China has emerged tops with five out of 19 winners in the 2018 IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA). Taiwan and Singapore were next with four and three awards respectively across 12 functional categories.
Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are the first in the region to enjoy YouTube’s new music streaming service available from yesterday.
Google has ousted Amazon from the perch of the global smart speaker market. According to Canalys, Google shipped 3.2 million units with its Google Home and Google Home mini series , surpassing the 2.5 million units of the Amazon Echo series for the first time in Q1.
Spotify, beware! YouTube has announced a revamped version of YouTube Music that will be competing for music lovers.
Singapore-headquartered Carry is teaming up with Spoqa of South Korea to bring cryptocurrency payment and blockchain-enhanced loyalty points to brick-and-mortar retailers.
Cryptocurrency mining has been given a boost with the revelation that Samsung is working on chip just for that purpose.
The public cloud services market in the mature Asia-Pacific (APAC) region — Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea — is forecast to grow 17.7 percent in 2017 to total US$10 billion, up from US$8.5 billion in 2016, according to Gartner.
By 2019, Gartner predicts that total public cloud services spending in these countries will rise to US$13.6 billion.
Public cloud services are shared, meterable, elastic and scalable multi-tenanted IT offerings delivered as a subscription-based service to external customers using internet technologies.
Saw a product you like in a brick-and-mortar shop? Why not whip out your smartphone to read a review of the product or compare prices with other stores? That’s what more and more shoppers are doing during their visit to physical stores.
According to a GfK survey of mobile phone users in 23 countries, 40 percent of shoppers compare prices online while another 40 percent contact a friend or family member for advice. Thirty-six percent take photos of products that interest them.
Globally, men outweigh women on using their mobile phone inside a store to compare prices on a regular basis, standing at 42 percent and 37 percent respectively. The most active age group is shoppers aged 20-29, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they regularly do this, followed by those aged 15-19 and 30-39, both at 45 percent.
What has proven a massive hit for the oil and gas industry may turn out to be a silver lining for the IT industry and GDP as a whole in the first half of this year.
According to Canalys, business and consumer IT spending will be boosted by the current oil shock, as prices remain below US$50 per barrel. It believes the reduction in prices will provide a short-term economic stimulus equivalent to a large tax cut, boosting corporate profits and consumer disposable incomes, which will filter into IT spending.
“Price falls translate into a transfer of wealth from producers to importers. Oil producers received approximately US$340 billion less in the second half of 2014 compared with the first half of the year, based on average monthly production and prices. The difference will be even more significant if prices remain at US$50 per barrel and production continues at the same level for the next six months. If this scenario happens, producers will receive almost US$1 trillion dollars less compared with the first half of 2014,” said Matthew Ball, Principal Analyst of Canalys.
Smartwatches are set to be more than health trackers with countries around the world exploring different potential.
According to a recent GfK survey, 54 percent of respondents are keen to use smartwatches for payment even though mobile payment using a smartphone to pay at the checkout with near field communication (NFC) technology hasn’t proved very popular so far.
Besides mobile payment, the survey covering China, Germany, South Korea, the UK, and the US, revealed taht people in these countries see potential in using smartwatches to “carry” tickets for passenger transport or as security keys to their computers and online accounts.
Smartphones will grow from one in three today to two out of every three mobile connections globally by 2020, according to GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA.
It forecasts that the number of smartphone connections will grow three-fold over the next six years, reaching six billion by 2020. Basic phones, feature phones and data terminals such as tablets, dongles and routers will account for the remaining connections. The study excludes M2M from the connections totals.
“The smartphone has sparked a wave of global innovation that has brought new services to millions and efficiencies to businesses of every type. In the hands of consumers, these devices are improving living standards and changing lives, especially in developing markets, while contributing to growing economies by stimulating entrepreneurship.,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer of GSMA.
Activity tracker: technology before sports brands
At IFA Berlin last week, vendors introduced a number of wearable devices. Of course, most are not available immediately but it’s a signal of things to come when wearables start getting nearly as much attention as smartphones. In fact, wearables are riding on the success and pervasiveness of smartphones.
According to a recent GfK survey in China, South Korea, Germany, the UK and the US, wearable devices are creating an even closer relationship between humans and technology, with innovations such computer-supported watches, fitness armbands and data glasses, which are generally used in conjunction with a smartphone.
Fitness monitoring is the most important area of application for consumers in Germany, the UK and the US, whereas recording health data is regarded as a priority in China. A detailed breakdown of personal statistics on fitness, health and sleep is ranked as the priority by South Korean consumers.
Opinions in the surveyed countries also differed with regard to the most important criteria behind making a purchase. In China, compatibility is the most commonly named factor (19 percent), followed by accuracy (17 percent). However, brand is also seen as the decisive factor in the purchase decision for 16 percent of Chinese consumers. In South Korea, compatibility is viewed as the most important factor (19 percent), while there is a tie for second place between price and user-friendliness (both 17 percent).
Activity trackers are manufactured by companies operating in a range of sectors and the study found that well-known technology companies have the greatest sales potential in all countries surveyed. In South Korea, 69 percent of consumers say that such companies would be their first choice for any potential purchase, as do 54 percent in China.
However, the popularity of sports brands is particularly widespread among younger target groups. According to the study, the sales potential of activity trackers from specialised technology brands, fashion companies and luxury brands is only very limited.
