Consumer Electronics Association president urges aftermarket players to be ‘ninja warriors’

Innovation gives hope for solutions to nation's economic challenges, Gary Shapiro says.

Labor issues also need to be addressed, he said. “You can’t be stymied by a union organization,”  he said.

Focusing on technology, Shapiro said connectivity is becoming more prevalent in many industries, including  the automotive industry. He said every item that can hold a charge will have an Internet address.

He said microelectromechanical systems – tiny sensors – will be in more automotive parts. This is known as nanotechnology.

He thinks driverless cars are going to happen in a big way. “Why would  you need to own a car when you could summon one?” he asked.

In concluding, he urged his listeners to become “ninja innovators.” He thinks business people should be more involved in public policy issues.

“I do care about my kids and the future of this country,” he said.

Kathleens Schmatz, president and CEO of AAIA, then took the stage and asked Shapiro his thoughts about data ownership. She noted that automotive industry is concerned about this because the emergence of connected cars raises this issue.

Shapiro did not have a clear answer on who should own the data in a person’s vehicle, but he did have a suggestion. He said Consumer Reports should rate carmakers on their level of data friendliness, both to consumers and to the aftermarket.

Schmatz then summarized lessons from Shapiro’s talk. “It’s our responsibility to be a ninja,” she said. “We have learned this diversity is a strength. We have learned the importance of free trade. Most of all, we are a significant contributor to innovation and it’s a great country. Have a terrific day two (of the expo) and be a ninja.”


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