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Analyst: CES 2010 will be a battle of applications

Posted: 23 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics? CES 2010 battle? CE application? connected device?

Innovations!or, at least, fresh variations on old themes!are expected to grace the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show scheduled next month in Las Vegas!with 3D DVD players, 3D TVs, smart phones, and new devices designed for emerging markets, according to Accenture, a management consulting firm.

But be warned. New twists on technologies, connected devices and applications/services surrounding such innovations will put many traditional CE vendors under tremendous pressure. Business-as-usual in 2010 won't be an option for many Japan and Korea consumer companies.

"Sticking to your two-year or five-year product planning won't cut it," said Jean-Laurent Poitou, managing director of Accenture's electronics & high tech industry group.

The crux of the issue is this: "It's no longer devices, but apps that are driving the demand for products, and shaping the future of the devices," explained Poitou in an interview with EE Times. "You need to rely on others!a network of partners!to come up with attractive apps. And you must move quickly."

Let's be honest here. This prospect, as described, is a marked departure from what many smart and elite engineers and managers at leading CE vendors like Sony Corp., Panasonic or Samsung, are comfortable doing!based on their decades of experience dominating the global CE market.

One question goes to the heart of the matter: Can Japan/Korea CE vendors win the battle of new apps?

More important, can they all survive in an increasingly crowded market of newly connected devices?

After all, everyone!including CE manufacturers, mobile phone companies and PC vendors!is entering everyone else's turf in e-book readers, netbooks and smart phones.

New apps showdown
Bringing innovation "outside in" is imperative for companies to discover new apps.

That's much easier said than done, especially for Japan technical management executives. These managers, the cr鐃me de la cr鐃me among elite university graduates, have often grown up in insular environments, starting with college and continuing at the only company they've ever worked for, as they move among product divisions and compete against one another, instead of collaborating.

As a result, Japan corporate culture is often mired in a silo mentality, averse to risk and satisfied with incremental innovations.

Just breaking down this internal silo mentality poses huge difficulties. Beyond that then, how does a hidebound Japan CE giant summon up the wherewithal to crack the emerging world of new apps and cool services?

The simple answer is, it probably doesn't.

It's not that any company needs a wide array of cool new apps, said Poitou. "It could be just a few apps that really work for your audience in a specific market." One example cited by Poitou is a smart phone application that repels mosquitoes sonically. "If you don't go out into the outside world, that's a type of app that you would have probably never come up with or discovered," said Poitou.

He added that collaboration beyond a few familiar fellows is vital. "You need to rely on a network of partners to pull this off."

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