Friday, October 17, 2014

Explore the Internet of Things - Market Outlook in 2020

The Global Networked Economy is entering the next phase of its ongoing evolution. Emerging phenomena, such as the Industrial Internet, will help to launch progressive applications that will require new market development leadership.

The outlook for these upside opportunities are boundless.

Imagine a highway where cars are able to safely navigate to their destinations without a driver. Imagine a home where an elderly patient’s health is closely monitored by her hospital physician. Imagine a city that significantly reduces waste through sensor-embedded water pipes, buildings, parking meters and more. These are no longer scenarios from a distant future -- they're happening today.

Nearly 12 billion internet-connected devices will be in use worldwide by the end of 2014, according to the latest global market study by Strategy Analytics.

That is equivalent to 1.7 devices for every person on the planet -- a ratio which will rise to 4.3 by 2020, when 33 billion devices will be in use.

"Back in 2007 PCs accounted for two thirds of internet devices -- now it's only 10 percent," said David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The impact of the internet on daily lives has increased rapidly in recent years. Huge growth potential still lies ahead, in terms of both the number of devices relying on internet connectivity and its geographic reach.


The report that resulted from the study, "Connected World: The Internet of Things and Connected Devices in 2020," quantifies the scale of the connected device opportunity across the Internet of Things (IoT), smart home, smartphones, PCs, media tablets, smart TVs, internet media devices and wearable devices.

According to the Strategy Analytics assessment, traditional connected devices like PCs, smartphones and media tablets now account for less than a third of all connected devices in use.

Emerging categories alone will connect an additional 17.6 billion devices to the internet by 2020.

The Internet of Things is leading to rapid growth in new categories like machine-to-machine (M2M), smart objects, smart grid and smart cities. But this is just the beginning of what's to come.

"The Internet of Things has already connected five billion devices and we are only at the beginning of this revolution," says Andrew Brown, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "Smart cities and smart grid are just two of the ways in which the internet of things will touch everyone’s lives over the coming years and decades."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Public Cloud Services Market will Reach $113 Billion

This year has been a pivotal period for many public cloud service providers. They've fully tapped the early-adopter segment of the market. The leading providers have also overcome much of the early inertia and resistance from legacy CIOs within the multinational enterprise marketplace.

The Shadow IT phenomena will continue to transform how Line-of-Business (LOB) users make purchase decisions. The path forward is clear for the savvy CEOs that choose to fund this growing trend. Eventually, even the most reluctant traditional IT leaders will embrace a hybrid cloud model, to actively participate in this business technology transformation.

The public cloud services market will nearly double over the next four years from $67 billion in 2014 to $113 billion by 2018, according to the latest global market study by Technology Business Research (TBR).

The TBR "Public Cloud Benchmark" identifies revenue and growth leaders across SaaS, PaaS and IaaS -- highlighting their strategies and future moves, as well as overall market trends in each segment and geography.

"The public cloud market is maturing, driving SaaS vendors to tailor their portfolios and teams vertically while IaaS and PaaS vendors invest in developer tools, pricing models and global expansion," said Jillian Mirandi, senior analyst at TBR. "Pressure from traditional incumbents is affecting fast-growing, pure-play vendors, and the spend among pure plays will continue to decline."

Early-to Market Public Cloud Revenue Leaders

According to TBR's assessment, portfolio developments across 2Q14 highlight the Salesforce.com ability to build out a portfolio of industry-specific solutions through internal development and ecosystem collaboration.

The launch of the Salesforce1 for Retail portfolio in June illustrates that Salesforce.com is internally developing solutions such as Mobile Clienteling, while a partnership with Philips to create a healthcare platform demonstrates ecosystem collaboration.

Microsoft will consolidate its Cloud Accelerate and Cloud Deployment programs into the Cloud Solution Provider Program to ease engagement between the company and its partners.

TBR views this consolidation as a step in the right direction for Microsoft as it aims to create value-added opportunities for partners around its cloud solutions. Additionally, Microsoft reduced program fees for partners to encourage them to resell Azure and Office 365.

To maintain IaaS leadership, Amazon (AWS) will utilize ongoing price cuts and service launches to remain competitive with Microsoft and Google on cost. Additionally, a higher-touch sales model and small but growing professional services team will help AWS better compete with the rapidly expanding cloud portfolios of IBM and HP.


