Technology will help cope with our constantly-changing lifestyles

Click to play video: 'Tech Talk with Steve Makris'
Tech Talk with Steve Makris
WATCH ABOVE: Steve Makris reports on some new safety features in the Chevy Malibu as well as tech advancements for the home – Apr 24, 2016

EDMONTON – Best technology practices are not necessarily from advanced countries. An in-depth analysis this past week at the annual IFA 2016 Global Press Conference in Hong Kong and Shenzhen China found Canadians have much to learn from countries who are early technology adapters.

German-based IFA, known for its mega consumer electronics show in Berlin every September, along with partner GfK, shared insights on where and how technology will change our lives in the near and far future to more than 375 journalists invited from more than fifty countries.

Asia, China and Korea are ahead of us when it comes to choosing the right technologies for their lifestyles. Looking at their best practices will prepare us for some fundamental changes on how we live.

For example, did you know that currently, 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas? And that number will rise to two-thirds of the global population by 2030?

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Exploding urban growth will drive smart technology says IFA GfK Global Director Consumer Electronics Juergen Boyny. supplied

According to the OECD Development Centre, the size of the middle-class population worldwide could increase from 1.8 billion (24 per cent) to 3.2 billion (41 per cent) in 2020 to 4.9 (58 per cent) by 2030 – more than half of the world’s population.

The number of single-dwelling households will grow to 40 per cent of all households by 2030 as more folks will live in split households, some in different countries dictated by where mothers or fathers will need to live for work. This means “two of everything” will be purchased by one family for separate homes.

That’s a whole lot of folks living in dense areas with money to spend which is good news for the consumer technology industry.

How will technology habits and needs change in this new world? Canadians can get a glimpse on how Asian countries are adopting technology.

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Let’s take a look:

-The traditional “dumb” TV flat panel screen will play a more active roll for home entertainment and keeping in touch online. It will become an extension of our smartphones. Smart TVs and a growing number of streaming services like movies and news off our phones will add more choices to traditional TV content providers like Shaw and Telus who are aggressively trying to keep customers bombarded by smart online entertainment offerings. Shaw’s recent FreeRange TV allows subscribers to watch their TV content away from home in Canada on phones and tablets.

-By 2019, 80 per cent of all internet traffic will be by video that will be shared on multiple screens including flat panel TVs.

-This includes 1.3 billion YouTube users worldwide, uploading 300 hours of video every minute and generating one billion video views per day.

-75 % of Singapore’s online population watches content via free online sites.

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-As they have for phones, apps for smart flat panel TVs will change how TV is watched at home. The TV will be part of an integrated viewing device along with phones and tablets.

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-In 2018 there will be two-billion connected TV devices, half of which will be flat panel TVs.

-Seventeen million UHD TVs were sold in the Asia-Pacific market in 2015 with 27 million expected to sell in 2016. Ready for 8K TV? Led by China, Asian countries are expected to buy more than one million 8K TVs by 2018.

-Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, BoxTV and iflix are expected to offer news, education, video games, sports, shopping and social, giving control back to the consumer.

-Netflix will lead the way for companies looking to become a global network TV content provider with aggressive “winner takes all” global rights.

China has 28 active and planned TV flat panel factories. supplied

-China has 28 active and planned TV flat panel factories and is expected to surpass Korean TV panel production. Look out LG and Samsung! This means more competitive pricing, even on the best TVs.

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-Currently, consumers watch 122 minutes per day of Internet media. That is expected to increase  by 18 per cent in 2017, while the current 179 minutes per day of broadcast TV viewing  will drop by two per cent in 2017. Asian consumers want more Video on Demand instead of fixed time programming.

-More folks want their TVs to access the Internet like their phones. More than 80 per cent of TVs in China and Hong Kong were connected to the Internet – more than 50 per cent on Google OS.


– More than 1.4 billion cellphones will be sold globally in 2016, with China and the Asia-Pacific markets gobbling up the lion’s share. More than two billion will sell in 2022.

– Mid-priced phones (the kind that require no down payment) will be plentiful, with features as good as top models. Keep an eye out for the next wave of ZTE, HTC and Asus phones.

-Consumers will move from novel new gizmos to simply making phones more functional.

-North Americans have some catching up to do when it comes to online mobile payments to match the 83 per cent of Chinese and 62 per cent of South Koreans making online purchases in the past six months.

-In Asia, smartphones are used just as much to access the Internet as PCs.

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-Smartphones are the most popular gadget and their profits are increasing, followed by smart TVs and headphones.  Desktops, digicams and media tablets are falling out of favour.

Dell-XPS-12 features thiness and an innovative quick release keyboard and stand. handout

-But better designed and more functional super-slim notebooks are rising in popularity in China, Japan and South Korea. This explains the newest laptop offerings from Dell’s option-driven XPS 12 , also available in Canada. It offers the right options for your budget but shares cool features like a magnetless quick release keyboard and stand. It uses Type C cabling, replacing the current micro USB and a myriad of other connections that require different kind of cables. The XPS 12 for example has two Type C connections which recharge the device and connect headphones and cameras or phones off the same port. HP’s Spectre Notebook is only 10.5 mm thin with specially molded batteries to fill every empty space in the thin chassis.

-As a smartphone companion, smartwatch sales are expected to double in 2016. They are at the top of the popularity list of connected devices with smartphones. By far, most consumers want smart home and car control from their smartwatches.

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-Developing countries are driving up value sales while emerging countries are driving up five times the volume sales with affordable but smart devices.

Virtual reality gaming is expect to grow.

-VR (virtual reality)-gaming headsets are neither a bubble nor the next big thing. Steady sales are predicted but content and image quality will have to improve.

-Around the world, there are 96,623,876 schools, ranging from elementary to post-secondary!

-More than twice as many consumers still purchase products in real stores than they do online.


Check out our Tough TG-870 Stylus giveaway from Olympus on my Global Sunday Morning News TV segment this Sunday morning for the keyword contest entry. The TG-870 has matured into an awesome take anywhere camera. Check these specs out!

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  • Waterproof to 50 ft (15m), Shockproof to 7 ft (2.1m)
  • Crushproof to 220 lbf. (100 kgf), Freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C)
  • Dustproof
  • 21mm Ultra-Wide Angle Lens, 5x Optical Zoom, 180° Tilting LCD
  • Built-In Wi-Fi & GPS (OI Share & OI Track)
  • LCD Boost maximizes monitor brightness – 2.6x brighter than normal
  • Sportcam Mode (60p Movie, High-Speed Movie, Time-Lapse Movie, Sport Burst)
  • Sport Burst Shooting (sequential shooting with interval shooting)
  • Front customizable function button
  • Self Portrait Mode
  • Super Macro Mode
  • Easy Smart Phone Connection with QR Code Set Up
  • 13 Art Filters
  • Live Composite Mode captures light trails easily
  • Nightscape Movie Mode optimizes night shooting
  • AF Lock for capturing moving subjects accurately
  • Double-lock waterproof battery door

I recently tried out the new Chevrolet Malibu 2016, racking up more than 289 km on Vancouver Island. Its new Teen Driver feature will tame your kids unruly driving. Check my full report on my personal blog.

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