Forced migration

Like these geese, Singtel ADSL subscribers need to migrate in order to keep more than just the broadband connection,
Like these geese, Singtel ADSL subscribers need to migrate in order to keep more than just the broadband connection,

By Edward Lim

The telecommunications market, except for mobile, is facing a slowdown in growth. According to IDC, the Pay TV services market, which consists of cable, satellite, Internet protocol (IP), and digital terrestrial TV services, will remain flat over from 2017 to 2021.

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5 things to do when your social media platform is down

When WhatsApp was down for a few hours last Friday (November 3), Facebook timelines were filled with panic posts by people unable to communicate on WhatsApp. Snapchat is reported to be down at the point of writing and again, there is frenzy over the outage. Continue reading “5 things to do when your social media platform is down”

Sweet quarter for Apple in China

iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 helped spur Apple’s growth in Q3.

The launch of the iPhone 8 and drop of prices of older models have helped Apple turn in a sterling quarter in China, with shipment rising 40 percent to 11 million units this Q3.

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5 reasons why I like Google Home

By Edward Lim

Perhaps it’s something like a forbidden fruit. The harder it it to get, the more we want it. Google tempted us with the Google Home smart speaker but it was not available in Singapore or anywhere in the region. It was only in July that the device was finally available in Australia.

Anyway, as with most gadget lovers, there’s always a way to get our hands on the desired device. In my case, I managed to snare one in Walmart in San Jose while attending a conference there in April. Actually, I bought two — one as a gift to a friend.

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E-commerce to account for a quarter of retail sales by 2025

Greater internet and mobile device accessibility are driving e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia.

According to ABI Research, Smart Retail has gone through revolutionary changes in the past 10 years and will exponentially continue to do so going forward.  Brick and mortar stores are no longer the only option for consumers across the globe to make their everyday purchases, due to significant advancements in technology, both in-store and online.

Key players include Senion, who implements some of the world’s largest Indoor Positioning System (IPS) solutions to enhance in-store experiences, and AisleLabs who provides shopper traffic behavior analytics to help retailers optimise store layouts.  Leading POS software vendors, Shopkeep and Square are allowing retailers to sell across multi-channels from a single platform. These and other key vendors are paving paths to making the offline and online worlds seamless experiences.

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Changing role of CIO

The role of the CIO is changing, according to a Gartner survey of 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries.

The findings revealed that the CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data.

Ninety-five percent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalisation. While world-class IT delivery management is a given, it will take up less and less of the CIO’s time.

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Enterprise wearables to hit 118m units in 2022

Royole flexible display.
Royole flexible display.

Enterprise wearable shipment will reach over 118 million in 2022, increasing from just over 38 million in 2017, a CAGR of 25 percent, according to ABI Research.

The enterprise wearables market is continuing to see stronger growth than the consumer market, which has shipment numbers increasing at a lower CAGR of 13 percent.

Healthcare devices, wearable cameras, and wearable scanners will account for 73 percent of enterprise wearable shipments in 2022. Innovative companies are leading the charge, such as Royole with flexible components, Waverly with real-time translation, and Axon (previously Taser) with wearable cameras.

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Dell and Asus posts solid growth in monitor market in Q2

Dell and Asus are the leading lights in an overall weak PC monitor market in Q2.

Total shipment was 28.5 million units in Q2, a 6.4 percent decline from the corresponding period last year, according to IDC. Some of the market softness can be attributed to a strong Q2 last year.

IDC currently forecasts 117 million PC monitor units will be shipped for the full year of 2017 and expects to see a 2.2 percent decline year-over-year in worldwide shipment to 27.8 million units in Q2 2018. By 2020, worldwide shipment is expected to be less than 112 million units as the adoption of mobile devices at lower price points is expected to continue.

Australia PC market bucks global trend by inching up 3.3%

Consumer and enterprise PC purchases are driving growth in the Australia PC market, which includes desktop, notebook and workstation.

