Monday, December 31, 2012

Belden completes sale of consumer electronics assets in China

USA: Belden Inc., a global leader in signal transmission solutions for mission-critical applications, completed the sale of its consumer electronics assets in China to Shenzhen Woer Heat-Shrinkable Material Co. Ltd for consideration of approximately $43.3 million.

This announcement has no impact on the 2013 guidance provided at the company’s Investor and Analyst Day event on December 11, 2012, which contemplated the closure of this transaction.

St. Louis-based Belden Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets cable, connectivity, and networking products in markets including industrial automation, enterprise, transportation and infrastructure. It provides value for industrial automation, enterprise, education, healthcare, entertainment and broadcast, sound and security, transportation, infrastructure and other industries.

Belden has manufacturing capabilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, and a market presence in nearly every region of the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Declining demand and rising inventory add uncertainties to Q1-13

TAIWAN: According to the survey of China’s top six TV brands’ set shipment and panel procurement conducted by WitsView, the display research division of TrendForce, and its Chinese partner Σintell, November showed the second-largest monthly shipment of the year after the peak in September.

The LCD TV shipment was 5.225 million units in November, growing 17 percent MoM, and the December shipment is projected to be 5.5 million units. Supported by Chinese officials’ favorable policies, the 2012 LCD TV shipment will top the benchmark of 50 million units. The total November panel procurement was also higher than expected, attained 6.726 million units, and saw a 25 percent MoM growth, setting a new record of historical high.

WitsView’s research director Burrell Liu said that China top 6 TV brands’ November shipment and panel procurement were lifted by the factors as follows:
a) the restocking for Chinese New Year was advanced;
b) the psychological expectation of panel changes resulted in overstocking. The overall inventory level continued to climb to 7.4 weeks, slightly high, and certain brands’ inventory even surpassed 8 weeks, showing climbing risks.

Until November, top six brands’ ranking and market shares are: TCL (25.3 percent) / Hisense (20.8 percent) / Skyworth (17.5 percent) / Konka (14.3 percent) / Changhong (12 percent) / Haier(10.1 percent).
The ranking and market shares of panel makers by shipment for China top six brands are: CMI (27.7 percent) / AUO (19.5 percent) / LGD(17.6 percent) / SDC (12.1 percent). China’s CSOT has made its breakthrough and enjoyed a 10.5 percent market share while BOE showed an aggressive presence of 9 percent market share.
Based on the data of China top six brands’ panel procurement and set shipment from July to December 2012, WitsView has observed that the panel supply was 31.4 million, the set shipment was 29.5 million, and the supply-demand ratio was around 6.3 percent, which was balanced to tight.

In view of the Q4 number, the panel supply was 18.3 million, the set shipment was 15.1 million, and the panel supply-demand ratio was 21.1 percent, much higher than the 5 percent balance, indicating brands’ clear overstocking. As the inventory has surged rapidly in Q4, the sales during the Chinese New Year will play an extremely important role.

From the perspective of supply-demand situation by sizes in Q4, the supply-demand ratio for the 50” and above was 44 percent, 44.9 percent for the 39”, and 28.3 percent for the 32”. As the penetration rate of 32” was around 40 percent, the supply glut of this size was significant and will bring substantial impacts to the following price changes.
The penetration rate of 39”was only 8-10 percent, although Chinese brands’ supply-demand ratio for this size was slightly high on limited supply, the demand for this product remained and was strong, and the overstocking for this size continued.

The supply-demand ratio for 42” was only 10.4 percent, but panel makers have started to increase productions including 42” and 21.5”-23.6”in 8.5G fabs by MMG (multi model glass), the following supply-demand changes for 42” should be watched cautiously.

Samsung continues to expand operations in Bay area

USA: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd continues to expand its operations in Silicon Valley by investing more resources in its existing R&D centers and establishing new innovation centers.

Samsung Semiconductor Inc. (SSI) announced plans to build a 1.1 million square foot sales and R&D headquarters on the current site of its semiconductor and display panel businesses, north of downtown San Jose.

The building, designed by global architecture firm NBBJ, will be comprised of a 10-story tower, an amenity pavilion and parking garage. The design seeks to encourage interaction among staff, foster connections with the community and provide a space to attract employment in the highly competitive tech market, which is growing at a faster pace than overall employment.

Samsung Information Systems America Inc. (SISA), will relocate its R&D Center from its current facility in North San Jose to an 8.5-acre site and expand to two new six-story class-A office buildings totaling approximately 385,000 square foot. (each 192,500 sq. ft.) with two five-six story parking structures.

The new facility will be oriented around a central plaza with views overlooking the adjacent Sunnyvale golf course and will be constructed to LEED Gold standards. The 15-year build-to-suit lease will be located at Cypress Business Park, 625-685 Clyde Avenue in Mountain View, California. Entitlements are in process and anticipated for completion in second quarter of 2013, with targeted occupancy in fourth quarter of 2014.

In addition to these two major planned campuses, Samsung Electronics is expanding its Open Innovation efforts with additional space that will allow for incubating and acquiring new technologies and working with early stage companies.

Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center, located in Menlo Park, a core area in Silicon Valley, was recently established to strengthen Samsung’s ecosystem and promote synergy between the company’s various products and services. Samsung Open Innovation Center, located in Palo Alto, will be a core entity to discover innovative startups in Silicon Valley, provide space, funds and effectively leverage them for innovation of Samsung’s products through equity investments, acquisition and strategic partnership.

Following the establishment of both the Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center and the Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, Samsung Electronics plans to set up corresponding organizations at R&D Centers and the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology at its Korean headquarters to strengthen its global cooperative network.

Panasonic announces appeal against EC decision on CRTs for TVs

JAPAN: Panasonic Corp. announced that Panasonic and its subsidiary MT Picture Display Co. Ltd have decided to appeal to the European General Court against the decision* adopted by the European Commission on December 5, 2012, because Panasonic believes this decision is factually and legally erroneous as it applies to Panasonic and MTPD.

Panasonic and MTPD have already exited the CRT business, but will be stating their arguments at court and seeking fair judgment.

 The European Commission has issued a decision finding that a number of companies, including Panasonic and MTPD, previously participated in an agreement to restrict competition in the sale of Cathode Ray Tubes for televisions sold in Europe in violation of EU competition law.

The fines imposed by European Commission relevant to Panasonic and MTPD are as follows:

- Panasonic: €157,478,000
- Panasonic and MTPD, jointly and severally liable: €7,885,000
- Panasonic, MTPD and Toshiba Corporation, jointly and severally liable: €86,738,000.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

4Videosoft releases Blu-ray player for Windows and Mac users

CHINA: Enjoying a fantastic Blu-ray movie at home has become a leisure activity for many people, but the playback quality of many Blu-ray players on the market is not satisfactory.

To help users fully enjoy high-quality Blu-ray movies, 4Videosoft, a top-ranking software provider, has released its professional Blu-ray Player for both Windows and Mac users after repeated modifications and testing.

The Blu-ray Player is equipped with advanced technology to help users play Blu-ray movies released from different regions and different times. Even the latest Blu-ray discs with DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD Audio play well with perfect video, audio and image quality. Along with supporting 1080p HD video, this software offers a wonderful Blu-ray audiovisual experience. The software can handle Blu-ray discs as well as Blu-ray folders and ISO files on any Windows or Mac computer without any trouble.

Moreover, 4Videosoft Blu-ray Player can handle other popular video and audio formats, including MP4, WMV, AVI, 3GP, MOV, VOB, MTS, MKV, MXF, MP3, WMA, AAC, and more.

4Videosoft Blu-ray Player is easy to use and is compatible with full versions of Windows and Mac operating systems, including the latest Windows 8 & Mac OS X 10.8. The Mac version of this Blu-ray Player can play Blu-ray/video files on all Mac platforms like MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro .

In addition, those who purchase this Blu-ray Player during the Christmas and New Year period have a change to get more free amazing software.

McAfee predicts rapid evolution of cyberthreats in new year

USA: McAfee released its annual 2013 Threat Predictions report, highlighting the top threats McAfee Labs foresees for 2013. Using its proprietary Global Threat Intelligence (GTI), the McAfee Labs team analyzed data on malware, vulnerabilities and online threats in 2012 to predict which trends will increase in 2013.

In the coming year, McAfee Labs expects that threats to mobile devices will become even more of a focus of cybercriminals, the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and large-scale attacks that attempt to destroy infrastructure will increase.

“Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organizations and homes,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.

“Our 2013 Threat Predictions provides the general public, governments and businesses not only with the top risks in the year to come to be aware of, but also the preventative measures that should be taken to avoid those risks from occurring. Only by understanding and preparing for threats, can we empower people to secure their information.”

McAfee Labs foresees the following trends for 2013:

Rapid evolution and growth in mobile malware
In 2012 McAfee Labs saw the number of mobile threats increase dramatically as ransomware expanded into mobile devices. The development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransomware technologies that will “lock up” a phone or tablet, and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid, will be a prominent trend in 2013.

The harsh reality of these schemes is that users have no way of knowing if their device will be unlocked even if they do meet the perpetrator’s demands. Since attackers hijack the users’ ability to access data, victims will be faced with either losing their data or paying a ransom in the hope of regaining access.

A new mobile worm will go on a major shopping spree in 2013. The Android/Marketpay.A Trojan horse program buys apps without user permission. In 2013 cyber-crooks will take this malware’s app-buying payload and add it to a mobile worm so attackers won’t need victims to install a piece of malware. In addition, mobile phones with NFC-enabled “digital wallets” are an easy target for cyber-thieves. Attackers will create mobile worms with NFC capabilities to steal money via the “bump and infect” method, most commonly used in areas with dense populations like airports and malls.

Hacktivism - decline of anonymous
Due to many uncoordinated and unclear operations and false claims, the Anonymous hacktivist movement will slow down in 2013. Anonymous’ level of technical sophistication has stagnated and its tactics are better understood by its potential victims, and as such, the group’s level of success will decline. While hacktivist attacks won’t end in 2013, if ever, they are expected to decline in number and sophistication.

