Connected Consumer Electronics Veteran Drives Over to GM

General Motors Logo  kurt-hoppe-gm-pic-2016-06-14-zoom

January 3, 2017 – Consumer IOT executive and LG Electronics alum, Kurt Hoppe, returned to the world of multinational, connected device and service companies.  Hoppe recently accepted a position at General Motors as Global Head of Innovation – Connected Car.

In his new role, Hoppe will be responsible for creating, managing and delivering a global innovation roadmap for Connected Cars that is intended to benefit millions of consumers. Hoppe’s initiatives will align with a clearly articulated, multi-pillar, GM strategy to accelerate and extend its multi-decade OnStar success via broad 4G LTE connectivity, while embracing dramatic industry changes in the areas of autonomous driving, ride-sharing, and electric vehicles.

Hoppe says, “Over the course of my professional life, I have been fortunate to have been involved in connected consumer device and service evolution in disrupted industries, time and time again. Anticipating and embracing the future has provided me the opportunity to work with brilliant, hard-working people, world class companies, and dynamic partners, together delivering compelling connected services and solutions to hundreds of millions of customers.”

With a 15+ year track record of being at the forefront of technological innovation, Hoppe has been a trailblazer for what are now broadly adopted consumer technologies, including broadband access, Home Gateways, Wi-Fi routers, Remote Support, wireless data, mobile commerce, location-based services, IPTV, OTT Video Streaming, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Understanding, and Home Automation.  Connected Car is “a next big thing”.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, has said, “The auto industry is poised for more change in the next five to ten years than it’s seen in the past 50.”  Over the last year, GM has shown the industry that they are serious about supporting these changes. In order to take advantage of such opportunities and deliver bold, compelling new products and services, proven innovation leaders and dynamic teams are needed.

A technology educator and evangelizer, Hoppe is a frequent presenter and panelist at IoT industry events around the world.  His versatile approach enables him to address large or small groups, from startups and investors to larger audiences at well-known conferences such as Internet of Things World, CES, and CONNECT EXPO.  His insight, IoT industry experience and thought leadership provide value to delegates seeking action-oriented strategies in order to build and deliver compelling connected services in a competitive, converging IoT market.

Hoppe will be conducting a fireside chat on the topic on the challenges of Automotive Innovation at the Consumer Telematics Show in Las Vegas, NV on January 4th and will be based in Detroit with his new role at GM.

To book Hoppe to speak at your event, please contact:
Publicist – Tiffany S May, at (972) 977-0180 or

Rebooting the Family Vacation – Part 3

Hoppe KidsThe Results

A few months later, sheltered from the 117 degree July heat in Phoenix, I posted 42 “vacation highlight photos” on Facebook. Soon, hundreds of “likes” from friends and family would acknowledge the happy faces captured in the exciting and varied photos. I could not help but smile, reflecting that the first phase of Rebooting the Family Vacation had been a resounding success.

All in all, the family had spent 15 days away from Phoenix in closed quarters, experiencing the fruits of each child’s planning and preparation. The siblings bonded, working together each night and each morning to pitch the tent and then re-pack it, often while under attack by the national bird of Alaska (i.e. the mosquito).  Responsibilities for breakfast and dinner rotated, with everyone taking their turn to provide much-needed sustenance while on the road. Smartphones were rarely used (lack of cell phone coverage helped).

My eldest, “The Reader”, had known that author Jack London wrote about the Klondike Gold Rush and she learned that he had lived in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, gathering the experiences he later shared in novels like “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”.  She planned our 2-day detour off of the Alaska Highway to visit the 2500-person village that had once attracted 100,000 prospectors in search of riches.

My son, “The Athlete”, organized our day in Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, which is only accessible by water. Under his guidance, we pitched our tent (in the rain) at midnight, visited the 12-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier, and then spent a glorious afternoon on the water, sea-kayaking beneath the eagles and surrounded by seals.

My youngest, “The Adventurer”, planned our trip to Denali National Park, location of Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.  During our visit to the park, we were able to see elk, moose, and black bear and were able to climb a 1500 foot vertical ridge, much to “The Reader’s” objections.

Fear of the Unknown: conquered. Responsibility: increased.  Sibling Bonding: improved (at least, temporarily).

