Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ingenico Group finalizes acquisition of GlobalCollect

PARIS, FRANCE: Ingenico Group announced the final closing of the acquisition of GlobalCollect, a leading global online full service payment provider, after approval by the relevant regulatory and antitrust authorities.

This transaction puts Ingenico Group in a unique position with an unrivalled presence in 125 countries, connections to more than 1,000 banks and acquirers and acceptance of more than 250 traditional and alternative payment methods, from in-store terminals to on-line and mobile solutions (digital wallets, Apple Pay.).

"Through the acquisition of GlobalCollect, we accelerate the implementation of our strategy on a global scale. This operation will enable us to continue to simplify payment for our customers, across all channels - in store, on line and mobile - and everywhere across the world," said Philippe Lazare, president and CEO of Ingenico Group.

PayPal divorce from eBay welcomed

UK: Ovum has welcomed the split of PayPal from eBay. Eden Zoller, principal analyst, Consumer, Ovum, said: “The decision to split PayPal from eBay next year is a smart move that will benefit the payments provider. PayPal’s revenues are not yet as big as eBay’s ($9.9 billion and $7.2 billion, respectively), but the gap is closing and PayPal is the faster growing business with 19 percent revenue growth year-on-year.

"At the same time, eBay now represents less than a third of PayPal's total payments volume. An independent PayPal will have the freedom to set its own strategic agenda terms in of management, investments, and priority areas for development.

"A standalone PayPal should be able to move more quickly and innovate more sharply, which is important given that the payments provider is facing increased competition on all fronts, from hungry start-ups like Stripe and Square to powerhouses like Amazon and now Apple that has 800 million iTunes accounts on file compared to 152 million active accounts for PayPal.

"We would expect to see an independent PayPal put even more emphasis on mobile payments where it has made good progress but it needs to up the ante and be more nimble, particularly as Apple has big ambitions to be a dominant force in m-payments.”

Shimadzu launches innovative TMP-B300 “hybrid-bearing” turbo molecular pump series for analytical scientific applications market

KYOTO, JAPAN: Shimadzu Corp. announced an expansion in turbo molecular vacuum pump business with the launch of the new compact and robust ‘hybrid-bearing’ TMP-B300 turbo molecular pump for vacuum industries and analytic  scientific applications.

The launch of the TMP-B300 is an expansion in business area for Shimadzu from the applications of turbomolecular pumps for like as semiconductor and coating to the clean and ultra-high vacuum for analytical research.

The TMP-B300 is only 195 mm high, has an on-board controller, multi-directional mounting capability, operates at low power, and high back pressure resistance of 1000 Pa. The TMP-B300 will find applications in analytical research environments where clean and ultra-high vacuum is required such as mass spectrometer and scanning electron microscopes.

Turbo molecular pumps (TMP) produce a vacuum due to the high speed rotation of turbines that enables vacuum pumping at the molecular flow level. Traditionally, TMP have been essential components for the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays where oil free, clean, high vacuums are essential.

Importantly, the TMP-B300 series was developed for vacuum industry and analytical scientific applications, where ultra-high vacuums are required, and TMP performance must satisfy stringent requirements of analytical scientific research where limited space, low power consumption, flexible mounting capability, and robustness, are key requirements.

Olapic offers free customer photo curation services

SEATTLE, USA: Shop.org - Visual commerce platform, Olapic, announced it will include moderation services as a standard part of its core offering, with no additional professional services fees.

This new service allows brands to select the level of control and outsourcing they desire. From full end-to-end moderation or just to narrow down the queue, Olapic makes it even easier for brands and retailers to create rich, authentic and compelling ecommerce shopping experiences.

Olapic's visual commerce platform has proven that placing customer photos in the purchase path online can increase the level of consumer engagement and increase sales conversions. On average, Olapic customers see a 9.6 percent conversion rate from shoppers who interact with customer photos.

Relyco announces comprehensive line of premium inkjet compatible paper media products

CHICAGO, USA: Relyco, the specialty paper experts, announced at Graph Expo (booth #2249) a new comprehensive line of premium paper media products specifically engineered for today's leading inkjet printers and production presses.

Relyco's inkjet compatible products are manufactured with the highest quality of materials and specialty coated to deliver the industry's most superior image quality and lowest cost per print (often less than $0.01 per print).

"Production inkjet printing is really gaining momentum because of its superior image quality and affordability when compared to toner-based printing. However, mainstream adoption of inkjet technology is being held up by the lack of quality paper media products that can really showcase its superior image quality capabilities," said Mike Steinberg, CEO of Relyco.
"Here's a great analogy. Would you put regular gas in your brand new sports car knowing that performance would suffer? That's what many users of production inkjet printers are doing today when they run inferior media products today with poor results. Our products have been designed and tested to deliver an unrivaled image quality POP."

Relyco's comprehensive and growing line of premium paper media products are compatible with many of today's Memjet-engine and other production inkjet printers and presses, including those from Afinia, Astro Machine Corporation, Canon, Colordyne Technologies LLC, Delphax Technologies Inc., Formax, HP, IPT digital LLC, iSys, Konica Minolta, Lenovo China, LG Electronics, Lomond, Oce, OWN-X KFT, Printware, Rapid Label Systems, Ricoh, RISO, Super Web Digital, Trojanlabel, Xante Corporation, Xerox, VIPColor Technologies USA, Inc., and more.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ricoh unveils new workflow solution to automate and streamline processes for printers of all sizes

CHICAGO, USA: Ricoh Americas Corp. announced its new RICOH TotalFlow Path workflow solution – a hardware-agnostic offering designed to intelligently connect multiple production print processes, ultimately increasing automation.

It allows printers to redefine workflows; merge stages of the print process, including applications such as web-to-print, pre-press, print management etc.; and enable information to flow swiftly and easily while keeping overall operating costs low.

Part of the RICOH TotalFlow portfolio, which includes TotalFlow Production Manager, TotalFlow Print Manager, TotalFlow Prep and TotalFlow BatchBuilder, TotalFlow Path will support new hardware solutions like the RICOH Pro C9100/9110 series and the RICOH Pro C7100 series, as well as other legacy Ricoh production print offerings.

TotalFlow Path enables printers to streamline the workflow process to help improve communications, reduce errors and decrease costs. It can communicate, integrate and automate printers' workflow systems seamlessly, thus minimizing the number of tasks required to complete a job and increasing productivity.

By leveraging JDF (Job Definition Format) job ticketing, printers can customize rules for every job or simply emulate previous successful jobs. In addition, fixed rules that apply conditional logic to unique tasks can be implemented to help ensure the right person always has the right information to make the most informed print decisions for an organization.

Hong Kong Science Park Phase 3 officially opens

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. (HKSTPC) announced the official opening of Hong Kong Science Park Phase 3.

HKSTPC has introduced ground-breaking design ideas into the project from design to build, with the aim to attract and gather technology talents, bolster the development of innovation and technology, and propel entrepreneurial spirit and culture to new heights.

With the advanced R&D facilities of Phase 3 coming into use, and its full-service Incubation Programmes and extensive networks of worldwide investors and business partners, HKSTPC is committed to supporting talents from different technology sectors to realise their passion and entrepreneurial dreams, and enabling our community to enjoy the unlimited benefits brought about by such innovations.

Science Park Phase 3 is one of the largest exemplary projects in Asia that puts sustainable building practice in action. Its design encompasses three rigid principles of "back to basics", "passive design" and "green culture in practice". The consultant team started by taking the natural environment of the Phase 3 site into account before drafting the blueprint, in order to map out a sustainable design foundation for all related energy saving elements to add on.

The forms and orientations of the buildings were therefore meticulously drawn, the overall campus layout was optimised in terms of energy efficiency and permeated with spaciousness, and all buildings were designed to capture the most natural light, maximise natural ventilation and minimise solar heat gain to the interiors.

Science Park Phase 3 incorporates 39 sustainable design features, including full LED energy saving lighting panels for all R&D offices, extensive green landscape covering 40 percent of the overall site area with 1,400 trees and large scale rainwater recycling. To promote green culture and related technology applications to the public, HKSTPC launches "Green Trail", a guided tour to enable the public to take a closer look at the green building features and develop ideas for their own green living.

Wind River powers Airbus Group’s unmanned aerial vehicle ATLANTE

USA: Wind River has announced that Airbus Defence and Space, an Airbus Group company, relies on Wind River VxWorks 653 Platform for its long endurance tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “ATLANTE.”

Known as the most important technological and industrial initiative in the Spanish unmanned air vehicle sector, ATLANTE was designed to carry out target identification, shoot correction, and damage evaluation operations, among other ISTAR missions (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance). It offers the capability of operating 24 hours a day, in any meteorological condition and does not require take-off/landing strips.

Part of the Wind River product portfolio for trusted systems, VxWorks 653 is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platform for delivering safety-critical, integrated modular avionics (IMA) applications. It is compliant with ARINC 653, which implements ARINC 653 partitioning of applications.

Specifically, VxWorks 653 powers the mission computer, ground communications and control station critical computers in the ATLANTE. In addition, it provides resource management and a partitioning environment that allows multiple independent applications of different criticality levels to run on a single target platform.

CSR and Universal Electronics enable control of existing home entertainment products with Bluetooth Smart remotes

CAMBRIDGE, UK & SANTA CLARA, USA: CSR plc and Universal Electronics Inc. announced that CSR is collaborating with Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) to add Infra-Red (IR) setup and control functionality to remote controls based on CSR µEnergy Bluetooth Smart platforms.

With the capabilities enabled by UEI’s QuickSet, manufacturers who use the CSR1011 chipset can deliver remote controls that offer consumers long battery life and are compatible with their existing entertainment products like DVD and Blu-ray players, cable boxes, stereo systems and other AV devices, removing the need for multiple remote controls.

“Most consumers have a variety of remote controls in their homes that utilize Infra-Red LED technology to operate products that they have accumulated over time such as digital media players and sound systems,” says Anthony Murray, senior VP, Business Group at CSR.

