Nidhi Markanday , Director , Intex Technologies

The consumer electronics (CE) industry is continually growing and evolving. The industry has seen exciting new developments in recent years and at a rapid pace. But the competition here has increased exponentially, leading to aggressive investment and innovation. New technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), smart automation, virtual reality (VR), and others have been doing rounds in last 2-3 years and this year onwards we will witness how they transform CE industry and our way of living with are consumer tech products. Here are some of the key trends to be witnessed in 2018.

Virtual reality. VR has been most popular in the gaming and entertainment industry other than healthcare and education. However, this technology is expected to grow extensively in the next few years as per a forecast by International Data Corporation (IDC). It also states that the headset market will grow to a staggering 80+ million units by 2021. Taking into account the given expectation, there is a huge potential for CE and VR manufacturers. Therefore, the VR trends for CE that are growing at a higher pace are VR computer hardware and personal communication services.

Smart home automation. Concepts like IoT and AI have been doing rounds since last few years with household appliances manufacturers integrating their products through these technologies to make customers’ lives more comfortable and convenient. When we think of the smart home device market, Google and Amazon have taken the lead to capture our imagination with their AI powered smart assistants – Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, a cloud-based voice service available in millions of devices especially the smart LED TVs and speakers. In 2018, the competition is expected to increase, especially from products that can connect to the big three – Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.

Bigger and high-design smart LED TVs. The big players in the CE market are experimenting with innovative hardware and design feature of big LED TVs. Some of the major ones include TVs with flexible OLED displays that help in folding or wrapping up the TV into a small box that gets unfolded vertically whenever you want to watch TV with a click of a button. Another one is The Wall a new kind of modular 4K TV that is so sleek that when it is unveiled it fits your living room wall with ease blurring the difference.

5G technology. With blazing fast speeds and high computing power, 5G tech is poised to change the world – why? The IoT would not be where it is without the support and speed of 5G, which promises multi-gigabit download speeds. And that is just the beginning.

The CE industry is rapidly evolving and suppliers are highly inspired to be first-to-market with unique and differentiated products. However, a successful product in the consumer market quickly attracts copycat products from competitors, leading to severe and swift price erosion. To stay ahead of the competition, manufacturers are forced to continually enhance their products or support emerging technologies.

Due to the easy access of media and the rich quality enabled by the digital revolution, the rise of broadband, accessing media has become easy and rewarding for consumers. For instance, with prices of flat-panel TVs (LCD, plasma, and DLP) falling more than 30 percent a year, large screen HDTVs are showing up in more and more homes. With homes equipped with HDTVs, and HD content available through broadband, cable, and satellite, consumers now enjoy the complete theater experience in the convenience of their homes. HDTVs will become monotonous as more and more HD content and DVD players become available.

Moreover, after achieving success in setting up a components manufacturing ecosystem for the mobile businesses majorly, consumer durables companies have also stepped up their game for the Make in India program with the implementation of vertical integration in durables business starting with the launch of LED panel manufacturing of LED TVs. Further, this has got a boost due to government’s recent announcement of reducing the import duty imposed on a key component of the LCD/LED TV panel by half to 5 percent.