The end of TV and the rise of the microwave oven will define consumer electronics of the future

10 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Twilight of the gods.

“The TV has been challenged for the the last four or five years and, frankly, it’s on the way out unless they reinvent its presentation in the home”, said Peter Corcoran, assistant dean at the National University of Ireland. He spoke yesterday at a CES session sponsored by IEEE and focused on future technology.

“The TV needs to reinvent itself”, Corcoran said. The way to do that is to marry it to smart phones and tablets and make it a two screen experience.

Mobile devices will increasingly dominate the consumer electronics industry. “We’ve seen single function devices being swallowed up by multifunction devices”, said Tom Wilson, a partner at XworX, pointing out that no one has a stand alone MP3 player anymore. Devices originally intended to do one thing will, he speculated, be hacked into doing many unanticipated things: a camera on a car dashboard could watch the driver, monitor his heart rate, detect stress or fatigue, and structure the audio system’s playlist accordingly.

Idle equipment is an opportunity, Scott Linfoot, a consultant with ICCE, pointed out. He said processors in, say, household appliances such as microwave ovens, can be networked together to “use the downtime to crunch data…merge between personal big data and the personal cloud”. The growth of sensor-based home health care, for example, will produce a flood of data that can be sifted and winnowed close to the source, so the relevant bits can be sent off for detailed analysis.

“Anything that crashes Excel is a big data problem”, he said.