Why IoT is the hot story

VR and wearable tech, the next frontier.

Once, delegates at a show such as the Hong Kong Electronics Fair would be hunting down the latest hardware for distribution through electrical appliance stores. This year, while there are still plenty of small appliances and gadgets exhibited, along with the ubiquitous iPhone cases, the narrative has changed.

The language used by organisers, presenters from leading technology companies constantly referred to connectivity, and the software that will drive advanced applications such as virtual reality, wearable tech and holograms.

The HKSAR Government’s latest Budget for 2016/17 has specifically promoted smart production and research. They argue that, as robotics can enhance production efficiency and quality, then they are validated in funding sizeable investment into making the Robotics & Unmanned Tech zone a major feature at the fair.

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This area is dominated by the latest models of remote-controlled airborne cameras and robots, including smart robots that do not require traditional programming and can be easily trained to handle different tasks.

Simultaneously, the rapid developments in the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, saw the Connected Home showcasing a wide range of smart home automation products with IoT applications.

These include a smart Wi-Fi digital photo frame that allows users to update photos from anywhere via a mobile App, and a smart Wi-Fi video door phone.

In the Wearable Electronics zone, the new addition of an  iAccessories zone presented the latest mobile devices’ smart accessories, bags, screen protectors, stylus pens and mobile chargers.

But at this fair, it was obvious that Wearable Tech has advanced from single devices that are just an accessory to a smartphone.

One of the impressive companies Appliance Retailer met with in Hong Kong was Nexpaq, which has developed the kind of device that offers a module-based experience to existing smartphones, including the iPhone.

Each Nexpaq modular smartphone case for iPhone 6 and Android devices has a built-in battery with up to 1,000 mAh of additional extra juice, and powers customised modules as well.

There are 12 modules currently available, including a battery, amplified speaker, LED flashlight, SD card reader, temperature, humidity and air quality sensors, USB flash memory module, backup hard drive, hotkeys, breathalyzer and laser pointer.

Nexpaq has also been talking to major cosmetic giant L’Oreal to include makeup modules such as lipstick and perfume into the device.

Other zones in the fair included 3D Printing, Audio Visual Products, Healthcare Electronics in the Hall of Fame there are more than 570 international brands, including Bigben, Bougini, Desay, Haier, Hubble, Hyundai, Intel, Motorola, Polaroid and local brands such as Momax and Odoyo.

Under the umbrella of the International IT Fest 2016, the International ICT Expo is also a major event featuring close to 600 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions, including new participants from Brunei, France and the United Arab Emirates. It is running concurrently with the Electronics Fair.

The new E-Commerce zone has been showcasing  a range of e-commerce technology and related services such as platforms, third-party payment, IT infrastructure, system integration and process management. The Hong Kong Electronics & Technologies Association has joined the expo for the first time, with members presenting the latest IoT solutions.

The organisers have also created a platform for start-up companies to present their solutions for different industries and meet with investors for potential business opportunities through the IT Start-ups Investment Matching Gathering. The Office of Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) iStartup@HK pavilion showcases products and ideas from local start-up companies. Incubators including Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation are also presenting products from start-ups.

Meanwhile, another fair highlight has been the Apps Zone, where the latest mobile Apps developed by students and alumni of local tertiary institutions was displayed. Throughout the fair period, the SME IT Clinic has offered free on-site professional consultation services conducted by representatives of leading IT corporations including Alibaba and Yahoo to help companies select appropriate IT solutions.

Other themed zones in the expo include Business Apps on Cloud & Mobile, Digital Marketing, E-commerce, E-logistics & Retail Technologies, Enterprise Solutions & IT Outsourcing, Smartphone & Tablet, and Telecom, Network & Data Centre. To focus on different services and events, there was a particular event theme on each day of the expo: IoT, e-Payment/O2O, wireless technology and IT start-up.

Another highlight was the Internet Economy Summit, which explored the future development of the Internet economy and provided a platform for industry experts and leaders of innovative technology enterprises from the East and West to interact and share insights. The summit featured topical issues shaping the Internet economy such as global technology trends influencing  business strategy, Big Data and IoT as well as Internet-led economic growth on the Chinese mainland and beyond. Speakers were renowned experts and world leaders from ICT enterprises such as Alibaba Group, Facebook, Microsoft and Xiaomi, amongst others.

Sharing by technology thought leaders A total of more than 40 seminars and networking events were organised during the two fairs. Topics covered were “Latest Trends in Consumer Electronics”, “Gateway to the World: The Power of e-Payment”, “Turning Digital Followers into Real Dollars” presented by Yahoo, and the IT Start-ups Investment Matching Gathering.

Events were held on the themes of “Latest Trends Shaping the Wearable Electronics Industry”, “Market Potential along Belt and Road”, “How e-Payment and O2O Revive Retail Industry”, “Internet Finance and Technology Innovation of China & Hong Kong” and “IT @ Re Industrialisation”.

Other seminars today, April 15 include “Intel Corporation: The Growing China Technology Ecosystem – Victories, Challenges and Opportunities”, “Maker and Innovation–New Vision in Robotics”, and “The Next Wireless Innovation.”

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