Forward-Looking Public Cloud Revenue Growth Leaders

In September Box announced a beta version of Box for Office 365, enabling customers to access documents stored on Box without leaving Office applications. Also in September, Box announced Box for Industries and Accenture as a partner to help expand Box into the healthcare industry.

TBR observes that the Google cloud business is rolling out portfolio additions and improvements more rapidly than it has in recent years. By focusing on developers and acquiring tools such as monitoring, Google will add value and elevate its position against IaaS leader AWS.

The Google Apps portfolio has also become more attractive to enterprise customers through the launch of Google Drive for Work -- a premium edition of Google Apps for Business that includes unlimited storage, an API audit for developers, and increased security and management tools.

Establishing additional SoftLayer public cloud data centers in London, Hong Kong and Dallas, as well as more recently opening data centers in Melbourne, Australia, and Toronto, continues to drive IBM’s public cloud growth globally.

Furthermore, IBM’s recent acquisitions of security solutions providers CrossIdeas and Lighthouse Security Group LLC boost IBM’s global cloud revenue growth.

TBR believes that security is of top concern among multinational enterprises when deciding to transition to cloud, particularly in Europe, where data sovereignty has somewhat inhibited public cloud adoption.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Responsive Web Design Enables Mobile Commerce

When a buyer visits a company's website, will their visit result in a good user experience -- regardless of the device they're using at the time? More often than not, that experience is within a smaller screen on a mobile device -- such as a smartphone or media tablet.

Savvy marketers are already starting to influence the adoption of mobile-first design strategies for their online properties.  Making it easier to buy something via a mobile device is a forward-thinking competitive advantage, because this activity will become more mainstream over time.

eBusiness teams are working on rebuilding their legacy desktop site experiences to be responsive across all web-enabled touch-points, but it's a huge undertaking and few organizations have the budget or risk appetite to redesign all of their web assets in one fell swoop.

Many teams start with the easy places on their website -- such as the home page, the category pages, the campaign landing pages -- after all, these pages don't contain complex transactional logic or processes.

Growing Momentum for Mobile-Friendly Websites

Ten percent of all U.S. smartphone users and 20 percent of all U.S. media tablet online adult users have made a purchase on these respective devices in the past three months, according to the latest market study by Forrester Research.

However, the bad news is that 90 percent of mobile phone users and 80 percent of tablet users are still purchase holdouts. Why is that?

Some 53 percent of these holdouts cite that they avoid "checking out" on mobile devices simply because they are either used to or find it easier to buy on a PC. Apparently old habits die hard.

So how can brands convince holdouts to embrace buying on their mobile device? By providing the services and information the customer wants exactly when they're looking to make a purchase on their mobile device -- in the mobile moment.

To get there, Forrester argues firms should forget conventional wisdom and embrace responsive web design (RWD) as a perfect fit for most transactional scenarios.

In fact, 63 percent of eBusiness professionals rank RWD as a technology investment priority for this year, compared with 40 percent in 2013.

"Starting an RWD project by rebuilding the most complex part of your site may not be intuitive, but RWD is a great way to develop touchpoint-optimized experiences while maintaining the consistency of complex web processes," according to the Forrester assessment.

These study findings were based upon a survey of more than 4,000 online respondents in America.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

100 Million Smart Watches in Use Worldwide by 2019

A Smart Watch can be defined as a smart wearable accessory that can be worn on a user's wrist, offering a range of smart functionality in conjunction with an external platform -- such as the smartphone or media tablet.

The smart capabilities can range from displaying phone call, text and email alerts to accessing stock and weather information or any fitness, sports or commerce applications -- such as heart rate monitoring, payments or ticketing.

Juniper Research has forecast that more than 100 million smart watches will be in use worldwide by 2019, with a host of premium brand launches over the next 12-18 months bringing the category into mainstream consumer consciousness.

According to the findings from the latest Juniper market study, differentiation is now shifting from hardware towards other features that allow new capabilities, such as GPS and NFC connectivity.

It argues that the functionality is likely to become standard in the next few years, particularly as Apple has offered payment and NFC capability via the Apple Watch.


They also claim that the range of functionality available means that it is unlikely that a ‘killer app’ for smartwatches would evolve.

Juniper cites the example of Fitbit, which grew to dominance in the fitness space with a mantra of ‘one size doesn't fit all’, and varying device form factor.

They argue that, given the greater scope for development in smart watches, the industry should not expect a single capability to make or break the category.

