CTIA Supermobility 2016 brings latest tech to Vegas


Discovering the latest wireless technology innovation is what CTIA Supermobility 2016 is all about. The annual gathering of experts on making wireless connectivity easier for the consumer was held at the Sands Expo &Convention Center for the fourth consecutive year, Sept. 7 to 9.

CTIA (an initial-ism, not an acronym) is a nonprofit industry advocate organization that includes wireless carriers, their suppliers, data service providers and product manufacturers. They coordinate information for consumers and certify devices, batteries and Wi-Fi.

The show’s theme this year was “everything wireless under one roof.” The expo floor was transformed into a smart city sectioned into seven zones: Innovation, Retail, M2M (machine-to-machine), Enterprise &IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), Tower &Small Cell Summit, and Connected Life + Technology.

One of the keynote speaker was Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Legend. Other speakers included Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman; Mark Cuban, chairman and chief executive officer of AXS TV and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks; and representatives from AT&T, Nokia and Verizon.

Legend offered his thoughts on how social media and technology are changing the way artists interact with fans. He mentioned that he and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, prefer to be in control of personal information shared with the public.

“We like to be our own publicist, and tell our own story. We feel like mobile technology has given us the opportunity to do that … it allows us to control the narrative more than we previously could have,” Legend said.

Legend also talked about how technology is changing audience etiquette.

“I have kind of a love-hate relationship with (smartphones at shows),” he said, acknowledging that mobility is a powerful marketing tool but can sometimes get in the way of appreciating the moment. “But sometimes, I’m just like, put your phones down and enjoy the music.”

Speaker Mark Cuban touched on his criteria for partnering with tech startup companies, and the upcoming presidential election.

The conference workshops covered cybersecurity and privacy, intelligent networking, connected life and the evolution of 5G services. There were expos on hacking, drones, rural wireless services and wireless repair.

The topics were targeted to “anyone interested in the best practices to keep technology safe,” said Heather Lee, CTIA show director and associate vice president, conventions.

More than 30,000 people attended, while more than 800 companies exhibited products — from Cricket Wireless to the U.S. Postal Service.

This convention has been held in Las Vegas nine times since 1998. Next year the group will move to San Francisco, but probably will return to Las Vegas, Lee said.