PORTLAND, Ore.—Innovation is driving U.S. competitiveness, especially in the consumer electronics segment, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which next month will sponsor the Eureka Park Challenge contest for a free exhibit space at next year's Consumer Electronics Show, according Brian Markwalter, senior vice president of research and standards for the CEA.
"Innovation defines our competitive edge and is the key to economic success in the U.S. where it not only creates jobs but entirely new industries," said Markwalter in his keynote address to the National Nanotechnology Initiative Workshop here. "At last year's CES, our goal was to host 30 new startups, but we got almost 100. For CES 2013 we are setting aside space for 140 startups in its Eureka Park and next month we are sponsoring a challenge, the winner of which will get free space."
The CES sponsoring organization, the CEA, has for 75 years been producing consumer standards referenced by the EPA, FCC and other government agencies which are adhered to by millions of electronic devices. Markwalter oversees the CEA's American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development operation, which spends about $1 million annually doing extensive market research to track sales data and to forecast trends related to digital television, broadband access, spectrum management, intellectual property (IP), smart grid and energy efficiency.
Markwalter was previously director of Intellon Corp. (acquired by Atheros in 2009), the semiconductor specialist in power-line communications where he helped launch the HomePlug Powerline Alliance for networking over residential power lines. Markwalter is currently also a board member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Smart Grid Interoperability Governing Panel.
According to Markwalter, innovation is the engine driving the rise of small businesses which are creating new jobs in the U.S. at an unprecedented rate. The CEA is doing its part to incubate startups by encouraging innovation.
"There are three major obstacles to U.S. innovation today that the CEA is working to remedy," said Markwalter. "We need government to get out of the way of small businesses and let them prosper. Secondly, we need a trained workforce with the right technical degrees. And third, we need to reform immigration policies to encourage new graduates to stay in the U.S."
The consumer electronics industry today is breaking the $200 billion mark in U.S., according to the CEA, which next month will sponsor the Eureka Park Challenge which will give away free exhibit space at CES 2013 to the winner.
"At CES 2013, we will give away free exhibit space to the most innovative U.S. startup in our Eureka Park Challenge contest," said Markwalter.
To enter the Eureka Park Challenge contest, startups need to submit a never-been-seen-before product, service or app to WizeHive’s online contest manager. Ten finalists will be selected to compete for a free booth at the CES 2013. The winner will be announced at the CEA Line Shows (New York City, June 27-28, 2012).