Smart Technologies

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Conventional smartphones, laptops and other communication devices have witnessed saturation and the global demand has declined significantly over the past few years. Conventional technologies are being replaced by smart alternatives featuring connectivity, innovative applications, and artificial intelligence for independent decision making. Moreover, inclination of industry participants and consumers towards these technologies is expected to transform the global landscape of consumer products, home products, and business solutions over the forecast period. Such state of the art technologies are presented as part of this segment study.

Smart Home

Smart home products can be broadly categorized into lighting control, security & access control, HVAC control, home healthcare, smart kitchen, and entertainment. Lighting control is expected to present major growth opportunities over the forecast period owing to its ability to reduce energy consumption through the incorporation of smart sensors to optimize the intensity according to the natural light. However, the entertainment industry held the largest market share owing to the extensive range of products under this segment. The improving standard of living across the globe has led to the advent of smart entertainment systems that integrate multi-room systems control to regulate audio and other media controls through centralized systems. This industry is characterized by a number of product innovations to enhance consumer experience. Some of these include:

Thermostats: These provide the ability to control the temperature of air and water in homes through smartphones, tablets or computers. Some of the recent models have incorporated artificial intelligence that allow users to customize the appliances according to their habits and preferences.

Smart Kitchen: Smart Kitchen products allow monitoring of the cooking processes remotely through smart products and connected devices. Products such as iKettle 2.0, Belkin’s WeMo series are examples of smart kitchen products. Samsung’s smart fridge is another product that enhances the usability through its incorporated display featured with whiteboard, web browser, calendar, and inside view.

Security & access control: Security and access control includes equipment that allows users to block unauthorized access to information through both virtual and physical channels. Danalock V2, Tile Mate, Skybell HD, and Dojo Pebble are some of the novel security and access control products that enhance the home security from any form of physical and virtual attacks.

Other miscellaneous home automation products: Automated vacuum cleaners, social robots, centralized power control devices, smart scales for fitness tracking, lawn mowing robots, and universal remotes to control any remote controlled device are some of the other home automation products that have gained traction in the recent past.

Growing per capita disposable income has influenced demand for high-end products and increased convenience at homes. Moreover, introduction of advanced automated products to enhance user comfort is expected to provide the necessary boost to the market growth over the forecast period.

Smart Consumer Products

Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are expected to witness steady demand in the near future. However, smart wearable electronics that include implantable devices, smart watches, smart jewelry, fitness trackers, smart clothing, and head-mounted displays are expected to present substantial growth prospects over the forecast period. Smart watches accounted for over half the revenue share of wearable devices segment in 2016. Moreover, products such as smart eyewear and head-mounted displays are expected to further gain traction with introduction of augmented/virtual reality. In addition to enhanced gaming experience, these products are expected to find huge application in designing architectures phobia therapies, and emergency response training among others. Chief global players such as Apple, Samsung, and Facebook are implementing strategies to establish their foothold in the industry. For instance, in July 2014, Facebook completed acquisition of Oculus Rift for around US$ 2 billion. Increasing incidence of data loss and security breaches over the last few years has increased demand for data security among the populace. Given the proliferation of connected devices, providing enhanced security is likely to be one of the major focuses of players operating in this industry.

Smart Industries

Utilization of cyber-physical systems and industrial robots integrated with internet of everything (IoE) with smart learning capabilities are expected to gain major traction over the following years. Moreover, reduction of human errors, high precision outputs, and long working cycles of these portfolios is expected to generate major profits for end-use industries. Use of 3D printing in the manufacture of automotive and other equipment. According to Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute, smart factories could increase the global economic productivity to US$ 1.5 trillion by 2022, and double the average profit margins. Some of the major players in the industrial automation segment include ABB Ltd. Fanuc Corp., Yaskawa Electric Corp., Adept Technology, and Apex Automation and Robotics.

Smart Utilities

Increasing global population has increased the strain on existing resources and is expected to present a significant challenge to the growth of the utilities industries. Advent of different communication means, software, and smart meters have enabled safe and measured utilization of resources such as gas, water, and electricity. These smart meters offer accurate consumption measurement and on-demand remote access to related information. Owing to these advantages, the technology has gained global acceptance, and government authorities are expected to invest significantly in their installation. For instance, the U.K. government has mandated installation of smart meters in every household in England, Wales and Scotland by 2020. This unprecedented national infrastructural project is expected to enable better energy efficiency of systems in the U.K.

Smart Agriculture

Smart agriculture includes precision farming, livestock farming, fish farming, greenhouse, orchid farming, forestry, and horticulture. These methodologies have gained wide scale acceptance in developed economies and are projected to witness major demand in emerging economies over the forecast period. Smart agriculture incorporates next generation technology to monitor and control different aspects to enhance the yield. Yield monitoring is among the major applications that are expected to offer a huge growth potential. It entails monitoring field information such as soil properties, fertilizers, and weather conditions. Agricultural drones have gained significant consumer favorability owing to their ability to display issues concerning irrigation treatment, distressed plants and soil variation through the incorporation of GPS modules, MEMS sensors and digital radios with the drones.

Some other smart innovations include the smart renewable power systems, neuromorphic chips (by Qualcomm) and Microscale 3D printing (still in development phase). These advancements are likely to positively impact the smart technology landscape over the next few years. Increasing adoption of IoT, AR/VR, machine learning, automation, and physical digital integrations to enhance the technology applications across major industrial segments is expected to favor growth of this industry.

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