Nation states and armies will be more frequent actors and victims of cyberthreats. Patriot groups self-organized into cyberarmies have had little impact up until this point, but their actions will improve in sophistication and aggressiveness. In 2013, many more of the world’s military units will be on the front line of social networks communicating more frequently. State-related threats will increase and make the headlines while suspicions about government-sponsored attacks will grow.

Crimeware and hacking as a service expand
Cybercriminals are notorious for going onto public forums to make business deals with other criminals in to offer not only software, but also hacking as a service. As the number of invitation-only criminal forums requiring registration fees is increasing to make forums more secure and anonymous, these offers will be easier to find on the Internet in 2013.

Citadel will become the Trojan of choice among cybercriminals- with the recent release of Citadel Rain, the Trojan can now dynamically retrieve configuration files, enabling a fraudster to send a targeted payload to a single victim or a selection of victims. Detection will become more difficult as the footprint on the endpoint is minimal until the attack actually occurs.

Big-scale attacks increase
Recently, McAfee Labs has seen several attacks in which the only goal was to cause as much damage as possible- a behavior that is expected to grow exponentially in 2013. If attackers can install destructive malware on a large number of machines, the result can be devastating.

To keep the business running, production networks and SCADA industrial control systems should remain completely separate from the normal network, to prevent it from getting hit in the first place.

NI rack-mount controller and PXI Express remote controller extend leadership in PXI platform

USA: National Instruments extended the PXI platform with the NI RMC-8355 rack-mount controller and the NI PXIe-PCIe8381 PXI Express remote controller.

The RMC-8355 1U rugged rack-mount controller for PXI and PXI Express systems features up to two high-performance quad-core Intel Xeon E5620 processors, making it ideal for high-performance test and measurement applications, and mission critical test and control.

The NI PXIe-PCIe8381 PXI Express remote controller is a high-performance MXI link featuring a x8 Gen 2 cabled PCI Express link to connect a PXI Express chassis to desktop PCs with a fully transparent, high-bandwidth link.

NI RMC-8355
* Up to two quad-core Intel Xeon E5620 processors for eight cores of computing performance, with 2.4 GHz base clock frequency and 2.66 GHz single-core turbo frequency.
* High availability features, such as hot-swappable fans and redundant hard-drives and power supplies, maximize system uptime.

NI PXIe-PCIe8381
* Sustained throughput of 3.2 GB/s per direction and 5 m maximum cable length with rugged latching connectors.
* NI MXI-Express BIOS Compatibility Software ensures easy connection with a variety of PCs for direct control of PXI Express systems.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Standards, guidepost for healthy and sustainable development of China’s cloud computing industry

CHINA: Standards have increasingly become the core for countries to reserve strategic resources and enhance international competitiveness.

"The man who sets up standards gets the world" has been repeatedly demonstrated in the IT field, where giants like Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm serve as good examples. Cloud computing, conforming to the worldwide demand for integrating computing resources and service capabilities, is the strategic vantage point in the current international IT competition.

Therefore, China's competitiveness in the international IT field will depend on our ability of setting up independent standards for cloud computing in the future.

In 2011, China's cloud computing industry witnessed a prosperous development. Cloud computing continued to extend from governments to enterprises and to individual users, from the IT industry to traditional agriculture and industry in addition to the modern service industry. The industrial size reached RMB 160 billion, up 63.8 percent year-on-year, and it is expected to reach RMB 800 billion in 2014.

However, risks also exist behind the prosperous development of the cloud computing industry. Due to the lack of evaluation principles and access systems, some regions which still lacks great demand for cloud computing applications may claim markets by making rash investments; the shortage of applications makes it difficult for data centers to operate at full capacity; the change of the security environment forces cloud computing to face new security situations.

Such risks have been affecting the healthy and sustainable development of China's cloud computing industry at every moment. These risks will become the blasting fuse of crises in China's cloud computing industry.

Cloud computing standards will involve infrastructures, key technologies and products, assessment, operation, security evaluation, etc., and cover basically all the components from hardware, software to business application modes.

Basic standards: Such standards, used to clarify and define the terms, definitions, demand and business scenarios of cloud computing, are some common basic standards of cloud computing, including the terminology, basic reference models and standardized guides of cloud computing.

Standards for key cloud computing technologies and products: Such standards mainly focus on issues like on-demand supply of resources, data locking, distributed management of massive data, and browsing interaction that are most concerned by users, aiming at building an interconnected, highly efficient and stable environment for cloud computing to regulate multiple layers such as the resource layer, the data layer and the application layer.

Standards for service operation management: Such standards cover general requirements for cloud services, standards for cloud-based service modes, general standards for cloud service protocols, evaluation guides on the quality of cloud services, standards for cloud O&M services, standards for cloud service auditing, standards for cloud governance and other aspects, focusing on resolving issues like required qualifications and capabilities for providing cloud computing services, as well as telemeter reading and service auditing when providing cloud computing services for users.

Besides, to ensure high-quality services, issues like the O&M services of various cloud computing platforms and data centers, service quality evaluation and service grading are also required.

ChinaJoy helps game companies expand presence in China

ChinaJoy 2013, CHINA: The annual ChinaJoy is a reflection of the current situations and the trends of China’s online game industry.

ChinaJoy focuses on international copyright transfer, copyright cooperation, new product promotion, joint development, joint operation, financing and investment, business expansion and business cooperation of domestic and international game companies. It not only helps domestic companies go overseas, but also helps international companies enter the Chinese market.

After a decade of development, ChinaJoy has been widely regarded by global game companies and institutions as an important access to the Chinese game industry. During ChinaJoy 2012, the Korean Pavilion conducted 386 onsite business meetings and reached export deals worth a total of over $99.4 million.

With the improvement of the overall capability of China’s game industry, the Chinese market has been experiencing huge changes, with new products emerging each day, and has built a highly solid foundation formed by China’s 300 million Internet users. A total of 449 creative exhibitors from over 30 countries and regions joined ChinaJoy 2012, compared with only 129 exhibitors in 2003.

Moreover, the four-day ChinaJoy 2012 attracted 198,000 person-times of public and professional visitors and enabled overall communication between the exhibitors and visitors. During ChinaJoy B TO B 2012, over 60 agreements were signed on site, with a total value of $214 million and the largest one worth $99.4 million.

ChinaJoy also presents China Game Business Conference (CGBC), China Game Developers Conference (CGDC) and China Game Outsourcing Conference (CGOC) that represent the industry trends, WWECON (World Wireless Entertainment Conference) that represents the rising forces in mobile Internet and has exerted significant influences on mobile Internet entertainment, as well as the ChinaJoy B To B and B To C areas.

ChinaJoy B To B Area offers the Online Business Matching System that aims to enhance business exchanges between game companies and has gathered the major game developers, game operators, investors and related industry people in China and even in the whole world, as well as thousands of small and medium-sized game companies and business representatives from all over the world.

Built up on its achievements, ChinaJoy2013 will further enhance its globalization and help more international companies find easy access to the intriguing market of China.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

LG intros powerful audio and video products

USA: Led by new sound bars, docking speakers and connected Blu-ray disc players, LG Electronics (LG) unveiled its 2013 audio and video lineup.

Previewing the official launch at next month's International CES® in Las Vegas, LG announced a broad new array of products including: the BH9430PW 9.1-channel speaker system, NB4530A sound bar, BP730 Blu-ray player with smart TV features, the ND8630 dual docking speaker and the NP6630 portable speaker.

These advanced products clearly illustrate LG's commitment to delivering users captivating audio, superior smart TV functionality, a highly intuitive user experience.

"A home theater system is much more than just a TV and speakers; it's a comprehensive package," said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment. "LG offers superb audio and video products to help consumers realize a truly immersive home cinema experience. By implementing advanced technologies, smart connectivity and control, LG will continue to be a leader in the audio visual segment in 2013."

Characteristics of China's computer market in 2012

CHINA: In the shadow of the global economic downturn, the overall demand of China's computer market shrank in 2012. The performance of all kinds of products was below expectation, with the overall growth rate estimated at 25.3 percent.

The annual sales volume of desktop computers is expected to be 25.574 million pieces, with an annual growth rate of 3.4 percent; the annual sales volume of laptops is expected to be 29.839 million pieces, up 10.6 percent year-on-year; the tablet market maintained a rather high growth rate in 2012 after experiencing an explosive growth in 2011, with the annual sales volume expected to reach 9.175 million pieces.

In China’s laptop market, 14-inch laptops maintained their leading position with a proportion of 55.7 percent in 2012; the launch of ultrabooks drove a growth in the sales of 13-inch products, which accounted for 16.4 percent of the total. The proportion of desktops with large display screens increased to some extent, and the proportion of 19-inch and 20-inch desktops reached 36.1 percent and 31.1 percent, respectively.

Well-developed regions such as Eastern China, Northern China and Southern China were the top three markets respectively, but their proportions decreased to some extent, while proportions of Southwestern, Northwestern and Central China saw increases compared with 2011.

Monday, December 24, 2012

After panel demand peak, panel capacity utilization will face supply glut in H1’13

TAIWAN: Based on the observations of WitsView, the display research division of the global market intelligence provider TrendFroce, the global large-sized panel supply has been supported by China’s energy-saving subsidy policy and increased largely, encouraging panel makers to lift average utilization from 70-75 percent in H1’12 to above 80 percent in H2’12.

Except for the sales slightly stimulated by China’s October 1st holidays and low-priced campaign during Black Friday in North America, other regions haven’t showed significant sales, which are not equivalent to panel makers’ aggressive attitude on shipments, implying the downstream inventory risks are quietly rising.

WitsView indicates that, panel makers’ average utilization rate maintains at around 80 percent, but shows signs of weakening as the demand peaks. Panel makers’ forecast for 2013 market will be the determinant for the following direction of capacity adjustment. In view of slowing demands and possibly dropping panel prices, Korean panel makers are expected to lead to revise down utilization to trim inventories in hands during slow seasons and avoid the inventory loss risks on market downturn.

