Tyler Suiters

Hey everybody, the Consumer Technology Association. I’m Tyler Suiters. We are the owners and the producers of CES. It is the world's largest, the most influential tech event there is. And what a show we had in 2020. Show dates, the 7th through the 10th of January, as always in Las Vegas and it was a blast. Among the key technologies on display there, in the exhibit floor, in discussions, in conference sessions, AI and robotics, digital health, 5G conductivity, vehicle tech and smart cities, one of the standouts in 2020. And aside from those key groups that you know so well or at least know that are on the way and what is next in the technology sector, a great announcement about tech for good. The World Bank Group and CES announced a global tech challenge. This is a 2020 initiative and it will extend beyond that to bring innovation to developing countries. And of course remarkable exhibits from all those technology companies that you might not think of as traditional technology companies, Delta, John Deere, Impossible Foods. Ah, every turn it was something new and innovative.

Tyler Suiters

But today we are talking to two companies that are a bit more traditional really in the vanguard of consumer technology. I would say it's not really surprising if you are an industry veteran that brand new innovations and technologies and vision come from companies like Samsung and Sony. These global brands that have been in the sector for so long. Today a conversation with both of those companies about their CES 2020 experience, their priorities, what they took away and what they're looking forward to ahead.

Tyler Suiters

Samsung, a top 10 global brand. They had a CES keynote this year and seemingly product unveilings left and right from that company. And Sony, hey, maybe the most talked about brand on social media during CES 2020. Plus the unveiling of an innovation I think it's safe to say no one saw coming from Sony. That's all on today's wrap up edition of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters

Joining us now is John Godfrey. He is senior vice president of public policy with Samsung Electronics America. John, great to have you with us.

John Godfrey

Thanks Tyler. Great to be here.

Tyler Suiters

Feel fortunate to get you off of Capitol Hill for a few hours. You are usually very much in the seats of power here talking about policy and technology with decision makers here in DC but let's back out, not just from time but also from location. Let's go back to Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Give us your recap of CES 2020 and where your emphasis was.

John Godfrey

This was my 19th year in a row going to CES and I really think it was my favorite one. It was a great program this year. You've been talking to other people about CES and I'm sure everyone has a different window onto it. And my window in part is political and policy related because that's what I do for a living. What's really unique about CES that no other trade show is actually ever able to do and no other trade association is able to do, is to use the show to educate policymakers about things that they really need to know. There's maybe a misperception sometimes that when policymakers go out to Las Vegas, it's for fun and partying.

John Godfrey

I don't know if there was any partying in Las Vegas during CES. I don't know when there would have been time because the schedule is absolutely packed with visiting the show floor, seeing the technology, meetings with companies like my company, there was the Leaders in Technology dinner that CTA puts together every year that educates policymakers, brings them together with the industry. And there's no substitute for me being able to go and look at the technology and look at the innovation for policymakers to understand what this is all about. You go visit them in their office and describe it and it's just not the same.

Tyler Suiters

Right. That's a great point and I've heard it said that for a few days during CES every year, that really is the center of the tech policy world. This is where the decision makers are, whether they're from Congress or from the various agencies that are regulating technology here in Washington or even around the world, and a focal point of that is the innovation policy summit. Now, for those of you who have been to CES and if you haven't haunted the policy world, you may not know this, but it's one of the conference tracks within CES and it's several days of how policy is affecting technology. And I'll spin that around, how technology is affecting policy as well. And you were both an observer and a participant in 2020.

John Godfrey

Yeah, that's right. I spoke on one of the innovation policy panels around 5G. I think it was Tech is Ready for the 5G Future. And your colleague Tiffany moderated the panel.

Tyler Suiters

Tiffany Moore.

John Godfrey

She was there with some great speakers from industry, from the US government and we had a wide ranging discussion of why 5G is important. And 5G actually was throughout the show. It was being talked about and shown in a lot of different places. And I think this year is a year when people are going to really see new innovations happening on top of 5G. And we wanted to educate policymakers that that's happening. In addition to that panel, I spent a whole lot of the week bringing policymakers through the Samsung booth. We are, by the way, the largest exhibitor at CES, pretty much every year. We were again this year. And so we had lots of visitors come through to see a lot of different amazing innovations, including 5G.

