Sally Aman

Behind Stage at CES: What’s powering 2019’s hottest tech

The hottest tech gadgets debuted at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and while the year’s most exciting tech trade show took place amid a government shutdown, the tech and communications sectors are full steam ahead.

CES is, in large part, an opportunity for innovators to show off what’s possible. While we probably won’t be seeing a laundry folding robot in every home (if it hits shelves at all), many of the debuting products will become the new normal in just a few years. Take Amazon’s in-home assistant Alexa, for example, which after just over four years on the market, has reportedly sold 100 million units.

Again this year, it seems the golden ticket is the term “smart,” “intelligent,” or “5G” as part of every showcased product. In other words—a product powered by broadband. A broadband connection is the engine of the most impressive devices, as companies of all sizes are beefing up new and existing products with Artificial Intelligence or 5G-supported tech.

Our view from the beltway: cautiously optimistic.

Like others, I’m disappointed that some American policymakers and regulators were not able to attend the show. After all, it takes a combination of smart policy and smart tech to make these innovations possible.

To be sure, 5G connectivity will be a game changer. But 5G demands the right technical capabilities – grounded in smart policies – to help connect the hardest to reach areas so every American can benefit from its promise and power.

Speaking of connected devices—personal data. Need I say more? Connected devices mean loads of personal data, and like all consumers, I’m concerned how my device usage is tracked, shared, anonymized, and monetized. USTelecom members have abided by a set of principles that protect the privacy of their customers, and I hope tech companies do the same.

The exciting range of products on display this week have one common denominator: modern and reliable broadband connectivity. Without broadband in every corner of the country, some of this 21st century technology will remain out of reach to many consumers. That is why USTelecom will continue working with both innovators and policymakers to ensure the goal of broadband deployment in every corner of the country stays at the very top of Washington’s agenda.