Contrarily, Taiwanese makers estimate the demand to rapidly heat up after a quarter of adjustment. Even in the slow season, it is not much risk to increase cell inventory in hands, and likely to increase shipment in the hot season, leading to Taiwanese makers’ unclear attitude on revising down utilization.

WitsView’s research manager Boyce Fan said that, if the Q1 panel capacity utilization maintains at above 80 percent, the glut ratio will climb to 12 percent in the condition of decreasing demands, and if the panel capacity utilization rate drops to around 75 percent, the glut ratio will recover to the balance of 5 percent.

Another indicator to be considered cautiously is that the H2’12 overstocked inventory will be delayed to early 2013 by downstream clients, and the delayed inventory will offset the reduced production by panel makers, causing the supply-demand ratio to maintain at a high level of 11 percent.

IT panel price trend is continued to be pressed by the softening demand while the demand for TV panel also shows a weakening course, inventory gradually climbs and prices see signs of loosening. WitsView believes that, once TV panel prices show noticeable trend of dropping, the panel utilization must face pressure to be adjusted, and the revise level and timing will determine if the hot season in the second half the year can be expected.

Small and medium display active matrix OLED penetration to more than double by 2015

USA: Active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays have been encroaching on the dominant LCD technology in small and medium (9” and smaller) displays, as mobile phone manufacturers have increased adoption.
According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report, this has led to AMOLED capturing 6 percent of the small/medium display market in 2012 and is forecast to more than double by 2015 to 13 percent.

Total OLED display shipments are expected to reach 191 million in 2012, accounting for an 8.4 percent share of the overall small/medium display category.

“Prior to the start of mass production of AMOLED displays for mobile phones, only passive matrix OLED (PMOLED) displays were available, mostly used in applications such as mobile phone sub-displays, automobile displays, and some industrial and niche applications,” said Yoonsung Chung, director, Large-Area Displays & FPD Materials for NPD DisplaySearch.

“AMOLED displays have driven total OLED penetration into the small/medium display market since 2010 when Samsung launched the Galaxy S, the first AMOLED smartphone in 2010.”
Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report.

Mobile phones continue to drive the growth of the OLED market, and mobile phone applications are expected to have a 69 percent share of the total small/ medium OLED market in 2012, growing to 83 percent in 2015. However, mass adoption of AMOLED technology will need to overcome some very real hurdles.

Market entry for newcomers is challenging due to the very detailed and technical engineering and production experience required for OLED manufacturing. On average, successful entry takes five years. In addition, AMOLED display technology is more expensive to produce, which undoubtedly impacts demand.
Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report.

“Samsung Displays produces nearly all AMOLED displays, but more players will need to participate in order to drive growth of AMOLED technology,” said Chung.

“NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that new panel makers will enter the market in 2013, particularly from Taiwan and China. In addition, we expect to see OLED applications for smartphones, amusement devices, digital still cameras, and home appliances drive additional demand.”

CTS announces acquisition of D&R Technology

USA: CTS Corp. announced the acquisition of D&R Technology (D&R), a privately-held company with annual sales of approximately $50 million. D&R is a leading manufacturer of custom designed sensors, switches and electromechanical assemblies primarily serving the automotive light-vehicle market.

CTS acquired D&R for a cash purchase price of approximately $63.5 million. Management expects the transaction to be accretive to CTS’ earnings in the first year.

The synergistic acquisition significantly expands CTS’ strategic automotive sensor product platform with new customers and a broader product portfolio. The acquisition will also further diversify CTS’ Components and Sensors segment and bring new growth opportunities from sensor applications for safety systems and vehicle chassis management. Additionally, D&R brings strong sensor design and development engineering capabilities to complement CTS’ world-class engineering team.

D&R, founded in 1998, operates Lean Manufacturing facilities in Carol Stream, Illinois and Juarez, Mexico, with approximately 400 employees. D&R specializes in building advanced technology products that provide industry-leading and application-specific solutions.

Key products include non-contacting chassis height position sensors, seat belt tension sensors, seat belt buckle switches and anti-lock braking system (ABS) wheel speed sensors. Newer products currently growing include seat track position sensors and current sensors for electric and hybrid vehicles. D&R has been widely recognized by customers for quality performance, including Flawless Launch Awards.

Vinod Khilnani, CTS chairman and CEO, stated: “This is a significant strategic acquisition for CTS. We are delighted to welcome D&R into the CTS family. It is an excellent fit and a synergistic addition to our faster growing Components and Sensors segment, bringing exciting new growth opportunities.”

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Point Grey opens customer and sales support office in Beijing

CHINA: Point Grey, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of innovative, high-performance digital cameras, announced the opening of its Beijing office as part of its continued geographic expansion into key growth markets.

The Bejing office enables Point Grey to increase its level of service to customers and distributors in the Greater China region by providing technical support to both customers and sales. Working closely with its distributors, LUSTER LightVision Tech. Co. Ltd, covering China, Hong Kong and Macau and Apo Star Co. Ltd, covering Taiwan, the new office will facilitate deeper understanding of local requirements and business opportunities in this dynamic market.

"Point Grey has a large number of customers in the Greater China region; with this office we will be able to serve them in their language and in their time zone," explains Mike Gibbons, Sales and Marketing director. "Also, it is important we work closely with our customers to understand and anticipate their needs."

The Beijing office is Point Grey's second office in Asia Pacific. Point Grey's office in Japan works closely with the company's network of distributors in Japan, Korea, and Singapore. Headquartered in Richmond, Canada, Point Grey currently employs more than 160 people worldwide and also has offices in Germany and Italy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

FlyCapture 2.4 supports Windows 8, USB 3.0 under Linux, and improved GigE Vision robustness

CANADA: Point Grey, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of innovative, high-performance digital cameras, today announces the release of FlyCapture 2.4, the next generation of its popular image acquisition and camera control library. This release provides official support for Windows 8, support for USB 3.0 under Linux, and improved robustness of GigE Vision support.

Flycapture 2.4 adds Windows 8 to its list of supported operating systems which already includes Windows XP, Windows 7, and Ubuntu Linux. The release comes with fully signed drivers and support for the new start menu.

After close collaboration with the Linux open source community, Flycapture 2.4 leverages Linux's new dynamic ring allocation for large image transfers. Flycapture 2.4 now enables Point Grey cameras to run at full resolution over USB 3.0 in the Linux environment.

Enhancing Point Grey's support for GigE Vision, Flycapture 2.4 now supports both PendingAck and Packet Resend. This new functionality allows Flycapture to leverage camera features to ensure reliable and robust, image transmission and camera control even on poor or congested links.

The FlyCapture SDK comes free with every Point Grey camera. It provides a common software interface to control all single lens USB 3.0, GigE, FireWire and USB 2.0 cameras. This complete software API library includes ready-to-use demo programs and comprehensive source code designed for high performance and demanding imaging applications.

FlyCapture 2.4 is now available for download to all Point Grey users.

Point Grey's Blackfly camera redefines value performance

CANADA: Point Grey, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of innovative, high-performance digital cameras, released the all new Blackfly camera.

By leveraging Point Grey's design for manufacturing experience, the Blackfly camera redefines price performance. The first model BLFY-PGE-13E4 features a 1.3 MP, 60 fps, CMOS global shutter sensor available in both monochrome and color, less than 2 W power consumption in the world's smallest and lightest GigE POE camera package.

Future Blackfly models include 0.5 and 0.9 MP CCD resolutions with excellent quantum efficiency and wide dynamic range. By combining the best sensor technology, interface implementation and low power design with an unbeatable price point, the Blackfly camera is the perfect choice for traditional machine vision and outdoor imaging applications.

The BFLY-PGE-13E4 model uses the EV76C560 CMOS sensor from e2v which uses a global shutter readout architecture. Global shutter is critical to prevent geometric distortion when capturing images of fast moving objects. The CMOS pixel design on the other hand addresses blooming and smearing artifacts caused by bright sources or reflections in the camera's field of view.

The Blackfly BFLY-PGE-13E4 model satisfies industry demand for global shutter CMOS ideal for cost sensitive applications in automation, 3D imaging or license plate recognition. Point Grey's Blackfly camera measures just 29 x 29 x 30 mm and provides a unique set of features including power over Ethernet, temperature and status monitoring, in-field updatable firmware, color interpolation, look up table, gamma correction, pixel binning functionality, and much more.

"The Blackfly camera is generating huge interest in the industry by addressing customer demand for modern sensor technology, small footprint and an attractive price point." explains Michael Gibbons, director of Sales and Marketing. He adds, "We are excited to address traditional machine vision, 3D imaging, automated inspection, open road tolling and many new and future applications with the Blackfly camera."

The Blackfly BFLY-PGE-13E4 (color and monochrome) model is list priced at $395 and EUR €299 and is available to order now from Point Grey and its network of distributors.

Global 3-D market flourishes across cinema, home video and TV VoD platforms

USA: The global 3-D consumer market is thriving in a dynamic environment marked by clear and discernible growth across its major platforms, including cinema, home video and pay-TV video on demand, with international markets continuing to make major contributions to the industry, according to an IHS Screen Digest Cross Platform Intelligence report.

Worldwide metrics are on the rise for 3-D technology as a whole. The number of 3-D screens is up fourfold over a period of three years, while 3-D box office climbed in the double digits from 2010 to 2011. The 3-D home-video market is also showing strong growth, bucking the overall trend of a declining physical video market, with US spending on Blu-ray 3-D nearly doubling in 2012 from last year’s levels.

More 3-D TV channels worldwide are likewise now available, including one just launched in China, with plenty of potential for expansion in the years ahead for 3-D Video-on-Demand service.

“In an age where consumers have at their easy disposal a virtual treasure trove of entertainment options to draw from, the encouraging growth of the 3-D medium is remarkable to behold,” said Tony Gunnarsson, analyst for video at IHS Screen Digest.

“The continuing expansion of the industry is especially significant when one considers that 3-D is but a small niche of overall digital viewing, and that consumers have to shell out considerably more money for 3-D products, which are priced at a premium and not necessarily an easy sell in these economically uncertain times.”