Tyler Suiters

Well, that's a great example, John, because 5G is such a popular topic among lawmakers here in DC. It's constantly raised and discussed in the circles here, but at CES, given your point about being able to see and touch and try technology firsthand, as someone who's leaving Washington and going into an immersive experience in the tech world, you're able to show them products involving 5G. Take it out of theory and talk about it practically.

John Godfrey

Yeah, that's right. And Samsung is really in a world leading position in 5G right now. We were showing a lot of that at CES this year. We've sold almost 7 million 5G smartphones now worldwide.

Tyler Suiters

Globally.

John Godfrey

But a lot of them in the United States. We're selling through all the major carriers here in the US. We're selling 5G infrastructure equipment, the base stations and radio units that you see on light poles in the corners of buildings and things like that and we even sell 5G chips. But we provide the entire secure 5G ecosystem. At CES we were showing all those different models of 5G phone. We also showed the world's first 5G tablet and the world's first 5G telematics control unit for a connected car.

Tyler Suiters

That's awesome.

John Godfrey

In fact we unveiled that during the show and so it's something that connects your car with the mobile network through 5G and that means very, very high speeds, very low latency. That means the network responds really quickly and also machine to machine communication. That's what really 5G brings.

Tyler Suiters

Right. And essential for self-driving vehicles and the smart cities technology we envision. One more point on 5G, John, if you will, walk us through what a conversation is like between you and a policy maker. You are so deeply involved in technology every day whereas a member of the House may be on three different committees but have only one that really delves into tech. Maybe that's just a subcommittee. I want to start it off by quoting you from a recent blog post on 5G and this is the words of the esteemed John Godfrey quoting now.

Tyler Suiters

"It will take time to build out the 5G network so that it can reach its full potential. Policy makers can accelerate this process by making more spectrum available at low, medium and high frequencies and by streamlining regulations that slow development."

Tyler Suiters

All right, eloquent well stated.

John Godfrey

I completely disagree with it.

Tyler Suiters

Disagree or disavow? Yes. How does that translate into a conversation there, John? What does that sound like coming out of your mouth when you're holding this technology and a lawmaker can try it for herself or himself?

John Godfrey

Well, look, policymakers are used to people coming in and asking them to do things for them. And setting aside more spectrum is probably the most important thing that the US government can do right now to keep the US at the center of 5G innovation and keeping up with the rest of the world. But the thing that I hear policymakers really wanting to know about 5G, is what it's good for, why it's important to their constituents and to their citizens.

John Godfrey

It's hard to imagine for those of us who love going to CES every year, but there are people out there who do not get that excited about technology innovation happening. Sometimes they say, "Wow, does the world really need to change as fast as it's changing?" And those people have a valid point of view too and their policy, their elected officials, policymakers, have to be able to explain to them why change can be good for them. And so they need to see it. What, just as one example that we showed people at CES this year, is that 5G telematics control unit, what it can do for a connected car. It's not so much about an automated or self-driving car. That technology is on the roads being experimented with, but there are going to be drivers in cars for a really long time.

John Godfrey

It's about making cars safer and pedestrians' safer streets safer. Through 5G, the cars can communicate with each other, with what we were showing was a demo of a pedestrian waiting to cross an intersection at a red light and maybe they fall down in the intersection, their phone reports that to the network so that cars that are coming, are alerted. And also the red light stays red a little bit longer to give the person time to get up and get out of the intersection. All possible because of the low latency of 5G. And then there will be a lot of applications for video, which takes a whole lot of bandwidth. You really need the extra carrying capacity that 5G has to carry real time video. And make our environment safer for transportation. Also public safety applications, law and order, environmental safety, identifying problems that have happened. There are a lot of smart city applications that policymakers can get excited about.

John Godfrey

Oh, one other thing that I wanted to mention. Maybe my personal favorite application, for 5G is going to be, and this is something that's near and dear to my heart in my role as well with the CTA Foundation, your association's foundation is helping people with disabilities and seniors get around in the world better because with video cameras and processing power out in the real world, you can help a person who is blind or deaf navigate through the world independently the same way a person without a disability does. And it's going to open huge possibilities for inclusion for everyone.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah, your passion really comes across there, John, clearly. We backed into this a little bit the wrong way perhaps. It's on me, but we started talking about the answers you give to policymakers when you're talking technology, what are the questions you get? What do you hear when a member of Congress is in the Samsung booth or on the show floor walking with you? What are they asking about?