NEXT:  The New Normal

Rebooting the Family Vacation – Part 2

Milepost 2014The Plan

After submitting my vacation request and making my Amazon 1-Click purchase of the 64th annual edition of the Milepost travel guide, I convened a family meeting with my 3 children, Daughter #1 (17), Son (15) and Daughter #2 (11), and laid out the “guidelines” for our summer adventure:

  • We would fly from Phoenix to Seattle, visit some old friends, embark on a 12-day tent-camping road trip across British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and Alaska, and then return on the sea, camping on the top deck of a public ferry, chugging down the west coast for 35 hours.
  • No Smartphone or Internet usage, except during refueling stops. Gasp!
  • The children (not me) would be responsible for planning 25% of the trip – at least 1 full day each, from sunrise to sundown (or the closest thing to such a thing, in The Land of the Midnight Sun) – responsible to research the 6000-mile route, plan a full day of family activities, and then arrange everything that would be needed to support those activities.
  • Bonus: there would no budget constraints (for this initial reboot experiment). And, to be honest, there are not really that many expensive activities available on this desolate Northern route.

And so, the children, who had never been north of Seattle before, truly had a blank sheet in front of them, filled with the Great Unknown.

NEXT:  The Results


Rebooting the Family Vacation – Part 1


Today’s HR departments regularly communicate the need for a work-life balance, strongly encouraging employees to use their vacation days every year (or risk losing them). In an increasingly interconnected world supported by a global, non-stop business environment, it is difficult enough for mid-level or senior management leaders to step away from their job for two weeks, let alone set aside the weeks of time needed to properly plan a vacation that is truly memorable, satisfying, and stimulating for the whole family.

Unwilling to hire a personal “vacation planner” to put together a truly customized adventure, most Americans today find themselves making last-minute decisions to journey to sterile, all-inclusive Caribbean or Mexican resorts, Disneyland, or take an annual excursion to the Grandparents’ house for a “very-similar-to-home” experience that finds the children spending their time connected on the same Smartphones or Kindle tablets to the same friends and websites, on a family vacation that is played out in individual digital worlds.

The Vacation Reboot Concept

In the Spring of 2013, with a 50-70% business travel schedule ahead of me, and a summer vacation season looming, I decided that my family needed something different, something “better”, something that would gift them with a lifelong habit of broad travel ambitions and capabilities, openness to accepting new challenges, and stronger sibling bonds.

I decided to reboot my family vacation, truly having my three children take ownership of some of the travel details for our 15-day adventure, offering them the opportunity to face down any fear that they might have of the world outside Phoenix, and having them get excited and invested in creating memories from a place we had never visited before.

Alaska beckoned. They just did not know it yet.

October is Tradeshow Month

It has been too long since I put my keyboard into blogging mode. Definitely a busy few months – both professionally and personally – but there is too much happening in the space to stay quiet any longer – not to mention that CES is less than 12 weeks away!  Watch this space for some thoughts on both The Connected Home and The Traveling Home in the weeks ahead.

Speaking of travel, I hope to have a chance to connect in San Francisco (CEA Industry Forum), Las Vegas (TelcoTV), or Los Angeles (Streaming Media West) this month. I will be visiting those events and  sharing my perspective on how the Connected CE industry is quickly rolling out, both for retail consumer end-users and for multitudes of traditional and non-traditional service providers.

For some of us, the convergence that we have been talking about for over a decade finally seems to be on the verge of reality, as devices interconnect, speeds ramp up, services flow, and boundaries blur.

And not a moment too soon, if you ask me.

So…did CONNECTIONS and NCTA Connect this Year?

I wanted to (finally) take a few minutes to share some industry event thoughts:

The Cable Show (“NCTA”), Boston

In the twilight hours of the 3-day event, I finally had some unscheduled time (having spent most of my waking hours meeting cable execs in LG’s nearby demo suite), allowing me to have a 90-minute self-guided tour.  My observations:

  • NCTA was noticeably smaller than I remember from years ago in Vegas, seeming to publicly proclaim consolidation! – as providers (e.g. TWC/Insight) and suppliers (e.g. Cisco/NDS) shrink in number.
  • The Cable Guys have shown remarkable agility in the past 12-18 months, reinforcing their value to many tablet-owning subscribers as the first wave of the 2-screen tsunami subsides.
  • MSOs are really not too worried by competitive OTT services – as 5-year plans will prevail, retaining subscribers with TV-Everywhere authentication, new home gateways, and slow-moving CE deals.

