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Special Feature The

Special Feature The Smart Home All together now How IT and CE convergence is changing the world Toshiba’s Thomas Teckentrup: “There is convergence from both sides of the IT and CE fence” “People are no longer looking for a Swiss-armyknife device that can do everything” The ‘smartening of the home’ is largely a function of the convergence between IT and CE products. The PC has morphed into an entertainment device and can also serve as a controller for the TV. CE and HA products, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly intelligent — and increasingly integrated. Then there are the plethora of hybrid devices that defy exact classification. If anybody knows what’s converging with what — and how our new fused world will function — it’s Thomas Teckentrup, General Manager of Toshiba Computer Systems Division Europe… Today, with the new connectivity technologies that Toshiba has been developing, we can say that there is convergence from both sides of the IT and CE fence — and the devices are meeting in the middle. The PC, of course, started life in the business environment, but has taken on a plethora of new functions in recent years. As a result, it is beginning to replace many of the classical, stand-alone consumer devices. In other words, PCs have become more ‘consumerised’ and people are now using them for a lot of things that would probably have required five or six different devices in the past. At the same time, you will no doubt have noticed that there are a lot of new devices emerging on to the market, such as our Journé Touch mobile-Internet device. This uses similar computing architecture and performance to create specific types of applications. The consumerisation of the PC architecture is moving more in the direction of creating individual applications for specific usage scenarios. We are seeing a greater diversification of devices, many covering very specific Worlds collide: IT and CE come together in the living room niche applications. Usage scenarios are becoming increasingly individual — people are no longer looking for a Swiss-army-knife device that can do everything. How is this changing the way Toshiba is selling these products? I’d say the way we sell converged products is not dramatically different from the way we sell our classic products. But within the classic retail channels, there is the ongoing challenge of how to group products together in the most effective way. When you go into most of the big retail outlets in Europe, you will typically see ‘cluster’ areas displaying, say, notebooks only, or netbooks only, or TVs only. But there is now a lot discussion going on as to how best to display this new generation of hybrid products. One solution is to create ‘demonstration islands’, to showcase the benefits of converged products. This approach, however, is still in its infancy and is only just beginning to be tried out in the retail environment. Who knows how successful it will prove to be? Perhaps, in time, demonstration islands will become the primary method of showcasing IT product in retail outlets, with the cluster model being relegated to second position. That remains to be seen and will ultimately be determined by the experience of each partner in the retail chain. 26

Special Feature The Smart Home Intel inside the smart revolution Smart TV as the next entertainment frontier “Smart TV is about bringing together the best of the Internet and the best of broadcast television” Smart TV is set to revolutionise television viewing. It’s been led by research and enabled by world-class silicon. The outcome is it’s funky, slick — and just around the corner. So how would Paul Tapp, Consumer Electronics Marketing Manager for Intel EMEA, sum up this smart new world? Smart TV is to traditional TV what smartphones were to traditional mobile phones — and more. It opens up a whole new world of content; it delivers real, full Internet access, not just ‘pieces’ of the Internet; it offers gorgeous new interfaces and input devices, and it brings apps and social networking capabilities right to your TV set. We can finally do away with the question: “What’s on TV tonight?” Smart TV gives us the choice. It presents us with an enhanced programme guide that exposes not just what’s on TV, but also the raft of video content that is available to the TV through the internet. And that’s not even mentioning the gaming, the applications or the web-browsing aspects. But it’s important to also think about how software, and the Internet, will enhance TV watching for all of us. It’s not just about having Facebook or YouTube on your TV. Viewers will be able to interact with TV shows and with each other. For example, a sports fan might be able to download an app that displays stats next to a player during a football match. Or a film club might stream a movie to multiple members to enjoy simultaneously, while also giving them the opportunity to chat with each other in real-time as they watch. Consumers will be able to have smart TV through enhanced televisions, Bluray players and set-top boxes, which contain a new generation of powerful CEoptimised processors. What do you see as being the advantages of smart TV for the consumer? There are many advantages: the ability to access over a billion hours of content on the TV with the click of a button; new user interfaces that will make it easy to find what you want in no time at all; recommendation engines that will dynamically generate channels for you, depending on your viewing habits; apps that will enhance TV with information found on the web; and social and content networking apps that will allow viewers to interact with their friends based on the content they are watching How involved is Intel in the development of smart TV? Intel was one of the first companies to bring the full Internet to the television, and to provide enough processing power to make optimal use of that connected environment. We have taken our expertise from the computing space, leveraged our experience in Internet technologies and woven them together with industry-leading research to design the ultimate CE processor. We have worked hard to make sure the smart TV experience will be within reach of everyone. What is the roadmap for Intel in this field? We have a processor roadmap as well as a usagemodel roadmap. The usagemodel roadmap derived from our ethnographic research drives our CE silicon roadmaps. The usagemodel roadmap has evolved from the concept of people wanting more choice over what they watch to people wanting to have personalised recommendations. It now includes additional pieces, such as video-calling and the ability to control the TV by voice recognition. On the silicon side, we have the extremely powerful Intel Atom CE4100 processor, which offers world-leading performance on all counts. Soon we will announce its successor. For the past three years, Intel has produced new CE-optimised processors like clockwork and we will continue with that trend. Do you see a time when over-the-air broadcast TV will cease to exist? Certainly not any time soon! Smart TV is about bringing together the best of the Internet and the best of broadcast television, and augmenting today’s technologies to make them even better. How will smart TV evolve? It’s going to be fantastic. First of all, people will always like what they watch because it will be recommended based on their viewing habits or by friends, or by what’s hot according to their social networks. So we start with personalised content. Then we move on to informative TV, whereby our smart TVs provide direct access to information and services related to what we are watching. For example, we’ll be able to inquire about a soundtrack and download it to our smartphone. Or we might want more information about an actor, or to find out about a restaurant that features in a film’s opening scene and immediately book a table. We will be able to point-andclick on a piece of clothing being worn by an actress and buy it on the spot. The impact on advertisers will be seismic as well. And then there’s the social Intel’s Paul Tapp: “It’s going to be fantastic” element. In the future, smart TV will generate a variety of social experiences with varying levels of interaction. Connected gaming, popular social networking sites and instant messenger-type services are expected to come on line once they have been adapted to better suit the smart-TV experience. Imagine two friends being able to watch a quiz show together and discuss answers via a video-conferencing window, despite living miles apart. Imagine a daughter sharing personal video clips with her family, or even sending a programme about her mum’s favourite celebrity chef directly to her mother’s TV. Then there’s the realm of virtual self-expression and richer social engagement. Imagine being part of a virtual band with virtual instruments broadcasting a virtual concert from a virtual location… The possibilities really are endless. IFA International • Saturday, 4 th & Sunday, 5 th September 2010 27

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