Arlington Takes on Vegas! Arlington Economic Development Seeks Out Technology at CES 2016

Guest blog by Alex Taylor, AED Senior Business Investment Manager

Beginning Tuesday, a team of staff from Arlington Economic Development will arrive in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016. Why is AED heading west to CES? The answer is twofold: First, we see this as an important opportunity to connect with national and international companies on the cutting edge of technological innovation and learn about the environments that are allowing for such innovation to flourish. More importantly, we are going to showcase Arlington as home for technology. After all, products like GPS, the Internet and 3-D holograms were born here, and new innovations ranging from unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAVS) and drones to Cyber and personal security technologies that are changing the world are being developed right now in Arlington. Other companies developing similar technologies would flourish here.

CES 2016 will welcome 3,500 companies and an estimated 170,000 attendees to the Las Vegas strip from January 6 - 9 to witness and enjoy the most recent and innovative developments in technology. Car makers, social media companies and shared economy companies like Uber, Lyft, Netflix, Pandora, Snapchat and Car2Go will be represented. The increasing presence of new technology has recently prompted the show’s host, industry policy advocate Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), to change its name to Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to encompass the transforming dynamics of the industry.

The change is also reflected in the type of businesses that have registered to participate at CES 2016. AED will have a lounge in Eureka Park, which will be home to more than 500 startups – an increase from 2015’s 375 startups and just 200 in 2014. Interfacing with innovative companies and individuals will allow our staff to learn their stories and meet the catalysts that are changing many industries around the world.

Why is this important to us? Arlington is situated just across the river from Washington, D.C., where policy is debated and implemented on a daily basis. With our highly educated workforce, unbeatable tech-friendly infrastructure and as home to many of the Federal agencies looking for these dynamic technologies (DARPA, NSF, DHS), Arlington is strategically positioned to attract these innovative companies.

Looking at the Unmanned Systems market, $130 million was spent last year and is projected to grow to more than $1 billion within the next three years. There were 16 commercialized companies represented at CES last year, which will almost double this year to 27. This is important to Arlington because as more and more unregulated industries become commercialized, they require regulation. Arlington is working to remain home to the policymakers within these emerging industries. The cybersecurity market is extremely large and is continuing to grow– expected to hit $170 billion by 2020. CES has recognized how large cyber is becoming and has dedicated an entire section of the tradeshow to showcase these technologies with the Personal Privacy and Cyber Security Marketplace. Arlington is already home to a number of emerging cybersecurity firms, with Crystal City being dubbed Cyber City in recent years, and hopes to attract more cybersecurity firms through connections made at CES. 

FINALLY, one thing we missed: did we mention the first self-driving vehicle to be taken on a major public highway was tested in, of all places, Arlington! – specifically along I-395. As Virginia Senator Mark Warner (who was in the car) put it, “I’ll make a prediction today: automated systems, whether they are aerial, driving or maritime, will be as disruptive and transformative over the next decade to our lives as the wireless revolution was 30-plus years ago.” Arlington is positioned to become a leader in these emerging fields and plans to take advantage of this unique opportunity. 

Topic: BIG Update
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