i3 | April 05, 2021

The Power of Connections at CES 2021

Steve Ewell
Strings connected

This year’s all-digital CES highlighted many of the stories of how technology helps people come together and address significant challenges that impact our daily lives. The CTA Foundation launched its first Partner Day program to highlight technology for good.

Earlier this year, the CTA Foundation joined the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in their challenge to identify the technologies and services that can address social isolation, a need that is not new but particularly exacerbated during the pandemic. The MENTAL Health Innovation Challenge was launched over the summer and very quickly gathered dozens of entries. The submissions narrowed to two with the final results announced at CES. In a session featuring leaders from ACL, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Veterans Affairs, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AARP Foundation, CTA Foundation and Microsoft, the organizations highlighted the importance of bringing together diverse teams to get great work done.

Lance Roberston, the Administrator of ACL, announced the creation of a public-private partnership called Commit To Connect and revealed that the two finalists, No Wrong Door Virginia and United Way Worldwide, rather than compete, would combine to form a new partnership bringing the best of both solutions to address the needs of the competition.

Other CTA Foundation programming at CES featured innovative companies, nonprofits, and individuals helping to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities during the pandemic. 

CES Highlights

  • Companies ranging from startups like Healium and Rendever to giants like Google, IBM and Sony shared their work on accessibility and aging.
  • Foundations like the AARP Foundation, Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Next Fifty Initiative discussed how philanthropy and industry can drive forward innovation.
  • World record-holding Paralympian Lex Gillette discussed the technologies he uses to train and in daily living.
  • Two Consumer Technology Hall of Famers, Martin Cooper and Robin Raskin talked about Cooper’s new book Cutting the Cord.
  • Another CT Hall of Famer, Henry Chiarelli spoke with the FMDG Music School about the importance of music training in serving the blind and low vision community.
  • Two-time Super Bowl champion Torrey Smith talked about the work he is doing with Verizon in Baltimore to help connect kids to the internet, provide representation in STEM careers, and help bridge the digital divide.

These are just a few of the 40 plus interviews the CTA Foundation recorded. All of these can be found online as we build on the conversations with our programming throughout the year.

These programs are just scratching the surface of how technology is helping people nationwide. We look forward to working with the industry to expand our programs to reach more people in need.

Thanks to the work of our industry, we can accomplish these goals. But there is still much to be done. Please join us by visiting SupportCTAF.org or contact me at 703-907-7660. Now is the time to lay the groundwork for helping all who may need assistance in the future. 

i3 magazine March/April 2021 cover

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