“Working with UEI, CSR offers customers an important competitive differentiator for their remotes and a ‘best of both worlds’ solution. Consumers can control all of their existing devices with a single remote; gain the low power benefits, increase responsiveness, and interoperability enabled by Bluetooth Smart; and establish a gateway to additional Internet of Things devices.”

The UEI QuickSet IR command upload capability will be integrated into CSR1011 platform based remote control SDKs. Selecting the QuickSet option in the CSR remote SDK enables end TV and set-top box suppliers to take advantage of UEI’s device control database of entertainment devices, which gives users access to many of the control functions for virtually all digital entertainment electronics devices in the world.

This simple solution emulates an IR device on top of enabling a Bluetooth Smart remote control. By adding low-cost IR LEDs in a design, CSR1011 based remotes can now seamlessly work with the QuickSet application to detect, identify and control compatible devices traditionally operated via IR remotes with minimal, if any, user setup.

QuickSet integration with CSR1011 means that OEMs can achieve a lower BOM, reduced complexity and engineering time, eliminating the need to purchase secondary IR blasters.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Genius heats up pro gaming market with GX gaming Zabius headsets

INDIA: Genius, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of computer peripherals and smart phone accessories, has announced the launch of Zabius, a pan platform  headset for professional gamers.

Part of the company’s GX Pro Gaming product line, Zabius fuses  explosive bass, comfort, convenience and stylish look, into one powerful headset. Gamers are in for a real treat!

Compatible with Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, Zabius packs 40mm neodymium magnetic drivers, delivering a booming bass response. The cool red LED outline illuminates with the bass and makes this headset stand out from all others.

Comfortable to wear during long gaming sessions, Zabius has a special ear cup cushion and headband design that allows for more efficient heat and sweat dissipation.  What more, the swivel ear cups with metal finish and a detachable and adjustable microphone, are designed for convenient storage and travel. Additional features include a MIC on/off switch indicator ( Red LED) and a power indicator ( Green LED).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RGB Networks aims to change video industry

UK: RGB Networks, the leading provider of the industry’s most scalable and unified solutions for multiscreen video delivery, has announced that it is developing an open source version of its popular TransAct Transcoder.

Called ‘Ripcode Transcoder’, after the company Ripcode, which was acquired by RGB Networks in 2010 and which originally developed TransAct, the new, cloud-enabled software transcoder will provide RGB Networks’ customers with greater control, integration and flexibility in their video delivery workflows.

In a pioneering move, and harnessing the industry momentum toward developing cloud-based solutions, RGB Networks is actively welcoming operators and vendors to be part of a community of contributors to the open source project.

RGB Networks’ CloudXtream solution for nDVR and dynamic Ad Insertion for Multiscreen (AIM) environments, launched in October 2013 and built on the industry standard open source cloud operating system OpenStack, has paved the way for this latest innovation.

The company intends to build on this success with RipCode, which will be an “open core” project, where the core technology from the TransAct Transcoder is being used to create the foundations of the open source project.

Suitable for a variety of applications, the RipCode Transcoder will include the full feature set expected of an industrial-strength, professional transcoder, leaving customers open to select and integrate the packaging solution of their choice necessary to produce their desired Adaptive Bit Rate output formats.

Grässlin brings R&D home again

ST. GEORGEN, GERMANY: At the beginning of last year, Grässlin GmbH announced that with the support of US based parent company Intermatic Inc., the location St. Georgen shall be established further.

Now the words are followed up by actions and 2014 starts with a further important step into the announced direction.

After the closing of the Spanish subsidiary in Madrid the departments R&D and Product Management, which were located there, are built up in St. Georgen gradually. In August the first design engineer has been hired, by now the department consists of seven people.

The company sees an enormous growth potential in all its markets so the both departments should necessarily get an addition. That is why Grässlin's R&D manager Michael Bartle emphasizes he was still searching for ambitious and motivated employees for his division.

Both Grässlin and Intermatic are convinced that due to these measures the success of former times will not only be met but maybe even exceeded.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Innovative image sensing technology for early diagnosis of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

TOKYO, JAPAN: Researchers at Toyohashi Tech and National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan invent an innovative semiconductor-imaging biosensing system for analyzing blood and urine for early diagnosis of diseases including diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Prof. Kazuaki Sawada and Dr. Takigawa of the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology and colleagues at Toyohashi University of Technology have established an easy to use, low-cost, rapid, and high sensitivity semiconductor-imaging based medical diagnostic biosensing system for analyzing blood and urine for early diagnosis of ailments including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

The new biosensing technology consists of a semiconductor image sensor ( ‘charge coupled device’ developed by Toyohashi University of Technology) that is sensitive to extremely small changes in electric potential, and microbeads on which antigen-antibody reactions take place.

This technology will enable monitoring and diagnosis of diseases for which specific markers are known using very small volumes of blood or urine. Specifically, this technology has detected amiloid beta-peptide, an agent responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.

Contracting a disease leads to expression of proteins specific to the diseases in the blood. This new technology is used for early diagnosis of diseases by using this specific protein as the antigen and a marker that captures the protein as the antibody and checking their antigen-antibody reaction.

Conventional protocols used to monitor antibody-antigen reactions employ fluorescent probes and detection of fluorescence with microscopic cameras. This process is time consuming because of the necessity to measure fluorescence from the probes and cannot be used to detect low concentrations of antigens when the fluorescence intensity is too low to detect optically.

With this technology, a antigen-antibody reaction is used as in conventional methods, but fluorescence is not measured. Instead, this method employs a semiconductor image sensor to detect minute changes in electric potential generated during an antigen-antibody reaction.

The semiconductor image sensor consists of 128 × 128 pixels that independently sense minute changes in electric potential. The detection sensitivity of antigen-antibody reactions was significantly increased by using microbeads. The figures of merit of this technology are given in Table 1. Multiple diseases can also be simultaneously diagnosed by placing different antibodies on different sensing pixels out of a total of 16,384 pixels (128×128).

Implementation of the technology will be tested for daily control of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and in future the technology will be expanded for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’ diseases.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3D printing industry will top $3 billion in revenues this year

USA: 3D printing is taking the manufacturing and design worlds by storm, and has gained everyone's attention.  In recent years, 3D printer prices have dropped substantially, and a wide variety of printable materials is available.  You don't need to be a CAD expert to create a 3D-printable file.

Media attention has helped further accelerate the industry's momentum. This market is experiencing rapid growth and lots of change, which is why Semico is releasing a new report titled: 3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution.

It has captured the imagination of many, with the possibility of starting a manufacturing revolution.  New applications and materials are announced on a (very) frequent basis. 3D printing is being used in many more applications than most people realize. But, the most exciting applications for 3D printing are the ones that haven't even been conceived of yet. It's exciting to realize we are on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution that affects so many different industries already.

"We're always looking for the next big thing.  Wearable technology might just be the next big thing." says Adrienne Downey, Semico's director of Techology Research, Manufacturing. "If that proves to be true, it will be enabled in large part by the rise of 3D printing, which allows us to easily make products customized to each individual."

Semico's research report 3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution provides a primer on the 3D printing industry along with Semico's assessment of the key success factors. Beginning with applications, and moving to printer types and materials, different 3D printing technologies are discussed, along with the 3D printing ecosystem. Advantages of 3D printing and the future of the industry are also covered.

Some of the key findings include:
* The 3D printing industry will top $3 billion in revenues this year.
* 3D printing materials will grow to be a third of the market by 2019.
* The rise of the Service Bureau and desktop-level printers will democratize design and manufacturing.
* Graphene is a promising future material for 3D printing.
3D printer units will grow by 6X between 2014 to 2017.

Lavu iPad POS advances localized solutions for European restaurants

ALBUQUERQUE, USA: Lavu Inc., makers of the original iPad Point of Sale (POS) system for restaurants, have announced plans to broaden their presence in Europe.

New partnerships and integrations will offer solutions developed specifically for the European market. Increasing numbers of Lavu Specialists in countries such as Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. will allow Lavu to provide onsite service to more potential customers.

"We already have hundreds of Lavu customers in Europe and have had a strong presence there for years," said Ben Harrison, SVP of Marketing with Lavu.

"What has improved, however, is our ability to provide hands-on personalized support from well-trained Specialists familiar with the needs and requirements of business owners operating in these countries. Bi-lingual Lavu representatives can provide translated documentation and support -- which makes Lavu iPad POS an option for Non-English speaking entrepreneurs in European hospitality industries."

Is iPhone 6 more prone to damage than predecessors?

ORLANDO, USA: uBreakiFix, an international consumer electronics repair company with 88 operating locations and counting, breaks the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on the day of release.

The company set out to determine how durable Apple's latest iPhones are using a series of tests including a steel ball drop test. Based on these tests, the company predicts that the iPhone 6 may be slightly less durable than predecessors.

Apple announced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on September 9th with a release date of September 19th. Both new phones include what Apple calls "ion-strengthened glass" on the front touch surface. Ion strengthening is a process Corning utilizes on its widely popular Gorilla Glass. Whether the glass on Apple's latest iPhone is stronger than previous iterations has been the source of much debate since the Apple announcement earlier this month.

uBreakiFix set out to determine how the glass on the latest iPhone models compares to predecessors and the competition. A steel ball drop test was used to determine impact resistance. In this test, the phone was placed on the ground, face up, while a steel ball was dropped on the display.

After establishing a baseline with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and Samsung Galaxy S4, uBreakiFix tested the iPhone 6. The entire test was captured with a highly sophisticated high-speed camera capable of over 16,000 frames per second. The resulting video provides a stunning look at the shattering of an iPhone 6.

The results were surprising, the iPhone 6 broke at a drop height of 3ft while the iPhone 4 and 5 withstood drop heights well over 4 ft, and the Galaxy S4 withstood a drop height of 4 ft.

"One notable display feature on the iPhone 6 is the rounded edges. This creates a glass surface that protrudes out from the phone chassis, meaning a face down drop impacts glass first. This fact combined with the result of our steel ball drop test lead us to believe that the iPhone 6 may be more prone to damage than prior Apple devices," said David Reiff, the company's co-founder and VP.