John Godfrey

Mostly when they come to the show, they're like, anybody else. They say, "What's cool? What do you show me that's cool?"

Tyler Suiters

And you say, "Everything. Next question."

John Godfrey

We took them to see the chef bot, the robotic cooking assistant. We took him to see Ballie, the little robot ball that was a unveiled by our CEO in his pre-show keynote the night before the show opened. And of course we show them the gigantic TV sets, the wall TV that Samsung has with micro LED technology, the best possible picture you can get and all the phones I mentioned and home appliances. They want to see the cool stuff.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah, it's a reminder that at their heart, policymakers, whether they're staff or actually elected officials, they're consumers. They're like us. They're tech's users.

John Godfrey

Yeah, they are. And then they also want to know where are these things made? We emphasize our significant presence here in the United States, big manufacturing facilities in Texas and South Carolina and R and D centers in Texas and California, Michigan and elsewhere. How many employees do you have in the United States? We have 20,000 here. They're interested in learning about those things and sometimes they ask questions about real concerns that they hear from their constituents. I was alluding to it a little bit earlier, but they're worried if the change that 5G brings along is going to be somehow a problem for their constituents because there'll be these new, does this mean there're going to be new cell towers everywhere?

John Godfrey

And I point out to them that a millimeter wave 5G base station is about the size of a kid's backpack. You could put it on top of a light pole and nobody would even know that it's there. It's really, it's newer technology that is, I actually think it looks very attractive, but probably most people won't even notice that it's there. Those are the kinds of things that policymakers want to know and by going to CES they can learn about that.

Tyler Suiters

Putting your eye for infrastructure beauty aside, John, I want to take advantage of the fact that as you said, you've been to 19 CES shows and as you pointed out, consecutive CES shows. Samsung had a major presence on the show floor, on the keynote stage as well. And then on stages throughout CES through various conference tracks. What are one or two of your biggest takeaways from CES 2020? Either a lesson learned or a narrative that was really emphasized this year?

John Godfrey

I think innovation is alive and well in America. There was just a tremendous amount of it. Obviously it's a global show and there are a lot of companies from all over the world there, but the strength of America and the American people is our innovation. And so you can see it on display at that show. It's also the ability of American companies and Americans to work through the world through to be part of the global economy. It's such an international show. You see people there from all over the world and obviously CTA does a lot to promote global harmony, global communication, global trade. It's real priority of Gary Shapiros and you can see the benefits of it at the show. And then I take away how awesome Samsung is. We're everywhere at the show and I thought we looked pretty good there. A lot of our friendly competition looked good too though, so we're going to have to continue to raise our game and do even better next year. We did have the most CES Innovation Awards again this year, but the competition is tight. We'll have to keep doing that again next year.

Tyler Suiters

And well deserved. Congratulations on that. John Godfrey is senior vice president of public policy with Samsung Electronics America. John, back to the fishbowl here in DC, but great to talk to you as always.

John Godfrey

Likewise Tyler. Thank you.

Tyler Suiters

With us today is Cheryl Goodman with Sony electronics. She is the head of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility, joining us from sunny and beautiful San Diego. Cheryl, great to have you with us today.

Cheryl Goodman

Hey, great to be had.

Tyler Suiters

San Diego is not a bad place to recover from the fast-paced life of CES 2020. You all seem to be everywhere there. I don't mean that literally as much as figuratively, especially on social media. Sony was the most talked about brand at CES 2020.

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah, we are pretty proud of that. Thanks for acknowledging that. That is the good work that definitely comes from my team, but none of it rings true if you don't have something of relevance to speak about. And to your point, it was a incredibly diverse show in terms of topics, content, but I think you and I are thinking about the same thing. It was that car that really took everyone back.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah. Yeah. Let's dive in there, Cheryl. It's the Sony Vision S which is billed as the evolution of mobility and yes, it's a car, but it's so much more in terms of Sony showing off its capabilities, its vision for the cabin, for content when we're traveling, for battery life. For EVs in general.