3-D cinema shows growth in both revenue and number of new screens
The number of 3-D screens worldwide has grown dramatically in three years, rising by more than a factor of four from approximately 9,000 screens at the end of 2009 to 43,000 by the third quarter this year. The U.S. continues to have the lion’s share of 3-D screens, followed by China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Meanwhile, global 3-D box-office revenue hit $7.0 billion in 2011—the last full year for which full figures are available—up 16 percent from $6.0 billion in 2010. 3-D accounted for 22 percent of total world box-office receipts in 2011, up from 19 percent the previous year.

In particular, 3-D is stabilizing in mature cinema markets like the U.S., where its share of the overall box office is no longer growing as rapidly compared to the earlier years of the format or in other countries where 3-D cinema is just taking off. Increasingly, 3-D revenue prospects rely on the quality of the 3-D film slate, and the wealth—or relative dearth—of titles during a particular period could spell a big difference in 3-D revenue prospects in the mature cinema markets.

3-D screen growth is also slowing dramatically in the developed regions, where exhibitors have already made a significant investment in 3-D screen infrastructure. The opposite is true in China and other emerging international markets, where the continued expansion of new-cinema screen infrastructure as well as the subsequent up-conversion rate from 2-D to 3-D is pushing further growth of 3-D screens.

Overall, international markets continue to account for a rising share of the worldwide 3-D box office—73 percent in 2011, up from 66 percent in 2010 and 54 percent in 2009, with the balance held by North America.

3-D home video defies overall down trend of physical video market
In the 3-D home-video segment, the US continues to make up the largest market for Blu-ray 3-D (BD 3-D), equivalent to 51 percent of global BD 3-D spending. And while both value and volume for traditional physical video are decreasing, BD 3-D is an exception to the trend, with forecasts showing strong growth even out to 2016.

Spending by US consumers on the medium is up 94 percent this year from 2011 levels, to $220 million, with BD 3-D unit sales set to climb 105 percent, to 9.9 million units.

“Despite the relatively small market for BD 3-D, the format plays an important role for overall physical video,” Gunnarsson noted. “BD 3-D is already being marketed as the ultimate home-video experience, and studios are pricing 3-D home-video well above Blu-ray 2-D versions.”

Growth is also forecast for the BD 3-D home-video market in the three big European markets of the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

Trends in 3-D broadcast and VoD show promise
A total of 37 unique dedicated 3-D channels have been launched worldwide since 2010, plus another 38 dedicated 3-D event broadcasts. Nonetheless, 3-D TV launches slowed considerably in 2012, due to uncertainty about investing in, and maintaining, dedicated linear 3-D channels.

On the plus side were the positive developments on programming, such as the formation of 3Net, a joint venture among Sony, Imax and Discovery to focus on 3-D output including documentaries and other niche genres.

Some pay-TV operators have also sought to provide 3-D movies on a Video-on-Demand basis. Movies and documentaries—not live or original content—are the basis for 3-D VoD, but the overall limited slate as well as the higher price of 3-D video-on-demand (VoD) movies—as much as 30 percent over HD titles—may serve to discourage some consumers from adopting the service in the short term.

Even so, the 3-D VoD market will overcome such obstacles in the years ahead. US consumers, for instance, will spend $76.1 million for 3-D VoD by 2016, up from $11.1 million this year. European viewers, meanwhile, will fork out $32.4 million, compared to just $3.5 million during the same period.

Addressable market for 3-D in the US, Europe and China
Penetration for 3-D remains highest in 2012 across cinema-screen infrastructure, driven by higher per-ticket revenue and the continued practice of major studios releasing blockbuster titles in 3-D.

In homes, 3-D penetration is dependent on households upgrading to 3-D TVs as well as 3-D BD players and the associated 3-D glasses. 3-D features are becoming a standard on high-end HDTV sets and BD players in the forecast period to 2016, resulting in a growing segment of households in developed markets being ripe for 3-D movies viewing. By 2016, the penetration of 3-D ready TV households will have surpassed that of 3-D cinema screens in select markets worldwide.

The largest international footprint overall for 3-D cinema this year belongs to China, where more than 8,000 screens had been installed as of the third quarter—more than double from a year earlier—as the rapidly growing screen infrastructure makes a significant contribution.

The country’s BD 3-D space, however, is still in infancy, owing to the lack of a legitimate physical video market in the country in light of rampant piracy. The ability of Chinese manufacturers to integrate 3-D as standard feature will also have a significant impact on 3-D TV broadcasts moving forward, after Chinese public broadcaster CCTV launched the first 3-D TV channel in the country on a trial basis earlier this year.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

CARTES 2012 showcases smart-technologies from around the world

FRANCE: With over 19,000 visitors and 430 exhibitors from 45 countries at the 2012 trade show, CARTES has confirmed its leading position as an international event in the smart-technology and digital-security sector. The trade fair, which took place in November 2012, also succeeded in reaffirming the dynamism of the market.

The 27th CARTES trade show for the smart-technology and digital-security industry took place in November 2012. Throughout the three days, over 19,000 international visitors came to meet 435 exhibitors from 45 countries, while discovering 2012’s trends and innovations in payment, mobility, security and identification.

With the SESAMES Awards for innovation, topical lectures from experts, and innovation demonstrations, once again the trade fair confirmed its position as an important gathering for the sector, while highlighting the international richness, diversity and dynamism of the industry.

The World Card Summit was the trade show’s opening conference which focused on the topic of mobile payment and where 570 attendees witnessed a notable presentation by Patrick Gauthier, Head of Operations at PayPal Retail Services. The Summit brought together market leaders including American Express, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Infineon Technologies, Morpho, NXP Semiconductors and Oberthur Technologies.

At this Summit, Eurosmart also revealed its figures for 2012 and its world-market forecasts. The not-for-profit association confirmed delivery of over 7 billion units of smart-secure devices in 2012 and anticipates strong growth of around 10 percent, resulting in a delivery of nearly 7.7 billion units in 2013.

At the heart of CARTES 2012, visitors had access to large companies in various dedicated sectors, such as identification, machines, mobile payment, testing and consulting. New trends and various innovations were presented in the Innovation Village, an area reserved for start-up companies, as well as in the Security in the Cloud and Smart Urban Mobility areas.

India was the guest country of honour at CARTES 2012, where there was a higher number of Indian visitors than usual, along with various Indian experts who came to present major identification projects.

CARTES 2012 also held 120 conference sessions with almost 1,600 attendees. This year, the topics of mobile payment, e-commerce, m-commerce, the prepaid market and NFC applications were popular across both the conferences and the stands.

The conference sessions concentrated on the influence of mobile payment on the payment industry; new generation authentication and electronic signatures for mobiles, tablets and PCs; and, finally, prepaid innovations in Europe and around the world. Original perspectives were revealed concerning the behaviour of new consumers, the emergence and economic challenges of mobile wallets, business models for electric-money issuers, banking security on mobiles, and new prepaid cards.

The 11 most promising and astute technological innovations of the year were rewarded in front of 320 guests at CARTE 2012’s SESAMES Awards held at the prestigious Westin Paris-Vendôme hotel, Paris.

• The SESAME Hardware award went to NXP for Next Generation NFC Radio Controller.
• The SESAME Software award went to Intrinsic-ID for Saturnus®.
• The SESAME Identification/ID cards/Healthcare award went to Sunward Telecom Limited for 13.56 MHz RF-SIM.  
• The SESAME IT Security award went to Morpho for EMV Pro Digit.
• The SESAME Transport award went to Infineon Technologies AG for Security Controller for Transport Applications.  
• The SESAME Banking/Retail/Loyalty award went to Toro Development Ltd for akami suite.
• The SESAME Trusted Internet/Authentication prize went to NXP Semiconductors Austria GmbH for Mobile POS for eTicket and stored value reload.
• SAME Mobility award went to Oberthur Technologies for Multi-brand NFC payment wallet.
• The SESAME e-Transactions award went to Giesecke & Devrient for Portigo.
• The SESAME Manufacturing & Tests award went to Gemalto for PrintPixel.
• New in 2012, the Discovery SESAME award was for the best innovation presented by a start-up company from across the 10 aforementioned categories. The winner was RCDEVS SARL for OpenOTP/TiQR Authentication Server

CARTES 2013 will take place from 19-21 November at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre near Paris (France) and Brazil will be the special guest country. The trade show will have the new slogan: Secure Connexions Event, which reflects the organisers desire to develop the connection between the real and virtual worlds.

NI instrument driver network reaches 10,000 drivers

USA: National Instruments announced that the NI Instrument Driver Network (IDNet) has reached a new milestone of 10,000 instrument drivers for automating stand-alone instrumentation.

From IDNet, you can access free, NI-certified instrument driver downloads for NI LabVIEW system design software, NI LabWindows/CVI and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. IDNet instrument drivers simplify instrument control across a variety of buses including GPIB, USB, PXI, PCI, Ethernet, LXI and RS232.

NI also released a free tool for creating LabVIEW Plug and Play instrument drivers called LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio, so engineers can easily develop their own drivers and upload them to IDNet. LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio provides a powerful and flexible platform that speeds up development through functional SCPI command templates for common instrument types and automatically generates LabVIEW source code for the instrument.

Engineers can easily develop consistent instrument drivers by loading and modifying the source code from an existing driver and create sophisticated driver architectures with the drag-and-drop interactive user interface. NI can then certify the instrument driver to verify that it meets established standards.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

McAfee warns consumers of the “12 scams of Christmas”

INDIA: McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security technology company, released findings from the company’s 2012 Holiday Shopping Study.

The study, conducted online among over 1100 Indian adults by Harris Interactive, investigates the online habits and behaviors of Indians, including those who indicate that they will engage with the Internet and mobile devices while shopping this holiday season. In light of these findings, McAfee also exposes the Top 12 Scams of Christmas that criminals plan to use to rip off  consumers as they shop online this holiday season.

While Indians are slowly getting accustomed to shopping online, and will do so in droves, they are also using their mobile phones for more of their everyday activities.

