CEA’s leadership relies on the expertise of many executives who volunteer their time to help advance and grow the consumer technology industry. We asked some of our top leaders who chair divisions at CEA for their views on where they expect to find innovation at the 2013 International CES, how the show affects their business and the economic climate they anticipate for the New Year.

Where do you look for innovation at CES?

Beckwitt: Of course, the stalwarts of the industry like Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Intel, etc. are key contributors to the innovation of our industry. But with the addition of more and more cloud-, application- and services-based dynamics, the ability for a single person to not only create innovative solutions, but execute against their vision has never been greater. As a result, we have to keep an eye out in every direction.
Brady: Innovation can be found across the vast reaches of CES. We see continued product innovation and re-thinking of the more traditional categories like home and car audio, with the adoption of new digital technologies and wireless leading the way. We think that the automotive industry’s representation at CES is a terrific showcase for CE products in automobiles. And the vast reaches of the Central and South Halls are filled with creative products, building on the ideas of connectivity and wireless technologies.
Gray: Everywhere! What is exciting about CES is that innovation demonstrated in one category stimulates ideas for product development in others. And since imaging is incorporated into many product categories, CES is a veritable “candy store” for digital imaging innovators with inspiring ideas in technology, product design and consumer messaging.
Inns: While I enjoy seeing what the large players like Samsung and Verizon are up to every year, I find the innovation in the digital health area to be the most interesting, early-stage work that is likely to affect society profoundly over the long term.
Lautner: Last year one area that was interesting was automotive. For years, people have used the car as an example of what home automation can do citing many of the things that one expects in a car like auto lights, seats, peddles and mirrors that adjust from a push of a button, music muting when the phone rings, etc. Last year it was interesting to see the many approaches to how auto manufacturers and their suppliers were adapting smartphones, tablets, streaming content and wireless technologies in automobiles.
Stepancich: The short answer is everywhere. Innovation is simply everywhere at CES.

How does CES impact your business?

Beckwitt: From the macro perspective, CES is the perfect place to meet customers from all over the globe and understand market and technology trends. From the tactical perspective, CES is ideal to present our message of the Hollywood-inspired technologies and innovations to the masses as well as make people understand how we can drive the connected home market towards a direction that brings even more value to consumers.
Brady: CES creates a highly organized venue to both showcase and experience the full scope of our industry. Market research, competitive analysis, new product ideas and emerging technologies are all at your fingertips. It also centralizes virtually all industry members/ products/technologies into a single place and time, providing an efficient and cost-effective venue for the exchange of ideas and potential new business opportunities. Even for a smaller company like iBiquity Digital, it is central to our overall business planning.
Gray: CES is at the crossroad of technology, invention, and business development. Buyers come to look, to understand, and to commit. CES impacts business for Digital Imaging Board members by being a fertile ground for demonstration and discussion.
Inns: CES allows GreatCall to meet with all of our vendors and business customers in one place, as well as identify new business development opportunities. Every major deal our company has done started with a meeting at CES.
Lautner: At CORE Brands, our business is quite diverse. Our business covers the audio, power, accessories and control segments of the residential, commercial and pro entertainment and control markets. We sell in retail, low voltage and custom install channels. CES provides a venue that can affect business across all segments and channels. At CES we can meet with retailers, our international partners and channel partners all in one setting. The TechHome Board is also bringing more custom integrators to CES than ever before.
Stepancich: CES impacts my business in a very positive way by providing the opportunity to meet the best and brightest people in the world at one event. 

How optimistic are you about the economy in 2013?

Beckwitt: My optimism is trending much higher given the drive to navigate successfully through the storms, but there still are many uncertainties that will continue the potential for another rollercoaster ride throughout the year.
Brady: Licensing technology as a business model provides us with a wonderful opportunity to take the temperature, if you will, across several industries. We have seen strong gains over the past year in our business, and forecast 2013 to continue that trend. There are still significant challenges out there, but 2013 should be a strong business year for the industry.
Gray: There are definite grounds for optimism. The growing population of Millennials entering the workforce will result in sustained consumer spending and a pipeline of inventive ideas that will stimulate product sales. This may not all happen through traditional retailers, but the net effect will be positive.
Inns: I am cautiously more positive than 2012 but still nervous about our ability to get things done in Congress. If we as a country can’t get a proper economic plan in place in 2013 that addresses our deficit, I believe our recovery will fight an uphill battle.
Lautner: Business continues to improve on all fronts. We have some tremendous opportunities in all the segments of our business. Our new CORE Brands structure is allowing us to capitalize on the growth in the market and in the key categories in which we participate.
Stepancich: I am optimistic that the U.S. economy will continue to improve in 2013 and lead the rest of the world by example.