"Though we are impressed by the style of the iPhone 6, we would recommend a protective case with a front facing lip to protect the glass on the phone."

SerialTek intros small form factor 12G SAS and 6G SATA analyzer

DURHAM, USA: SerialTek, a leader in storage protocol analysis, expanded its line of industry-leading test solutions with the introduction of the BusXpert Micro II for 12 Gb/s SAS and 6 Gb/s Serial ATA (SATA).

With key features found in few other SAS/SATA analyzers, the new Micro II is a portable, lightweight unit that supports multiple analysis processors and a new eye diagram display.

SerialTek's analyzers feature the industry's deepest and most flexible triggering with up to 8 separate simultaneous sequencers, logical branching and counters, and easy definition of frames and commands. Hardware filtering is available to make efficient use of the Micro II configurable buffer, with sizes from 9GBs to 72GBs.

The software provides a number of ways to display the captured traffic, from viewing a command transaction and its associated frames in Transaction view to viewing a frame as it looks in the SAS and SATA specifications in Details view. Manipulating the trace via searching, bookmarking, and by decode is available with just a few clicks.

Innovations like multi-threaded processing, fast trace display and trace indexing have long been a hallmark of SerialTek' solutions and are available on the Micro II.

India launch of Xbox One sparks celebration

BANGALORE, INDIA:  Xbox One has officially launched in India delighting thousands of local fans. The first console was delivered to its ecstatic owner in Mumbai.

At the launch party at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, fan excitement reached a fever pitch. Amidst a glittering showcase of Xbox Games and Apps, a spectacular performance by dance troupe Prince, music by DJ Nucleya and a strong dose of humor provided by premiere comedy collective AIB, the Xbox One was unveiled for Indian audiences.

The Xbox One is an all-in-one gaming and entertainment system created for today and the next generation. With the best games, TV, movies and music all in one place, you don’t have to compromise. You can navigate and watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your Xbox One.
The Snap feature allows you to do two things at once – you can jump into a multiplayer battle while watching your favorite movie, hold group calls with friends on Skype while watching live TV and more.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Exar releases rugged, high throughput USB to serial bridge devices

FREMONT, USA: Exar Corp. announced a new family of USB to serial bridge devices for industrial applications. The XR21B142x family provides a convenient and straightforward way to interface with RS-232 or RS-485 serial networks through USB using a minimum of components and PCB space.

The XR21B1420, XR21B1422, and XR21B1424 provide 1, 2, and 4 UART channels respectively. The XR21B1421 provides a single channel UART and uses the native operating system HID (Human Interface Device) driver.

The XR21B142x devices are fully compliant to the USB 2.0 (Full-Speed) specification with 12Mbps USB data transfer rate, and deliver significantly higher data throughput compared to competing devices, especially when multiple channels are operating simultaneously. Large 512-byte transmit (TX) and receive (RX) FIFOs enable a maximum data throughput of 9Mbps across up to four UART channels.

Ford and Telogis expand partnership to deliver next-gen telematics to Ford Customers in Europe

2014 IAA COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SHOW; HANNOVER, GERMANY: Ford Motor Co. and Telogis are launching Ford Telematics powered by Telogis today providing actionable information from Ford commercial vehicles that helps customers reduce fuel costs up to 20 percent, reduce their environmental impact and increase driver safety.

Since 2011, Telogis has been the exclusive technology provider to power Ford Crew Chief in North America, the industry’s most comprehensive and scalable telematics solution for commercial customers.

The European expansion of the Telogis-Ford partnership leverages the success of Crew Chief and will meet the demand from current and new Ford customers for visibility into day-to-day operations including vehicle/driver location, vehicle and driver performance and exclusive Ford vehicle diagnostics.

Top four reasons credit cards are better than cash

SEATTLE, USA: Consumers are propositioned numerous times throughout the day with how best to pay for purchases.

With the amount of transactions that the average consumer participates in daily, and comparable number of payment possibilities at hand, it's no wonder that buyers weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each tender-type available. Today, Creditnet.com announced the top 4 reasons that shoppers should consider credit cards in lieu of traditional cash.

Security: Credit card transactions offer an added layer of protection that shoppers lose altogether when they pay with simple cash. A line of credit now, more often than not, extends zero fraud liability to the card holder.

Essentially, any suspicious charges made to an account can be quickly credited back so that the buyer doesn't incur loss for fraudulent activity. Stolen cash on the other hand goes unprotected and is less apt to be recovered in the event of theft.

Moreover, if a dispute arises between the buyer and seller, credit transactions can be assessed by the credit card company in order to decide whether or not a buyer is entitled to a refund, regardless of seller policy, when appropriate.

Convenience: Using a credit card is often more convenient that obtaining cash for routine purchases. With advancing technology, online banking and even direct-deposit of payroll income, more and more consumers manage the bulk of their finances electronically.

In order to get cash, consumers must visit a bank, incur ATM fees or locate in-network money machines in order to make a withdrawal. Cash can also be dangerous to carry in large amounts, making certain transactions difficult if they require a large sum of cash.

Access to shopping records: As long as items are purchased with a credit card, many retail locations can pull up buyer-history in the event a shopper needs to make a return and cannot locate a purchase receipt. Electronic shopping records are an excellent resource for warranty items and large ticket purchases like electronics and appliances that can require exchange or replacement later on down the line.

Improved credit: One of the most prevalent reasons to pay with a credit card instead of cash comes down to managing personal credit. Every individual has a credit score that determines what interest percentage or borrowing terms they are eligible for based on repayment history. Achieving a good credit score requires on-time bill payment and diligent balance of extended credit versus revolving amount.

Using credit cards for routine purchases that cash has already been allocated for, makes actively using a credit card a smart idea because it establishes buyer history, keeps a personal credit score active (around 30% used is ideal) and supports length of credit so that lenders have appropriate information to approve future borrowing.

Making smart money decisions like using a credit card to pay for everyday purchases instead of cash allows consumers to stay on budget, visually interpret spending trends and enjoy credit-card rewards,such as cash-back and travel incentives. Credit improves with each transaction so the more they are used, the better credit becomes over time.

Many consumers experience how frustrating it can be to handover a reasonably sized bill only to be declined for the merchants inability to produce change. Credit cards allow shoppers to spend only what they need and enjoy the security of a secure, protected transaction each and every time.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hisense intros first Laser Cinema worldwide

QINGDAO, CHINA: If monochrome, color and LCD television represent the three important eras in the development of display technologies, the dawn of the fourth era took place on September 10th, with the introduction of the Laser Cinema by Hisense.

Hisense looks forward to winning a controlling position in next-generation display technologies in world markets through its leading position in the emerging laser display technology.

Hisense GM, Liu Hongxin gave a clear definition of the Laser Cinema. The new home theater technology uses the short throw technology, which can produce a 100-inch or larger viewing area with only a distance of 50 cm from the wall or viewing area, making a super large-screen display in a 15-square-meter living room a reality.

The system comes equipped with a passive moderate-gain reflective screen, which enables full HD display capable of delivering realistic and natural-looking images. The technology does not cause eye-strain even after many hours of viewing. In addition to providing users intelligent multi-screen connections and the ability to deliver massive amounts of content, the home theater incorporates Hisense's latest VIDAA operating system, and features 3D display, motion sensing games and connected intelligence.

These product definitions, which differentiate the Laser Cinema from LCD flat-panel televisions and traditional projection home theaters, provide the new technology with unique advantages. The price is approximately one-tenth that of televisions of the same size.

Focus on transparent multifunctional glass surfaces

DORTMUND, GERMANY: They protect drivers from bright sunlight, let water and dirt pearl off the windscreen and protect safety glass and the displays of mobile phones and tablets: we are talking about functional surfaces that turn glass into flexible masters of almost everything.

At glasstec 2014, LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH, the laser and beam shaping specialist from Dortmund, is showing a new short-time tempering technology to heat and thereby functionalize these wafer-thin coating layers - very gently, extremely fast and with the highest level of precision.

The task sounds impossible: within fractions of a second, thin layers need to be heated to over 1000 degrees Celsius in order to activate their functions (such as sun protection or thin film electronics).

These surfaces are often thinner than human hair (in numbers: from 0.1 to more than 100 micrometres) and contain miniscule particles and molecules that need to have cooled off again only tenths of a second after they have reached their refinement temperature so that they keep their desired properties and structural sizes.

In addition, there is the problem that glass is a carrier material that can be weakened or destroyed through improper warming and cooling (what experts refer to as tempering).

"Glass is a fragile material. Processing the surface is a great challenge that can only be solved through very selective and extremely fast heating and cooling," says engineer and LIMO's director of Thin-Film Activation, Dirk Hauschild.

The solution is the so-called in-line high-temperature process that can heat large areas of extremely thin functional layers in milliseconds with greatest precision. This is done by the Activation Line 300, the most powerful L³ LIMO Line Laser source (the numbers for the experts: more than 13 kW CW output power with a homogeneous line focus 300 mm long; an intensity of up to 40 kW/cm²; unique beam quality M² < 3 in the processing direction; high electro-optic energy efficiency of over 40%).

LIMO developed this system to serve as an innovative system supplement to conventional oven and lamp tempering. Developed especially for continuous operation, this laser has an intensive and homogeneous output that is ideally suited for reliable 24/7 industrial surface tempering.

In addition: due to the low heat capacity, the layers cool off quickly. Patented LIMO beam shaping automatically desensitizes and stabilizes the parameters of the process, guaranteeing homogeneous, large-area processing.

Samsung president and CEO to deliver keynote at 2015 International CES

ARLINGTON, USA: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that Boo-Keun Yoon, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, will deliver a keynote address at the 2015 International CES.

Owned and produced by CEA, the 2015 International CES, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, returns to Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2015.