Shopping on the move
* As 70 percent of those surveyed, plan to shop online this holiday season, a surprising 3 in 4 (71 percent) of them plan to use their mobile devices, and while aware of the risks, they are willing to give away their personal information if they can get something they value in return.

* Indian respondents scored the highest amongst all countries in terms of resorting to smart phones to purchase holiday gifts for others for end of year celebrations.

* Among those Indians planning on using smartphones and/or tablets to purchase gifts this holiday season, almost three fourths (72 percent) are specifically planning to use apps for shopping and/or banking during the holiday season; as such, mobile devices have proven irresistible to cybercriminals, and now they are targeting mobile users through malicious applications. The trend of high app usage is evident from the fact that 96 percent of the surveyed respondents used mobile apps. This was the highest number after Japan.

Concerned but ignorant and therefore, attack-prone-
* Compared to other countries, India ranks highest (67 percent) on the metrics of respondents worrying about personal information being stolen while using a mobile app on the smart phone or tablet.

* Despite the fact that 90 percent of Indian respondents owning a smartphone or tablet are at least somewhat concerned that their personal information could be stolen while using an app on a smartphone or tablet, an astounding 95 percent of them are willing to provide some level of personal information in order to receive an offer that is of value to them.  India also scored highest on the ranking of sharing credit card details in order to receive such offers.

* Indians are also more likely to be a victim of a cyber scam. More than 23 percent of polled Indians have been victims and almost 25 percent of the polled Indians know someone who has been a victim

* 85 percent of the polled audiences believe that there is a risk to personal identity while using free Wi-Fi on a mobile devices, but 41 percent of them still do so using their smart phones.

‘Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online - shopping for gifts. Forty percent of those Indians who plan on shopping online during the 2012 holiday season plan on using a personal computer to do so, and 50 percent will use a tablet (23 percent) and/or smartphone (38 percent).

Here are the “12 Scams of Christmas,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for this holiday season, revealed by McAfee.

1. Social media scams—Many of us use social media sites to connect with family, friends, and co-workers over the holidays, and the cybercriminals know that this is a good place to catch you off guard because we’re all “friends,” right? Here are some ways that criminals will use these channels to obtain shopper’s gift money, identity or other personal information:

* Scammers use channels, like Facebook and Twitter, just like email and websites to scam consumers during the holidays. Be careful when clicking or liking posts, while taking advantage of contests, ads and special deals that you get from your “friends” that advertise the hottest Holiday gifts (such as the new iPad Mini), exclusive discounts at local stores, holiday-related jobs postings, and your friends’ accounts being hacked and sending out fake alerts to all their “friends.”

* Twitter ads and special discounts for popular gifts are especially huge the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and utilize blind, shortened links, many of which could easily be malicious. Criminals are getting savvier with authentic-looking social ads and deals that take consumers to legitimate looking websites. In order to take advantage of the deals or contests, they ask them for personal information that can obtain a shopper’s credit card number, email address, phone number or home address.

2. Malicious mobile apps—As smartphone users, we are app crazy, downloading over 25 billion apps for Android devices alone! But as the popularity of applications has grown, so have the chances that you could download a malicious application designed to steal your information or even send out premium-rate text messages without your knowledge.

3. Travel scams—Before you book your flight or hotel to head home to see your loved ones for the holidays, keep in mind that the scammers are looking to hook you with too-good-to-be-true deals. Phony travel webpages, sometimes using your preferred company, with beautiful pictures and rock-bottom prices are used to get you to hand over your financial details.

4. Holiday spam/phishing—Soon many of these spam emails will take on holiday themes. Cheap Rolex watches and pharmaceuticals may be advertised as the “perfect gift” for that special someone.

5. iPhone 5, iPad Mini and other hot holiday gift scams—The kind of excitement and buzz surrounding Apple’s new iPhone 5 or iPad Mini is just what cybercrooks dream of when they plot their scams. They will mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests (example: “Free iPad”) and phishing emails as a way to grab computer users’ attention to get you to reveal personal information or click on a dangerous link that could download malware onto your machine.

6. Skype message scare—People around the world will use Skype to connect with loved ones this holiday season, but they should be aware of a new Skype message scam that attempts to infect their machine, and even hold their files for ransom.

7. Bogus gift cards—Cybercriminals can't help but want to get in on the action by offering bogus gift cards online. Be wary of buying gift cards from third parties; just imagine how embarrassing it would be to find out that the gift card you gave your mother-in-law was fraudulent!

8. Holiday SMiShing—“SMiSishing” is phishing via text message. Just like with email phishing, the scammer tries to lure you into revealing information or performing an action you normally wouldn’t do by pretending to be a legitimate organization.

9. Phony e-tailers– Phony e-commerce sites, that appear real, try to lure you into typing in your credit card number and other personal details, often by promoting great deals. But, after obtaining your money and information, you never receive the merchandise, and your personal information is put at risk.

10. Fake charities—This is one of the biggest scams of every holiday season. As we open up our hearts and wallets, the bad guys hope to get in on the giving by sending spam emails advertising fake charities.

11. Dangerous e-cards—E-Cards are a popular way to send a quick “thank you” or holiday greeting, but some are malicious and may contain spyware or viruses that download onto your computer once you click on the link to view the greeting.

12. Phony classifieds—Online classified sites may be a great place to look for holiday gifts and part-time jobs, but beware of phony offers that ask for too much personal information or ask you to wire funds via Western Union, since these are most likely scams.

“Using multiple devices provides the bad guys with more ways to access your valuable “Digital Assets,” such as personal information and files, especially if the devices are under-protected,” said Paula Greve, director at McAfee Labs.

“One of the best ways for consumers to protect themselves is to learn about the criminals’ tricks, so they can avoid them. Beyond that they should have the latest updates of the applications on their devices in order to enjoy a safe online buying or other experience. We don’t want consumers to be haunted by the scams of holidays past, present and future – they can’t afford to leave the door open to cyber-grinches during the busy holiday season.”

Enterprise operating platforms in 2013: Big Data, increased IT importance, and rise of Cloud OS

DUBAI: Enterprise IT continued to evolve in 2012 at a lightning-fast pace. Concepts like hybrid environments and cloud operating systems moved from being buzzwords that were discussed and planned for, to, in many cases, full-scale implementation.

Simultaneously, other trends began to take shape – trends that will heavily influence the way enterprises approach IT well into next year and beyond. These trends range from the way organizations handle big data to the ever-present need for mission-critical computing. They signify the rising importance of IT within the enterprise, and beg the answer to the question “What does the future enterprise platform really look like?”

Jim Totton, VP and GM of Red Hat's Platform Business Unit, has seen these trends grow and change over time. He shares his thoughts about what they mean for enterprises as they drive toward remaining ahead of the curve in 2013:

Future of OSs
Operating systems have always served two primary purposes: to enable software and developers to consume and take advantage of hardware innovations as they become available and to deliver a stable foundation on which applications can run. Moving forward, operating systems will continue to evolve in these ways to power the cloud.

Take Linux as an example. Linux was developed on and for the Internet and has evolved to support 8 out of every 10 cloud-based applications today. This is because it's portable, secure, scalable and reliable – all while being open and standards-based.

The cloud demands choice and flexibility, and we believe that’s what will maintain Linux the cloud operating system well into the future.

The OS has served as the foundation of traditional IT for decades while continuing to act as a cornerstone for new innovation. This is the role that I see for the operating platform in computing for 2013 and beyond. As organizations move to the cloud, the OS will continue to deliver a critical foundation. The question is which ones are the best fit – those based on a traditional, walled-garden approach that fosters vendor lock-in, or the ones built on open source, that originated on the Internet and are tailor-made for the cloud?

Changes IT organizations will make in 2013 to strategically impact business
IT requires to be more agile when addressing the needs of the business. We’re seeing a trend towards convergence of compute, storage and network as integrated infrastructure in the next few years. Many customers are looking to standardize their infrastructure to become more efficient.

While the long-term goal is simplification and standardization, this represents a significant shift for IT. How and when companies move forward will depend on their ongoing virtualization and cloud computing efforts.

85 percent of all flat-panel TVs will be Internet-connected smart TVs by 2016

USA: Nearly 85 percent of all flat-panel TVs produced in 2016 will be smart TVs, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide unit production of flat-panel smart TVs will grow from 69 million in 2012 to 198 million in 2016. Worldwide unit production of smart TVs in 2013 is expected to reach 108 million.

However, analysts said that smart TVs alone won't spur demand in the market. TV manufacturers must recognize the need to offer some compelling reasons for consumers to choose their brand over a competitor's.

"In the end, the choice may be all about the extra content that one TV brand offers over another. Consumers will be asking questions such as, which Internet TV services can the TV access? Are these the sites I think are valuable? Can I use my smartphone or tablet with this TV?" said Paul O’Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"It is critical for the TV industry during this global economic downturn and decline in consumer confidence levels, to sustain sales and maintain or grow market share — especially in emerging markets. This is difficult when demand has slowed, so the extra functionality offered by smart TVs becomes the product differentiator — if prices are already competitive and all other variables are equal between brands."

Gartner defines a typical smart TV as having the ability to search the Internet for video content and then play that content back. It may or may not include a browser, but there is the functionality to add apps from an app store operated either by the TV manufacturer or by a third party. The functionality of the smart TV can include an interactive capability with live TV broadcasts, as well as a range of connectivity options to other consumer devices such as smartphones, tablets or PCs.

Internet-connected smart TVs will be able to access a wide variety of content from the Internet over a broadband connection, and will receive traditional TV broadcasts via terrestrial transmissions or via satellite, cable or an Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) set-top box. They will still be connected in this way because pay-TV services will continue to carry much of the premium TV content — such as sports and events — that will not be readily available over the Internet. However, it is the connection to the home broadband that makes a smart TV different.
Today's smart TVs can access video content on the Web in many ways — such as via YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other sites, as well as social networks — and can run some applications commonly found on devices such as smartphones or tablets.

