are a critical component of the innovation ecosystem. Be it a Smart TV, advanced telematics for automobiles, mobile devices or the next generation set-top box, NAM members are at the cutting edge of technological innovation. CES 2013 is shaping up to be the most exciting ever, and NAM members are big contributors.”

This technology leadership is also driving our policy agenda in Washington. The NAM is working to make sure the intellectual property of manufacturers is protected; that broadband technologies are widely available and accessible to power the new devices and machines on the shop floor; that the workers with the right skills for high-tech manufacturing environments are available; and developing the latest security and privacy tools to secure the data in our facilities and that of our customers.

The NAM is going to highlight from the CES floor all week how manufacturers are leveraging technology. Stay tuned to Shopfloor.org to learn more about why manufacturers are a solid bet if you want to ensure we create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.

NLRB Complaint: ‘A Reckless Effort to Placate a Political Ally’

By | Briefly Legal, Economy, General, Labor Unions | No Comments

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) led an attempt to defund the National Labor Relations Board in the U.S. House earlier this year, and he continues to vigorously criticize the board following the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing for locating new production facilities in South Carolina. In a statement, Rep. Price says:

The decision by the NLRB to attack a company trying to create American jobs is emblematic of the current administration and its attempts to punish success and pick winners and losers in our economy.  This is an absolutely reckless effort to placate a political ally at a time when we should be encouraging companies to invest and grow.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, also identifies political solicitude as the impetus for the NLRB move against the aircraft manufacturer. In a Forbes.com column, “Federal Government Attacks on Boeing Fuel Our National Economic Suicide,” Shapiro writes:

Sometimes by favoring a narrow constituency, the federal government can cause economic devastation for a company or a state and even encourage companies to manufacture outside the United States. In terms of sheer economic stupidity, the Obama Administration committed an economic felony when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered Boeing to shutter a spanking new $2 billion facility that would have created 1,000 much-needed new jobs in South Carolina.

In addition, the letter from nine attorneys general to the NLRB’s acting general counsel calling on him to withdrawn the complaint continues to draw attention.

Well, You Shouldn’t Be Driving in the First Place

By | Communications, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

From George Ou at Digital Society, “California vehicle standard blocks cell, radio, and GPS“:

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) just passed a new regulation that requires glazed glass in automobiles that is supposed to reduce the need to use air conditioning.  The catch is that the same properties that block electromagnetic sunlight radiation also blocks lower frequency electromagnetic radio waves.  That means radios, satellite radios, GPS, garage door openers, and cell phones will be severely degraded.  Even more surprising is that it requires this glass even for jeeps that have soft covers, plastic windows, and no air conditioning.  Furthermore, the rules are so stringent that they effectively make sunroofs black, even though many consumers use the covers.

Here’s some background on CARB.  This is the same group of regulators who passed a controversial regulation that would require completely new diesel engines which will cause the state tremendous economic loss, and the same group who mandated the costly use of carcinogenic MTBE in California’s reformulated gasoline.

Meanwhile, the California State Energy Commission is getting ready to ban larger flatscreen televisions because of their energy consumption. But there surely will be no unintended consequences from this latest regulatory fiat, right? Read More

DTV Conversion, Another $650 Million Later

By | Communications, Culture and Entertainment, Technology | No Comments

It’s not a coupon. It’s a plastic debit card, with a security hologram.  Just little personal piece of $650 million in the stimulus bill.

From the Wall Street Journal, “Converter Shortage May Hamper Digital-TV Switch“:

Congress set aside $650 million in the economic stimulus bill to pay for more coupons and earlier this week, the government said it has cleared its backlog of 4.2 million requests and those consumers should receive coupons by next week. Consumers who didn’t use the coupons before they expired can now apply for replacement coupons, federal officials say.

Pero, “Los cupones no pueden ser reemplazados.” Says so right on the sheet.

We belong to the subset of consumers who used analog TVs without cable or satellite, but upon hitting the first conversion date, just decided to buy a digital broadcast TV. So it’s “Rockford Files” every night at 10.

What do with the coupon? Package it with White House Easter egg roll tickets in an E-bay deal? (the Easter egg event is turning into a big mess.)

Nope. No sales. Verboten. You have to buy the converter box and THEN sell it.

The House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet held a hearing yesterday entitled, “Oversight of the Digital Television Transition.” Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association, led his prepared statement by offering this assessment:

There are three main points that I wish to make before this DTV transition oversight hearing. First, the DTV transition has been and will continue to be perhaps the most successful partnership of any kind between government and industry in our nation’s history. Second, as the experience of February 17th demonstrates, consumer experience with the DTV transition looks much more like Y2K than Hurricane Katrina. With our most recent survey of the market, we see ample evidnece to suggest that manufacturers and retailers will continue to meet consumer demand for converter boxes and antennas. Finally, in light of the program’s success and the enormous benefits arising from broadcasters’ migration to digital spectrum, Congress must not again delay the transition beyond June 12th.

The most successful partnership? Well, WWII’s arsenal of democracy might slip into first place on that list. Or the 19th century’s expansion of the railroads. Or the vast extension of Americans’ lifespan in the 20th century.

But as far as no more delays, RIGHT!


Trade and Public Support, There is Some

By | Trade | No Comments

Missed this from earlier in the week, a new survey released during a Consumer Electronics Association event at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. From CEA:

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they consider trade a good thing because it has reduced the costs of goods such as electronics and clothing while at the same time helping Americans to become more competitive with workers overseas. The survey released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® was conducted by Zogby International.

A vast majority, 69 percent, report that they personally benefit from trade. Support for trade has particularly been drawn from the technology and consumer electronics fields. Sixty-nine percent of Americans called said they support overseas trade in those sectors. In addition, 74 percent said that it was a “good thing” that overseas trade and global manufacturing had reduced the costs of consumer electronics goods in the United States. Fifty-seven percent said that America would not be the economic leader it is today without overseas trade. Only 25 percent disagreed with this statement.

“The verdict is in and the people have spoken. Now it’s time for Congress to grasp what the American people firmly understand – that trade benefits our country,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “It’s time for Congress to listen to the American people and not the protectionists in the media and do what’s right for our economy, which is passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.”

The event in Minnesota, which featured Commerce Secretary Gutierrez, was part of the CEA’s month-long “America Wins with Trade” bus tour. Washington Times story here.