The consumer segment grew 8.6 percent year over year (YoY) in Q2, according to IDC.

“The retail channel was negatively impacted by Dick Smith’s exit last year. This year however, promotional events such as Modern PC program run by Harvey Norman spiked growth in the consumer space. AMD’s new Ryzen series launch and EOFY sales further fuelled growth in this segment,” said Sagar Raghavendra, Client Devices Analyst of IDC Australia.

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New Android devices boost Australia smartphone market in Q2

New Android mobile phone launches spurred growth in Australia, leading to year-on-year growth of 18.4 percent to 2.16 million units, exceeding expectations in Q2, according to IDC.

Smartphones accounted for nearly all of the shipped phones — totalling 2.06 million.

Android returned to being the most popular smartphone OS in Australia. Recently, iOS had overtaken Android as the most popular smartphone OS in Q4 2016 as it held over 54 percent of the market compared to 47 percent for Android.

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Security spending to hit US$86.4billion in 2017

With prominent ransomware attacks that affected many organisations, it is unsurprising that many are investing more in security products and services. According to Gartner, worldwide spending on information security products and services is expected to reach US$86.4 billion in 2017, an increase of 7 percent over 2016. This is expected to grow to US$93 billion in 2018.

Within the infrastructure protection segment, Gartner forecasts fast growth in the security testing market (albeit from a small base) due to continued data breaches and growing demands for application security testing as part of DevOps. Spending on emerging application security testing tools, particularly interactive application security testing, will contribute to the growth of this segment through 2021.

Security services will continue to be the fastest growing segment, especially IT outsourcing, consulting and implementation services. However, hardware support services will see growth slowing, due to the adoption of virtual appliances, public cloud and software as a service editions of security solutions, which reduces the need for attached hardware support overall.

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China to dominate APAC robotics spending

Spurred by growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI), the Asia-Pacific (APAC) robotics market is expected to growth to US$162 billion in 2021, accounting for 70 percent of the world’s total robotics market in 2021, according to IDC. China is expected to dominate with 45.7 percent market share over the next five years.

From a technology perspective, APAC spending on robotic systems is expected to grow to US$92 billion in 2021.This includes industrial, service and consumer robots and after-market robotic hardware. Meanwhile, services-related spending, which encompasses application management, education and training, hardware deployment, system integration, and consulting, will grow to more than US$44 billion in 2021.

“The convergence of robotics and artificial intelligence technologies are accelerating the development of the next generation of intelligent robots for industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. Intelligent robots with innovative capabilities such as cognitive interaction, self-diagnosis, and learning are emerging and driving wider adoption of robotics in many industries including manufacturing, resources, healthcare, retail, and so on,” said Dr Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director of Robotics at IDC Manufacturing Insights.

Worldwide semiconductor market to grow 10.2% in 2017

Global semiconductor market is expected to grow 10.2 percent in 2017, to US$77.7 billion, according to Gartner.

This growth rate is up from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.4 percent, due to continued aggressive investment in memory and leading-edge logic which is driving spending in wafer-level equipment.

“Spending momentum is more concentrated in 2017 mainly due to strong manufacturing demand in memory and leading-edge logic. The NAND flash shortage was more pronounced in the first quarter of 2017 than the previous forecast, leading to over 20 percent growth of etch and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) segments in 2017 with a strong capacity ramp-up for 3D NAND,” said Takashi Ogawa, Research Vice President of Gartner.

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AI to fuel next wave of cloud growth

The cloud infrastructure services market is continuing to grow strongly, up 47 percent year on year in Q2 to reach US$14 billion, according to Canalys. Growth was driven by demand for primary cloud infrastructure services, such as on-demand computing and storage, across all customer segments and industries.

