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As PC interest wanes, Computex loses its luster

Michael Kan and Martyn Williams | June 8, 2015
Computex struggles to find its focus in the midst of the PC's decline.

Taiwan's ST&T Electric Corp. has been making smart appliances for a few years, but Victor Tsai, a manager with the company, conceded that the market is waiting for IoT standards to develop, and to see what kind of ecosystem for the smart home Google and Apple will build.

It's no longer about producing hardware. "Software is the future," he said.

Other Taiwanese vendors such as Acer and the chip vendor MediaTek were talking up IoT at the show. Both are building hardware and services that will allow them to partner with other vendors to build smart gadgets such as Internet-controlled kettles, or smart belts worn by the elderly to track their location.

Research firm IDC expects the IoT market to reach US$1.7 trillion, but not until 2020, up from $656 billion in 2014.

"One can't help but wonder if Computex might have to change its name," said Bryan Ma, an analyst with IDC. "Is it going to be IoT-tex?"

But a lot of the IoT products displayed here this week could end up serving niche markets. One vendor showed a cat feeder with a built in video camera and facial recognition software, to ensure the right cat gets fed.

Time will tell if IoT becomes a mainstay for Taiwan, or if it's a passing fad.

 

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