Yoon is slated to discuss connected devices, the future of the Internet of Things and the vision of the smart home during his 2015 CES keynote. He also will focus on Samsung’s vision of strategic partnerships that will drive the next wave of technology breakthroughs. His address is slated for 6:30 PM Monday, January 5 in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian.

“Samsung is widely-known for its disruptive technologies and business models, and has been one of the fastest growing CE brands in the world,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Samsung amazes at each CES with its innovative products spanning the entire tech ecosystem. We welcome Boo-Keun Yoon back to the keynote stage for the 2015 CES.”

Yoon began his career at Samsung Electronics in 1978. After serving in a number of leadership positions at Samsung Electronics, Yoon headed Samsung’s Visual Display Business from 2007, seeing its revenue double while maintaining the company’s No. 1 global TV market share for eight consecutive years.

Currently, Boo-Keun Yoon serves as the president and CEO of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics, leading Samsung’s Visual Display, Digital Appliances, Printing Solutions and Health & Medical Equipment Business. In addition, Yoon also acts as the company’s Chief Design Officer.

According to CEA/GfK research, global consumer technology spending will top more than $1 trillion in 2015. Lauded for its innovative design and technology across its diverse portfolio of products, Samsung Electronics is a leading global brand for high-tech electronics and digital media.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Qualcomm announces Vuforia for digital eyewear

SAN DIEGO, USA: Qualcomm Inc., through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Connected Experiences Inc., announced the Qualcomm Vuforia mobile vision platform will empower developers to build augmented reality (AR) applications for a new generation of digital eyewear.

The new Vuforia Software Development Kit (SDK) for Digital Eyewear will deliver a major advance in user experience – allowing interactive 3D content to be visually aligned with the underlying world. This capability will enable new applications in hybrid VR/AR gaming, shopping, and education, as well as across a wide range of enterprise and industrial uses.

The Vuforia platform provides advanced computer vision functionality for recognizing images and objects in the user's field of view. It also leverages Qualcomm Snapdragon processors to minimize the motion-to-photon latency that is so essential in delivering an authentic AR effect.

Snapdragon processors are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. The Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear also includes an easy-to-use calibration method that enables Vuforia applications to dynamically adapt to a wearer's facial geometry, thereby providing an optimal experience.

The Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear was designed to converge with recent innovations in digital eyewear devices, including the ODG R-7 and the Epson Moverio BT-200. Announced today by ODG, the R-7 represents the state-of-the-art in digital eyewear with a fully integrated one-piece design, a stereoscopic see-through display system, wireless connectivity and the revolutionary computing power of the Snapdragon 805 processor. The R-7 offers users and developers unparalleled performance and versatility, and is initially targeted at government and industrial applications.

The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses has an integrated see-through display system and utilizes a two-piece design. The smart glasses component includes sensors and the display system. The Android-powered control unit contains all other electronics and provides a touch pad for user interaction. The Moverio BT-200 is available now and is ideal for both consumer and enterprise augmented reality applications, including: environmental games, training solutions, museum experiences, and more.

Vuforia is also the first vision platform to enable a new class of hybrid VR/AR experiences on the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition powered by Oculus. With Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear, developers will be able to extend the capability of Gear VR further to incorporate AR experiences within VR applications, as well as create immersive AR applications for gaming, education, and shopping.

Total smart home shipments in 2020 will be over 4.6 billion units

USA: Within the Smart Home, Semico has been tracking over 70 items that every household can expect to purchase that will include some type of sensor and wireless chip by 2020. This new connected home includes white goods (clothes washer, clothes dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.), HVAC, lighting, small appliances, door locks, security system, windows and more.

This market is primed to be a high growth industry with low barriers to entry, which is why Semico is releasing a new report titled: The Smart Home: Big Brother or Swarm Intelligence?

"These are not the smart homes depicted by shows like The Jetsons, or the wired "smart" homes that have been available since the 60s." says Michell Prunty, senior consumer analyst for Semico Research. "Today, the market is becoming predictive with potentially endless applications that can be connected to the 'hive mind' of the home now that the Cloud can take on much of the data load. The barrier to entry is minimal, and we'll be seeing a swarm of little sensors monitoring our every movement."

Semico's research report The Smart Home: Big Brother or Swarm Intelligence examines the ecosystem of the Smart Home including smart meters, environmental controls, smart lighting, home automation, gardening, and home security.  Some of the key findings include:

* Automation controls will see a 32.5 percent growth between 2014 and 2020.
* The Smart Home end market will experience a CAGR ('14 - '20) of 28 percent.
* The security segment is pushing smart technology into the home, comprising 40 percent of the market.
* Total installed base will reach over16 billion units worldwide by 2020.

LG releases KidsPad 2 using Neonode's zForce AIR technology

SANTA CLARA, USA: Neonode Inc., the optical-touch technology company, announced that its zForce CORE and zForce AIR technologies have been adopted by LG in the LG KidsPad 2.

In a world first, LG has deployed Neonode's zForce CORE technology for the touchscreen, and the innovative zForce AIR technology for touch function outside the actual tablet device when placed on any flat surface.

This innovation opens up a whole new world of user experience to enhance and make learning interactive and fun. LG's KidsPad 2 uses a combination of interactive games and dynamic learning applications to engage children's inquisitive nature while delivering an easy to use touch based interaction on and outside the device.

Neonode's strategy to establish a strong foothold in the growing gaming and education devices segment is bearing fruit as shown in the LG KidsPad 2. zForce AIR technology is a unique and differentiated offering covered by Neonode's patented technology.

NI enters industrial IoT

BANGALORE, INDIA: NI, the provider of systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, recently hosted NIDays 2014. The event was attended by more than 800 engineers, academicians and researchers.

At the seminar, NI announced the launch of NI Insight Enterprise, a new software solution that helps companies gain insight into the health of their capital equipment for machine maintenance and operations. With more than 15 years of experience in condition monitoring, NI developed NI Insight Enterprise as its first end-to-end software solution that addresses Big Analog Data challenges and builds on the industrial Internet of Things.

Ultimately, it’s important for an organization to gain insight into the overall reliability of its fleet of assets or plant and NI is excited to help facilitate these types of Big Analog Data solutions.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves to become more mainstream, NI is committed to closing the gap between vision and implementation.

The Internet has undergone various levels in its relatively short life span from consumer IoT to industrial IoT. This evolution will benefit individuals and businesses by removing physical barriers. Internet-powered technology innovation within the industrial operations space adds new dimensions to the technology space.

Alex Davern, COO, NI, said: “With the tremendous amount of aging machinery in power plants, steel mills and factories in India, the Industrial Internet of Things is a critical element that will ensure the uptime and optimization of these systems. We believe that the NI Insight Enterprise we are launching today will enable organizations to monitor critical machinery, analyze vast amounts of data and make meaningful business decisions.”
NIDays 2014 witnessed participation from NI customers and Alliance Partners across a range of industries including academics, health care, semiconductor, aerospace, automotive, life sciences, robotics and telecommunication. The application of the year was awarded to the team from National Aerospace Laboratories for their application titled Drishti Transmissometer.

Hitachi and Clarion to accelerate development of connected cars

SANTA CLARA, USA: Hitachi Data Systems Corp. (HDS) announced a partnership with Clarion Corp. of America, a leader in consumer and commercial mobile electronics, to jointly research and develop new data-driven solutions for deployment in the next generation of Clarion in-vehicle connectivity products.

The collaboration will give drivers and manufacturers usable insights that will lead to improved auto performance and safety, increasing value across the burgeoning market for connected cars.

It is expected that by 2020, 50 billion devices -- smart physical objects -- will be connected to each other and to humans using the Internet. IDC estimates 42 percent of all data will come from machines in that same timeframe.
Further, IHS projected that 152 million connected cars will be on the highway by 2020. Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will play a key role in harnessing the power of the Internet of Things as it touches all industries. Analytics will play a critical role in the evolution of M2M because it allows humans to interpret machine behavior.

The ability to analyze data in real time lets people make predictions better and faster. The result is that we begin to shift from descriptive and diagnostic insights that focus on the past and the present, to predictive analytics that help us anticipate and prepare for the probable future. This is one of the most enticing aspects of a maturing Internet of Things.

Together, Hitachi Data Systems and Clarion will further explore this data-driven side of in-vehicle connectivity to bring connected services to existing cars, trucks and fleets. This collaboration builds upon strengths of each company and aims to establish packaged solutions that obtain, correlate, and visualize onboard data (OBD) that will be available in nearly all automobiles.

The two companies expect to formulate new physical and virtual solutions that bring added value to both the consumer and the manufacturer by providing more intelligent and enhanced onboard equipment, and by fostering a closer relationship between the provider and the end user.

Consumers still prefer TVs over tablets and smartphones for video content

DALLAS, USA: US broadband households spend on average 1.3 hours per week watching video on a tablet and 1.6 hours per week watching video on a smartphone, compared to almost 20 hours per week on the television, according to research Parks Associates announced in advance of the Cablefax TV Innovation Summit.

The research, based on a nationwide 1Q 2014 survey of US broadband households, shows, despite the popularity of mobile platforms, the TV remains the preferred screen for video viewing, while the PC has shown significant declines as a video-viewing platform.

"The percentage of video viewership among tablet households has tripled since 2010, rising from 9 percent to 28 percent," said Glenn Hower, research analyst at Parks Associates.

"For smartphone households, the percentage of video viewership doubled from 16 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2014. Increases in multiscreen video viewing are significant, but ultimately neither platform can duplicate the visual experience of the larger TV screen. Successful multiscreen video services need to offer unique services for each platform, complement the content on other screens, and leverage the typical conditions where people use certain devices."

CRS Electronics wins $500,000 of prestigious $1.1 million project

TORONTO, CANADA: CRS Electronics Inc., a developer and manufacturer of LED lighting products, is pleased to announce it has secured $500,000 of a $1.1 million project.

Retrofitting a prominent high rise building retrofit located in the Midwestern United States, CRS Electronics successfully partnered with Trans-Lux Energy Corporation to win a large and prestigious contract.