However, future growth is expected to be fueled by customers using the artificial intelligence (AI) platforms cloud service providers are building to develop new applications, processes, services, and user experiences.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) maintained its leadership position, growing 42 percent on an annual basis and accounting for more than 30 percent of total spend. But its growth rate was lower than those of its main rivals, Microsoft (up 97 percent growth) and Google (up 92 percent), but higher than fourth-placed IBM (up 23 percent). Overall, the top four cloud services providers represented 55 percent of the cloud infrastructure services market, which includes IaaS and PaaS.

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Video services analytics to double in 5 years

The market for analytics within Pay TV services will grow by 105 percent in the next five years, from US$1.8 billion this year to US$3.7 billion in 2022, according to ABI Research.

Comcast, Netflix, Sky, Telstra, and other successful video companies differentiate themselves from their peers by their strong use of analytics to optimise and improve operational metrics. Pay TV companies are starting to transform products to support an analytical focus, moving in the direction of artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable self-optimisation.

Video companies sell today’s products in a host of point-solutions, including content and metadata engagement, customer management, network optimisation, and consumption measurement. Larger network-oriented business support systems and business intelligence vendors also play a significant role within these markets.

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Students’ demand drives Aussie IT spending

Australian educational institutions are increasing information technology (IT) spending in response to dramatic changes in student expectations, according to IDC.

Spending by Australian educational institutions is expected to peak at US$1.6 billion by 2020, driven by software and services related investments. Education practices are shifting away from the classroom towards e-learning and virtual instructor-led training approaches as students are demanding anytime-anywhere remote access.

In its recently published Australian education sector report, IDC highlights the need to overhaul existing ICT management models in schools and universities so that a step-change improvement in delivery efficiency can be achieved.

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30 months on the Edge

By Edward Lim

It’s official. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is my longest lasting phone. After 30 months, I’ve finally moved on to another smartphone — the Google Pixel (I’ll share more about this in another post).

Why have I decided to keep the Edge for so long? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. My daughter bought it for me in December 2014.
  2. My phone was working perfectly fine. Slower yes but fine.
  3. There was no compelling reason to upgrade to any phone throughout this period, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 issue notwithstanding.

Just like I shared “5 reasons why I like the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge” three months after I had it, let me share my 30 months’ experience with what I think is a wonderful device.

  1. It makes a marvellous talking point. Even when newer smartphones with curved edges came out, people were still asking me about the Edge and its unique one-sided curve. Talk about longevity!
  2. It has replaceable battery, something some of the competing top-of-the-line range lack.
  3. Simple adding of storage when needed. Despite been a fairly heavy user, particularly of photos, I never found storage space a problem. When I needed more space, I just swapped to a higher capacity micro SD card.

The downside of prolonged usage is the same as other  devices. The Note Edge did slow down considerably with each software upgrade. The most noticeable was the activation of the camera function. It takes a while to load, resulting in many missed photo opportunities.

Other challenges with owning a Note Edge is the lack of good screen protectors. I paid for a supposedly good one but the protector just couldn’t stick well onto the curved portion. There is also the lack of choices of phone covers/cases.

Overall, I was very pleased with the smartphone. It’s been a great companion throughout the past 30 months. Best of all, it survived numerous trips around the world without a single scratch on the screen — and without a screen protector in place!

 

Facebook to add ads to Messenger

As if we don’t already have enough of ads. Facebook has announced that it will start rolling out ads to Messenger. With 1.2 billion users, the social media giant does have immense appeal for advertisers.

It seems that Facebook has completed test runs in Australia and Thailand and are ready to unleash ads on the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

The thing is that Messenger was literally forced onto mobile users when Facebook unbundled it from its mobile app. Users did not have a choice. Of course, there’s always browser access — it’s a little cumbersome but still an option for those resisting the move.

Petya ransomware cripples networks

Just like a scene out of a Hollywood movie, one computer after computer shut down without notice during a meeting. That’s what happened at one of the organisations hit by the Petya ransomware attack.

The strike is malicious and deadly with many affected organisations struggling to recover lost data — some, if not all, of which may never be restored.

