The One Thing You Probably Missed at CES

By Ashley Mergen

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With over 2 million square feet of convention space covered by 3,000 exhibitors premiering and showing off thousands of gadgets, gizmos, and hum-dingers, it appears that this is shaping up to be a convention of “things.”

But we all know that many of these technologies amount to more than just stuff. Instead, they are breakthroughs, innovations, discoveries, creations, and inventions which oftentimes require substantial resources and manpower to bring to life. If you ask the entrepreneurs and innovators behind these gadgets, they’ll tell you that they are anything but merely a “thing.”

There’s the smart jewelry that can help lower incidences of skin cancer, the power charger that will eradicate wall plugs, and the car that runs solely on sunlight. But what is taking the cake this year at CES is, in fact, the “Internet of Things,” a concept and potentially $19 trillion-market which tracks physical objects in the digital sphere, making them more efficient and productive in our daily lives.

I’m no tech expert and explaining the nuances of these technologies and technological concepts is way above my pay grade, but it’s clear that these attempts to simplify our lives require far from simple solutions. As a recent FOXBusiness headline points out, “CES’ Best Gems May Take Years to Materialize,” with tinkerers and businesses toiling for years on end trying to tackle complex questions.

Some of these entrepreneurs are driven by passion, and some by profit, and most by both, but all deserve to have a shot at free enterprise. Patents, trade secrets, and other forms of intellectual property (IP) rights don’t guarantee the success of these products- many will fail- but it does give these inventors and businesses a fighting chance to make it to market. And many of these ideas have the chance to change the world and benefit communities, whether it’s making health diagnoses more efficient or providing forward-thinking ways to consume entertainment.

Counterfeiting, piracy, and just blatant corporate IP theft directly undercut the ability for entrepreneurs to realize commercial viability, economies to prosper, and consumers to benefit from these breakthrough technologies.

CES provides more than just a parade of “things”—it’s a showcase of American ingenuity which wouldn’t exist without the blood, sweat, and tears of homegrown and international creators.

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