The TV market is evolving, with the TV becoming the central component bringing together the multiple screens now present in the home. The smart TV offers consumers greater access to a wide range of content in the living room that has, until recently, only been available on PCs, smartphones and tablets.

"With connectivity to smartphones and tablets comes the ability to pull content from the Internet on one device and push that content to the TV. For those TV manufacturers that also make smartphones and tablets, the marketing advantage of the smart TV makes educating the consumer a lot easier," said O’Donovan.

VITEC strengthens IPTV Blade platform as most dense streaming system

USA: VITEC, a worldwide leader in advanced digital video solutions, announced a major feature enhancement on the carrier-grade IPTV Blade Platforms to support unmatched audio encoding processing of eight stereo pairs in a single video stream using its broadcast quality H.264 HD/SD video compression engine.

The multi-audio enhancement includes advanced, hardware-based, SDI audio shifting and mixing capabilities enabling operators to optimize audio services with maximum flexibility. VITEC also offers the unique capability of 8 audio tracks in its over-the-top (OTT) IP Transcoding blade, the MGTS-Prism, empowering internet video service providers to stream audio-rich content to tablets and smart phones.

Optibase MGW Blade Systems, the first blade solution introduced in the Enterprise IPTV Market, continuously sets the standard for density, video quality and reliability among broadcast centers, military units, government facilities and corporate offices.

The MGW Blade Platform sets itself apart from other blade solutions due to its smart centralized controller blade that manages all system blades and automates fail-over between blades to achieve “Five Nines” high availability for IPTV services while consolidating all management and video streaming traffic to one blade for maximum efficiency.

“The Optibase MGW Blade Systems is the gold standard for carrier-grade architecture and video quality. As content providers and internet video services break boundaries and increasingly expand global offerings, demand for higher density and efficient ways to deploy IPTV systems gains more complexity,” said Eli Garten, VP of Product Management at VITEC.

“The new multi-audio enhancement complements our best-in-class video encoding density. This unique advantage helps our Tier-1 and Tier-2 customers as well as multi-national corporations to deploy IPTV services, which serve multiple markets and viewers with less equipment and reduced CAPEX.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Legacy Electronics first to receive CMTL approval as memory supplier for Intel NUC mini-pc platforms

USA: Design engineers and system integrators working with Intel’s Desktop Boards Next Unit of Computing (NUC) family, previewed in June of this year, should know that Legacy Electronics is the first memory supplier to be INTEL Advanced Tested through CMTL for this platform.

Using an Intel Core i3 processor on a 4-by-4-inch motherboard, the NUC is surprisingly small in size and an ideal engine for digital signage, kiosks, home theater systems and intelligent devices for small spaces.

Jason Engle, Legacy Electronics’ chief executive officer, said: “The Intel NUC has two SO-DIMM memory slots that support up to 8GB of Legacy 1600MHZ DDR3 memory each, for a total of 16GB of memory in an ultra-small package. This new Intel® platform is key for growth in the industry and we are delighted to be the first CMTL-approved memory supplier for the NUC.”

Engle added that the NUC is mSATA-capable (mini-SATA technology designed for portability), and Legacy Electronics offers a wide range of mSATA solid-state drives ranging from 8GB up to 256GB to meet the most robust storage requirements.

John Deters, CMTL’s president, commented: “Legacy Electronics continues to maintain total commitment and technological superiority in the Intel platform customer base by being in the first group of memory manufacturers to be Intel Advanced Tested on the Intel NUC mini-pc product line.” Deters continued, “The Intel mini NUC platform design represents one of the most relevant new platform form factor designs to be introduced in the industry since the notebook computer.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Connected car services come to market with Volvo Car Group and Ericsson

SWEDEN: Volvo Car Group will use Ericsson's Connected Vehicle Cloud in order to allow drivers, passengers and the car to connect to services available in the cloud.

Drivers and passengers will be able to access applications for information, navigation, and entertainment from a screen in the car. At the same time, Volvo Cars will be able to open parts of the platform to other players in the eco-system of the automotive industry.

Content providers will have agreements with Volvo and the other members of the ecosystem, like internet radio providers, road authorities, cities' governments, toll-road operators and others.

Lex Kerssemakers, senior VP, Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars, says: "We clearly see that cars in the near future will integrate the same level of digital services that consumers today are used to have in their homes or at work. This is a strategically important part of Volvo's investments for the future where we intend to take a leading position."

The partnership calls for Ericsson to perform systems integration of the solution with Volvo Car Group IS/IT environments and in-vehicle systems. Ericsson will also provide managed services for a global cloud solution with a secure connection between the vehicle and all players in the value chain and in the ecosystem.

Kerssemakers continues: "Ericsson is a perfect partner for Volvo Car Group, bringing extensive experience and global business acumen to the table. On top of this both companies share the same ambition to develop industry leading solutions in line with our shared vision of the future based on a networked society."

Per Borgklint, head of Business Unit Support Systems, Ericsson, says: "This partnership is evidence of the transformation across our entire society as we move into the Networked Society. Drivers want services that technology makes possible, in real time and in the context that fits them personally. Our skills in System Integration and Service Enablement will match Volvo's strategy."

Volvo's expertise in driver behavior and traffic safety measurements, along with Ericsson's consulting, system integration and managed services expertise from mobile communication solutions, will be used to define and select future services to be supported by the platform, keeping in mind the driver's priority on the traffic situation.

Ericsson Connected Vehicle Cloud targets the existing and future demands on scalability, security and flexibility in the global automotive industry.

2013 to witness a new avatar of computing from Intel

USA & INDIA: Intel brought alive some of the most exciting and effective products in 2012 with the aim of making technology accessible, affordable and usable. And, as the world of personal computing continues to evolve, Intel will be at the forefront of advancements in the computing space with exciting new products and innovations in its product line up in the coming year.

2012 – A big year for Intel India
Looking back, 2012 has been an instrumental year in Intel’s growth story in India. Intel has been on the forefront of making cutting edge technology available to consumers across a continuum of devices.

The world’s first Intel based Smartphone, the Lava XOLO X900 was launched in India in March, marking Intel’s global foray into the Smartphone segment.

2012 also saw the introduction of several Intel inspired Ultrabook devices in the market including the Ultrabook convertibles that become a tablet when you need one and an Ultrabook when you want one.

In order to create a digitally literate population in the country Intel and NASSCOM, along with other ecosystem players launched the National Digital Literacy Mission in India.

Intel has impacted over 1 Million learners through its Intel® Easy Steps Digital Literacy program in India in 2012. Intel remains committed to working with the ecosystem and has several initiatives towards fulfilling the Government’s vision of having one e-literate person per household by 2020.

Predictions for 2013
Re-inventing the compute experience: Intel foresees a renewed vigor in computing in 2013 with the emergence of a highly connected multi-device world landscape. The new generations today are experiencing computers for the first time, using intuitive input methods such as touch. Intel believes that traditional input devices such as keyboards and mouse will be challenged by new input methods like voice and gesture recognition.

Tablets, convertibles and new devices will enter the market blurring the boundaries between PCs and tablets. The launch of the 4thgeneration Intel Core processors will significantly boost performance in all devices from mobiles to tablets to Ultrabook convertibles for a better consumer experience.

The Indian market has shown a lot of potential for mobility devices and tablets in particular have caught the fancy of the young consumers. Intel’s high performance next generation processors are capable of changing the way people use and interact with computing systems.

In 2012, Intel launched the 32nm Intel Atom Z2760 processor targeted at an array of Windows 8 tablets and convertibles with touch, capable of delivering an always-on, always-connected experience and all-day battery life. A series of tablets from Intel based on Core as well as Atom processors, are all set to take the market by storm in 2013. The latest Windows 8 tablets have begun shipping and in the first half of 2013 Intel shall also deliver the Android based designs to the market.

Consumerization, cloud and big data will engulf the enterprise in 2013: 2013 will be a turning point for cloud deployment in the APAC region. Cloud users will begin to demand standardized, open, interoperable platforms for cloud computing. As businesses begin to rely on the cloud for general business operations, the demand for unrestricted use - bringing data in and out of the cloud - will become a focus in 2013.

The increasing internet penetration means that in 2013 there will be new populations coming online who will look for newer ways to connect and share amongst themselves. Enterprises will also experience resurgence in connectivity, as employees look for better ways to create connections and work efficiently with colleagues.

A trend that is fast being touted as the ‘next big thing’ that will help the industry move forward is Big Data. Storing and analyzing the massive amounts of user data to give near real time insights into customer behavior to tailor products and services to exceed customers’ expectations will gain momentum in 2013.

Technology and computing experiences today are pervasive – increasingly integrated into the fabric of our daily lives and our expectations and human desires for technology. The need to express ourselves, create, share, learn and protect our personal information is growing. We are at the beginning of what is another significant transformational moment for the personal computing experience as we move into 2013.

Seagate video 2.5 HDD introduced

USA: Seagate Technology has announced the Seagate Video 2.5 HDD, a 2.5-inch drive specifically engineered for use in 24/7 video applications like digital video recorders (DVRs), set-top boxes (STBs), and surveillance applications.

The Video 2.5 HDD delivers superior performance and operation in three key areas of importance to manufacturers – high reliability, acoustics, and energy efficiency. Featuring best in class reliability, the drive has an annual failure rate of approximately 0.55, based on current configurations, enabling it to keep product in the field longer while reducing the cost of field deployment and maintaining customer retention.

It also boasts 24/7 operation capabilities in extended temperature ranges and enhanced acoustics for near silent operation — features crucial for consumer electronics and video applications.

The Video 2.5 HDD provides home entertainment manufacturers one and two disk, cost-optimized solutions for today’s high-definition (HD) video recording applications. Featuring capacities up to 500 GB, manufacturers can benefit from its lower-power performance and slim form factor without sacrificing the streaming capabilities or reliability of Seagate’s 3.5-inch video drive. Its low power consumption, 24x7 operation, and support of up to 12 streams of simultaneous HD content also make it ideal for surveillance DVR applications.