"We thank Trans-Lux Energy Corp. for involving us and look forward to a strong partnership beyond this initial project," said Travis Jones, president and CEO of CRS Electronics.

"We chose CRS Electronics because of their leading edge products as well as their ability to solve problems," said David Pavlik, president of Trans-Lux Energy. "We have many opportunities and plans where we can partner with CRS Electronics to create more wins."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Deluxe selected by LG to process and deliver native and re-mastered 4K Hollywood and local content

BURBANK, USA: Deluxe announced that it has been selected by LG Electronics to support the go-to-market strategy for its new 4K ULTRA HD TVs. The 4K UHD content will be prepared, processed and localized by Deluxe and then pre-loaded on a hard drive device that will be included with select LG 4K ULTRA HD TVs.

Deluxe will provide the full range of capabilities necessary to ensure 4K content is delivered at the highest quality and optimal bitrate for bandwidth, transport and storage efficiencies.  Content preparation will span sources from major Hollywood studios and local titles that have either been 4K native shot and mastered or converted, restored and re-mastered from film or high definition.

Content will undergo rigorous testing and quality analysis of frame rates, bitrates, color gamut and software decoding to ensure that the playback experience is optimized on the target devices for streaming or download.

Deluxe is also providing the localization capabilities for LG ULTRA HD TVs launching in Asia, Europe, and North America.  This includes subtitles or captions, dubbing and audio operations.  Deluxe's deep understanding of multi-language requirements ensures that visual and audio elements are conformed to ensure that the final product delivers the best consumer experience.

ZNV launches world's first H.265 HD IP camera

SHENZHEN, CHINA: How often do you have to wait for a video image to load on your screen? You don't have to accept this anymore! A major break-through has been made to overcome bandwidth and storage challenges that the security and surveillance industry has been facing for years.

The industry has entered a new era with the highly-anticipated new generation of IP cameras that have inbuilt the state-of-art video image compression technology complying with the new H. 265 international standard.

On September 12, 2014, Shenzhen ZNV Technology Co. Ltd launched the world's first H.265 high-definition IP camera (7200 series) at its 2014 Channel Partner Summit and New Product Launch Conference in Nanjing, China.

DuPont opens Innovation Center in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, CHINA: DuPont opened its Innovation Center in Shanghai, China - the company's first such facility in mainland China. The Center will feature the latest DuPont innovations, applications and products that address local market needs in food, energy, automotive and protection, as well as computer, communications and consumer electronics, sectors.

"The Shanghai Innovation Center brings the power of DuPont science to our customers as we work together to uncover unmet needs of populations and create value-adding solutions to global challenges," said DuPont senior VP and chief Science and Technology officer, Douglas Muzyka.

The 3,800 square-foot Innovation Center is co-located with the China R&D Center and will enable real-time connections between customers and DuPont scientists and engineers at more than 150 R&D centers around the world. As part of a global network of Innovation Centers, the Shanghai center will facilitate collaboration between customers, industry regulators, academia and business partners and more than 10,000 DuPont scientists and engineers around the world.

TESCAN intros GAIA3 FIB-SEM workstation

WARRENDALE, USA: TESCAN, a leading provider of charged particle technology and FIB-SEM integrated analytical solutions introduced the new GAIA3 FIB-SEM workstation at the IMC 2014 congress in Prague, Czech Republic, September 7-12, 2014.

The introduction of the GAIA3 builds on the success TESCAN has achieved in the world market with the TESCAN LYRA FIB-SEM workstation. The GAIA3 features a newly developed ultra-high resolution SEM column and integrated RAMAN system. The most unique characterization instrument in its class, the GAIA3 will address all FIB-SEM application requirements in biotechnology, nanotechnology and semiconductor.

"The introduction of the GAIA3 continues our tradition in providing unique high performance instrumentation to our customers," said Martin Zadrazil, Chief Operating Officer of TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING. "The GAIA3 will expand the applications and customer segments we can address in our market."

The proven 3rd generation TESCAN design ensures the highest reliability and uptime with uncompromised ease of use for TEM sample preparation, advanced e-beam and ion lithography, and all forms of 3D characterization, including cryo integration. The workstation concept holds true for all multi-user environments, as the GAIA3 will enable novice and advanced users alike to achieve optimum results.

TESCAN will deliver the first GAIA3 FIB-SEM workstation in October 2014.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Auris brings old speaker docking systems up to date with intuitive wireless technology

SANTA CLARA, USA: Auris Inc., aninnovative audio technology company, focuses on redefining and simplifying out-of-date technology, preventing people from abandoning outdated products.

Auris' product line currently consists of two unassuming devices that attach to old speaker docks and pack a powerful punch. Auris' freeDA is a Bluetooth-based music receiver that is compatible with any music dock that has a 30-pin connector or AUX-in port, while Auris' skye is a WiFi receiver for any music dock.

In a world where technology is advancing at an exponentially faster pace, Auris founder Jay Shah was tired of seeing older products left by the wayside. Instead of abandoning his out-of-date speaker docking systems, Shah began exploring ways to bring them into his newly connected lifestyle and redefine how consumers listen to music.

Evana Automation to supply robotic assembly cell to leading medical device manufacturer

EVANSVILLE, USA: Evana Automation Specialists, a leading Systems Integrator and builder of custom, automated assembly and test systems, recently received a contract to provide a robotic assembly cell for a leading medical device manufacturer.

The Evana solution will help error-proof the process of assembling catheter parts, improve quality and ergonomics, as well as reduce labor.

A catheter adapter, connector and O-ring are automatically fed to Evana's robotic assembly cell. The robot will pick the adapter, connector and O-ring and place them on a nest on top of a two-position dial. The dial indexes and a driver torques the adapter to the connector. The finished part is dropped into a bulk container.

The system is designed to run many different configurations. The dial includes a changeout tool nest with tooling identification. Each feeder bowl contains a cover that is locked in position. The operator scans the parts to be loaded and the system verifies that it is the correct part to be processed. If so, the lid unlocks and the operator loads the parts. Vision inspection technology is used to verify correct placement of the O-ring.

The robotic assembly cell is scheduled for a March 2015 delivery.

Micron SSD advances portable computing experience

BOISE, USA: Micron Technology Inc. has announced a next-generation, client-class solid state drive (SSD) that sets a new bar for low-power, high-performance storage for personal computers.

The M600 SATA SSD--specifically designed to take advantage of Micron's leading-edge NAND Flash technology--addresses the storage demands of modern mobile computing applications, including Ultrabook platforms and tablets, as well as performance-oriented PC desktops and video capture systems.

To help meet consumers' ever-increasing expectations for longer battery life, the M600 offers class-leading SSD power efficiency. It draws less than 2 milliwatts (mW) in sleep mode and averages 150mW during active use. Typical laptop hard drives require exponentially more power when idle (130mW) and ten times as much power while they spin their platters to access data during active use (1400mW to 2000mW).

Despite its extraordinarily low power use, the M600 offers strong performance. It can read data as fast as the SATA interface allows--with random reads up to 100,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 560 MB/s sequential read speeds for all capacities.

The M600 also excels in write performance due to Micron's innovative dynamic write acceleration. This technology switches NAND cells to behave more like higher-grade Flash (from MLC to SLC) on-the-fly, creating a cache that is sized according to drive demands--instead of sacrificing user capacity for a permanent cache.

The end result reduces power use and improves write performance as much as 2.8 timesiii over non-cached systems, ensuring that even the lower-capacity M600 SSDs deliver excellent write speeds.

Point Grey offers Chameleon3 camera family plus Blackfly and Grasshopper3 models

RICHMOND, CANADA: Point Grey, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of innovative, high-performance digital cameras, will showcase its largest selection yet of USB3 Vision and GigE Vision cameras at the upcoming VISION 2014 exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany.

Under the theme of “More Choice”, Point Grey will showcase over 20 different camera models featuring the latest CCD and CMOS sensor technology, ranging from VGA to 12 MP.

The live demonstrations will focus on three flagship camera families addressing a wide range of applications in machine vision and industrial imaging. Drawing on today’s leading digital interface technologies, USB3 Vision and GigE Vision, these camera families offer powerful, easy-to-use, and cost-effective alternatives for existing FireWire, USB 2.0, and analog solutions.

Global LCD TV market rises in H1

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Liquid-crystal-display television (LCD TV) panels enjoyed unexpected growth in the first half of this year, tied to enthusiastic TV viewing because of the World Cup and other factors that benefited the market, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

Global LCD TV panel shipments during the first six months of 2014 rose 3 percent from the same period a year ago, as shown in the attached figure. Although growth this year was much less than the 9 percent expansion logged during the first six months of 2013, achieving any increase at all was unforeseen.

“What a surprising result this was, as the television industry doubted that shipments could increase during this time,” said Ricky Park, director for large displays at IHS. “It was unclear whether any growth would occur because of signs earlier in the year that appeared to be discouraging. However, the market has righted itself, to everyone’s delight.”

Among the variables fueling the market, perhaps none were more dazzling than the month-long, glittery affair known as the World Cup. Starting in June, the world’s premiere soccer event drove up demand for televisions, especially in Europe and South America.

Sports extravaganzas long have been reliable drivers of television sales—and by extension, the LCD TV panels that make up the sets. And for events of global interest like the World Cup or the Olympics, staged once every four years, keen anticipation usually helps propel the market upward.

Still, the athletics spectacle alone was no guarantee of growth. But other factors also kicked in, helping create an overall favorable environment for the global LCD TV trade in the first half. These included signs of a continuing economic recovery in North America, one of the world’s two largest markets for LCD TVs alongside China; a subsidy program initiated by the Mexican government for its citizens to buy new LCD TVs; and the continued phasing out of bulky, tube-type analog televisions, now obsolete in many areas of the world.

But strong demand is blunted by production problems
Despite the stronger-than-expected demand for the January to June period, a drop in yields and a loss in capacity due to production line modifications caused a shortage of supply of LCD TVs. The effects were felt especially in the ultra-high-definition television (UHD TV) segment of the industry.

