Consumer electronics in the Gulf: The big 5 trends for 2013

South Korean technology major LG Electronics has assembled its list of the big five trends for 2013 that will shape the industry in the years to come.

According to DY Kim, President of LG Electronics Gulf, smart homes, privacy and data security, mobile phones, personal cloud computing and innovation will be the New Year’s trends.

Imagine a home in which the microwave dishes out the soup as soon as you step out of your evening shower, or the nightmare posed by TVs (with built-in cameras) that can be hacked. Yes, it is going to become more interesting this year and beyond.

Here are the top trends that Kim shared with technology buffs in the UAE.

# 1 Smart Homes will become a reality

The smart home concept has been around for years. Who does not wish for a smart home? Nowadays, the technology has come a long way and the applications are a lot more intriguing. Consumers that were excited about the smart home concept back then were sci-fi fans and tech enthusiasts. Now, however, the smart home concept is appealing to a much wider spectrum of consumer demographics because the idea is now intrinsically linked to the efficiency concept. The technology is now available to connect household appliances together and oversee the entire energy consumption of each household. Not only can energy use be monitored, it can also be managed to achieve a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

#2 The battle for your privacy and data will become fiercer

We have all been witnessing the battle about protecting individual’s privacy and data security. Not only the battle will continue in 2013, but it will also intensify. Consider the more advanced TVs hitting the market in 2013 equipped with integrated components such as microphones and cameras. The cameras use face recognition technology to identify which users are in the room, and the microphones listen for voice commands. While the technology is to be applauded, it also draws frightful questions. If these TVs could be hacked, this would constitute a deeply worrying violation of privacy.

#3 Go, go mobile

People want to have their cake and eat it on the go; the analysts at IDC believe that around 391 million PCs will be shipped in 2013. The majority of those PCs, about 235 million of them, will be portable. This is how we know that Mobile is in. Alongside those 391 million PCs, a whopping 801 million smartphones will also be shipped.

According to former director of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, China should account for about 300 million of those smartphones by the end of 2013, adding to the 200 million that already exist in the country. India will push the smartphone boom even further. However, regions such as the Middle East and Africa are also hopping on the bandwagon, adding additional markets for manufacturers to delve into. With the majority of the world accessing the internet via smartphones, this has a significant knock-on effect for both handset providers and app developers. Expect to see big innovations in 2013.

#4 Personal cloud computing will take off – and into your living room

Cloud computing has already won favour the world over for business applications, so much so that using a single PC as the sole repository of data is a dying concept. As more and more consumers adopt cloud storage, there will be a lot of security concerns. Personal cloud computing is primed to take off in 2013. As more and more consumers access data from a wide array of devices including tablets, PCs, smartphones and even TVs, there is a growing need to synchronize all of the data from the configured devices and send that data to a personal, localized cloud. 2013 looks to be the year that the personal cloud moves out of the home office or study and into the lounge room.

#5 Innovation will remain key

Finally, innovation will be the key in 2013; the user experience will play a larger role in allowing manufacturers to differentiate themselves through innovation. Whereas a decade ago consumers would shell out their hard earned cash for the most powerful processors or the fastest load times, consumers today want innovations that improve the ways in which we interact with our devices.