IT security teams are still working to get their networks and computers up and running. Some have turned to Apple computers, which are relatively unscathed, to work on the recovery process.

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Singapore and Shanghai among top autonomous vehicle cities

Shanghai and Singapore are among the world’s top four cities that are ready for autonomous vehicles, according to Canalys.

San Francisco is out in front while London is also among the top four. These rise to the top of a group of cities that, due to their size and populations, have some of the most complex transport networks in the world. The top four have a high need for autonomous vehicles to revolutionise their transport systems, combined with the ability to make it happen.

“Naturally, San Francisco leads the way and is the city best able to implement autonomous vehicles. The Bay Area is renowned as the world’s AV testing capital,” said Chris Jones, Chief Analyst of Canalys.

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The making of GTC

By Edward Lim

I am attending the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California this week. It’s a massive conference with more than 7,000 participants from all around the world.

After decades of covering and attending conferences, I have noticed an evolution of sorts. Here are five things I’ve observed and really liked about this GTC.

  1. Rich content: Artificial intelligence is transforming our lives in many ways such as robotics, intelligent video analytics and driverless cars.  IDC has reported that 80 percent of all applications will be using AI by 2020.
  2. Tons of experiential booths: The who’s who of technology featured virtual reality applications across multiple industries, not just gaming,
  3. Smoothness of registration process: All it took was under a minute for those who’ve pre-registered to enter their n
    ames on a notebook computer and the tag is printed immediately.
  4. Power points everywhere: This is not the Microsoft presentation software but plugs that help to charge devices. In today’s age, we’ve become dependent on our smartphones, notebook computers and other battery-powered devices — all of which require power. Having the power points available across the facilities is an excellent and thoughtful move. And having points that incorporate USB slots and LAN connections? Wow!
  5. Candies, candies, candies: Admit it. There are times that we’ve yielded to the sleeping spirit while at conferences, especially after meals. Having a candy bar helps to provide the energy boost to keep participants awake.

With all these pluses, there is one area of improvement. There were many driverless cars on display. If only we can get to go for a ride in one.

Anyway, kudos to NVIDIA and the event organisers. I love GTC 2017!

Singtel identified as APAC leader in 2016-17

Singtel is one of four telcos identified as leaders in Asia Pacific (APAC) in 2016-17 by IDC in its report entitled IDC Telecom MarketScape for Next-Generation Service Providers 2016-17.

The report, which evaluates the leading regional and global telecommunications service providers (SPs) in APAC, also listed AT&T, BT and Orange alongside Singtel was “Leaders” of the next-generation telecom service providers in the region along with plenty of challengers in the market.

These service providers demonstrated a strong regional network presence, comprehensive suite of enterprise cloud and managed ICT service offerings, diverse portfolio of services in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT) and collaboration in the region, as well as a large base of mid and large-sized enterprises, multinational corporations (MNCs), and government clients across Asia Pacific.

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Massive shift to hybrid infrastructure services underway

The growth of cloud and industrialised services and the decline of traditional data centre outsourcing (DCO) indicate a massive shift toward hybrid infrastructure services, according to Gartner.

In a report containing a series of predictions about IT infrastructure services, Gartner analysts said that by 2020, cloud, hosting and traditional infrastructure services will come in more or less at par in terms of spending.

“As the demand for agility and flexibility grows, organizations will shift toward more industrialised, less-tailored options. Organisations that adopt hybrid infrastructure will optimise costs and increase efficiency. However, it increases the complexity of selecting the right toolset to deliver end-to-end services in a multisourced environment,” said DD Mishra, Research Director of Gartner.

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Gearing up for the next industrial revolution

BabyX is a computer generated simulation of an infant who learns and interacts in real time using AI.
BabyX is a computer generated simulation of an infant who learns and interacts in real time using AI.

By Edward Lim

It’s been a long time coming but the next industrial evolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution is nearly, if not already here.

