Since CTA’s start in 1924 as the Radio Manufacturers Association, U.S. technology companies have had an advocate on Capitol Hill and across the country for innovation and free enterprise. As the competitive and regulatory climate has changed, so has our association. Find out in this five-part series how CTA has led industry growth and supported technology innovations that are solving big global challenges. This article concludes the series summarizing CTA milestones from 2015.
Building on a 100-year track record, CTA continues to spearhead conversations and collaborations around the benefits of technology and its life-changing applications. These include over-the-counter hearing aids and alignment with United Nations Human Security goals. Here’s a snapshot of pivotal events across recent years that saw the tech industry and communities worldwide buffeted by civil unrest, a global pandemic and turbulence in major financial markets.
2015: CEA is renamed Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
The organization enters 2015 with a new name, Consumer Technology Association, reflecting the reality that “every company is a tech company.”
CES 2020 attendees try on VR headsets to test-drive Hyundai and Uber’s S-A1 air taxi. Source: Getty Images.
2020: CTA and the World Bank Launch the Global Tech Challenge
Announced at CES 2020, CTA teamed with the World Bank Group to create the Global Tech Challenge aimed at mobilizing the tech community to create solutions to development challenges. The 2021 honorees – 30 organizations out of 1000 applicants - excelled at delivering scalable and innovative solutions in three key areas: Digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world.
Also in 2020, when COVID-19 triggered mandatory quarantines and other often controversial precautions, the world’s relationship with technology changed, perhaps forever. Consumers embraced conferencing and other tech to lessen their isolation. Companies were obliged to accommodate a wide range of work-from-home protocols to keep their businesses operating. In this climate, CTA pivoted to successfully convene CES, the most powerful tech event in the world. In 2020, CTA conducted the first and only all-digital CES to spotlight, in particular, technologies that eased the strains of COVID. Breakthroughs in digital health and telemedicine were notable highlights in the event’s programming.
June 2022: CTA Kicks of the Human Security for All (HS4A) Campaign
To highlight the critical role of technology in support of human security worldwide, CTA aligned with the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) to launch the HS4A campaign. The campaign, backed by the United Nations, took center stage at CES 2023 when, for the first time, the show was themed to underscore UN-defined human security for all. The campaign and theme headlined CES programming and exhibits. Global attendees and media experienced the latest tech and thought leadership aimed at solving issues of food security, access to healthcare, economic security, environmental protection, personal safety and mobility, community security and political freedom. Then, in 2023, the UN added technology as a human security pillar.
October 2022: CTA Standards Lead to Approval of OTC Hearing Aids
Following a decade of advocacy and standards development by CTA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, effective mid-October 2022. This ruling allowed Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase, for the first time, OTC hearing aids without a medical exam or prescription, online and in stores. With OTC hearing aids now more readily available through major retail outlets, consumers with hearing loss could at last look forward to significant cost savings and more choices for these essential devices.
2023: Looking To the Future
In 2023, artificial intelligence and Internet-connected devices increasingly equipped with AI tech were dominating news cycles. CTA took notice. Supporting a balanced approach to policy-making toward responsible AI and IoT solutions, the association met with federal officials and released fact-based reporting to educate audiences on these complex, sometimes fraught, topics.
In July, CTA joined officials from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the launch of the U.S. Cyber Trust Mark program. This initiative gives consumers more information about the cybersecurity of the connected products they buy. In October, CTA accepted the Chairman’s Award from the World Innovation, Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) for efforts empowering consumers to make informed decisions about the security of the Internet-connected devices they install in their homes.
One month later, the association urged AI leadership during a U.S. Senate forum as CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro observing in a written statement that “Data, privacy and AI are intertwined.” Moreover, he continued in the statement, “As we refine the considerations around rules and guardrails for AI at the national level, we must ensure a national approach to protecting consumer privacy.” Guidance and research on this highly promising technology was compiled in CTA’s National AI Policy Framework and in a newly released report, Decoding Consumer Sentiment and Outlook on AI.
As we consider the next 100 years, we honor the many, almost unimaginable, accomplishments this industry has shared with the world as we pledge to continue providing an arena where companies can connect, collaborate and contribute their innovations, unfettered. We will continue providing guidance, exclusive reporting and advocacy before federal, state and local governments with the measured goal of improving lives of consumers everywhere.
Key takeaway from the present era for CTA, and a view into tomorrow’s tech landscape: Through public-private collaborations, technology businesses are ready and able to continue innovating in the public interest. Considering the advances of the last 100 years, the outlook for 100 years on is promising. Technologies are already emerging that can solve the world’s biggest challenges. These are solutions that can counter climate change, help to end world hunger, improve societal stability and advance positive health outcomes. Tech on display at CES is resolving myriad ills and inequities. Celebrate with us, and be part of a future made brighter through technology and entrepreneurial vision.