Issues related to quality have cropped up, for instance, in the production of so-called PenTile RGBW UHD panels, which are aimed at the 40-inch segment of the UHD space. A Samsung-patented technology, PenTile panels add a subpixel with no color filtering material that allows the backlight through, resulting in white (W) being added to the traditional red, green and blue (RGB) subpixels. The technology makes brighter images possible with the same amount of power used for RGB.

The production headache is becoming a problem, Park added, because the price of PenTile RGBW UHD TVs was supposed to be coming down in order to better compete with non-UHD sets. With four times the resolution of 1080p sets, UHD TVs are also priced far higher than conventional high-definition television models.

Also facing trouble was the production method known as multi-model on a glass (MMG). Low production efficiencies resulted in reduced capacity for MMG, especially in the advanced production lines for eighth-generation fabs.
On top of those problems, a growing share of the manufacturing base that once had enjoyed maximized glass efficiency—lines producing TV panels in sizes of 39.5, 42.5, 48 and 48.5 inches—experienced deteriorating yields.

Production issues of a different nature are likely to occur in the second half, IHS believes, extending current manufacturing woes. A substantial loss in production capacity is expected during the remainder of the year because panel makers in China and Taiwan are slated to use different electrode materials from those currently deployed, ostensibly to improve their UHD products. The makers affected include AU Optronics, Innolux and BOE Optoelectronics.

Change is also afoot at Korean suppliers Samsung Display and LG Display.
Samsung Display will reduce the thickness of its front-pane glass to 0.5 millimeters as the company increases the production of curved TVs.

LG Display, meanwhile, reportedly is converting part of an eighth-generation line to oxide thin-film transistor technology in order to produce organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) panels, a rival technology to UHD LCDs that the maker hopes will start picking up among consumers.

All the same, TV prices are not expected to dip in the months to come in spite of the ongoing production problems, which will serve to constrict the supply of LCD TVs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3D printer units will grow by 600 percent between 2014- 2017

USA: 3D printing is taking the manufacturing and design worlds by storm, and has gained everyone's attention.  In recent years, 3D printer prices have dropped substantially, and a wide variety of printable materials is available.

You don't need to be a CAD expert to create a 3D-printable file.  Media attention has helped further accelerate the industry's momentum.  This market is experiencing rapid growth and lots of change, which is why Semico is releasing a new report titled: 3D Printing:  The Next Industrial Revolution.

It has captured the imagination of many, with the possibility of starting a manufacturing revolution. New applications and materials are announced on a (very) frequent basis. 3D printing is being used in many more applications than most people realize. But the most exciting applications for 3D printing are the ones that haven't even been conceived of yet.  It's exciting to realize we are on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution that affects so many different industries already.

"We're always looking for the next big thing.  Wearable technology might just be the next big thing." says Adrienne Downey, Semico's director of Techology Research, Manufacturing. "If that proves to be true, it will be enabled in large part by the rise of 3D printing, which allows us to easily make products customized to each individual."

Some of the key findings include:
* The 3D printing industry will top $3 billion in revenues this year.
* 3D printing materials will grow to be a third of the market by 2019.
* The rise of the Service Bureau and desktop-level printers will democratize design and manufacturing.
* Graphene is a promising future material for 3D printing.
* 3D printer units will grow by 6X between 2014 to 2017.

Axiros and Lyse Smart tout future of smart home device management

DUBLIN, IRELAND: This week at the Broadband Forum quarterly meeting in Dublin, Axiros, the technology leader in open device management solutions for service providers and enterprises, and Lyse Smart, a highly innovative regional Norwegian energy fiber and triple-play provider fully owned by Lyse Energy, teamed up to discuss how localizing Smart Home energy management via device automation and service provider offerings can be a win-win for both the providers and the end-users.

“Lyse believes future homes should be run by local companies who will provide customers with safe and secure electricity, energy, water and gas – rather than a global technology or commodity company whose main goal is to own customers’ personal data,” commented Lyse Smart CEO, Jan Holm. “We have developed and built an infrastructure that keeps data secure and in the community – where it belongs.”

“The Smart Home has been a high interest subject for years at the Broadband Forum,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. “It is amazing to see how far we have come with TR-069 over the last ten years, from originally delivering simple high speed internet access to now a more complete Smart Home. Having Axiros and Lyse show us real world applications of how the technology is enabling improved lives today helps drive and motivate our committees to keep delivering the technologies that will make the Internet of Things a reality.”

“Lyse is an excellent example of one of our service provider customers who has taken device management to a whole new level,” said Kurt Peterhans, CEO and MD of Axiros. “Lyse’s mission to improve the community and people’s lives through technology is an inspiration and we are glad he is sharing his story with the Broadband Forum members today.”

Lyse has a vision for the future of the Smart Home beyond just “home automation.”

The Smart Grid and energy/efficiency solutions are a central point in home automation. Devices (e.g. electric cars, induction stoves and tankless water heaters) which have high peak power consumption can be combined with more the decentralized electricity generation systems that are emerging (e.g. customers as producers) and will create a demand for a new set of services towards customers for automation of energy consumption.

Agama launches v4.7 of DTV monitoring solution

LINKOPING, SWEDEN:  Agama Technologies, the video service quality assurance expert, celebrates its tenth anniversary this September at IBC2014 by introducing the latest extensions to its comprehensive offering for continuous and real-time monitoring, assurance and analytics of OTT, IP and cable video services in multiplatform and multiscreen environments.

Celebrating a decade of empowering TV operators' business processes with video service assurance and monitoring intelligence, Agama will be at IBC2014 stand 4.A75 presenting the upcoming Version 4.7 of the Agama DTV Monitoring Solution with all its latest developments and additions.

The industry-leading solution provides full transparency of the service distribution from the head-end to the viewing device; and, supports operators' business processes across departments and workflows with actionable insights that help to efficiently manage service quality and customer satisfaction, whilst lowering OPEX and improving customer retention.

Creative launches Sound Blaster E series

SINGAPORE: Creative Technology Ltd has launched an all-new series of small, powerful USB audio solutions for PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets – The Sound Blaster E Series.

Consisting of the Sound Blaster E3 and the Sound Blaster E1, the Sound Blaster E Series builds upon the popularity of the Sound Blaster X-Fi Go! Pro.  They utilise USB plug-and-play connectivity to provide PC, and now even Mac users, with access to a powerful USB audio experience through real-time advanced audio processing.

Top audio quality is ensured even on smartphones and tablets through the Sound Blaster E Series’ high SNR levels and 600Ω headphone amplifiers that supply more power than a standard headphone jack.  The Sound Blaster E3 can also function as a high performance USB DAC for selected smartphones and tablets, and users can alternatively enjoy high quality wireless audio by pairing with smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth.

With their high SNR levels, high performance USB DAC and headphone amplification capabilities, the Sound Blaster E Series products are designed as end-to-end solutions that allow users to bring the best out of their audio and their headphones, even when they are on the go. In addition, the Sound Blaster E Series supports studio-grade headphones.

Robotic market to reach $171.7 billion by 2020

CANADA: ELECTRONICS.CA Publications announced the availability of a new study "Robotics Market Shares, Strategy, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2014 to 2020?.

Worldwide robotics markets are increasingly diversified, poised to achieve significant growth as every industry segment adopts mobile automated process new companies get more businesses test for substance abuse. The robots are taking over, they have remote control to control a device to make it do what you want.

Robots in general are poised to change every aspect of modern life. Robots are poised to change everything, what we eat, how we eat it, what we drive, how we drive it, what we manufacture, how we manufacture it, and the military, how we defend ourselves.

Robot technology is based on platforms that leverage sensors, controllers, software modules, cameras, visualization, and locomotors deploying machines for control of all repeatable process. Industrialization is after all the repetition of some task to create process. Robots take this a step further to create automation of process with the ability to move the units.

Robots are promising to improve yields in every industry. Robots make crops safer by eliminating or virtually eliminating herbicides. Downstream processing system solutions and robots achieve automation of process. Robots meet stringent hygiene and safety regulations, work tirelessly 24 hours a day, and relieve human workers of physically arduous tasks. Robots contribute to the freshness, variety and quality of food. Projects are ongoing. Projects are ongoing.

What could be tastier than a fresh picked strawberry, fully ripe, full of juicy appetence, exquisite in every way? Plant factories, grow lights, vertical farming appliances, and robots that make them possible are poised to change the economics of food growing. Robots in general are poised to change every aspect of modern life. Robots are poised to change everything, what we eat, how we eat it, what we drive, how we drive it, what we manufacture, how we manufacture it, and the military, how we defend ourselves.

Robots are set to bring a new industrial revolution more important than anything seen before. Industrial robots perform repetitive tasks efficiently, they do not eat, they do not make mistakes, they do not get tired, they do what they are told, they work 24 hours per day 7 days a week. Manufacturing plants are frequently long aisles of nothing but robots, no human in sight.

Beyond industrial robots that repeat actions, more intelligent robots loaded with sensors are able to automate process using processors and cameras to control action. Use of microprocessors provides a measure of intelligent control over the activity of the robot based on input from the sensors and the cameras.

Electronic passports face barriers to entry as security concerns fail to drive fast adoption

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Smart electronic passports (ePassports) can fight terrorism and international crime by making it harder to forge travel documents—but can they overcome their most powerful enemies: political opposition and government red tape?

IHS Technology research indicates that ePassports are set to experience relatively weak shipment growth in the coming years, despite their capability to address rising security concerns at airports and border crossings.

Global shipments of ePassports will rise to 175 million units in 2019, up from 113 million in 2013, as presented in the attached figure. This represents a CAGR of 7.6 percent during the six-year period.

While expansion may appear to be strong, it actually amounts to the slowest growth for any segment of the worldwide government electronic identification (ID) market.

In comparison, shipments of electronic identification for use as drivers’ licenses, healthcare cards and national ID credentials all are expected to enjoy double-digit CAGRs from 2013 through 2019. Shipments of ePassports will rise at only half the rate of the fastest-growing form of electronic government identification: national IDs.

