News Article | March 15, 2015
Editor’s note: Krish Kupathi is the CEO of Mobiliya. It took only seconds for Xiaomi phones to sell out on the e-commerce platform Flipkart in India. This feat is staggering considering the Indian e-commerce industry is a relatively new concept for many consumers. In fact, Indian smart phone sales doubled from 156 million sold in 2013 to 364 million units sold thus far in 2014. With a product in such high demand, mobile manufacturers that want to succeed in India must put three things first: customizable products, regional-market sensitivity and trend incorporation. Google’s product strategy team, which includes many Indian members, understood the necessities and desires of the Indian market. Google designed the Android One specifically to meet the needs of this Indian market segment — often referred to as “the next billion” — which is still transitioning to smartphone technology. Android One came equipped with dual-SIM card capability, multimedia features such as a camera with video functions, Google Maps services, a wide ecosystem of apps and a free data pass from leading operators. While this may seem like the perfect answer to the Indian market’s needs, Android One devices failed to meet projected sales. At the time of its launch, there were three devices already on the market with identical hardware configurations as Android One, all priced about $1.62 apart. What could Google and Android have done to stand out from their competition? First, Google and Android could have been more sensitive to the market’s needs. India is a country of many geographies and diverse consumers. When selling to the Indian market, manufacturers must look at each geography individually, rather than attempt to cater to the country as a singular customer. For example, language is a selling point where value-differentiated products sell most easily. As there are nine major regional languages and many more open markets within India alone, each language pack can be catered to in the same way that manufacturers support a global language list. So, in a country with more than 300 brands selling to approximately 364 million smartphone users, mobile developers need to break the norm. Google and Android should have also offered customized features. Successful brands hoping to drive smartphone adoption in India throughout 2015 will ensure that their smartphones are tailored to meet each individual’s requirements. To achieve this, manufacturers need a strong network of services, apps and platforms that allow consumers to fully and uniquely customize their own devices. Mobile users become more tech-savvy and conscious of desired requirements and expectations of their devices each day — as users everywhere buy their phones for a specific purpose. For example, a consumer purchases a smartphone to stay in touch with his wife, to watch videos because he commutes often on the metro and to take photographs during his overseas travels. This phone and its software should be personalized according to his individual behavior in order to optimize its performance and his user experience. Finally, Google and Android could have better prepared for growing trends. Operating system security, customized services, multimedia capabilities and wearable technology are significantly affecting the success of mobile device sales throughout India, becoming “must have” features for any manufacturer looking to compete effectively in the market. Indian consumers have started shopping for and purchasing products on their phones — an online behavior that’s only become prevalent in the last year. As mobile devices are used more and more throughout enterprise operations, a secure operating system is imperative. The mobile devices of today, for both personal and business users, must include a security portfolio to take on the Indian and similar emerging markets. Location-based apps are poised to change the service industry in India, as Indian consumers are not exclusively buying books and clothes online anymore — the emerging market e-consumer is now purchasing myriad services online, as well. Location-based apps and services will change the way Indians buy vegetables, receive food deliveries, take cabs and rent cars. Personalizing services based upon deep integration of users’ smartphones — an ability only device manufacturers have — will redefine what phones are brought into the market, as consumers will begin to depend more on these customized services than the actual devices. Indian smartphone users will soon have access to long-term evolution (LTE), a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data. With Reliance Jio and Airtel, two leading operators injecting LTE throughout India, consumers can expect lower prices for large data packs, resulting in higher demand for smartphones with multimedia features and apps running on LTE services. Devices catering to this need will have to be on the product line-ups of any original design manufacturers hoping to serve and thrive within emerging markets. The wearable technology trend is spreading rapidly among Indian consumers, as these devices, such as glasses and watches, will soon be more affordable and accessible for the growing number of smartphone users. According to consulting firm IDTechEx, global spending on wearable technology may rise to $70 billion in 2024 from just $14 billion in 2014. To cater to this growing market, device manufacturers will have to ensure that the platform and app ecosystem is ready to support consumer needs. To be successful in emerging mobile markets like India, device manufacturers must connect the “next billion” with next-generation technology. Coupled with preparation for new trends, manufacturers must have considerable technical expertise and a strategy that leverages customizable tools and unique features to meet each market’s specific needs. The potential for breakthrough growth is huge and achievable for companies willing to invest the time, money and resources to innovate and provide distinctive offerings to serve segmented markets.
