The “wearable fitness technology” phenomenon on display recently at the Consumer Electronics Show ( LG jumps into wearable fitness gadget market, Jan. 6) is changing, and in some cases, saving lives. It’s also creating new economic opportunities for startup tech companies and service providers who are helping to bring these technologies into our homes.
The economic and social benefits of our increasingly connected nation are the result of federal policies made at a time when divided government didn’t mean non-existent governing. The 1996 Telecommunications Act — passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton — and the Federal Communications Commission rules associated with it spurred more than $1 trillion in investments in the wired and wireless high-speed data networks that connect wearable fitness products like the “FitBit” to smartphones and other devices. In addition, billions of dollars have been invested in smartphones and the “app economy” it birthed, which has created more than 750,000 jobs for entrepreneurs in fields like health IT and home monitoring — fields ripe for entry by minority-owned businesses.
By continuing to make more wireless spectrum available, investing in digital skills training programs and targeting infrastructure funds to build high-speed broadband networks in areas not reached by private providers today, the new FCC chairman and the rest of the federal government can keep investment and opportunity flowing in this sector.
Jose Marquez, president and CEO, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, Norcross, Ga.