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Chairman Genachowski and FCC Staff Take In CES 2011

January 10th, 2011 by George Krebs

Tablets and TVs; gadgets and tech-integrated vehicles; tech-enhanced musical instruments and heavily promoted headphones; innovative toys, energy efficient designs and wireless enabled products of all sorts. Sunday concluded a busy span of stunning technology pageantry in Las Vegas. Thousands of booths were set up and over 100,00 interested device enthusiasts arrived from all over the world for the Consumer Electronics Show , known more commonly as CES (or in this ever expanding, 140-character world, #CES).

Chairman Genachowski, all four Commissioners, and a retinue of FCC staff converged on the convention floor. They got a look at technology – from a wide range of companies – on the horizon and a sense of what’s upcoming in the innovation space. Many of the exhibits in sight shouted wireless and they shouted mobile.

On Friday, day two, the Chairman gave a speech on the need for expanded spectrum offerings and then sat down to chat with the host of the event, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro. This is what the Chairman said:

"As evidenced by the trade show floor, the consumer electronics industry is going wireless, and the future success of this industry and our innovation future depends on whether our government acts quickly to unleash more spectrum -- the oxygen that sustains our mobile devices. 

We’re in the early stages of a mobile revolution that is sparking an explosion in wireless traffic.  Without action, demand for spectrum will soon outstrip supply. 

To seize the opportunities of our mobile future, we need to tackle the threats to our invisible infrastructure.  We need to free up more spectrum."

Read the Chairman’s full speech.

As our team makes their way back to Washington, we’ll bring you their takes and some collected insights. For now, enjoy this video from the Washington Post, showing the Chairman touring the CES floor, speaking to the unbounded potential for job growth on display, and managing to get in a quick game of ping-pong using Microsoft’s Kinect.

(Cross posted on Blogband. Please leave comments there.)

One Response to “Chairman Genachowski and FCC Staff Take In CES 2011”

  1. Joe Cusimano says:

    After reading Consumer and Government Affairs Chief Joel Gurin’s report about the January Consumers Electronics Show, I’m rather saddened by the lack of any mention that todays modern automobile still lacks simple basic two-way radio communications equipment. Cell phones aside, cars today cannot talk to neighbouring nearby users of the road. Cars cannot communicate directly with nearby support services. Aircraft can do it. Boats can do it. Truckers can do it but the mass majority of cars essentially are not able to do it.

    FCC officials way back in the 50s were bold enough to bring in the Citizens Radio Band but they made some fundamental errors that doomed the service to failure. They neglected to use the necessary FM mode of operation and they went and put the service in a section of the radio spectrum that was flawed, good only for the hobbyist who was eager to talk around the world.

    There is nothing wrong with the concept of cars talking to cars as circumstances demand. But it does take some smart planning and direction. It is a shame that the FCC either doesn’t care or doesn’t know the way to proceed. Regards driver distraction, today there are ways to avoid that problem using hands free operation. Mandatory transmitter time-out control could also control how radios are used.. CTCSS tone squelch is a mandatory feature for the motoring public to have.available.

    The FCC needs to step up to the plate and catch up to the latest electronics out there in this matter. There is a need for a new Motorists Radio Band. (216-220 MHz - maybe ? TV Channel 14 - maybe ?). This is a serious matter of public safety affecting all citizens everywhere.. I’m hopeful every year to see some FCC movement forward but my hope is running out.


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