News Article | August 27, 2015
Ever tried to extricate the pocket lint out of the lightning connector on your iPhone? Ever broken the contacts inside the port when you did so? There’s one reason your local mobile repair shop is geared up to fix a broken power port for you. Wireless charging eliminates this problem. For most iPhone users, the fantasy of wireless charging is also about convenience. We all love the idea of being able to slap our iPhone down on the mat, knowing the device is getting recharged. The problem with existing wireless charging solutions is that they cost more energy to use than plugging the devices in, making them environmentally damaging. Why use more power than you need, and what’s the effect of encouraging a billion iOS users to do so? In what way would that leave the world a better place? Also read: Apple’s Sept. 9 event: What to expect Apple has been researching wireless charging (also called inductive charging) for an incredibly long time – it even has patents for wireless charging for Macs. Its most recent public move was the introduction of wireless charging with the Apple Watch. Back in 2013 it filed details of a highly sophisticated wireless charging system designed to harness near-field magnetic resonance to put power inside phones. While little has shipped (beyond the Watch) at Apple, research continues. Patently Apple today published an Apple patent for a fast and reliable wireless charging technology. As described, this solution seems way more efficient than existing systems, which (as I said) tend to squander a lot of precious energy when used. That’s great for iPhone users, but the potential for efficient wireless charging technologies doesn’t end just there. What’s good for the smartphone is good for the car. An IDTechEx report confirms: “Wireless charging will be on almost all mobile phones and millions of cars by 2025.” Qualcomm in August announced that its WiPower tech can now recharge devices wirelessly through metal. Might Apple adopt this technology to enable wireless recharging of iPhones, iPads and Macs? What we’re going to see in the next few years is that wireless charging isn’t just about smartphones – the world’s “ultimate mobile device,” aka “the car,” will also benefit from improvements in this technology. Qualcomm recently unveiled new, more-powerful wireless charging technology for Formula E safety cars, which suggests deployment in racing cars in future. In the UK, trials of dynamic charging systems designed to keep vehicles charged while they travel will begin this year – these will be electric avenues on existing roads. Eddy Grant must have seen it coming when he wrote 'Electric Avenue': As electric vehicles hit our streets innovation in wireless charging threatens to make existing solutions seem antique. That Qualcomm technology I mentioned above could be included on BMW cars by 2017. Juniper Research this week predicted that wireless charging adoption for mobile devices will increase rapidly in the coming years, with nearly 40 percent of U.S. households and over 20 percent in Europe using wireless charging by 2020. "Wireless charging will ultimately be about more than the power and speed of charge," says Juniper analyst, James Moar. In a thought-provoking follow-up he added, "The ability to pinpoint device location through data exchange enables all kinds of location-based activation functions around the home, the car and in the leisure industry.” It seems possible there’s more to Apple’s plans for wireless charging than making iPhones compatible with an IKEA table lamp or Starbucks mat. That Apple Watch charger might even hint at design concepts that may inform a future Apple Car. Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple? Got a story?Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.
