The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) unveiled its newest class of inductees into the organization’s Consumer Technology Hall of Fame. The 14 new members join a roster of industry giants who’ve helped to advance innovation and develop, create, market, promote, and sell technologies, products, and services to consumers.
"The CT Hall of Fame honors the exceptional visionaries in our industry," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, said in a statement. "The new class of inductees includes engineers and inventors, business executives, retailers and a journalist who drove new solutions and technologies that made a difference in our lives."
This year’s inductees include:
- John Briesch led Sony's launch of the compact disc (CD), developed the My First Sony line for children, launched the Sony Style e-commerce site in the 1990s and was issued a patent for an automated digital rights management and payment system.
- Dr. John Cioffi, the father of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), led the effort to develop the scheme that dramatically increased bandwidth, resulting in the first broadband connectivity standard that delivered internet access to hundreds of millions of homes worldwide.
- Robert Cole founded World Wide Stereo, now Philadelphia's premier independent AV specialty and custom-installation dealership, which has outlasted several regional and national competitors.
- Richard Doherty was an influential technology journalist and industry analyst. In 1983, he co-founded The Envisioneering Group and was often quoted as a technology expert.
- Peter Lesser founded X10 Limited in 1984, and helped turn the X10 protocol into the first and most ubiquitous smart home connectivity protocol. In the late 1980s and early 90s, X10 introduced the first DIY wireless smart home security and monitoring systems. He also served as a CTA Executive Board member from 1999 to 2010 and as Industry Executive Advisor from 2005 to 2010.
- Mike Romagnolo founded and grew DOW Stereo to 10 locations near San Diego, serving as a primary launch pad for many new tech products, including the DVD and HDTV.
- Edgar Villchur invented the acoustic suspension speaker, the basis for subsequent loudspeakers, and co-founded Acoustic Research. He also invented the independent suspension turntable, and designed technology used in most hearing aids.
- Thiel Audio Team: Kathy Gornik/Jim Thiel: Jim Thiel founded and was chief designer of the company's innovative speakers. As president, Kathy Gornik ran the business and was responsible for the marketing that made the brand synonymous with high quality sound. She also served as the first woman to Chair the Consumer Technology Association in 2003 and 2004.
- Skype Team: In 2003, Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis - co-founders of the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing platform - combined with Estonian software engineers Jaan Tallinn, Priit Kasesalu and Ahti Heinla to create Skype, the premier person-to-person video phone platform. Today, Skype has nearly 1.5 billion users.
The CT Hall of Fame was formed in 2000, and inductees are selected by a panel of media and industry professionals. This year’s honorees will be celebrated by CTA during an awards dinner on Wednesday, November 7 at New York CIty’s Capitale venue.