Tag Archives: 3D

Three ways to control your future smart home

We’re a nation obsessed by smartphones, with 71 per cent[1] of us owning at least one of these indispensable devices. So it will come as no surprise that our research shows that one of the most important factors when it comes to driving smart home adoption is how easy it is to control from our smartphones.

But as the sector develops, we must consider whether we want to use our smartphone to switch off the lights or turn on the TV. Consumers will crave a more natural and intuitive interface, and here we explore three ways the smartphone could be knocked off its throne as default remote of the connected home.

  1. Voice control

Speaking to inanimate objects might seem like an odd concept now, but in a few years the entire smart home could be running on voice biometrics. Online retail giant Amazon has put a lot of effort into its Amazon Echo: a speaker that you can ask about to play music, give you a morning traffic update, or even tell you the latest football score. Other smart products, such as Samsung Smart TVs now have voice recognition built in too. Yes, you can ask it to change channel and turn the volume up and down without touching the remote control, but it also builds a personal profile of you and every member of your family. It will learn what programmes you watch regularly so as soon as you ask it to ‘play the latest England game’, it knows you mean you want to see the latest goal from Sterling not the cricket or rugby.

  1. Actions and gestures  

If the thought of having to ask your coffee machine to start brewing in the morning is too much to face, why not set it off with a simple smile? Intel’s RealSense 3D camera recognises hand and head movements, and even facial expressions. It’s currently targeted at video gamers who can control the on-screen action with their hand rather than the control pad. But it’s soon expected to become more common in our everyday lives with thermostats, TVs, or laptops that you control with a swipe of the hand, a nod of the head, or even a wink or smile.

  1. Mind control

It sounds like science-fiction but your thoughts alone could control the smart home of the future. The connected home will be full of devices able to monitor particular signals in your brain and see what you want to do before you’ve even had the chance to act upon it yourself. Incredibly, it’s already being developed, and in Eda Akman Aydin’s study at Gaza University all participants were able to learn to control a phone, light, TV and heater just by picking up signals from their brain activity. The technology might be slow to respond at the moment, but it’s a promising start. With our research showing that most European consumers expect to have a smart home in three or more years’ time, there’s still time for cutting edge tech like this to develop and grow.

Above all, what these three interfaces offer consumers is ease of use and what could be simpler than a few words, a gesture or even a thought? Retailers know that convenience wins over consumers and with such straightforward systems the question isn’t if the smartphone will be replaced in the smart home, but when.

[1] From Google Consumer Barometer 2015

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Filed under Home automation, Smart Home, Smart Technology

Desktop 3D Printer market grows slowly while industrial sales stall

Growth in the Desktop/Personal segment of the 3D printer market continued in Q2 2015, while the Industrial/Professional segment stalled. Key indicators suggest that, in the short term, demand for desktop printers will continue to be strong while this is less quantifiable in the Industrial/Professional sector.

The number of Desktop/Personal 3D printers shipped worldwide Q2 2015 was 25% more than in Q2 2014. While this seems strong, over the previous four quarters unit shipments had risen by over 90% year-on-year. Q2 2015 marked the first ever-sequential decline in unit shipments in this category

While global shipments and demand on the Desktop/Personal side of the business remains strong, printer shipments on the Industrial/Professional side of the Additive Manufacturing sector continued to be challenged. Stratasys and 3D Systems are responsible for a significant portion of global unit sales and revenues in this segment, and both have again reported disappointing results in Q2 2015. This slowing down is seen as a short-term phenomenon with many noting that demand still remains strong. Indications are that many end-users are awaiting the entrance of players such as HP which announced its Multi Jet Fusion technology in 2014.

If these trends continue, the Desktop/Personal segment will be on track for a year-on-year unit growth rate of over 50% for 2014/2015, while the Industrial/Professional segment may only see single digit growth rates. It looks as if regional shipments will continue to be strongest in North America, especially in the Desktop/Personal segment. With an increased number of shipments scheduled for the AP region, some regional share-shift could occur in the near term, however. Additionally, the EMEA region also looks poised for growth with announcements of new or expanded B2B and B2C distribution for from the likes of ABCData, Exertis, MediaWorld (Italy), Midwich, Pico and others.

by CC

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Filed under 3D Printing, Market Analysis

Digital Signage: How innovation will shape the future shopping experience

There has been a lot of noise recently about the Internet of Things (IoT). While this is very much aimed at consumers at present, there is also huge potential for corporates, SMBs and retailers, amongst others.  One other trend has been the emerging use of digital signage and this also has a link to IoT.

We have seen an increased uptake of large format displays (LFDs) and dynamic signage. However, when talking to channel partners, it seems that the displays requested do not necessarily need to be particularly large, rather it is more important that they include interactive features.

These have been used by brands to promote their goods interactively in smaller kiosks. The displays are more appealing to the customer, and easier for the brand and kiosk owner to update and maintain. They are easy to roll out and with costs of these monitors dropping, they are also more affordable.

On a totally different scale, we had the pleasure of visiting the ‘supermarket of the future’ while at EXPO 2015 in Milan. This had a multitude of interactive displays in action. Customers may use a touch screen to find out more details about the product they are interested in, or view large screens that display standard product and pricing information until they pick up an item – the display then changes accordingly giving the buyer specific product information like place or region of origin, carbon footprint or nutritional values.

These examples show how the “future” is already much closer to today’s’ technologies, and this also highlights the benefits of smart retail experiences and smart fridges that can tell you what ingredients you still have available and are usually connected to the Internet of Things.

Last but certainly not least, the future would not be complete without the perfectly shaped pasta that you might want to order from your shop for a special occasion: freshly printed to your favourite design or whatever 3D-shape you may have in mind.

by MK

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Filed under Connectivity, Home automation, IoT, Smart Technology