Additionally, they believe that as international vendors including Google, Apple, Sony, and LG roll out high-end products, demand for notification-based watches like the Martian Notifier will diminish, even in markets where budget pricing is the biggest purchase driver.

Hence, they says that smaller players will need to respond to increasing consumer expectations or lose further market share.

Other key findings from the study include:
  • Smart watches will slowly gain more sales outlets as brands outside the technology sector, such as luxury watch maker TAG Heuer, enter the smart watch space.
  • High functionality and premium branding means that the average smart watch price will remain above $200 until 2020 at the earliest.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Worldwide PC Shipments Totaled 78.5 Million Units

Once PC vendors let go of their great (unfounded) hope that high-cost Ultrabooks would deliver a huge windfall in sales, then they were able to focus more on the real demand for low-cost notebook PCs and Chromebooks in the marketplace.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 78.5 million units in the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14) -- that's a year-on-year decline of -1.7 percent and a sizable improvement over the forecast of -4.1 percent, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Many of the trends from the second quarter remained relevant and contributed to the 3Q14 results. Commercial PC purchases played a key role in many markets, with the top three vendors -- Lenovo, HP, and Dell -- all showing solid year-on-year growth.

Conversely, fierce competition and a spiral toward tablet-like prices helped to further consolidate the market. Shipments of entry systems, including Chromebooks, continued to inject an important source of volume and sustained improved consumer demand in certain markets over recent quarters.


On a geographic basis, mature markets still drove the market, with North America and parts of Europe seeing significant improvements across segments.

Although Windows XP migrations has slowed, an improved business outlook, tablet saturation in some markets, and expanded offerings of competitive notebooks have factored in recent positive trends.

Emerging regions as a whole proved disappointing, although stronger than expected consumer demand in Asia-Pacific, spurred by the continued expansion of entry-level portable PCs and helping to redirect consumer attention back toward PCs, provided a silver lining.

"Although shipments did not decline as much as feared, these preliminary results still show that 3Q14 was one of the weaker calendar third quarters on record in terms of sequential growth. The third quarter has historically been driven by back-to-school sales and renewed business purchasing, which were weaker than normal this year," said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst at IDC.

Chou added, "The current growth of lower-priced systems, while encouraging in the short run, brings concern for the long term viability of vendors to adequately remain in the PC space."

PC shipment growth in the United States remained slightly faster than most other regions in the third quarter and overall the U.S. PC market came in right on forecast with 4.3 percent year-on-year growth.

Solid back-to-school sales, a strong performance from key vendors, the continued acceptance of Chromebooks, some commercial uptick from Windows XP to Windows 7 migration, and the slowdown in tablet sales are among the factors that helped the PC market to continue on its positive growth rate trajectory.

Moving forward, IDC expects a healthy holiday season, hence the U.S. PC market may maintain a positive growth rate. However, low demand for large commercial refreshes, combined with competition from 2-in-1 systems, may limit the growth potential.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why Google is the Mobile Media Leader in America

comScore released data reporting key trends in the U.S. smartphone industry for August 2014. Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 42 percent OEM market share, while Google Android led as the number one smartphone platform with 52 percent platform market share.

Once again, Facebook ranked as the top individual smartphone app. But the more important trend in America is that Google has achieved what no other company can claim -- a powerful mobile media cross-platform presence that extends their reach to just about every smartphone in the market.

According to the comScore assessment, four of the top five mobile apps in the U.S. market are from Google. Why is this important? In a saturated market, such as the American mobile phone marketplace, the big market opportunities are no longer in near-term smartphone device revenue attainment.

It's now more about the longer-term software app market development potential. And, increasingly, it's about the digital media content that ultimately flows through these pervasive apps. Therefore, the domination of American mobile media distribution is a significant accomplishment.

The key take-away: the U.S. traditional big media companies had conceded much of the desktop presence to Google, and now they've already relinquished the mobile channel leadership as well.

Smartphone OEM Market Share

174 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (72 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in August, up 3 percent since May.

Apple ranked as the top OEM with 42 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 0.1 percentage points from May).

Samsung ranked second with 28.9 percent market share (up 1.1 percentage points), followed by LG with 6.7 percent (up 0.2 percentage points), Motorola with 5.4 percent and HTC with 4.5 percent.

Smartphone Platform Market Share

Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform in August with 52 percent market share.

