IEEE Experts Identify Global Trends for the Consumer Electronics Industry

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — January 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — As the dust settles from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, technologists from around the world have gathered at the IEEE International Consumer Electronics Conference (ICCE) to discuss what’s next for consumer electronics. This annual event is one of the industry’s flagship conferences known for unveiling a plethora of impressive innovations and highlighting upcoming developments. These futuristic concepts are often brought to life within a few years of their debut at ICCE.

While researchers discuss new innovations and technologies for the consumer electronics industry, IEEE experts highlight the trends from CES 2012 that will dictate the product development cycles of companies all around the world.

Nonstop Connectivity
With consumer connectivity demands growing exponentially around the world, companies are focused on manufacturing devices that connect and seamlessly share content and information, while ensuring products are upgradeable and compatible with other brands.

While Internet-connected devices aren’t new, their increased connection capabilities are growing, and changing the way society works as a whole. “A fully connected society will require a shift in the way people work, think and live,” said Dr. Henry Samueli, IEEE Fellow and chief technical officer at Broadcom Corporation. “It’s not just about the device itself; it’s about connecting all the devices together and sharing content. In a few years, all consumer electronic products will be able to share content – quickly and seamlessly – in a way that is transparent to the user.”

Cloud-Based Applications
With the massive shift to constant connectivity and seamless mobility, there is an urgent need for data storage. It’s no surprise that technology companies and service providers are turning to the cloud for increased storage and computing power, given an almost unlimited capacity.

“Cloud-based services are able to process and access information that would otherwise be impractical to achieve on a small, under-powered device,” said Stuart Lipoff, IEEE Fellow. “By taking advantage of powerful servers and the wealth of information in the cloud, the little battery powered device in your pocket takes on the power of a super-computer.”

The role of consumer electronics continues to diversify and grow because of cloud-based applications. Engineers are able to make advancements in technologies that benefit consumers, including home healthcare devices, intelligent transportation, and streaming video. Lipoff predicts new applications such as pattern recognition and various forms of artificial intelligence, including facial recognition, will be among the product features consumers can expect in the future.

Streaming Web-Based Video
A large number of consumers around the globe already access and consume video entertainment via the web. According to Richard Doherty, IEEE Senior Member, 2012 will serve as a tipping point for online video consumption – when even more households will have access to streaming video.

According to Doherty, streaming video is doing very well in geographies across the globe that have access to broadband, and exceptionally well in Eastern European and Asian markets where streaming video is now becoming the standard format for delivery of content.

“The upswing in web-based video streaming can be credited to the widespread availability of video-capable internet TVs and external devices,” said Doherty. “These devices include video consoles and innovative, optimized net streaming boxes.”

Intelligent Transportation
Safer, faster, more convenient transportation is a growing trend impacting commuters and consumers worldwide. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) focus on the use of ordinary devices (such as a cell phone or GPS) that are enabled with built-in custom software so cars and buses can “communicate” with roadways and transportation systems.

Developments in consumer electronics for ITS are leading to a future where the technology can help provide a more streamlined traffic flow, better usage of energy resources and fewer vehicular accidents. As such, car companies are partnering with internet software companies to provide innovative technical advances at the touch of a button on a steering wheel.

Automated Metadata
Dr. Tom Coughlin, IEEE Senior Member, predicts devices that automatically aggregate and generate data such as location and time stamp information will continue to rise in popularity, helping consumers catalogue their experiences.

“When consumers take photographs or capture video or audio, they will be able to archive and access their information more easily,” said Coughlin. “The device will capture precisely where and when the photo or video was taken, and the format it was taken in, for quick and easy access. In the future, we’ll see that technology advance even further with the use of social networking interactions and image recognition technology creating new searchable content to enhance the value of the images.”

Automated metadata, or information about the data, will become more common as increased storage capabilities become available, such as those provided through cloud-based applications.

Convergence of Home Networking Technologies
Being able to leverage various home networking technologies to create seamless and reliable “always on” connectivity is something consumers can expect to see more of this year.

According to Oleg Logvinov, IEEE Standards Association Member, 2012 will mark the beginning of a new trend: the convergence of home networking technologies. This will enable a rich consumer experience providing the ability to use various types of devices to access multimedia content. Additionally, users will have an easy-to-use interface for home automation and energy management applications.

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