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Wireless Charging and Energy Management Tipped to Boom in 2016

While wearables and the Internet of Things remain hardy perennials on the electronics industry's list of bankable products, going wireless, for both data connectivity and battery charging, is expected to make a real impact this year.

Photo: Hugebot: Proving a knock-out with passing trade.
Hugebot: Proving a knock-out with passing trade.
Photo: Hugebot: Proving a knock-out with passing trade.
Hugebot: Proving a knock-out with passing trade.

Going wireless, whether for increased data connectivity or more convenient battery charging, is a key product trend, according to attendees at the autumn edition of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Products and software for improving consumer products' battery life were also seen as another coming trend for the year ahead, while both the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology remain centre stage.

The autumn event saw two new zones – Robotics and Unmanned Tech and Smart Tech – debut at the fair. These joined a number of veterans of the event, including the 3D Printing Zone and the Wearable Electronics Zone. In the meantime, this iteration of the show also saw the Hall of Fame play host to 510 global brands, including Binatone, De'Longhi, Fujikon, Goodway, Motorola, Philips, Tunbow and VTech.

Given the rapid advances in smart devices and mobile technology, a new conference, exploring the business applications of the Internet of Things, was seen as a timely addition to the show. Indeed, its clustering of many globally-recognised experts in the field was viewed as one of the highlights of the event.

That aside, an on-site survey by Nielsen Hong Kong found that wireless systems were widely seen as the one particular technology that was likely to come into its own during the course of 2016. Overall, it was seen as most likely to make an impact in the areas of wireless charging for smart appliances and energy management.

Over on the showfloor and it was battery solutions, 3D printing, robots and wearables that seemed all but ubiquitous. On the wearables' front, VTech, a Hong Kong-based supplier of electronic learning products, was showcasing the Kidizoom Smartwatch DX, a system that comes with a built-in camera and motion sensor. The company also had on offer its VSmart Wire-free Home Monitoring System, featuring a baby monitor with ultra-low energy sensors, as well as a high-definition remote-access camera with pan and tilt functions.

Among the newcomers at the fair was Hong Kong-based De'Longhi Kenwood APA. Explaining his reasons for signing up for the show, Albert Yeung, the company's Managing Director, said: "We have now expanded our production capacity by opening two new factories. We are ready to accept OEM orders and we are looking to promote our facilities to buyers at the fair."

Over on the stand of Jide Technology, a Beijing-based software company specializing in the Android platform, Ben Chan, the company's International Sales Director, said he was in Hong Kong to build on the success of an earlier Kickstarter campaign. Said to be the most succesful Kickstarter project in China, the company's Remix Mini Operating System allows users to work and play within the Android app ecosystem while taking full advantage of a number of intuitive PC features, such as a taskbar, multiple windows and multi-tasking, as well as the facility to use a mouse and keyboard.

Photo: VTech: Highlighting the Kidizoom.
VTech: Highlighting the Kidizoom.
Photo: VTech: Highlighting the Kidizoom.
VTech: Highlighting the Kidizoom.
Photo: Yuneec International: Home-grown drones.
Yuneec International: Home-grown drones.
Photo: Yuneec International: Home-grown drones.
Yuneec International: Home-grown drones.

Chan said: "To date, we have received a great deal of positive feedback from a number of different countries. By simply leveraging on already existing power efficiencies found in mobile CPU architectures, Remix Mini is able to save you so much more in terms power, without sacrificing anything when it comes to performance."

Another first-time exhibitor in the Smart Tech zone was the overseas computing department of Haier, China's leading electronics manufacturer. Wu Guanglei, the department's Business Director, said: "Overall, the fair provides us with an ideal channel to introduce our IT products and solutions to buyers from all over the world."

As well as meeting existing customers to discuss new orders, Guanglei said the company had also met with some 10 potential new buyers from Africa, Asia, Europe and the US. He said: "They were particularly interested in our notebooks and 2-in-1 tablets."

Another first-time exhibitor was Y3K, a UK-based CCTV company, in Hong Kong to promote what it billed as "the next generation of home security". According to David Watkins, the company's National Accounts Manager, Y3K has developed its own app – Smart-I Protect – in order to control and monitor a range of smart in-home security products. To date, the company is said to have received interest from buyers in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, India, South Korea and the US.

Over in the Robotics & Unmanned Tech zone, Hugebot, a seven-foot-tall gaming robot, manufactured by Hong Kong's Human-Robot Technology, was drawing crowds with its ability to engage in mock-battles with passing visitors. Obviously delighted with the attention, Nicom Lai, the company's Founder and Chief Executive said: "The Hugebot has been widely covered by the local TV and newspapers. It was inevitable, then, that a lot of buyers would be attracted to our booth.

"A number of buyers from the mainland, Europe, the UAE and the US have now made enquiries about our robot and we have already received several confirmed orders during the course of the show."

Staying in the Robotics & Unmanned Tech Zone and Yuneec International, a Hong Kong-based model planes specialist, was keen to highlight its latest range. Lawrence Wan, the company's Sales and Marketing Manager for the Asia-Pacific Region, said: "We launched manned electric-powered planes at the end of 2014 and moved into drones in February 2015. Intel has now invested US$60 million in our company, a sign of the growing interest in drones."

Over in the 3D Printing Zone, Kowloon-based CEL Technology had chosen the show to announcement its recent partnership with ColorFabb, a Dutch filaments producer. The first fruit of this new tie-up is the Robox SmartReels 3D printer.

Highlighting the benefits to new and existing users, Eryk Chiu, the company's Business Development Manager, said: "This partnership means Robox customers can print with a rainbow of colours using ColorFabb's co-polyester filament."

In the Hall of Fame, Trend Power, a company based in the New Territories' Region of Hong Kong, was attracting a lot of interest with its Nova-Z system, a product that combines air quality and humidity sensors with a Wi-Fi speaker. Yvonne Lo, the company's Head of Business Relations, said: "The Nova-Z works seamlessly with our app, monitoring the quality of the air around you, ensuring you are always aware of your surroundings."

Also on show at the Trend Power stand was Nova-Weave, a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker, and Share Foil +, a power bank featuring a 6600mAH Li-Polymer battery. The Share Foil + Wi-Fi repeater function enables users to connect all of their devices to Wi-Fi – while staying in a hotel for instance – enabling up to 10 devices to be connected at the same time.

Photo: Rise of the robots: Droid domination looms for 2016.
Rise of the robots: Droid domination looms for 2016.
Photo: Rise of the robots: Droid domination looms for 2016.
Rise of the robots: Droid domination looms for 2016.

The Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13-16 October 2015.

Simon King, Special Correspondent, Hong Kong

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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