Each revolution since the first led by water and steam power used to mechanise production in 1784 has been driven by technology in various forms. The Second Industrial Revolution leveraged electric power for mass production while the Third Industrial Revolution used electronics and information technology to automate production.

The next revolution builds on an increasingly digital economy and the fusion of various technologies, including the Internet, which is shaping the way people live, work, play, and relate to one another.

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360-degree camera demand to rise

abi researchWhat was popularised by Google Earth is now easily available and affordable for consumers. That is the 360-degree camera, of course.

Demand for such cameras is expected to surge among prosumers and professionals.  ABI Research expects professional grade cameras and mid-tier, prosumer 360-degree cameras to hit nearly two million shipments by 2021, with consumer 360-degree cameras to top four million by the same year.

“The most prominent force driving 360-degree video content and hardware is virtual reality (VR). And though VR has been experiencing a period of content starvation due to its novelty, small early install base, and the high cost of premium VR, support from major content platforms will lessen this for 360-degree video,” said Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.

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Worldwide IT spending to be flat in 2016

GartnerWorldwide IT spending is forecast to be flat in 2016, totaling US$3.41 trillion, according to Gartner, Inc. This is up from last quarter’s forecast of negative 0.5 percent growth. The change in the forecast is mainly due to currency fluctuations.

“The current Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast assumes that the UK would not exit the European Union. With the UK’s exit, there will likely be an erosion in business confidence and price increases which will impact UK, Western Europe and worldwide IT spending,” said John-David Lovelock, Research Vice President of Gartner.

While the UK has embarked on a process to change, that change is yet to be defined. The “leave” vote will quickly affect IT spending in the UK and in Europe while other changes will take longer. Staff may be the largest immediate issue. The long-term uncertainty in work status will make the UK less attractive to new foreign workers. Retaining current non-UK staff and having less access to qualified new hires from abroad will impair UK IT Departments.

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Worldwide IT spending to remain flat this year

GartnerThe global economy is hitting IT spending, with Gartner predicting just a 0.6 percent increase over 2015 spending of US$3.52 trillion.

2015 saw the largest US dollar drop in IT spending since Gartner began tracking IT spending. US$216b less was spent on IT in 2015 than in 2014 and 2014 spending levels won’t be surpassed until 2019.

“The rising US dollar is the villain behind 2015 results. US multinationals’ revenue faced currency headwinds in 2015. However, in 2016 those headwinds go away and they can expect an additional five percent growth,” said John-David Lovelock, Research Vice President of Gartner.

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Selfie stick: Simple invention but extremely useful!

Selfie stickIn a world of technological breakthroughs, the selfie stick is a really simple invention. Somebody had the bright idea to stick a holder at the end of a rod and voila, the selfie stick was born.

And what an invention it has turned out to be. It has solved the problem of close up shots being really closed up, especially for the one pressing the smartphone button. Also, group shots would have been really tough with the presser looking really big relative to the rest of the folks.

But, it was only during a recent trip to the UK that I truly appreciated the value of the selfie stick. From the airport to the various tourist attractions, my wife and I could take couple shots without me having to look disproportionately larger or having to keep asking passers-by for their help.

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US$17,000 for a smartwatch?

Apple Watch availabilityHow much is one prepared to pay for the latest gadgets? US$3,000 for a high-end gaming notebook? US$1,000 for a top-of-the-line graphics card or smartphone? But, a smartwatch for US$17,000. That’s really over the top!

OK, it helps that its maker is Apple and that the world has been waiting for six whole months. Also, the Apple Watch will only be available in nine countries in April.

The Apple smartwatches come in three flavours — a US$350 entry-level Sport model, a steel model at US$500 and two 18-karat gold models going for US$10,000 (US$17,000 with a classy strap). At these prices, other smartwatch players can hold steady for now. For consumers though, let’s hope it doesn’t set a new benchmark for gadget pricing.