Consumer Electronics Association president and chief executive officer Gary Shapiro opened the first official day of the International CES by noting that the consumer electronics industry is “in a really good place.” Proving he is the master of understatement Shapiro presented figures to back up his optimism.
The consumer electronics (CE) industry in the United States is projected to grow three percent in 2015 and to reach an all-time high of $223.2 billion. The emerging product categories—which includes 3D printers, 4K ultra-high definition televisions, connected thermostats, unmanned drones, vehicles, and home robots, IP cameras, and wearables—are expected to grow 108 percent year-over-year. Even though the emerging product categories represent less than five percent of the entire CE industry revenue forecast, they are expected to contribute almost $11 billion to overall CE revenue this coming year.
Shapiro says, “Our forecast underscores that consumers’ love affair with technology shows no signs of slowing any time soon. Consumer technology is all about continued innovation. In the blink of an eye, consumer demand has taken off for emerging categories such as wearables, unmanned aerial vehicles, and 4K Ultra HD—all categories that were too small to track just three years ago.” Shapiro envisions a day in the not too distant future when 3D printing could be used to create food and even artificial limbs.
He also issued a word of warning, urging the industry to be “wary of government efforts” to ban the use of certain technologies—such as in drones and intelligent automobiles.
In September, the FAA approved operator exemptions for certain aerial production companies, paving the way to allow use of drones in film production. Later this week, the CEA is scheduled to join numerous unmanned aircraft systems organizations and the FAA at a CES press conference focusing on a new drone safety campaign.
Shapiro and expressed hope that the any FAA regulation would “balance safety with the benefits” the devices offer, from “drone checking oil pipelines to delivering medicine to remote areas. But we must focus on concerns about safety and privacy.” CEA forecasts drone could become a $1 billion worldwide business by 2018.
Regarding the auto industry Shapiro commented, “We will get to the driverless car, but the industry does need [to pay attention] to government efforts to [control technology] in the car.”