Google was followed by Apple with 42 percent (up 0.1 percentage points from May), Microsoft with 3.5 percent (up 0.1 percentage points), BlackBerry with 2.3 percent and Symbian with 0.1 percent.


Top Smartphone Applications

Facebook ranked as the top smartphone app, reaching 72.4 percent of the app audience, followed by YouTube (54.9 percent), Google Play (51.2 percent) and Google Search (47.2 percent).

In addition, Facebook Messenger (45.2 percent) jumped from #10 to #6 in the ranking after Facebook disabled the messaging feature from its flagship app and transitioned users over to the standalone Messenger app.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Healthcare Firms will Invest in New Software Apps

The digital health industry, as a concept, can be seen as the intersection of several industries -- the healthcare industry itself, the consumer electronics industry, the mobile industry and the broader IT industry, required for the establishment of EHRs (Electronic Health Records), for example.

Though the healthcare sector has been in existence for hundreds of years, it is often accused of being very slow to adapt to the apparent market needs and technology advances outside of the medical profession.

However forces acting upon it now, such as the increase in the proportion of the population who are of retirement age, are prompting a rethink as to how healthcare should be addressed. Many initiatives and concepts, such as accountable care, will need a modern digitized infrastructure to succeed.

Healthcare focused smartphone interfaces launched by Samsung and Apple will be instrumental in propelling the global healthcare accessory hardware market to $3 billion by 2019, according to the latest market study by Juniper Research.


The findings from their global study uncovered that greater visibility and availability of healthcare smartphone platforms will encourage independent device manufacturers to launch a wider array of increasingly sophisticated mHealth products. Such devices include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes and sleep monitors for sleep apnoea.

However, they also observed that although Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions) user interfaces will popularize consumer digital health, they could also impact the opportunity for bespoke remote patient monitoring devices.

"As health platforms support more ‘medical’ devices, rather than just today’s fitness trackers, they will usurp the territory occupied by chronic disease monitoring companies," said Anthony Cox, associate analyst at Juniper Research.

Juniper also notes that, driven by aging populations and increased chronic disease incidence in America, ObamaCare is bringing about a re-think in how healthcare needs should be addressed, with the medical profession increasingly considering the role of digital health.

This transformation will occur in several ways including:
  • Healthcare companies investing in major digital healthcare players such as Epocrates and AirStrip;
  • Advanced EHR (Electronic Health Records) becoming the ‘glue’ to create wider digital health ecosystems; and,
  • Regulatory authorities embracing the role of digital health and imposing less stringent regulatory obligations on digital health companies

Juniper also found that despite a more positive outlook for the digital health industry’s future, widespread, well-documented trials are still needed to galvanize the adoption of remote patient monitoring projects. Furthermore questions remain over how digital healthcare projects will be reimbursed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

How Battery Technology for Mobile Devices will Evolve

ABI Research forecasts that the installed base of mobile devices -- smartphones, smart wearables, media tablets, and notebook PCs -- will reach 8 billion by 2019, providing a huge installed base for rechargeable batteries and charging solutions.

Mobile device hardware, software, and usage have developed at an incredible rate in recent years, from network speeds, to screen resolution and size, to processing power. End user’s reliance on their smartphones also grows and grows, with mobile data usage experiencing exponential growth.

One crucial part of the overall solution, battery life and charging technology, has been a laggard to date. Leaders in the mobile device sector now believe that this poor performance is unacceptable.

Short battery life remains the biggest irritation to smartphone users and is a clear opportunity for handset vendors and mobile network service providers to improve the user experience by adopting new, longer-lasting battery technologies.

"Additionally, the growth in size-constrained wearable devices makes the problem even more acute," said Nick Spencer, senior practice director at ABI Research.

Battery technology has not kept pace with hardware and usage growth, still relying on Lithium and graphite batteries and one-to-one wired charging solutions -- typically Micro-USB chargers.

This may be about to change with new battery technology in the form of silicon anode batteries already in production, from companies like Amprius and Leyden Energy, and Germanium and pure Lithium variants experiencing recent breakthroughs in their stability becoming a possibility in the near future.

The upside opportunity is enormous. ABI Research estimates that the average advanced market home has over 10 untethered devices with rechargeable batteries today.

The growth in wearables driven by the likes of Samsung and now Apple will increase this number further, along with the Internet of Things, and even electric cars.

