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Commentary

The TV As Gateway For National Priorities

Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra was intrigued by the new generation of Internet-enabled TVs and other devices he saw last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Chopra envisions Web-connected TVs being used for at-home healthcare, education, and other national priorities.
Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra was intrigued by the new generation of Internet-enabled TVs and other devices he saw last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Chopra envisions Web-connected TVs being used for at-home healthcare, education, and other national priorities.Chopra spoke about open government at CES, and in a blog post about his trip to Vegas, he wrote that he saw "rows upon rows of new technologies that have the potential to dramatically lower the costs of innovations for national priorities like healthcare, education, and energy efficiency."

As one example, Chopra pointed to home networking devices that connect thermostats to the smart grid. Another example: a Skype-enabled TV that could be used for home healthcare.

I talked to Chopra earlier this week for an upcoming InformationWeek editorial project on IT innovation in the United States, and he again made the connection between emerging technologies and these broader national issues. Chopra talked of the potential for Internet-enabled TVs to function as "a gateway for national purposes," such as healthcare and education.

That kind of thinking is consistent with the strategy for American innovation that Obama laid out in September, and which bears watching. One aspect of the three-pronged strategy is that the Obama administration wants to "catalyze breakthroughs" in areas of national importance.

It's unclear where next gen TVs fit into that plan. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chopra was "thrown out" of a conference room at CES by execs of a TV manufacturing company, apparently because he was occupying a space they needed for a meeting. Given Chopra's vision of the future, they might have asked the federal CTO to join them.


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