Parks Associates’ CONNECTIONS / TIA, Dallas

CONNECTIONS and TIA offered a slightly different  perspective on the convergence of Connected CE, service providers, and cloud services:

  • AT&T and Verizon said service providers should embrace the “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) trend as the Connected CE market grows from 6B to 13B devices over the next 18 months.
  • M2M or “Internet of Things” talk seems to be gaining momentum as home monitoring and control services are deployed, and CE devices add more sensors tied to analytics engines in the cloud.
  • The “Connected CE as the STB” panel focused on having 1 STB/home within 10 years, and the need to “follow the money” of measured delivery and consumption of content and advertising, rather than “hobbies”.


No earth-shattering announcements and no revolutionary product launches. That said, I did sense early indicators that Pay TV operators are coming to terms with tempering their leased equipment business (much like Ma Bell did years ago). In-home network demarcation will be needed (iNID?) but MVPDs will hopefully prepare their subscribers soon for “BYOD” , enabling mainstream consumers to enjoy familiar, high-quality Pay TV on more innovative devices. If all goes according to plan, a rare win-win may be possible – in the coming years.

Back from Hollywood…

I had a very interesting day last week at Variety’s Venture Capital and New Media Summit, an event designed to increase awareness of the burgeoning entertainment-tech scene in Hollywood. Kicked off by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the 1-day event provided ample opportunity for attendees to debate how new cloud services and devices could either disrupt or augment longstanding media businesses.  The general sentiment expressed, both publicly on panels and in private conversations, was that new opportunities were definitely being created, but the inertia of highly-profitable legacy business models might promote the status quo for a few more years still.

And so, in addition to enjoying the great venue at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills, most of the entertainment, technology and VC execs I chatted with were focused on measuring social media, building teams with great talent, and searching for that “next big thing”.  Check out some of the executive perspectives (including mine) published in the Variety Magazine story, “Coin Still Flows to Tech Set” by Hillary Atkin.

Surface + Xbox = Transforming Content and UX for the Better?

In the week since Microsoft revealed their iPad-challengers, we have all read a variety of opinions and analyses stemming from the limited info that Ballmer shared at the Surface unveiling event.

More interesting than the device features was the speculation beforehand of an Xbox-Surface combo.

On one hand, the Xbox-Surface pair would simply be a “pure” (closed?) Microsoft version of the many emerging whole-home solutions coming from leading Pay TV operators (think Comcast’s Xfinity AnyPlay feature which uses a special Motorola set-top box to stream Live Pay TV to Apple or Android tablets around the home, or DISH’s “Hopper” which replicates the main TV viewing experience on “Joeys” all around the house).

On the other hand, Xbox-Surface could be a potential blockbuster combo that hints at Microsoft’s latest “Living Room Domination Plan”, where a sleek new Xbox and Kinect replace a stodgy old STB and a Windows 8 Surface replaces a cluttered 40-button remote, thus enabling intuitive, advanced user interaction for game play and TV navigation. Add a Live TV source or two to the Xbox, OTT services and TV-Everywhere authenticated catch-up TV “channels”, plus a few exclusive content provider deals (interesting to Hollywood thanks to the sizable Xbox footprint), and Microsoft suddenly becomes a virtual service provider, that could either be a friend or a foe to today’s Pay TV operator.

Either way, the Xbox-Surface story is more interesting than Surface alone. As Microsoft likes to say, they could definitely be “better together“.


Some interesting panels today with big name speakers yielded some quotes to consider:

  • TV-Everywhere implementation costs are a rounding error compared to annual programming costs.
  • Services you receive from your Service Provider should be available when you want, on all your CE devices.
  • Cord cutting is not about content, it’s about billing and account relationships.
  • Surveys show the highest subscriber awareness levels (25%) for TV-Everywhere service was at U-Verse.
  • TV-E services are consumed 75% on mobile/tablet and 25% on console/Smart TV.
  • Time-critical content (March Madness, Olympics) drives 1st-time TV-E exposure, which then increases recurring usage.
  • For service providers, Value-Added Services IS THE BUSINESS now.