"We pioneered the HDD video market more than a decade ago and as such are leveraging our vast knowledge of this technology to bring consumers the most reliable video drive in the world,” said Scott Horn, Seagate VP of Marketing. The CE industry has extremely specific criteria and needs when it comes to storage and the Video 2.5 HDD is built to meet and exceed their rigorous demands.”

The living-room environment requires superior acoustic management to limit audible distractions during operation of DVRs and STBs and the Video 2.5 HDD enables designers to build the quietest home entertainment systems possible. Operating below the range of audible sound for the human ear at just 22db, the drive provides optimized acoustics for home entertainment components.

Maintaining Seagate’s goal of delivering sustainable products, the drive reduces packaging materials by 53 percent and overall freight up to 30 percent, over previous 3.5-inch offerings, by efficiently packing and shipping more units with fewer materials than larger drives.

It also contributes to sustainable energy initiatives by achieving a 55 percent improvement in power savings over comparable 3.5-inch offerings, enabling system integrators to meet aggressive new energy requirements. The Seagate Video 2.5 HDD is built without the use of harmful chemicals like the fire retardant bromide and is PVC free.

E FUN's 7" Nextbook premium Android tablet with Google Play

USA: E FUN, a consumer electronics designer and manufacturer of fun, easy-to-use lifestyle products, announced that its newest Nextbook Android tablet featuring full access to Google Play, the Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP, is available now for $99.99 at retail nationwide. The 7" tablet features Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google Play and access to a full suite of Google apps.

"Our Premium 7SE-GP is the perfect holiday gift for those interested in a high performance tablet at an affordable price," remarked Jason Liszewski, managing director and vice president of sales for E FUN. "Its combination of hardware, software and pre-loaded content make this tablet one of the year's hottest items for everyone on your list."

Optimized for Google Play, the Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP gives users numerous benefits including:
* Access to more than 600,000 apps and games, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies in the Google Play store.
* Capability to read, listen and watch content not just on the Nextbook but on any device including a desktop, laptop or mobile phone with Google Play's cloud feature.
* Access to Android apps from Google including Gmail, Google Talk, Google+, Google Maps, YouTube™ and much more.
* 5GB of free cloud storage with Google Drive.

The Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP features a 7" five-finger multi-touch capacitive color screen and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a fast Amlogic A9 1GHz processor and 1GB DDR3 RAM. Additionally, it features a front-facing camera and a high-definition video player that can send a 1080p HD video to an HDTV or computer via the HDMI-out port.
Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP users can now watch YouTube videos, listen to Internet music, receive and send e-mails, or simply browse the Internet with the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

To keep all of a user's files safely stored, the Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP includes 8GB of built-in flash memory, expandable both via the microSD slot (supporting SDHC cards up to 32GB), or via a USB flash drive in its full-sized USB host port. It has an 800x480 screen with 16:9 ratio and a G-sensor auto-rotate orientation feature for landscape or portrait viewing, as well as over-the-air (OTA) firmware update capabilities.

The Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP is preloaded with a wide selection of applications including Net Nanny parental controls and CloudLink's "Productivity Toolbox," which includes numerous free applications such as 5GB of free cloud storage, free mobile security, wireless printing, and credit card processing.

The new Nextbook Premium 7SE-GP (model #NEXT7P12-8G) is available now for $99.99.

Friday, December 14, 2012

OSG selects Infosys CommerceEdge to transform e-commerce portal

INDIA: OSG Corp., one of Japan’s leading cutting tool manufacturers, has selected Infosys CommerceEdge to transform its legacy e-commerce platform.

The new digital commerce platform will provide OSG with a robust merchandizing support and offers a range of tools to engage with their customers through online and mobile channels. The cloud-based platform will reduce operating costs by up to 40 percent as compared to other available systems.

Infosys CommerceEdge will allow OSG to have better visibility and control over their inventory and pricing. This social commerce platform will provide each customer a personalized online transaction experience.  The advanced analytical features of the platform will help OSG get real-time visibility into customer buying behavior and patterns to drive more effective marketing campaigns.

The new social commerce platform is key to OSG’s global expansion plans. CommerceEdge comes equipped with pre-built accelerators and integrators and is capable of multi-language support. This makes it easy and cost effective to roll out in new geographies. In the first phase of deployment, the platform will support OSG’s customers in Japan, with plans in place to extend support to its customers across South East Asia and Europe.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

WHIPTAIL raises $31 million in series C and strategic funding

USA: WHIPTAIL, the data storage-industry innovator powering faster and more energy-efficient computing for today’s global businesses via flash storage, announced a $31 million investment, including strategic investments from flash-memory leader SanDisk as well as an unnamed Silicon Valley industry titan. Ignition Partners, RRE Ventures andSpring Mountain Capital also contributed to this Series C funding and Silicon Valley Bank provided debt financing.

“The intersection of performance and efficiency has never been more important as companies and organizations are moving to new technologies like flash storage to drive the top and bottom lines,” said WHIPTAIL CEO Dan Crain. “The new investors we’ve added to our existing team demonstrate the confidence they have in our vision. This funding will ensure continued growth of WHIPTAIL and accelerate our product roadmap through 2013, with groundbreaking products coming over the next 12 months that will leave our competition scrambling to catch up.”

The investment will fund growth in WHIPTAIL’s engineering team and accelerate global expansion. In addition, the company announced a new chief financial officer to lead WHIPTAIL’s fiscal policy into 2013 and beyond.

WHIPTAIL’s significant growth across its customer base, revenue and employees worldwide is a testament to the leadership and innovation provided in its all-flash storage arrays.  The company has achieved triple digit year-over-year revenue growth as more than 150 customers are now utilizing WHIPTAIL’s INVICTA and ACCELA arrays to power more than a quarter of a billion IOPS. To accommodate this expansion, WHIPTAIL’s employee base has increased by almost 500 percent in 2012.

SanDisk has announced an investment in WHIPTAIL via SanDisk Ventures, the company’s newly formed strategic investment arm.

"Enterprise storage represents a significant growth opportunity for flash, and SanDisk is excited to invest in innovative companies such as WHIPTAIL, which are bringing breakthrough system solutions to their enterprise customers,” said Sumit Sadana, executive VP and chief strategy officer at SanDisk. “Increasingly, customers are turning to flash-based solutions to address the need to access big data at lightning-fast speed, and do so with elegant, scalable, power-efficient systems from leading companies like WHIPTAIL.”

For Richard Fade, a partner at Ignition, the moves coming from WHIPTAIL have justified their investment in the company from the beginning.

“Enterprise SSD is white hot – it's becoming affordable for the datacenter, enabling competitive advantage and becoming a key tier of storage in many industries and applications,” he said. “WHIPTAIL is building the best implementations in the market. While others have been building hype, WHIPTAIL has quietly been delivering the fastest, most flexible and cost effective products in the market."

On the coattails of the strategic financing agreement, WHIPTAIL announced the hiring of CFO Catherine Chandler. Chandler brings more than 25 years of experience to WHIPTAIL. She previously served as CFO of Vitrue, a social marketing technology platform purchased by Oracle in 2012, and Liaison Technologies, an integration and data management technology services company with operations in the US and Europe.

LASELEC develops system to reduce wire waste in industry

FRANCE: LASELEC, a leader in the UV-laser industry, has designed a new wire-marking system that will reduce wire waste in industry, especially aerospace. The company has developed a method that uses ULYS Modena wire markers and an automatic feeding system to reduce waste from 1 metre to between 4 and 12 centimetres.

Each time production begins on a new type of wire, up to a metre is wasted, which can lead to substantial costs due to the price of aeronautical wire, for example. LASELEC, a worldwide leader in the UV-laser industry, has developed a method that can reduce such waste to a length of between 4cm and 12cm, using ULYS Modena UV-laser wire markers and automatic feeding.

The system can be mounted on both single-spool and multi-spool dereelers and, thanks to LASELEC’s innovative design, the system can also be retrofitted on all ULYS Modena machines that are already installed.

Using UV lasers to identify electric wiring is currently a method in widespread use in both military and civilian projects, as it is a process that provides indelible marking without damaging the insulation, thanks to the machine’s robust and reliable wire dereeling and cutting system.

The ULYS Modena UV-laser range perfectly meets all wire-marking requirements, from the ULYS 110, which is an entry-level machine that is suitable for low-production rates, to the ULYS 990, which has unmatched productivity.

Entities involved in modification, maintenance and repair of aircraft are showing growing interest in this technology. The MRO 200 was developed by LASELEC specifically to meet the needs of such aerospace companies. Devoted to small and medium production runs and to unit-by-unit production, this range of markers is used in workshops producing small runs and can be used for rework.

The French-based company’s computer-controlled laser cable markers are easy to operate, reliable and efficient. The marking ranges are constantly evolving and have had new models added this year.

A key benefit of direct UV-laser marking is a reduction in the wiring weight, which subsequently reduces the weight of the wire-equipped devices, lowering users’ energy costs. Such wire marking is gradually replacing sleeving in the aeronautics industry, and LASELEC equipment is used by all of the main aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, EADS, Embraer, Eurocopter, Northrop Grumman, and Sikorsky.

The rail industry has also begun using LASELEC equipment, including Canadian rail specialist Bombardier Transportation. Similarly, workshops for industrial vehicles, as well as those for upscale, competition and rally vehicles, feature such equipment, which is specifically suited to their particular requirements.

In 2012, LASELEC began to take part in a collaborative R&D project, VESUVE, which aims to improve considerably the productivity of aeronautical-cable production by developing the laser solutions of the future.

VESUVE will take place within the framework of the Fonds Unique Interministériel (FUI, France’s Inter-ministerial Single Fund) and will be supported throughout by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project was selected by ERDF thanks to its innovative approach to wire waste, along with the business that it will generate.

AVnu Alliance welcomes Axon and forms Pro Video subgroup

USA: AVnu Alliance, an industry forum that certifies Audio Video Bridging (AVB) products for interoperability, has added broadcast infrastructure equipment developer Axon Digital Design to its membership roster. In addition, Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon, will serve as chairman of the newly-formed AVnu Alliance Pro Video Subgroup.

