June 21, 2014 4:40 pm

Global consumer tech trends at home, work and play

*Steve Makris is a technology expert who does a weekly Tech Talk segment during Edmonton’s Sunday Morning News. You can watch his segment above.

Good Sunday morning folks, today I Skyped from Calgary and the subject was on consumer technology trends at home, work and play.

I recently attended IFA’s annual 2014 Global Press Conference in Turkey where global insights on where and how technology would be consumed in the next coming years were shared among several hundred journalists.

This, a prelude to the upcoming huge Messe Berlin IFA 2014  Consumer Electronics and Home Appliance show September 5-10.

IFA says more single households are good business for smart home appliances

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Here are some interesting patterns on consumer spending:

More single people households are expected to keep the home appliance business buzzing. Developing countries will be looking for smaller, eco-friendly appliances.

It’s interesting to note these countries are expected to see double-digit consumer spending compared to North America at six per cent, Europe marginally lower. China continues its explosive spending patterns and will become the world’s largest consumer spender in several years, even eclipsing North America. European appliances have 10 times more ecosmart features than their North American counterparts.

The Internet continues to be the growing conduit for selling and buying.

Companies like Google and Amazon are aggressively competing for online attention. Google for example, paid billions for small upstart NEST, a smart cloud connected home thermostat, a clear sign that online home automation will play big with consumers.

More devices are getting online globally

But competing technologies still step over each other with proprietary systems making a truly connected tech world a dream away. Samsung plans to launch its first none-Android Tizen OS smartphone in Russia this fall. One notable cooperation exception shown at IFA is the Smart TV Alliance, which aims for all Smart TVs to speak a common language in their programming and access online.

 

Amazon Fire Phone will draw more users to shop Amazon online

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Amazon just launched its Fire smartphone, running on the same OS of its previous Fire HD colour tablets, its own version of Android like running OS. The Fire phone will further draw users into Amazon for more purchases of goods and popular media content. It recognizes images onscreen and sends you to the Amazon site for purchase. Sadly, Canadians are always a few steps behind in enjoying the best streaming media content from Netflix and Amazon due to content licensing issues.

Speaking of phones, expect to see more competition in mid-level priced phones from first-time Chinese makers offering top tier performance phones for less.

One company we know, Lenovo, who bought IBM’s computer making section more than 10 years ago, recently purchased Motorola Mobile, so expect a global surge of new smartphones with Motorola smarts and competitive prices.

Moto G LTE Smartphone offers much for a mid-level phone

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As a prelude to that, Motorola Canada just released the Moto G, now on fast 4G LTE networks available at www.Rogers.com  and www.Fido.ca free on two-year contracts and smart plans respectively. It has a microSD card slot for up to 32GB of expandable memory, sharpest 4.5” HD display in its class, all-day battery, quad-core speed and colourful Motorola Shells to customize your phone. All of this, with the most current version of Android Kit Kat 4.4.3. Not to mention some awesome Motorola apps for use at work or play.

Re-defining quality and affordable smartphones, the upcoming Moto E will even be cheaper to own and will come unlocked, nice.  More on this phone later.

Expect more waves of newer wearable gadgets for keeping track of your body and health habits, or a summary of what you did and where you were in the recent past like Sony’s new SmartBand. But don’t expect these “smart” wearables to become independent of their nearby smart phone wireless tether…unless Apple pulls one off this fall.

For more information on IFA’s GPC revealing Turkey event go to: http://gpc.ifa-berlin.com/en/

© Shaw Media, 2014

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