The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is best known for the world's largest trade event, but the organization's reach is growing far beyond the CES show in Las Vegas. Recent events in France and Netherlands along with the launch of an international "innovation rating" scale highlight the steady growth of consumer technology worldwide.
CES Unveiled Amsterdam and CES Unveiled Paris took place only a few weeks ago, highlighting a mix of tech startups and global brands in Europe. Over 70 companies and 800 people participated in the French event, as it marked its fifth year. CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro expects France to continue be the second-largest contingent participating in CES's Eureka Park startup exhibit area.
Around 180,000 people attended CES 2017 in January with 60,000 attendees coming in from outside of the United States. International representation in 2018 is anticipated to grow, especially in the startup area. Eureka Park will host 800 firms at CES 2018 in Las Vegas this January, up from 600 last year. While the largest number of Eureka Park participants by far continue to come from the United States with France second, Shapiro indicated at least four countries are in the running for third.
"It could be The Netherlands, Israel, the UK, Germany," Shapiro said, in comments made to a group of reporters invited to press briefing at CTA's "Innovation House" location within walking distance of Capitol Hill. Canada is also starting to make its mark, with firms aggressively recruiting talent in Silicon Valley.
France's strong position in the startup arena is due to a combination of factors, including strong government support. French President Emmanuel Macron has attended two of the CES Unveiled Paris events and two of the CES Las Vegas shows.
Asia is a strong area of growth for CTA. CES Asia brought in nearly 40,000 attendees to Shanghai this year and CTA anticipates further growth in 2018 for its fourth year of operations in the region.
In the near future, CTA plans to rank countries using an innovation index, somewhat like the Innovation Scorecard framework it currently uses to rank states as the best places in the country to create high-paying jobs and promote innovation-friendly policies. The international innovation index would include staples like broadband speeds, favorable right-to-work laws, tech workers per capita along with areas taken for granted in the U.S., such as an open press. Shapiro anticipates countries will work to improve their CES innovation rating, similar to how U.S. states use the CTA rating as a tool to attract high-tech businesses.
Even with its other activities, the main event will continue to be CES. "Tradeshows provide deadlines and serendipity," said Shapiro. CTA has secured keynote speakers from Intel, Ford, Huawei, and Lyft discussing topics such as AI, IoT, Smart Cities and connected vehicles for the 2018 event.
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