“Programs utilizing ePassports face a host of challenges, including government legislation, country risk, political opposition and economic concerns,” said Wincey Tang, digital ID & IT security analyst at IHS for IHS. “This multitude of obstacles is slowing the growth of ePassports compared to other electronic ID systems. The major question is whether the need for improved border security will ever be strong enough to overcome the challenges created by these barriers.”

The ePassport supplements the traditional paper passport, adding a microcontroller chip that contains biometric information used to authenticate travelers’ identities. These chips employ the same kind of technology used in contactless smart cards, allowing wireless data transfer of ID data. Biometric information stored on these devices includes facial, fingerprint and iris recognition data

Down Under moves to top
Some countries have embraced ePassport technology more enthusiastically than others.

In Australia, for example, IHS is predicting the majority of passports will contain an embedded microcontroller by the end of 2015. Moreover, countries such as Austria, Denmark, Italy, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong—to name a few—are also mature ePassport markets.

On the other hand, some markets historically have experienced more political unrest, which has resulted in interruptions to the deployment of ePassports.

For example, India’s major deployment remains on hold, missing the planned 2013 launch. Other countries that are heavily affected by governmental challenges despite the increased need for enhanced ID security at the borders include Germany, Ukraine and Indonesia.

Asia leads the way
Overall, Asia-Pacific region accounted for the highest number of ePassport shipments in 2013, at 40 percent of the global market. This was closely followed by Europe with 32 percent. The smallest region was the Middle East and Africa, estimated to have taken only 8 percent of global ePassport shipments in the same year, as presented in Figure 2 attached.

It is also important to note that shipments mainly represent the issuance of new credentials—either brand-new or a replacement. Therefore, the top five listed countries with the highest number of shipment volumes in 2013 are areas where the ePassport market is growing fastest; or they represent areas where the program is either relatively new or has experienced additional initiatives.

This means that countries with mature schemes are often ranked higher in terms of the installed base, which counts the number of credentials in use, and will not appear in the top list for the latest shipments.

Nonetheless, it appears that security-related fears could become a driving force in encouraging volumes, and that government-controlled plans will remain the pivotal influencer in most ePassport programs.

Conditional access market set to decline as global pay-TV market begins to saturate

EL SEGUNDO, USA: The global market for conditional access (CA) technology used in set-top boxes (STBs) is set to contract as pay-TV services reach saturation, according to IHS Technology.

Worldwide market revenue for pay-TV STB CA technology will decline to $1.9 billion in 2018, down from a peak of $2.2 billion in 2015, as presented in the attached figure.

Conditional access is defined as any method or technology that prevents digital TV content from being viewed by those that have not been granted rights. In STBs, CA clients come in a variety of implementations, including software that is either embedded into an STB or comes separate in the form of smartcards or conditional access modules.

“The CA market is largely dependent on pay-TV growth,” said Wajahat Abbassi, senior analyst for Connected Home at IHS. “Shipments of STB CA clients have grown strongly during the past 10 years, from 44 million units in 2003 to 246 million in 2013, driven by a decade of rampant pay-TV growth. However, this dependence will make further growth for CA challenging as the pay-TV market begins to slow.”

Market conditions: variable
The global STB content-protection market contracted to $2.1 billion in 2013, down 4.5 percent from $2.2 billion in 2012. The decline came despite a rise in shipments of STB CA clients, such as smart cards, whose shipments grew 6.0 percent to reach 246 million units in 2013.

The CA market will expand in 2014 and 2015, with Chinese and Indian cable TV digitization programs and further pay-TV growth in emerging markets. This will propel STB CA client shipments to 279 million units in 2015.

Even so, price competition and a trend toward software-based solutions will limit revenue expansion during the period, with the industry growing to just $2.2 billion by 2015.

State of saturation
A total of 53 percent of TV-owning households worldwide will subscribe to pay-TV services by the end of 2015. This high level of penetration will limit further growth opportunities for conditional access as the pay-TV market saturates. As a result, industry value will decline after 2015.

Cisco Systems Inc. currently leads the CA market with a 32 percent share of total revenue in 2013. The networking equipment giant gained market leadership with its acquisition of NDS Group Ltd. from News Corp. and private equity firm Permira in 2012.

Kudelski Group’s Nagravision has the second largest share at 27 percent. Its 2014 acquisition of Nordic pay TV and telecoms operator Telenor’s conditional access subsidiary, Conax, will see the top two players control nearly 65 percent of the market, at 2013 values.

“Consolidation in the CA market is not just a result of commoditization,” Abbassi said. “The relationships between pay-TV operators and CA providers tend to be among the most long-lasting and persistent in the entire TV technology value chain. Being able to offer content protection as part of an overall solution, alongside other products such as STBs, STB software or multi-screen video components, is a strategic advantage for video technology providers. Doing so enables them to deliver high-value solutions that also abenefit from the typically sticky nature of content-security relationships.”

Google’s Android TV could shake up streaming media player market

EL SEGUNDO, USA: The arrival of Google’s Android TV platform could well disrupt the landscape for streaming media players now dominated by Roku and Apple TV, potentially roiling a rapidly expanding market that sells tens of millions of units every year, according to new research from IHS Technology.

The worldwide installed base for streaming media players is forecast to reach 50 million units by the end of this year. For the United States, the most significant single market globally for the product category, the installed base will amount to 24 million units this year, up from 16 million last year and 10 million in 2012.

By 2017, the number of installed streaming media players in the U.S. is anticipated to reach 44 million units. And when combined with an aggregate of 169 million Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and Smart TVs, the total US installed base of connected TV devices in 2017 will amount to some 213 million units.

“Given the ongoing shift among consumers toward streaming media consumption, the market for standalone streaming media players is continuing to heat up,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst for the connected home at IHS.

“Today Roku and Apple TV continue to dominate the U.S. installed base for streaming media players, with a combined 94 percent share in 2013, and Amazon’s Fire TV is a significant recent entrant. However, the arrival of Android TV is expected to significantly affect the competitive dynamics of this market over the long run.”

Similar to what market leaders Roku and Apple TV currently offer, the Android TV platform seeks to provide users with access to media streaming services and apps. In the past, the typically Android-based offerings from low-priced competitors have lacked the refinement, functionality, ecosystem, and user experience to compete head to head with products from Roku or Apple.

But the appearance on the scene of Android TV will potentially equip these lesser players and vendors with access to a complete, ready-made platform for streaming-media-player use that delivers a suite of benefits, noted Erickson.

These benefits include a new user experience purposely designed for TV, content access from Google Play as well as third-party apps, Google-powered content search and discovery with voice recognition, integration with the Android mobile device ecosystem, and built-in Chromecast functionality that enables media casting and screen mirroring from multiple device platforms.

Lesser threat to Apple, but Android TV could still act as spoiler
To be sure, Apple remains the most solidly situated in the streaming player market, backed by a strong content ecosystem and a near-captive iOS customer base that grows with each record-breaking iPhone release .

Although its related products are expected to be disruptive of the status quo, Android TV is not likely to cause a toppling of Apple’s competitive position.

Android TV could be more problematic, however, for Roku, which lacks similar direct integration with an ecosystem; and for Amazon’s Fire TV, which limits content search-and-discovery results to Amazon-sourced content alone while also narrowing content mirroring/casting functionality to its own-branded tablets.

Certainly, Android TV remains a streaming player platform to watch for the near future—not just because it is Google’s best effort yet to break into the living room, but also because of its potential to create problems for today’s market leaders.

Standalone media players that choose to utilize Android TV may also benefit in the long run, Erickson said.

“Although standalone media player products utilizing Android TV do not have the brand recognition, established brand equity, or level of retail distribution that products from companies like Apple, Amazon, and Roku possess, over time these standalone players are expected to create competitive pricing and positioning concerns by delivering previously absent levels of polish, capability, ecosystem integration, and content access to consumers at lower price points.”

Home appliances market consolidation continues

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Key players in the global home appliances market are looking to increase their market share via acquisitions and other moves in order to take advantage of ongoing strong expansion in the trade, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

Worldwide shipments of home appliances are projected to reach 611 million units by year-end, up 4.8 percent from 2013.This compares to an increase of 4.5 percent in 2013, as shown in the attached figure. Revenue growth is forecast to be even higher, set to climb 7.1 percent in 2014, up from 5.9 percent last year.

“Recent acquisitions within the home appliance market show that the world’s leading and largest home appliance producers hope to become even bigger, enlarging their footprint by moving into new territories and market segments,” said Dinesh Kithany, senior analyst for home appliances at IHS. “Production is also relocating to increase efficiency and to cut down costs, while being closer to their addressable regional markets. Such developments confirm what IHS has been predicting.”

These findings can found in the reports entitled “Major Home Appliances 2013” and “Small Home & Personal Care Appliances 2014” from the Consumer Electronics service and Home Appliances research area of IHS Technology.

American makers exercise their muscle
Among manufacturers, US-based Whirlpool Corp., the world’s No. 1 home appliance maker, recently announced its second largest acquisition in less than a year, with plans to buy a majority stake in Indesit Company S.p.A. of Italy, further boosting the American firm’s business in Europe.

An earlier acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric is also expected to significantly enhance Whirlpool’s presence in the Asian market, especially in China, where Hefei Sanyo is the third largest appliance maker. Whirlpool had earlier signed a joint venture with another Chinese-based maker, Hisense-Kelon Electrical Holdings, for sharing research, technology and production resources.

On its home turf in the United States, Whirlpool and longtime partner KB Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the country, announced at the end of last year a new collaboration to offer the Whirlpool line of smart appliances to homebuyers.

Another American entity, commercial food-service equipment company Middleby Corp., reported stronger second-quarter results. Net sales of its home appliances’ Residential Kitchen Equipment Group was up 20.6 percent to $70.9 million, compared to $58.8 million the same time a year ago. Residential Kitchen Equipment was the business segment formed from the 2013 acquisition by Middleby of Viking Range Corp., makers of professional-style home appliances.

