Fred Towns Talks 8K, 5G and CES

This article is an excerpt from a story originally published in It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, published by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®.

Overview Fred Towns is the long-time consumer tech executive who has been president of New Age Electronics Inc. and Jack of All Games at SYNNEX Corp. since 2011.

i3 recently sat down with Towns as he looked into his proverbial crystal ball to share his optimistic views on 8K and 5G.

It's early, but what are your thoughts on 8K?

People are just starting to realize the benefits of 4K, and content is the biggest issue. There is always going to be a bleeding edge customer that wants a product that is current or where the industry is growing. 8K is going to bring that solution. But it does require a change in how it is recorded and how it is shared.

Sports is where it is really going to be interesting. I was watching the U.S. Open and you can see the ball coming off the club and the blades of grass and the sand flying. The image that you see is almost like you are there.

There is a place for 8K, and the solutions will catch up to it. As we have much better content more readily accessible, those technologies will be embraced faster. But it’s the job of the retailer to tell those stories and paint the picture for what you are going to want to get.

How are you helping retailers prepare for 5G?

The SYNNEX side of the company is deeper into 5G on the telephony side. The benefit for us is that we don’t have to broker new relationships, we can tie into those areas.

On the consumer side we are looking at brands that will interact with 5G and starting to say, this is where we need training and education to bring our staff up to speed. The biggest problem will be getting the antennas installed. It’s a massive amount of work but the benefits will be huge as people get video, audio and streaming and all of the things that will be available. The manufacturers are excited about it.

What is your CES strategy?

There are many different faces of CES. We have many meetings with our vendors about where they are going with their product and what they are doing with their channel strategy and where they want to target businesses. At times we will see mock-ups of what they are going to introduce in the spring.

It is a great way for us to see what is going to happen in the first half of the year and some new concepts that will be worked on going forward into the next holiday season. It opens our eyes to what is fresh. You go to Eureka Park to see the startups because it’s one great place to see everything that is new.

Outside of that, CES is an incredible networking opportunity. I don’t have to fly across the country because we can all get together for a cup of coffee or a formal discussion. It’s a great place to see a community of people that you can work with.

Read more about Fred Towns’ background and the full interview in “New Age Electronics Fred Towns” in i3 magazine.
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