"Battery technology is holding these innovative growth industries back and the rate of change, in what is admittedly a huge supply chain, is a concern," adds Spencer.

The battery charging market beyond wired Micro-USB chargers is also ripe for change with multi-device inductive charging mats reducing in price and integrating into public environments like cafes and airports -- a bit like Wi-Fi.

More subtle forms of charging may also be made possible like ambient radio frequency energy harvesting and even dedicated beamed radio frequency energy routed to your device.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Sony Accounts for One in Four Connected TV Devices

Worldwide ownership of Connected TV Devices -- including smart TVs, smart blu-ray players, IP-enabled game consoles and digital media streamers -- grew 7 percent quarter-on-quarter in Q2 2014 and 34 percent versus the same period in 2013 to reach 500 million units.

The growing demand for devices that facilitate the streaming of online video to the large screen TV is creating a highly competitive environment with no fewer than 16 major technology brands accounting for 90 percent of devices in use, according to the latest global market study by Strategy Analytics.

Connected TV Devices fulfill a growing consumer desire to access over-the-top (OTT) video content on the big screen within the home.

While Game Console vendors and the major TV brands have the largest footprint of such devices, other companies -- such as Apple, Google and Amazon -- are starting to build up a significant base of lower cost media streaming boxes and dongles from which they can tap into the online TV audience to advance their digital media market development strategy.

"Game Consoles were until very recently the dominant Connected TV Device installed in the living room. However, Q2 2014 marked the first time that there are more Smart TVs installed in homes globally than IP-enabled game consoles and Smart TVs will now move on to become the dominant Connected TV Device in the living room in terms of ownership," said Eric Smith, analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The challenge for Smart TV vendors moving forward will be to grow the number of active users and to do this they must ensure that their platforms remain relevant and up-to-date -- certainly no easy task given the lengthy TV replacement cycles.


Other key findings from the market study include:
  • One in four Connected TV Devices installed in homes around the world is a Sony branded product while the combined footprint of Sony, Samsung, Nintendo and Microsoft accounts for 60 percent of all devices in use.
  • Samsung enjoyed the highest unit increase to its installed base of Connected TV Devices during the quarter while Google’s Connected TV Device footprint grew faster than any other brand from Q1 to Q2 2014.
  • Apple remained the leading brand within the global Digital Media Streamer market in Q2 2014 although its share dropped to under 30 percent for the first time in the face of competition from Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Media Tablet Market beyond Samsung and Apple

Apple and Samsung have led the market substantially since the inception of media tablets. However, the race for third place is still undecided and competition is heating up between Lenovo, Amazon, ASUS, and other emerging vendors.

The aggressive nature of the media tablet market and substantial increase in emerging vendors has created a stall for leaders in the market giving PC OEMs the opportunity to close the gap between leaders and followers.

According to the latest market study by ABI Research, emerging vendors are forecast to experience a CAGR of 22.8 percent between 2014 and 2019.

With third place up for grabs, Lenovo is working to gain ground in the market, and in 2019 is expected to ship 21 million tablets, attaining 7.3 percent of the overall market. This forecast momentum and growth would land Lenovo solidly in third place.

During 2013, the tablet market exploded with new devices that overwhelmed consumers with a multitude of choices. Leading tablet vendors quickly dominated the market, but are now feeling the squeeze and quickly losing market share control.

Between 1Q 2014 and 2Q 2014, Samsung experienced a 35 percent decline, and Apple a 19 percent decline in growth.

In 1Q 2014, Samsung and Apple made up 72 percent of the overall tablet market, but in 2Q 2014, their combined market share dropped to 66 percent and Samsung alone lost 8.8 percent of the market.

"The questionable need and longer lifecycle of tablets is creating a stall in advanced and mature markets," says Stephanie Van Vactor, research analyst at ABI Research.

This stall is giving other vendors the opportunity to close the prominent gap and claim third place. ABI believes that the dent emerging vendors are creating in the market is impressive, but continuing that success is going to be the real challenge.

Emerging PC OEMs and fast followers from China and Taiwan are entering a mature market with intense price competition and established vendors offering expansive services and applications.

But the overall market is evolving. Driving success requires a planned implementation strategy that offers end-users a full solution package.

To be successful in this market, mobile and smart devices need to engage, offer services, solutions, and an entire experience to its users. Vendors need to focus on creating brand loyalty, by targeting a specific niche and offering an entire solution packages to those end-users.