Cindy Stevens, senior director, publications, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) was recently awarded the Women in Consumer Technology (WiCT) Legacy Award.
Below, Stevens discusses her thoughts on CES 2020 trends like 5G and how i3 inspires the next generation of women in technology.
RESI: How did you get your start in the CT industry?
CINDY STEVENS: I was editor-in-chief of Wireless Business & Technology magazine at Phillips Publishing. When the company was acquired, I left to go to CTA as editor of Vision magazine beginning with its second issue in 1998. It was an exciting time in the middle of the dot-com boom, and I had a front row seat watching the consumer technology industry grow. When I began, Replay TV was the talk of the 1999 CES—there were 1,870 exhibitors and just over 97,000 attendees.
Today, over 4,500 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees are at CES 2020 and key topics include everything from AI and quantum computing to voice assistants and immersive entertainment. In 2013, we launched It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, and I have been fortunate to interview many top industry leaders and witness the next wave of innovation firsthand.
RESI: What is your goal at CES 2020?
CS: I am interested in learning more about how AI, blockchain, and 5G will impact the industry. CES is a great venue to get a sense of what is trending and hear from expert speakers. Walking the show floor and talking with exhibitors inspires me, especially the passion and dedication in Eureka Park.
I also love the serendipity of CES—you never know what the buzz at the show will be until you are in Vegas. And I always look forward to catching up with my industry friends. It’s the unexpected moments that can be the most valuable.
RESI: What do you believe will dominate the tech conversation in 2020?
CS: Privacy will continue to be a major topic at CES and beyond. I also think how technology is improving lives will be highlighted more. For example, drones deliver medicine to remote places, cars use software to avoid accidents, and virtual and augmented reality is being used in education, health care, and even pain management.
RESI: How do you hope to inspire the next generation of women in tech?
CS: We feature strong women on the cover of i3, most recently IBM’s Ginni Rometti, FQ’s Shelley Zalis, Quibi’s Meg Whitman, and Deloitte’s Diana O’Brien. Each of these leaders has an inspiring story to share with other women. We also profile women entrepreneurs and female led startups in a variety of columns. And we have been inducting more women into the CT Hall of Fame. This year Elizabeth Feinler was honored for leading the Network Information Center that she calls the prehistoric Google. CTA also has a mentor program to connect with others and share experiences. And of course, the Women in Consumer Technology organization is doing an incredible job of bringing women together.