CEO Selim A. Bassoul, Middleby CEO, said Viking has completed the initiative started in 2013 to establish its own distribution operations, through the acquisition and transition of independent distributors covering the US, Canada and Mexico.

European firms also get in action
Meanwhile, in Europe, the acquisition by Spain’s CNA Group of appliance maker Fagor Electrodomesticos—which owns well-known brands Fagor, Edesa, Aspes and Spendid—strengthens the former’s position in the appliance market across several segments, including laundry, cold and cooking appliances; small electric housewares; and comfort conditioning appliances.

CNA executives said the company’s objective is to restart Fagor corporate and manufacturing activities as quickly as possible, and to bring back 840 jobs over the next four years. The CNA Group began life with the startup Cata Electrodomesticos in Torello, Barcelona province, in 1947. Later CNA acquired appliance brand Apelson (2000) and Nodor (2004). Today, the company has plants in Torello, Spain; São Paulo, Brazil; and Xiao Lan, China.

On similar grounds, Sweden’s Electrolux AB has confirmed its interest in buying the home appliance business division of Kentucky-based General Electric (GE). The sale of this century-old appliances division of GE, estimated to be at least $2 billion, will provide a necessary boost to companies looking to expand in the North America market, which shows good signs of recovery and growth.

Electrolux has historically expanded through acquisitions—buying Frigidaire in1986, AEG's household division in 1994 and Chilean appliance manufacturer CTI in 2011. Remaining eager to invest in the US, Electrolux has recently opened a cooking-appliance plant in Memphis, Tenn.
Acquisition of GE’s appliance business will not only help Electrolux to increase its current 30 percent share of appliance sales from the North America region, it will also help the Swedish maker boost sales to home builders, a key driver of the U.S. home appliances market and where GE currently has a large share.

Partnering with Asian giants
While established South Korean makers such as LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics would likely be more interested in GE’s US facilities, rather than in the GE brand name, it is unclear how Electrolux might use the GE brand, as it also depends on GE’s licensing agreement with buyers.

GE also has appliances that can be seamlessly operated through a smartphone or a tablet device using its GE Brillion app. GE could have likely taken advantage of its position to expand further as the world moves toward smart devices for homes. But New York-based Quirky Inc., a five-year-old startup that uses crowdsourcing to quickly develop household products, is interested in teaming up with private-equity firms such as Blackstone Group LP to take a majority stake in GE’s appliance business, with GE retaining a piece.

Given that Samsung has recently bought connected-home startup SmartThings and U.S. air-conditioner distributor Quietside, it will be interesting to see how Quirky’s offer fits in, since Quirky currently counts GE among its financial backers after GE made a $30 million investment in November last year. GE also opened up thousands of patents to Quirky when they formed a partnership last year to develop a line of smart-home devices, including an air-conditioner controlled by smartphones.

The home appliance market will continue to see more such acquisitions and tie-ups, Kithany added. Synergies are expected not only within appliance companies but also across companies providing technological know-how, expertise and support to home automation segment.

Friday, September 12, 2014

KAONMEDIA selects Axiros for device and QoS/QoE management

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Axiros, the technology leader in open device management solutions for service providers and enterprises, announced a strategic co-operation with KAONMEDIA (KAON), a leading manufacturer of set-top boxes (STBs), Gigabit AP routers and range extenders, DOCSIS residential gateways, and other products for the connected home.

The two companies will work together to integrate Axiros' Open Device Management architecture with sophisticated QoS/QoE analytics into KAON's connected home solutions for the global service provider market.

"KAON is well known as a leading technology vendor in the connected home market and Axiros is happy to become a strategic partner in the delivery of advanced home solutions," said Shaun Rossiter, VP APAC for Axiros. "The Axiros Cloud platform increases the value of KAON's product offerings and demonstrates again Axiros' commitment to remain an open technology vendor."

"Provisioning the connected home is a challenging task as devices exponentially multiply," added Bruce Oh, R&D director of KAON. "For our customers, easy and cost effective network management and the quality of their customer experience mean everything. By embedding the Axiros Open Device Management architecture with QoS/QoE into our products, our service providers will be able to offer a value-added and indemand service to their customers with ease of configuration and management right from the Cloud - a win for both the service providers and their customers."

Novabase Digital TV and Entropic launch first headless broadcast gateway

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Novabase Digital TV Technologies GmbH, a company owned by Novabase, the Portuguese leader in IT, and Entropic, a leader in semiconductor solutions for the connected home, have introduced the first headless broadcast gateway bridging broadcast-to-IP video with support for wired, wireless and home automation protocols - all in an extremely compact power plug form factor.

The new Novabase Digital TV Technologies, GmbH home gateway leverages Entropic's EN7100-series of high-definition (HD) IP set-top box (STB) system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions to power the broadcast to IP stack, home networking, and home automation functions.

Novabase Digital TV Technologies, GmbH continues to challenge traditional set-top device design and functionality with the introduction of the new home gateway. The device is the first video gateway that combines the required functions to bridge broadcast to IP video including conditional access (CA) termination and content re-encryption with flexible home networking architectures that support both wired (MoCA(R) or Multimedia over Coax Alliance) and wireless (WiFi) technologies.

It further adds support for home automation protocols such as Z-wave and ZigBee to control regular household systems from door locks and lights to fire alarms and in-home temperature controls.

GE Appliances acquisition makes strategic sense for Electrolux

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Electrolux AB’s agreement to buy General Electric’s appliance business is a good strategic fit that will improve Electrolux’s position in the global home appliance industry and put the company in contention for leadership in the key US market, according to IHS Technology.

Sweden’s Electrolux managed to strike a deal to acquire the appliance division of US-based General Electric (GE) for $3.3 billion. This is Electrolux’s second attempt to buy the GE business, following an unsuccessful bid in 2008. The deal represents Electrolux’s largest acquisition ever.

The agreement will allow Electrolux to better capitalize on a global home appliance market that shipped a total of 1.2 billion devices in 2013. The major home appliances market alone amounted to nearly 600 million units last year, as shown the in attached figure.

“Electrolux historically has expanded through acquisitions, and its latest purchase reflects the wisdom gained from experience,” said Dinesh Kithany, senior analyst, home appliances at IHS. “From every perspective imaginable, the GE buy represents a good ‘strategic’ fit that will boost Electrolux’s position in global home appliance market. The acquisition will benefit Electrolux in terms of corporate culture, branding, customer base, product line and regional exposure. With GE’s additional sales, Electrolux will be able to close the gap with the market leader Whirlpool in the United States.”

Home appliance harmony
For both Electrolux and GE, having been in the business of manufacturing and marketing home appliances for more than a century, the acquisition is considered to be a great fit from a number of perspectives.

The two companies align well in terms of their Western style of management, financial capabilities, manufacturing and operational capabilities, and strategic growth plans. Electrolux is much more compatible with GE compared to past bidders for the General Electric appliances business, including Quirky, Samsung, LG, Arcelik, Haier and Controladora Mabe.

People power
Electrolux also met a very important requirement for GE: capability to maintain relationships with key people.

GE—being a people-oriented organization—is very particular as to whom it hands over its 100-year-old home appliance baby. Of especial concern is how any acquiring company would take care of the company’s reputation, brand name, wide product range, broad customer base, 12,000 employees and the relationship with its business associates.

These components of GE synergize well with Electrolux’s approach to relationships with these groups, according to Jeff Immelt chairman and CEO of GE.

"Electrolux is the right global business for our customers, consumers and employees,” Immelt said. “GE Appliances’ people, valuable home appliances brand, products, distribution and service capabilities make it a perfect fit with Electrolux and its goal of accelerating growth in the U.S.”

This appliance unit was once a core business for GE, but not any longer, as GE has expanded to other industries.

Brand of brothers
GE brands also complement Electrolux’s current product portfolio. While Electrolux, AEG and Zanussi are leading brands in the premium segment and Frigidaire in the medium/mass market, the acquisition of GE’s luxury brand Monogram and mass premium brands like Café and Profile would help Electrolux to widen its product offering further.

More important, this deal also complements Electrolux’s established position within the residential/consumer segment, also considered as replacement segment, of the home appliance market with that of GE, which is the leader in the homebuilders trade, considered new purchases, in the United States.

The homebuilders market is considered to be the biggest growth driver for the home appliance market. As part of the deal, Electrolux will also obtain a long-term agreement to use GE’s brand names, which possess very high equity in the market.

Location, location, location
The acquisition also delivers advantages in terms of geography.

Being US-focused, North America accounts for nearly 90 percent of GE’s appliance revenue. With this acquisition, Electrolux’s share of the home appliance business in North America is expected to increase from 29 percent to nearly 50 percent, based on GE’s revenues from North America in 2013.

The ace point is the inclusion of GE’s 48.4 percent stake in Mabe, a Mexican home appliance company with whom GE has had a joint venture for the last 30 years. This will at minimum add three more benefits for Electrolux. First, it will bring a cost-effective production opportunity in the low-cost Mexican market. Second, it will enable the company to gain access and increase share in the growing Mexico and rest of the Latin America market. And third, it will serve as a regional manufacturing hub serving the Americas and European markets.

Getting closer to Whirlpool
This deal would place Electrolux on par with the industry leader Whirlpool, which has estimated revenue of $18.8 billion. In terms of market share, Electrolux would now close the gap Whirlpool in the United States.

Power of the purse
Electrolux is expected to achieve cost savings of around $300 million, including savings occurring due to stronger purchasing power to negotiate with suppliers now.

While Electrolux is anticipated to continue to grow through further acquisitions, possibly in Asia and Europe, with some expected within the technology platform, similar to Samsung’s acquisition of SmartThings, it would be interesting to understand Quirky’s position in this deal considering GE had made $30 million investment last November.

GE had opened up thousands of patents to Quirky when the two companies formed a partnership last year to develop a line of smart-home devices, including an air conditioner controlled by smartphones.