In comparison to activity trackers, smartwatches offer a wider range of applications. Depending on the model, it may be possible to use these watches for telephone calls and navigation services, while some also enable users to search the internet and record data on sporting activity and health. According to the GfK study, this is considered the main area of application for smartwatches by consumers in all surveyed countries, which makes smartwatches a genuine competitor for pure activity trackers.
For Chinese consumers, the ability to monitor activity is a certain winner in this category, at 35 percent, followed by the telephone function (16 percent) and the GPS in third place (11 percent). Respondents in South Korea are also primarily motivated by the ability to monitor activity (27 percent), with the telephone function second (21 percent) and the use of apps coming third (11 percent) in the ranking.
Well-known technology companies are named as the preferred supplier of smartwatches by respondents in all countries. They are considerably ahead of sports brands in second place. The Chinese market, above all, holds potential for luxury brands from the fashion and watch industries.
NVIDIA has boosted its Tegra Note 7 with the i500 LTE modem – and its 4G LTE cellular connection. The seven-inch tablet is available with LTE and HSPA+ mobile connectivity and can operate on popular carriers across the world. With better cellular connectivity, consumers can now access the web, check out maps and play videos anywhere they go by purchasing a minimum data plan from many carriers.
The Tegra NOTE 7 LTE’s worldwide connectivity is provided by the fifth-gen NVIDIA i500 processor, which leverages a unique software-defined radio technology – meaning it can deliver new capabilities via software without requiring an entirely new chipset. Another big plus is higher efficiency – it’s only 40 percent the size of conventional modems but has 4x the processing capability of its predecessor.
Starting at US$299, it is available from partners worldwide starting in the second quarter, including Zotac in Japan, Gigabyte and Zotac in Korea, and Gigabyte and Homecare in China.
Global mobile Internet service revenue grew an estimated 23.4 percent to US$300 billion last year, according to ABI Research. Wireless broadband subscription grew 28.8 percent and the smartphone share of total subscriptions advanced by 6.6 percent to capture 27.5 percent of the overall pie.
In 2014, mobile Internet related revenues will power ahead with growth in the 13 to 15 percent range in 2014 with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way.
“When it comes to mobile data traffic growth, Asia-Pacific will lead the pack, generating 16.8 exabytes of traffic in 2014 for a 40.2 percent share,” notes Jake Saunders, VP and Practice Director of ABI Research. “After launching LTE services in late 2013, China will experience a surge in data traffic in 2014. Even mature markets like South Korea and Japan will continue to see strong growth as operators boost capacity with LTE-Advanced technologies.”
The uptake of 4G-LTE is expected to grow to pass one billion by 2017, according to a new study by GSMA Intelligence. This translates to one in eight of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by that point, up from 176 million LTE connections at the end of 2013. And around half of these are expected to be in Asia.
Nearly 500 LTE networks are forecast to be in service across 128 countries, roughly double the number of live LTE networks today.
“Since the launch of the first commercial 4G-LTE networks in late 2009 we are seeing deployments accelerate across the globe,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer of GSMA. “Our new report highlights a number of factors that are driving LTE growth: the timely allocation of suitable spectrum to mobile operators; the availability of affordable LTE devices; and the implementation of innovative tariffs that encourage adoption of high-speed data services. Mobile operators in both developed and developing markets are seeing LTE services contributing to a significant increase in ARPU.”
China’s booming luxury market along with more mature markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia will drive growth in the APAC region for smart home appliances at a five-year CAGR of 92 percent, according to ABI Research.
The smart home appliance market, defined by products with built-in connectivity, will grow substantially to reach nearly US$25 billion by 2018. Currently limited to the top-end luxury models, wireless connectivity will slowly permeate to lower tier brands and models.
“Smart home appliances have yet to incorporate features that add significant value for their premium price. Smart home appliance features are at present limited to remote access through mobile devices. The true value of these smart grid ready devices, such as use in demand-response energy management programmes, is several years away and initially will be primarily US-based,” said Adarsh Krishnan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.
Touch is in. Beyond touch screen phones, users in Asia-Pacific want touch-enabled notebooks.
According to an IDC Asia-Pacific end user survey, 82 percent of respondents prefer a touch-enabled notebook for their next purchase.
The annual survey that studies end user behaviour and usage on client devices. The usage explosion of smartphones and tablets, where touch screen is a prominent feature, is a key driver of taking these screens to the personal computer. The study also finds that the majority of PC users today, even in emerging markets, own a smartphone, especially for 26-35 year olds at 87 percent.
Korean mobile operators KT Corporation and SK Telecom have been named the joint recipients of the 2013 GSMA Chairman’s Award. Established in 1996, the award is the GSMA’s most prestigious award and recognises outstanding contribution to the growth and development of mobile communications around the world. This year’s award recognises SK Telecom and KT for their pioneering efforts and leadership in driving the adoption of SIM-based mobile near field communication (NFC) services.
“KT and SK Telecom have been at the forefront of global commercialisation of NFC, catalysing the financial ecosystem for mobile NFC from an early stage,” said Franco Bernabè, Chairman, GSMA and Chairman and CEO of Telecom Italia Group.
“These efforts have not only led to an explosion in demand for NFC-based services domestically, but ensured that the country leads in the worldwide adoption of a single standard for mobile NFC. On behalf of the GSMA, and indeed the entire mobile industry, I commend SK Telecom and KT for their cooperative spirit and a commitment to making life-enhancing new mobile services for users everywhere,” he added.