Qingdao, China - CEA chairman/CEO Gary Shapiro offered up predictions about the future of CE technology and warned that high tariffs and other export restrictions will stifle CE innovation and harm global economic growth.
During a keynote address here at an industry summit during SINOCES, Shapiro told industry leaders that home and car electronics products won't look the same in 10 years and that open trade policies are critical to making the benefits of these innovations available to the world's consumers.
"High tariffs and export restrictions on minerals that create [CE] products directly impacts the cost of goods," he said. "This is harmful to the entire global industry and will stifle innovation and economic growth." He called "open and transparent" trade policies "essential for global commerce."
"We have recently seen some exciting movement for future discussions surrounding a new tariff-reduction initiative to expand product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement [ITA] at the WTO [World Trade Organization]," Shapiro noted. "The ITA has helped drive innovation and accelerate productivity on a global scale. Given China's production, capacity and market size, China's active involvement with future ITA discussions, and industry collaboration between our respective associations, will benefit the entire global CE industry and spur commerce." The agreement, he said, "has the potential to knock down trade barriers for our entire industry."
The Chinese CE industry "is critically important to the global marketplace," Shapiro also said. By the end of this year, China is expected to account for $144 billion, or 15 percent, of global retail CE sales, he said. The 2011 International CES featured more than 400 exhibitors from China, up from 309 in 2010, he also pointed out.
For the 2021 CES a decade from now, Shapiro predicted radical changes in the home and car technologies that will be displayed. In 10 years for a modest fee, he said, "most cars will come with access to most of the world's recorded music - and it will be voice activated." Cars will also become sources of entertainment with Internet access and rear-seat features "that make the car more of a home on wheels," he continued. Cars will also be safer, thanks to devices that check driver sobriety, lane-changing detectors and collision-avoidance technology. "Perhaps in 10 years, some cars are even driverless, providing the disability community with real freedom and mobility," he added. Most cars will be hybrid or pure electric, and several models will have solar-assisted power, he also predicted.
Radio will also be radically different, Shapiro forecast. Broadcast radio will compete directly with Internet radio, even in the car, and with wireless broadband at speeds faster than current 2011 wireline connections, consumers will be able to access Internet radio on-the-go. "Micro-radio," formerly known as podcasts, will attract "issue-specific and geography-specific audiences," he noted.
Also in the radio industry, broadcasters in 2021 will have fully embraced HD Radio and will offer multiple content streams, data services and the ability to purchase songs, Shapiro continued.
For their part, TVs will become a structural part of the home, and TV walls will be commonplace, enhancing the viewing experience and the net-connected gaming experience, Shapiro said.
Referring to future CE innovations, Shapiro concluded that "all of us in this room are inventing this future, which will improve people's lives around the world." Technology, he said, "is a catalyst for change, and innovation is the roadmap to economic prosperity."