CE industry to expand path for wearables, sensors in 2014
According to Accenture, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year will feature more personalized devices while shifting away from larger, more traditional CES staples such as TVs and PCs.
"The industry is moving to a much more personalized, much more digital, and much more connected word. It is less about computers and more about personal devices, wearable technology, and sensors enabling the Internet of Things," David Sovie, managing director of Accenture's communications, media and technology group, said in an interview with EE Times. "We will see things that are the harbingers of the future."
Following this trend, Sovie said CES will showcase the wide variety of ways chip designers and engineers can create chipsets to serve evolving platforms.
"I think that's going to be a combination of increasingly more sophisticated multipurpose devices, so I need to think about mobile chipsets that have flexibility plus processing power to enable a wider range of functionality than existed before."
Chief among the evolving technologies to watch at CES is wearable technology, a growing sector due to decreased price points and increased functionality. 2014 will be an inflection point for wearables as devices leave the laboratory and become mainstream, Sovie added.
"These devices will reveal a shift from mostly niche products and interesting concepts to more broad market appeal, substantial commercial products, and growth in consumer comfort-levels with them," wrote Charles Hartley, media and analyst relations for Accenture.
The wearable market hosts a wide cross-section of players, with traditional tech companies serving the mobile and PC markets, fitness companies, and fashion companies converging to develop wearables. Accenture cited Burg Ltd, Cookoo, MetaWatch, Pebbles, Intel and Qualcomm among companies exhibiting wearables at CES.
Sovie added that CES will be abuzz with "phablet frenzy," as Accenture surveys show strong adoption of the factor size among multimedia enthusiasts and Asian populations. Thirty to 50 million phablets sold in 2013, Sovie estimated, and the number is likely to rise to 150 million to 200 million by 2016.
"My expectation is going into CES is you'll see a wide range of companies enter into this space. Prices are down, battery life is up, phablets will likely be next wave of competition. I do think that the emergence of a wide range of sensor switches [is] enabling a whole suite of uses for phablets."
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