What are the main topics in CES 2015 in Las Vegas?

The growing demand of consumer electronics is a economic factor. If you think about the world largest consumer electronics exhibition (CES) in Las Vegas this year, the city is full of everything: press releases, events, 20 000 new prodcut launches, business peopleWhat´s new in the CES this year?, journalists and investors. Now also a dedicated stage for startups. So, it is hard to pick the best of the huge event, but here is a short list of what is going on in Vegas:

Cars: If you think about the car industry, there are two big trends that are driving the industry at the moment. First, electric cars and cars with renewable energy. For example Tesla Motor has a unique business strategy with their own software and batteries compared to other automakers.

The second trend is the self-driving cars: for example Volvo, Mercedes and Audi have followed the road of Google cars. Volvo is experimenting a new model of self-driving cars so that there are several cars in the chain and the leading car will take care of the speed of others. During the fairs BMW also launched their new model of a car, which can park itself. In-vehile technologies have grown so much that this industry sector is now one of the biggest in the fairs.

This rapid growth is also raising the question of car security and safety. Which operating system is taking care of the information & entertaining panels ?

Wearables: I have written about wearables and the need for more classy-style and finally we have seen – The Swarovski Shine. This crystal maker and wearable company Misfit have combined forces and the outcome is marvellous. This is a collaboration of a fitness and sleep tracker…this beautiful wearable will be in the shops in China, HongKong and the US by the end of March.

This is also a good example of product differentation. All the others from Apple, LG, Microsoft, Motorola to Sony, show pretty much the same design models in their wearables. Blackberry announced that they will support the Android operating system wearable in their own products.

Home: Home security continues to be one of the topics as well. Kitchen appliances and different new gadgets will be part of the internet of things (ioT) in all the home electronics. According to Google, it is estimated that in 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet.

For example Samsung estimated that 90 procent of its products will be ioT devices by 2017 and all the devices by 2020.

As Intel´s CEO Brian Krzanich said in his presentation:” We are going to experience Computing Unleashed, where computing gains a new dimension. From that two dimensional world, to a three dimensional world. Computers are gaining senses. They are going to be able to see, and hear. And that will result in their ability to understand. They are becoming wirefree, giving new meaning to portable and mobile,” he said.

Consumer electronics are expanding rapidly and the Las Vegas CES is now International. The first Asian fairs will be running this spring in Shanghai.

 

Photo: Ville Koski, 2014

Design Tech

Xiaomi is growing fast in smartphone markets in Asia

Xiaomi revealed high-end smartphone by technical features but with amazing price level in July 22. This phones’ starting price is approximately 320 dollars which is less than a new iPhone 5S or Samsung S 5. The phone is Xiaomi Mi 4, runs by MIUI which is Xiaomis’ own operating system build on Android platform. Mi 4 has 5inch screen which is very common size for new smartphones nowadays and design is iPhone look-a-like.

For technical details it’s at least as good as its’ competitors or maybe even slightly better in several category. For example front and back cameras have more megapixels than the cameras in iPhone 5S and the size of battery is bigger. According to the company, the life time of the mobile phone is 36 hours with normal use.

This company is focusing on markets in Asia and is serious challenger for Apple while its’ market share passed Samsungs’ during second quarter by Research firm Canalys. Xiaomi even has tablet called Mi pad and of course, it has the same specs as Apple iPad Mini, looks like it and it’s cheaper.

Xiaomi Inc is a privately owned Chinese electronics company founded in 2010 and headquartered in Beijing. It is one of China’s biggest electronics companies that designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and consumer electronics. Xiaomi is now 6th biggest smartphone manufacturer globally according to IDC.

 

Ville Koski

Tech

What to expect from mobile phones markets in September?

There has been trend in the past few years that mobile phones are getting bigger and bigger. The most sold smartphone model in the market is Samsung Note 3, with 5,7inch display. Note 3 was huge success because 10 million units were sold just within 2 months of the launch. This phablet is special because just this model alone approached 50% of all Apple’s iPhone sales.

And now Apple is getting into the phablet game. IPhone 6 is rumoured to come with 2 different models, one with 4,7inch screen and the other with 5,5inch (iPhone 5c/5/5s has 4inch display). This model is one of the most interesting launches of the year, and not only because it’s an iPhone, more because what is their answer to the growing trend of phablets. Atleast i’m really looking forward to it.

