Verizon had a major presence at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. Their big news was unveiling their 4G LTE network, that COO Lowell McAdam says “amps up the speed 10 times” over what we’ve become used to.
It was also referred to as “the end of waiting,” and for consumers, that’s really the headline, isn’t it? The ability to access content, information, and entertainment in a seamless digital environment is the Holy Grail for many of the biggest companies at CES.
That’s what we want. And Verizon – an engineering company – “gets” that consumers don't care about how it gets to you or how the technology functions. The main thing is that it works, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get your stuff on whatever screen you want, whenever you want it.
Can I explain to you how 4G LTE works? Can anyone you know in the media business break it down for you?
And really – why should you care? I don’t know how music on a hard drive (or on a turntable) somehow travels through an audio processing system through a transmitter and out through a tower and gets to a listener in real time.
And it doesn’t matter. Because all I care about is the content I want to enjoy. We’ll leave the rest up to the gadget heads and engineers. And that’s essentially what even the biggest companies are saying at CES.
Marni Walden, Verizon’s CMO said it all: “What a great day for Verizon wireless customers.” And that’s the bottom line. Getting content on demand wherever, whenever.
That was the overriding message at CES, and even though radio folks were very scarce, and radio gadgets of any kind were essentially MIA (excepting the iBiquity folks), it’s a message that the radio industry needs to hear loud and clear.
Here are some phrases that we didn’t hear at CES, but they are familiar to many of us in radio.
“But can we make money on it?”
“Let's wait for someone else to do it, and then we’ll make our determination.”
“We’ve never delivered content this way because it will dilute our main delivery channel.”
“We survived the coming of television, and we’ll survive this, too.”
“Pretty much everyone is still using us, and that’s not going to change, no matter the technology.”
“We cancelled our marketing budgets for the year, and we'll let our brands speak for themselves.”
“We have another round of downsizing to go through.”
Sometimes, it’s what you don’t hear that makes the headlines.
At CES, it was optimistic, hopeful, and exciting. I plan to go next year, and I would invite anyone and everyone in radio to join me. We are part of consumer electronics, and this is the type of event that can change minds and be an incredible learning experience. It was an energizing experience that I wish more of you in radio could see for yourselves. Maybe in 2012.
P.S. We’ll have more coverage from last week’s CES, including video product demos as well as a look at the new Ford Electric Focus.