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Group behind Consumer Electronics Show is changing its name

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Steve Marcus

Executives (L-R) CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns, Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally, and Verizon Enterprise Solutions President John Stratton participate in a CES Innovation Power Panel during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 11, 2012.

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The Consumer Electronics Association, the 2,000-member trade group that organizes the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, unveiled a new name this week: Consumer Technology Association.

The association, which lobbies on behalf of the industry, changed its name to reflect a membership that has grown beyond the narrow focus on consumer electronics, said Jeffrey Joseph, the association’s senior vice president for communications.

The trade group’s members now include service-oriented technology companies like Uber, Lyft, Pandora and Yelp.

Association officials, however, will not be changing name of the annual Consumer Electronics Show because it has come to exist as a separate brand. “We think that brand carries strength,” Joseph said.

Fifteen years ago, CES had few members not exclusively devoted to consumer electronics, Gary Shapiro, the association’s president and CEO, said in a blog post. Today, it includes content creators, Internet retailers, search engine companies, app creators and sharing-economy startups.

“These new members have expanded the CES offerings, partnered with our traditional companies and delighted consumers,” Shapiro said. “They have enhanced CES, joined our association and focused on a range of new issues from privacy to health care, encryption to spectrum.”

The name change also could signify a desire to wade into debates over the on-demand economy and tech regulation.

Lobbying on behalf of pro-innovation policies is not new for the association, Joseph noted. In Nevada, it worked to help legalize ride-hailing. And on the national level, the group has lobbied for patent and immigration reform.

The association has also launched a new lobbying effort centered on 11 companies, including Uber, Lyft, Google, GoPro, Pandora, WebMD and Yelp, that are members of its Disruptive Innovation Council.

“The innovative companies joining our council are providing workers with greater flexibility and more control over their lives,” Shapiro said in a statement. “While Americans across our nation are embracing these disruptions, governments are arbitrarily seeking to shut down companies because they conflict with or threaten old business models; we will stop them.”

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