Sponsored by New Age Electronics
As the new administration talks about their plans to make change in relation to jobs, trade policies, and diversity and inclusion, technology has a place in it all.
I was recently speaking with Tiffany Moore at the Consumer Technology Association. Tiffany, the SVP for Political and Industry Affairs at CTA told me that while the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly taken precedence over other matters in the White House at the moment, we can expect our new administration to make decisions impacting the tech and retail world in the near future.
Since the pandemic’s onset, some technology has seen a dramatic acceleration of adoption. As work and play shifted to the home, we added offices setups, made home theater upgrades, attended virtual doctor’s appointments and more. Providing for our families, keeping healthy, and even having fun has seen tremendous change in very little time.
Tiffany noted the prominent and positive role that technology is playing in fighting the pandemic by making possible remote work, digital health and virtual education. And technology promises to play a continuing role going forward.
In addition, these shifts are having a profound impact on how consumers shop and interact with brands. We’re seeing a paradigm shift on the consumer side. As people wait in line at the store, they’re on their phones ordering groceries for delivery, checking what they need to do for their appointment tomorrow, ordering tonight’s meal, etc. And this shift will only accelerate with the widespread rollout of 5G.
More access to the spectrum/5G is critical to supporting today’s consumer and their essential devices. The Administration’s support will be a pivotal in building an infrastructure to allow 5G to reach more people and locations. CTA Is advocating for greater access and firmly believes that broadband is essential to daily life.
As Tiffany says, “Technology is no longer ‘nice to have.’ It’s an imperative.”
As much as COVID-19 changed retail as we once knew it, a heightened awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion has transformed the industry. She pointed out that nearly every CEO who gave keynote presentations during the all-digital CES 2021 offered insight into how they plan to ensure their workforce better reflects the talents that the nation has to offer. Manufacturers also are making it a priority to work with more small and minority-owned businesses going forward.
As for consumer demand, I’m expecting the pent-up demand for things like PCs, smart TVs and other entertainment to continue in 2021. The Biden Administration’s approach to trade policy will hopefully provide some clarity for retailers left wondering when and how trade will open up.
Tiffany and I are both optimistic. Despite the hardships the CE retail industry faced in 2020, there were a lot of lessons learned across the board. And as consumer demands continue to change, we can expect even greater innovation.
In the next 3-5 years we will see the technology that we’ve only dreamt about.
Fred Towns is President of New Age Electronics, responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and identifying new growth opportunities. Serving in this capacity since 2011, Towns oversees the organization’s business development, marketing, and customer service. With more than 35 years of experience in the consumer technology industry, Towns previously held the position of Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Corp. He also sits on CTA’s Executive Board, an advisory committee that helps set public policy positions and priorities for the association, and serves as industry chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s National Consumer Technology division.