Among the industry members named to the Consumer Technology (CT) Hall of Fame this week was Rep. Darrell Issa, now a congressman, and founder and former CEO of Directed Electronics, maker of Viper, Python and other car alarm/remote start brands.
If you’ve owned a Viper vehicle you are likely familiar with Issa’s voice, as it is he who announces “Protected by Viper. Stand back,” when a potential vandal approaches the vehicle.
Issa was unable to attend this week’s ceremony in New York, so he will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a later date.
Among other honorees this year are Marcia Grand, publisher of TWICE magazine; Arlene Harris, founder of GreatCall and the Jitterbug phone; Ray Kurzweil, famed futurist and inventor; Mike Lazaridis, founder of BlackBerry; Mitch Mohr, founder of Celluphone; and Charles Tandy, legendary retailer.
In addition, two teams were inducted. First, the team that developed MPEG, Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione and Dr. Hiroshi Yasuda. Next, McIntosh Labs founder Frank McIntosh and prominent audio pioneer and McIntosh president Gordon Gow were honored.
Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of Segway will also be inducted at a later date due to inability to attend this week’s ceremony.
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, praised the inductees for their contributions to the growth of the $321 billion U.S. consumer technology industry. He said, “This is one of the most extraordinary nights of the year. Tonight we celebrate the leaders in the consumer technology industry who inspire us. This isn’t just about the past, this is about the future.”
The first inductee to be honored, Marcia Grand, began her publishing career by answering a newspaper ad and eventually became a respected vice president and publisher at TWICE , a leading consumer tech trade publication. She said, “I fell into what is without a doubt the most spectacular industry on earth, and I worked with so many spectacular people throughout the years.”
Mike Lazaridis, co-founded BlackBerry, formerly Research in Motion, and in doing so, created the first smartphone. He sounded a note of caution in accepting his award, stating, “I think it’s important to step back for a second and think about where we came from as an industry, because today we’re blinded by the magic of technology.”
Futurist, inventor, author and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil accepted his award and then gave a few predictions on where he sees the industry heading. He said, “Technology is accelerating, it’s growing exponentially. Technology is also miniaturizing. We will have devices that are as powerful as our cell phones today that are the size of blood cells in the 2030s, and they will go through our blood stream, keeping us healthy.
“Technology has been making life better. Over the next decade with biotechnology, we will get little devices that are robotic, intelligent and can augment our immune system. I think the future is going to be dramatically better. Despite the darkness that I’ve alluded to – there’s still a lot of human suffering – it is the advance of these exponential technologies that is going to help us overcome age old afflictions like disease, poverty and environmental degradation. If we keep our focus on both the promise and the peril, we’ll have a very bright future.”
The inductees are selected by a group of media and industry professionals, who judge the nominations submitted by manufacturers, retailers and industry journalists. To learn more about the CT Hall of Fame program and for information on the 2018 nomination process, visit CTA.tech.