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah. And that's very well said. It's so much more than a car. Yes, there are four wheels. It does drive, but it really speaks to two major categories and themes. And one theme in automotive of course, is safety. That's the number one thing. If we don't make it to our destinations alive, nothing matters. Those 33 sensors that are equipped around the car, creating what we like to call a safety cocoon, that is the next evolution and step in automotive driving, our economist driving rather. That ability to see all around the car.

Cheryl Goodman

Interestingly enough, when you sit in the car, what you're looking at is instead of mirrors, you really have cameras that are actually projecting or recording, surveying the area around you. You just have an incredible sense of what's happening. And that's really the magic is the elevation of safety. But inside is what we like to call really the opportunity for you to enjoy entertainment once safety has been addressed. That is multiple displays throughout the car, an acoustic environment, rivaled by none, using the 360 reality technology, 360 reality audio technology. And that is object based sound that you hear often, oh that's like, it was like I was at the concert. Well this is better. It was like you were on the stage.

Cheryl Goodman

You're hearing things, [inaudible 00:00:19:58]. It's really quite, it's a moving experience if I could do a fun pun there. But it really is something that's so much better experience to me. Simply a flat way of speaking to it. But it certainly was the surprise of the show which I think was a big tick on that social media recognition. I don't believe that anyone expected us to roll up a beautiful, well designed car at CES.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah, there was a huge amount of surprise, Cheryl in the unveiling of that. I'm curious about, given your expertise in communications, what was your reaction internally, if not outwardly, when your team is planning for Sony's presence at CES 2020 and you hear, "Okay, one of our products is going to be a car." But how does Cheryl Goodman react to that?

Cheryl Goodman

Well, very selfishly I'm like, well where's mine? Can I drive one?

Tyler Suiters

Naturally.

Cheryl Goodman

I need to show it off. I suppose I was less as surprised because this has been a narrative that we've been discussing for some time internally. Now what I didn't know was the fit, finish, high design, beautiful packaging experience that it was going to be because it was something that was of course taking place in Tokyo. I had only really seen the car for the first time in Vegas and I got to tell you, it's just to see it inside and outside is the emotive quality of being, I'm almost at a loss of words. It was so well put together, so well designed, so intuitive to how consumers will actually use cars in the future.

Cheryl Goodman

And I guess my first thought was that the ultimate consumer electronic now is a car. It's electric. It does all those things that we expect consumer electronics to do for us. Entertain, delight through visual, through audio and it gets you from A to B. I think for me it was a real shift that consumer electronics category has now met the automotive industry in the most connected way I have certainly ever witnessed.

Tyler Suiters

Well said. In terms of brand association, Cheryl, much stronger tie and this is almost on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Sony Vision S, between your company and PlayStation. At CES 2020 you had a bit of a reveal for PS5 and the excitement ramped up very quickly there as well.

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah, it sure did. Also another contribution to our great numbers on social media is Jim Ryan coming out on stage, the president and CEO of Sony Interactive entertainment, who announced that the PlayStation 4, has two months to date has sold more than 106 million units worldwide. And that the network has reached over a 100 million active users and then of course what's really created all the excitement is the fact that we revealed the logo design the first time ever. I think they operatized the content relative to what's happening in the PlayStation world is voracious. And while maybe we didn't provide as much information as everyone would've liked, the bottom line is that Jim Thomas was well received and we're eager to continue to delight and thrill that audience.

Tyler Suiters

What about the area of technology meeting sports? Certainly on global radar here when you're talking about the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo and in summer of 2020, but Sony rolled out a much broader picture of the value and capabilities of real time video transmission and of course that the fact that 5G capabilities are going to be critical in delivering this where it needs to be.

Cheryl Goodman

Yes, that's a really great point and well said as well. My background has largely been in telecommunications, 10 years at Qualcomm. I'm fanatical about things that are connected and connectivity and the bigger the pie means the content can be more robust. What I think we also did at Sony's CES this year was really delight and surprise in a category where it wasn't a phone. A lot of people think about 5G as it relates to customer experiences and of course we're very focused on that, but the B to B scenario with the end customer deliverable, when you are doing real time video transfers, leveraging 5G, this rich, beautiful robust content going over 5G type, this is something that is I think a novel and a novel use case, but when you think about it, deeply logical. It's big data over requires bigger apply. Definitely a lot of interest there and it's a not to where to absolutely where the broadcast industry is going as well as many other consumer facing industries.