As mentioned earlier Samsung Note 3 was huge succes and now in Q4 Samsung is rumoured to launch Note 4 and new smartwatch, Samsung Gear 3. There has been many rumors what would the Note 4 be like, rumors including 3-sided display, 4K resolution display and more, nobody really knows what information is sure. But one thing is, it’s gonna be better in anyway (of course, like will be it’s competitor iPhone 6 compared to older iPhone 5s). But one rumor really hit me, smartwatch Gear 3 might have a sim slot so you could use it for calling people without linking it to your phone.

Now, when you have a new high-end smartphone and a smartwatch and you want to answer incoming call with smartwatch, how do you listen to it without everyone around you hearing what in this case the caller has to say? Answer would be wireless headphones with connection like bluetooth.

Apple bought Dr. Dre Beats, company that makes headphones in early 2014. Samsung has it’s own serie of headphones called Level. Looks like two big mobilephone manufacturers are taking over the headphones market for mobile users and smartwatches becoming more and more popular, those wireless earpods would be very handy!

Both phones ( Apple iPhone 6 & Samsung Note 4 ) are expected to be launch in August / September 2014 because that’s the time of year when these two mobile manufacturers usually unveil their new models in their own conferences.

 

Ville Koski

 

Sources used:

forbes.com

macrumors.com

thegalaxynote4.com

phonearena.com

Tech

Apple focusing on innovation

logotestiIt seems to be that Apple is taking new steps with innovation. The recent announcements related to their interim report yesterday, co-operation with IBM with business customers and the M&A (Beats Audio) are all elements related to their earlier announcement with healthcare and new operating system.  It is really so that the autumn will be busy for all the market makers.

Apple has done a great three month period in China. For example Mac-computers and iPads showed a clear double-digit growth in China. Apple announced earlier this co-operation with China Mobile and as CEO Jim Cook said in the company presentation, China will play an important role in Apple´s growth. China Mobile has made big investments in the country´s 4 G network during the couple of years.

The stock price of Apple has increased by 20 percent during the last three months and the company has said it has been purchasing own shares by 8 billion dollars during that period. They expect the revenue to be between 37 – 40 billion dollars during the next quarter and margins 37 -38%. The markets are already looking at September when the new iPhone6 will be released.  The company also reported an increase in R&D, which was 313 million dollars.

Tech

How about a smart watch?

 

If we are used to use smart phones, would it be easy to use smart watches? Not necessarily. Although it is nice to have some functions in your wrist all the time, I found that it is important to think first what do you really want from these gadgets. Do you want to see all the emails and social media happenings or is it purely for the design, clock and phone elements? The functionalities in these smart watches are really different. So, there is no one size fits for all. But there is one important thing to remember, these watches are working with your mobile phone.

Maybe it is nice to see all the alerts, the incoming calls and maybe take a picture? Soon we all wear smart devices: in our ears, in our eyes and in our wrists.  This is already now the situation if you think about Google glasses, smartphones and smart watches. According to Strategy Analytics last year 1, 9 million smart watches were sold and the major market dominant was Samsung, with 61 per cent market share.

What kind of design there would be if the real watch makers like Rolex, Longines, Patek Philippe or Swatch would join the high tech industry with these products? One thing is sure: the watch should be traditional one, I mean with the functionalities, but the design and mobile phone elements would be extra elements with new thinking.  Oh, there are so many opportunities and looking forward to see one!

Päivi Härkönen

 

Tech

What about M2M and LEED?

Have you ever thought how much technology you have in your house? Well, you have heating and cooling, lightning and security and then you have all the devices connected to internet. These devices can be laptops, TVs, smartphones or tablets etc. So much energy and so much technology.

This machine to machine world is getting closer to us in our facilities. The smart energy savings sensors will monitor, control and optimize our living and take into account for example the outside weather conditions. And of course, they will help our lives to become more sustainable and also enhance our well-being.

This kind of green living is getting more and more  attention from investors as well. The LEED and BREEAM certifications include energy performance, smarter use of water, sustainable materials, better indoor air quality and for example location/public transport. But they do not include what kind of smart technology systems the buildings have or if the systems are so smart that they can optimize the energy consumption 24 hours a day by themselves.

LEED certifications are one the of the leading rating methods for buildings in the world. The aim of the rating is to lower operating costs and increase asset value for owners and investors. Energy efficiency is one of the main drivers. Here are some LEED elements:

  • Lower operating costs and increase asset value
  • Reduce waste sent to landfills
  • Conserve energy and water
  • Be healthier and safer for occupants
  • Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions

Different kind of rating methods are being developed all around the world at the moment. I wonder, when we see this kind of high-tech embedded certifications for buildings?

Päivi Härkönen

Business Tech