Key Out­take from the IFA 2014 Global Press Con­fer­ence

HWM (Singapore) - - Think - by Zachary Chan

The world of elec­tron­ics has al­ways been clas­si­fied un­der three ma­jor groups. You’ve got In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) that gov­erns ev­ery­thing com­put­ing, com­put­ers and the in­ter­net; Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics (CE) gen­er­ally cov­ers ev­ery­thing au­dio-vis­ual, from per­sonal en­ter­tain­ment such as head­phones and me­dia play­ers to home en­ter­tain­ment, which has your TV, speak­ers and am­pli­fiers. To a lesser ex­tent, home ap­pli­ances can be grouped into CE as well depend­ing on who you’re talk­ing to, but we’ll come to that later. Lastly, we have the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions (Telco), where com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices and ser­vices re­side. Elec­tronic de­vices and their us­age sce­nar­ios have al­ways been spe­cific enough that they will fall un­der one of these three cat­e­gories, but not any­more.

To­day, the lines have blurred, so much that some be­lieve we’re look­ing at a new elec­tron­ics par­a­digm. In a panel brief­ing at the IFA 2014 Global Press Con­fer­ence held in April 2014, Juer­gen Boyny, Global Di­rec­tor, Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Con­sumer Choices, at GfK, men­tions the term “Dig­i­tal World” as the re­place­ment.

The ma­jor fac­tor con­tribut­ing to the Dig­i­tal World par­a­digm is the im­mense growth of the mo­bile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor. By 2015, GfK fore­casts that Tele­coms will grow to en­com­pass 44% of the elec­tron­ics mar­ket, and 49% of this mar­ket will be in APAC where one smart­phone will be sold ev­ery sec­ond.

Ger­ard Tan, Dig­i­tal World, GfK Asia Pa­cific, ex­panded on the APAC mar­ket, show­ing that the telco mar­ket grew by 29% in 2013 over 2012. In the same pe­riod, CE was down by 2% and IT down by 6%. Drilling down fur­ther, the dig­i­tal cam­era mar­ket took the largest hit, be­ing down by 16%.

Apps and dig­i­tal ser­vices now de­ter­mine what we use our de­vices for and it is no sur­prise that smart­phones and tablets have largely re­placed just about ev­ery other ded­i­cated de­vice we used to rely on. They can take on the role of IT for pro­duc­tiv­ity, in­ter­net and gam­ing; they can take on the role of CE for en­ter­tain­ment, movies, mu­sic, and pho­tog­ra­phy; they con­tinue to evolve telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, ex­tend­ing tra­di­tional voice and mes­sag­ing with data and apps. Ba­si­cally, we seem to have al­ready found the per­fect per­sonal elec­tronic de­vice in the forms of the smart­phone and tablet, and their fu­ture – at least ac­cord­ing to GfK – is not slow­ing down one bit

How­ever, in­ter­est­ingly, home con­sumer elec­tron­ics and ap­pli­ances con­tinue to thrive in this Dig­i­tal World. While our smart­phones adapt to what we need them for through apps and ser­vices, home ap­pli­ances are de­signed for a spe­cific func­tion­al­ity. You can’t cook din­ner or wash the clothes with your smart­phone. These de­vices will con­tinue to grow smarter, at­tain more con­nec­tiv­ity fea­tures, so­phis­ti­cated sen­sors and au­to­ma­tion. Your liv­ing room will also still con­tinue to be the core driver at home; de­spite the as­sault of mo­bile de­vices, the aver­age daily TV view­ing time around the world has ac­tu­ally grown in the past 5 years.

The rapid adop­tion of new form fac­tors such as curved screens and 4K ul­tra high def­i­ni­tion, the in­te­gra­tion of ser­vices in­clud­ing apps and con­nec­tiv­ity, plus grow­ing screen sizes and low­ered costs have al­lowed the TV mar­ket to see con­tin­ued growth.

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