Tyler Suiters

What about the downstream elements of that? Again, an iconic product from Sony is the television, the Sony Master series of OLED's span the gamut in terms of capabilities and sizes, but also an emphasis from you all Cheryl, on what is still emerging technology that is 8K ultra HD.

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah, 8K. what a great and such a good segue because the more rich and dense this content that comes as 4K becomes more prevalent than 8K leading the future, Sony's very excited about the platform of 8K. 8K is the future of TV in terms of innovation. How great can that acuity be? I would say that there's so much growth still be had in 4K that we're excited about that still being a next voice for consumers and for customers. And so both categories are exciting, but as a company such as Sony who's always innovating, we're really excited about the promise of 8K for consumers.

Tyler Suiters

Another sub-headline story at CES 2020, Cheryl, was we're seeing our first products, video products equipped with for next gen TV. This is next gen TV technology, able to receive a transmission, a broadcast transmission that hasn't even rolled out officially yet to consumers, but we are at least now seeing this technology and these capable products in the market.

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah, we are. And Sony is certainly is supportive of this. Listen, the confluence of content and IT and OTT as a solution, this is something that I think consumers may not have the greatest amount of understanding of how that comes together, but once they experience it, the benefit is clear. And so Sony has been a longtime supporter of ACSC 3.0, now next gen TV and there certainly was a good display that we put on in the next gen TV booth area along with other partners. It's an area that definitely is of interest to consumers and the broadcasters and so there'll be more to come there as the NID show in April.

Tyler Suiters

Also, I want to mention Cheryl, that you are an official spokesperson and I'll put capital S on the front of that term for Sony Electronics here in the US. You were on a number of panels at CES sharing insights into emerging tech and trends and innovations in both video and audio. Can you share some of that discussion and also where you see things heading in the year or years ahead?

Cheryl Goodman

Yeah, absolutely. Tyler. Two great panels. The first one was with 8K and I had some great peers on the set there, including industry analysts and experts in 8K. And we really dissected rather what consumers really expect and what the timing is. There was a lot of the same conversation about the leading edge of innovation and what consumers can expect in terms of upscaling. How they would experience that. Where we would see content coming from. That certainly was insightful. Followed by the future of music panel. And I particularly enjoyed this panel partnering with the CTA Research team who facilitated that narrative, but then also having executives from Harmon really talking about the difference between access of music, which for many years we've been obsessed with, how do we acquire music, how do we download and build out those collections on our devices?

Cheryl Goodman

And now that we've really figured that out as an industry, it's now about acoustic performance. What can we do to increase the quality of these titles that we've acquired, these music titles we've acquired. I definitely had some great conversations about discovery of new music, how that happens, platform such as 360 reality audio, the acoustic really comes to life. And then other great ways where music is intersecting with audio and from voice capability, to on demand, real time streaming experiences. It was absolutely two great conversations curated by the CTA. We absolutely appreciate the platform to discuss the future of music and the future of seating.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah, and you've got your voice back, which is great. After all that time talking in the desert, that can often be the first to go. Cheryl Goodman is, I'm going to take a deep breath here, head of corporate communications, head of corporate social responsibility and also a very talented spokesperson for Sony Electronics. Cheryl, it is always awesome to connect and talk tech. Hey, continue the recovery and we'll see you sometime in advance of CES 2021.

Cheryl Goodman

Thank you Tyler.

Tyler Suiters

All right, I got to admit, this is a little tough to say, but that is a wrap for our CES 2020 Tech Talk season. However, watch this space or listen as it were, for more content coming up in the coming months. A great way to do so and track what we have coming your way, just subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast. That way you won't miss any episodes. You can go back into our library, checkout old downloads or stay up to date with what is around the corner.

Tyler Suiters

Speaking of, yeah, I'm going to say it, CES 2021, the dates are in the books. January 6th through the 9th in Las Vegas. You can get a sneak peek on what to expect at ces.tech. That is ces.tech. Now, you longtime and faithful listeners know this is the part where we say, none of this is even remotely possible without the true stars of our podcast. And both of these folks deserve a real shout out. And I'd asked them to take a bow if they were standing in your earbuds right now. Our executive producer, Tina Anthony, and our senior studio engineer John Lindsey. I mean it, you all are the very best in the business. And for all of our listeners, thank you so much. I'm Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

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