« IMP develops new material to remove nitrogen compounds from crude oil for more efficient desulfurization | Main | easyJet to trial electric taxi system in aircraft; H2 fuel cells, batteries and wheel motors » In a new report, Analyst firm IDTechEx forecasts more than 300 million 48V mild hybrids to be on the world’s roads by 2031. The report, “Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2031”, finds that, although they are not yet in series production, 48V mild hybrid vehicles are likely to sell in huge numbers because they can meet even the stringent emissions legislation planned for 2030, while improving performance to close to that of traditional strong hybrids at half the cost. Because these 48V hybrids are an incremental improvement to existing powertrains and not the new platform, “born electric” approach required for the optimal introduction of electric vehicles, there is less effort involved, IDTechEx suggests. We are talking of on-road vehicles here, particularly cars but with good potential for modernizing existing trucks and buses too. Our interviews over two years in three continents have been rounded off with many interviews across the world in 2016 and there is a near consensus that 48V systems with torque assist reversible rotating machines can sell at a cumulative 300 million plus vehicles in the window of opportunity from mass launch in 2017 to 2031 or so when we expect dominance of pure electric cars. The exciting thing is that new enhancements are opening up all the time, making 48V systems a more and more compelling prospect. For example, CPT switched reluctance motor generators may eliminate the need for a DC-DC converter and silent pure electric take-off will definitely be available for many 48V vehicles, mimicking this feature in EVs. Some major automotive companies are therefore reviewing the investment they make in strong hybrid given that most of the market may now be grabbed by 48V mild hybrids and pure electric powertrains. However, the forecast also projects not only a significant peaking, but then subsequent collapse of 48V systems not long after that, Harrop added.
« IDTechEx forecasts more than 300M 48V mild hybrids worldwide through 2031 | Main | USC team develops highly efficient catalyst system for converting CO2 to methanol; 79% yield from CO2 captured from air » European carrier easyJet plans to test an electric taxi system later this year that utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell stowed in the hold, batteries charged by regenerative braking, and electric wheel motors. The energy can then be used by the aircraft when taxiing without needing to use the jet engines. Due to the high frequency and short sector lengths of easyJet’s operations, around 4% of the airline’s total fuel consumed annually is used when the airline’s aircraft are taxiing. Electronics and system controllers would give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations. The system would therefore reduce, if not remove altogether, the need for tugs to maneuver aircraft in and out of stands, delivering more efficient turnaround times and increased on-time performance. The only waste product is fresh clean water which could be used to refill the aircraft’s water system throughout the flight. easyJet has set new targets for 2020 which will see a reduction of 7% over the next five years compared to its emissions today, which are 81.05 grams CO per passenger kilometer. This follows a decrease of 28% over the last 15 years. An easyJet passenger’s carbon footprint is 22% less than a passenger on a traditional airline, flying the same aircraft on the same route, the carrier said. For the “hybrid” plane concept, took inspiration from students at Cranfield University who were asked to develop ideas for what air travel might look like in twenty years’ time, as part of a competition to celebrate easyJet’s 20th birthday in November 2015. easyJet and Cranfield University signed a three-year strategic partnership agreement last year to share innovation and knowledge. easyJet operates a fleet of over 240 Airbus A319s and A320s with an average age of just 6 years. The airline will start taking delivery of A320neo aircraft from June 2017 and the new planes will be around 13% - 15% more fuel efficient than the planes they are replacing.
I've been documenting my experiences with a used Nissan Leaf, and I often reflect on just how quickly electric vehicles are becoming a mainstream transportation option. True, they are still a rare sight compared to their gas and diesel counterparts, but I am no longer surprised to see several Leafs, Teslas and Volts each time I leave my home. (It does help that my neighbor over the road drives a Volt.) If a new report from the analysts at IDTechEx Research is to be believed, it looks like this trend is set to not only continue—but increasingly it will accelerate and expand into all sectors of the transportation industry including industrial vehicles, boats, planes, buses and more. According to Business Green's write up of the report, the growth between now and 2026 will be "breakneck"—with the total market eventually reaching $500bn by 2026. Interestingly, given how much we TreeHuggers prefer electric buses and worry that electric cars still perpetuate bad planning, the report sees much of the growth (and profitability) coming from industrial and commercial electric vehicles as more cities aim to tackle chronic air pollution. The report also suggests that commercial and industrial markets will be less vulnerable to policy changes than electric cars which, for now at least, are still fairly dependent on tax breaks and/or subsidies to compete with their gas-fueled counterparts. (Of course, this wouldn't be the case if the price of gas matched its true cost...)