Axon joined the AVnu Alliance as a result of the growing need for the professional video industry to adopt Ethernet – and specifically AVB – as its primary networking interface. The interoperability and functionality enabled by AVB, including low latency, time synchronization and bandwidth reservation, are essential for video and broadcast applications.

“Joining the AVnu Alliance fits very well in our history and strategy of being at the forefront of new technologies and standards in professional video,” said Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon. “We strongly believe that networked video is the next big thing in professional video applications, and the AVnu Alliance is an excellent platform to help drive this vision towards a reality.”

As chair of the AVnu Alliance Pro Video Subgroup, Eveleens will work with other alliance member companies to define key requirements for AVnu certification of video products. The goal is to ensure that professional video equipment manufacturers and their customers can benefit from the performance and interoperability advantages of AVnu-certified AVB products.

“The AVnu Alliance continues to expand, and we welcome the addition of another AVnu Alliance member that is so video-centric,” said Lee Minich, Marketing Work Group chair of AVnu Alliance, and president of Lab X Technologies. “Axon’s participation has boosted our ability to support the AVB standard in the exploding networked video market.”

AVnu Alliance’s membership is comprised of notable companies in the pro video market, including Barco, Digital Design Corporation, Riedel and Xilinx, as well as key players in the automotive, consumer electronics, and professional audio markets.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tablets make ebook readers an endangered species

USA: After spectacular growth during the last few years, the ebook reader market is on an alarmingly precipitous decline, sent reeling by more nimble tablet devices that have gained the ardent patronage of consumers, according to an IHS iSuppli Consumer Electronics Special Report.

Unknown to consumers before 2006, ebook readers saw shipments skyrocket for the next few years. From 2008 to 2010, shipments grew from 1.0 million to 10.1 million, up by a factor of 10. The market peaked in 2011, with 23.2 million units.

However, shipments of ebook readers by year-end will fall to 14.9 million units, down a steep 36 percent from 2011. Another drastic 27 percent contraction will occur next year when ebook reader shipments decline to 10.9 million units. By 2016, the ebook reader space will amount to just 7.1 million units—equivalent to a loss of more than two-thirds of its peak volume in 2011, as shown in the figure attached.

“The rapid growth—followed by the immediate collapse—of the ebook reader market is virtually unheard of, even in the volatile consumer electronics space, where products have notoriously short life cycles,” said Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst for consumer platforms at IHS.

“The stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets. And while other uni-tasking devices—like digital still cameras, GPS systems and MP3 players—also face similar pressures and battle dim prospects ahead, all have had a longer time in the sun than ebook readers, demonstrating even more painfully the depth of the ebook reader’s fall.”

European reprieve?
Despite their challenges, the market for ebook readers remains strong in Eastern Europe, and Russia. There also exists a potential opportunity in regions such as Africa and India, where the power efficiency of ebook readers may make them more attractive, given ongoing power issues in those regions.

Sales prospects for ebook readers also could improve if prices drop further.

Tablets on the rise
In contrast to the ebook readers, tablets are enjoying unstoppable growth, mostly thanks to the Apple iPad, which made its appearance in 2010. Tablet shipments will hit 120 million units in 2012 only after two short years of the device being on the market, and 340 million systems are expected by 2016—a magnitude of sales exceeded only by mobile handsets.

The versatility of the media tablet—able to serve as a reader of emails as well as books, while capable of surfing the Web and playing movies—has even overcome the cost advantages of the ebook reader. Dissections made by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Service of a wide range of ebook readers and tablets alike confirm that ebooks are much less expensive to build.

For instance, the 7-inch Amazon Kindle reader, released in late 2011, has a total bill of materials cost of $84, while the recently released Nexus 7 tablet from Asus is almost twice as high at $153.

Dime novels
To try to maintain their market, ebook readers are likely to continue to sell at manufacturing cost or even less in the future. Industry rumors speculate the Txtr Beagle reader, an ultra-low-cost model with a 5-inch screen, potentially selling for as little as $13 alongside operator subsidies in 2013—less than the cost of the display alone.

Such extremely low pricing may serve to prolong the life of the ebook reader market for a little while, IHS iSuppli believes, but the devices on the whole will not regain the popularity they once had.

For the manufacturers of ebook readers, the pressure to keep costs to an absolute minimum will be extreme, especially in cases where the system manufacturer is not also a content provider. In such a context, Amazon is more insulated than other ebook reader manufacturers, because the giant bookseller can recoup some of its losses through the huge sales generated from ebooks and other content available through its online store. Amazon is also not being caught empty-handed in the hardware arena, having morphed its Kindle ebook reader into the Kindle Fire media tablet.

The decline of the ebook reader market will translate into benefits for media tablet suppliers along their supply chains. The market for tablet displays, for instance, is expected to double from 2011 to 2014, reaching almost $10 billion.

Semiconductor shipments for tablets will show a similar pattern of robust growth. Total semiconductor consumption by tablets will top $20 billion by 2016—more than twice the amount in 2011—making the area one of the most lucrative opportunities for the overall chip industry.

Sadly for ebooks, which looked like the “Next Big Thing” just a few years ago, their moment of glory came and went all too quickly, the expectations of explosive growth suddenly quashed by the arrival of a much more agile—and insurmountable—rival.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

2013: Rise of SDN, death of “transaction-based” user and customers bite back on vendor lock-in

INDIA: The Year 2012 will be remembered for many remarkable events, including the Summer Olympics in London that not only showcased the best in human achievement and global collaboration, but also illustrated how technology-obsessed the world has become. Indeed, more than 4.8 billion people watched the event, with digital viewers outnumbering traditional television viewers for the first time in history.

This single event epitomizes how much society depends on networking technology, and while 2012 was a breakthrough year for broadcasters, enterprises and consumers, what does 2013 hold?

K P Unnikrishnan, APAC marketing director at Brocade looks into his crystal ball to outline the top five technology trends we should watch out for in 2013:

Software-defined networking (SDN) deployments begin: The Olympics proved that consumer demand for information accessibility shows no sign of abating. However, as service providers try to meet said demand, and juggle the complexities of running a profitable business – for instance, to reduce CapEx (capital expenditure) and OpEx (operating expenditure) and increase service responsiveness – they are looking for technology alternatives that will streamline service creation and foster innovative applications and services.

SDN offers a means of doing this. SDN links networks and applications, enabling direct programmatic control of both networks and orchestration layers in line with end-user application needs, rather than programming around the network, as is done today. IDC predicts that by 2016, the market will be worth $2 billion a year, up from just $168 million today.

With the promise of SDN architectures radically decreasing total cost of ownership (TCO), and vendor innovation/support continuing to increase, I predict that we’ll see pockets of actual SDN service deployments across the globe…primarily in the U.S. and Japan to start. 2013 will see the start of great things for this technology.

Death of the “transaction-based” user: Users, whether business or consumer, are addicted to their Internet-connected devices. In fact, more than 440 million mobile handsets were shipped in the third quarter of 2012, with more than 25 percent of those being smartphones, indicating the user appetite for connectivity.

However, with the roll-out of higher-performing networks (such as 4G and LTE) and devices that offer seamless connectivity, I predict that 2013 will be the year that we see the decline of the “transaction-based” user and the rise of the “always-connected” user [A “transaction-based user” is an individual that will connect to the Internet to conduct an activity (such as to make a purchase or to stream content), and then log off.

The premise is that the user will sparingly use bandwidth and not rely on connectivity for every aspect of their life]. Operators will vie for consumer loyalty by offering attractive pricing models, fuelling the trend for 24/7 connectivity.

Businesses will leverage this phenomenon and increasingly turn to social media and communities to host a larger portion of their customer experience and support processes. While this will transform engagement models, to be successful, operators and business will need to ensure that their back-end networks can meet user expectations. In situations such as this, even one service disruption could be fatal to the customer relationship.

Cloud under the microscope: Last year Brocade predicted that non-IT organizations would move towards “Cloud Service Provisioning” in order to uncover new ways of optimizing and monetizing cloud and service provider networks. For the next 12 months, I see this trend continuing, but in an evolved state.

First, businesses will scrutinize the impact of the cloud, its benefits, usage and ROI more than ever before. Are deployments delivering the agility and cost savings predicted? Are users benefitting? How can one measure cloud ROI when, by design, the assets are not owned by the organization?

With this in mind, I predict that IT organizations will attempt to take back control of their own assets (and budgets) and the deployment of private cloud architectures will accelerate during the second half of the year. IT organizations will also challenge the new breed of service provider by offering competing hosted services.

This strategy will help them to bolster revenue opportunities from a market that will be worth $73 billion by 2015. This will be good news for users, but will need to be accompanied by a thorough evaluation strategy to ensure that performance, resilience and cost models meet organizational expectations.

Customers bite back on vendor lock-in: As consumers, we don’t like being shackled. More generally, “product de-siloing” is a clear macro-trend. Whether it is the flexibility to personalize apps on our phone, or select the optional extras on our vehicles, choice is paramount. Within the networking space, choice is even more imperative. As alliances ebb and flow, and integrated offerings continue to break into the mainstream, the importance of open architectures and multivendor solutions will become more prevalent in 2013.

Trust is essential when building a network to support mission-critical applications, and enterprises will turn to trusted vendors to deploy flexible and scalable solutions. As such, those vendors not able to coexist in multivendor environments will struggle in this more demanding, and competitive, landscape. Only the agile and collaborative will prosper, and I expect at least one major vendor casualty in the coming year.

Technology will begin to overcome human shortcomings: I remember when desktop icons did not exist, a time when a user had to manually type the name of an application in a shell-like text window to access applications. This was time-consuming, error-prone and frustrating, but the desktop icon revolutionized the user experience. Innovations such as this overcame human shortcomings and simplified the user experience, and I predict more such innovations over the next 12 months.

Think of voice-command devices, and the fact that modern smartphones can deliver communications, content and compute services in a single form-factor. This kind of human multitasking would not happen, but technology has innovated to such a degree that it is now second nature to even the most basic user. I expect more breakthrough advances this year, exactly, what that breakthrough will be is the million-dollar question.