Far-fetched Technologies and Reality
The most discussed topic in recent months in the media – artificial intelligence, robots and their integration into our daily lives. The cause of this is a humanoid Sophia who initiated such talks when visiting Lithuania recently. But are the robots really our tomorrow? Ignas Rumbutis, the Head of Product Department of ACME Europe, having recently returned from one of the largest consumer electronics exhibitions CES, shares his insights on the latest technology trends: “far-fetched” and reality.
From Now on, will the Robot Serve You at the Restaurant?
“Compared to the last year, robotics are becoming more prominent,” said I. Rumbutis. “It is believed that robots will partly change people's work and position themselves in areas such as medicine, service, and logistics. Thus, very likely that one day when you come to drink your favourite coffee, the order will be accepted by a robot.” – said the specialist. He also added that until now it has been unclear when this revolution will take place. There are no defined prices, sales channels, users. Although, according to I. Rumbutis, interest has been shown in both B2B and B2C sectors.
The artificial intelligence and voice-controlled devices received special attention. “It is safe to say that almost half of the exhibition was related with some the voice-controlled systems. The most discussed object – Alexa and its supportive devices. Although this is not the news of this year but until now, this system has been popular only in America and the United Kingdom. For instance, in America, about 35 million people use Alexa, which accounts for about 10 per cent of the total population. Its introduction into German and Scandinavian markets has been ongoing, however, quite slowly.” – the expert shares his insights. I. Rumbutis pointed out that other voice-controlled systems, such as Google, do not come passive and aggressively push the market. “The potential of these systems has been seen by most manufacturers, so they are happy to integrate them into their devices. It does not matter whether it's a headphones or a fridge," said the Head of Product Department of ACME Europe.
“One of the most relevant and already hand-reachable technological innovations is wireless charging of devices. The need for such chargers has arisen when Apple, the largest smartphone manufacturer, last year introduced the devices that support this technology,” - stated I. Rumbutis. “Based on information from the meeting with the representatives of the association Wireless Power Consortium, the tendency is clear that the need for wireless charging stations only will grow as other smartphones manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Sony, Huawei, ZTE, are planning to introduce new models in 2018 which can be recharged simply by placing them on the station.” – said the expert. He went on to say that this technology interests both the end users and the business. In B2B sector, wireless charging of devices is relevant to hotels, restaurants, car industry.
In his opinion, the market is expected to grow significantly and for true wireless stereo (TWS). “Headphones of this type are not the news of this year but only now they become available to users, since the cost of production and the technology itself have become cheaper. TWS headphones solve a variety of problems faced by the users – they are comfortable, portable, the battery lasts for a long time, there are no wires. Thus, they are particularly preferred and purchased. The planned growth of sales of these headphones in Europe is 100 per cent, in America – 82 per cent. So, it is not surprising that the most eminent headphones manufacturers have several TWS-type devices in their assortment. Our represented brand name Jabra has 3 TWS headphones and we are planning to supplement ACME assortment by 2 new TWS models.“ – I. Rumbutis shared the numbers.
Yesterday's News, Today's Mass Consumption Device
Very often, the news presented at the exhibitions stay there and do not become the mass consumption devices. However, the opposite cases also exist. For example, IP (domestic surveillance) cameras once considered a strange invention, now can be found almost in every second house. Their sales are growing and a high quality camera can be purchased for less than fifty euros,” – states the expert.
“The same happened with smart bracelets. Technology is improving, production costs are falling, devices become available to everyone. And the value they create and benefit are clear to everyone. An interesting tendency – hybrid watches. The classic-looking watches are becoming more and more popular with integrated smart features,” - claims I. Rumbutis. Although the popularity of the smart bracelets reached its peak more than a year ago, the growth in this category is expected by 50-60 percent over the next 2-3 years.
The Big Market Players Pulled out the Smaller Ones
Ignas Rumbutis emphasized that the exhibit did not present one-day brand names which has just been created and had no their own history. The big market players crowded out the smaller ones by offering a broader basket of goods. “The manufacturer and the brand name DJI offers its users much more than the first its goods – the drones. You can buy cameras, designed specially for drones, or camera image stabilizers and similar devices.” – I. Rumbutis shared his example. The manufacturer DJI with its drones pulled out of the market the other market giant GoPro which had to close the unit of drones before the devices could leave the nest.” – the expert jokes.
Virtual Reality is Still Waiting for Its Glory Hour
Though the year of 2017 was boldly called the year of virtual reality, a major step towards the mass consumption has not happened. “The very technology of virtual reality is really good, high-quality and has never been so close to reality. There is also more content being created. The sales channels and users are established. However, the price is too high. Virtual reality systems are just too expensive for the mass market, costing 300–400 euros.” – the Head of Product Department of ACME Europe company shared his impressions from the exhibition.