By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Arlington, Va. — Aereo, TMSOFT and Uber have joined Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) as members.
CEA, which has more than 2,000 members, said all three companies have “faced challenges from entities threatened by and seeking to stifle their innovative technologies and have successfully overcome serious threats to their businesses.”
Aereo, a New York-based company, allows subscribers to watch live and recorded over-the-air TV content on Internet-connected devices. CEA said since its founding, Aereo has been sued by broadcasters to stop the company from providing its service, claiming the technology is illegal because it retransmits copyrighted programming. However, federal courts appear split on whether the service is legal.
TMSOFT publishes mobile applications for smartphones, including sleep aids (such as its White Noise app), music visualization and games. This summer, TMSOFT founder Todd Moore was targeted by the patent troll Lodsys. Moore fought back and has been an outspoken advocate for sensible patent policy.
Uber is a San Francisco start-up that developed a mobile app that connects passengers to drivers. CEA said in its statement that Uber is available in more than 35 cities and is rapidly expanding globally. However, in many cities across the U.S., Uber has been victimized by local municipalities attempting to preserve traditional transportation services. While the company continues to face threats, consumer choice and competition have generally ruled in favor of Uber.
The businesses join CEA’s long roster of American disruptive technology members, including: personalized Internet radio service Pandora, Hopper creator Dish Network, mobile activation start-up Phone2Action, and 3D printer manufacturers MakerBot and Formlabs.
“We are excited to welcome these game-changing companies to our association,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “CEA has a long history and an excellent track record in representing the most innovative companies and technologies challenging the status quo and bringing revolutionary new choices to consumers. New technology companies have historically been targets for incumbent industries and regulators because they threaten the establishment. As history has shown again and again, disruptive innovation is essential for economic growth and for empowering consumers. More than 80 percent of our members are small businesses, and we are proud to stand with these disruptive innovators and will continue to advocate on the side of progress.”
In the past year, CEA has also opened membership to qualifying start-up companies. Start-ups that meet CEA’s criteria can access the benefits of regular CEA membership at a reduced rate of $95 per year (regular membership dues start at $850) if they use priority code CESU13.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.