With the holiday festivities now behind us, it’s time to start the year with a clean slate, or at least a new tablet.
After various top 10 lists proclaiming the glories of 2012, it’s time to start star-gazing into the year ahead.
With the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas almost upon us, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released its list of five trends to watch in 2013
, namely; the future of 3-D printing, next-generation TVs and displays, the evolution of the audio market, the mobile revolution in Africa and technology in education.
Personally, I strongly agree with the first. 3-D printing will be massive. More on that below.
I yawn and roll my eyes at the second; no, most people still don’t care about owning 3-D TVs or smart TVs when they can just plug in an Xbox or a Roku, please stop flogging a dead horse, CE industry.
I concur that audio will continue to evolve and grow, that is neither here nor there. It’s not so much a trend as an assessment.
As for the mobile revolution in Africa and technology in education, those don’t seem specifically 2013-ish, and come across as general. Sure, there has been an ongoing mobile revolution in Africa for over a decade now, and there’s no doubt that tablets and apps are revolutionizing education, but I don’t see any major catalyst for either trend in 2013.
In my mind there are three clear and important trends which emerged towards the end of 2012 and are gaining momentum pushing into 2013; 3-D printing, the maker movement, and data analytics.
Let’s address 3-D printing first.
A research report by Wohlers Associates, quoted by analyst Mark Chisholm in the CEA trend list, said the market for 3-D printing in 2011 was about $1.7 billion and would reach $3.7 billion by 2015. In addition, over 23,000 personal 3-D printers and kits were sold in 2011, representing a year-over-year growth of 289.2 percent. 6,494 professional 3D printers were sold worldwide within the same time frame.
Chisholm posits that 3-D printing manufacturers will have to assess how the availability of 3-D printing will affect demand for mass production lines, noting, “The technology behind 3-D printing could present a lower cost of entry, eliminate segments of the supply chain and simplify R&D.
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