Qualcomm continues it seemingly relentless charge to the top of the semiconductor vendor charts with another high profile acquisition. It aims to acquire UK based CSR for $2.5 billion, the deal still needs to go through the usual regulatory hurdles and be accepted by CSR but it certainly seems quite generous.
CSR has had its own fair share of acquisitions and sell offs in recent years, it bought Zoran in 2011 and sold its mobile division to Samsung in 2012.
Qualcomm has made some significant purchases to bolster its wireless connectivity prowess over recent years including its recent purchase of Wilocity, but CSR will be the most significant one since Qualcomm acquired Atheros in 2011 ($3.1 billion).
A successful purchase of CSR will put Qualcomm in an enviable position in the connectivity market and certainly see it become a force to reckon with in IoT.
The market for mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Devices will be worth $2.4 billion in 2014 and grow at a CAGR of 8% to reach $3.8 billion in 2020. It represents a total opportunity of >$22.5 billion in the seven years from 2014 to 2020. This market includes many end device types, including Heart Rate Monitors, Connected Weighing Scales and Smart Sports Clothing, but the major growth markets will be Activity Trackers and High End Sports Watches.
“Heart Rate Monitors and Sports Watches have been around for many years. However, more recently the range of devices that are emerging and the increasing amount of technology being used is drastically changing the market dynamics.”, commented Peter Cooney, Principal Analyst & Director of SensiAn Research. “Activity Monitors, Smart Sports Watches, Heart Rate Monitors and Smart Sports Clothing are all becoming significant markets for device and technology vendors and the list of device types continues to grow.”
SensiAn Research expects that the total market for mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Devices will grow to almost 25 million units shipped per annum in 2014. Much of this growth has been driven by the emergence of Activity Tracker devices and consumer demand for these connected devices. Other devices (such as high end Sports and Fitness Smart Watches and Heart Rate Monitors) are also seeing growth but not in the same volumes as Activity Trackers. Smart Clothing is a category of devices that has long term potential, but it is not expected to reach annual shipments >1 million before 2017. It is expected that simple pedometers will continue to have a place in the market but shipments of these have been severely negatively affected as consumers increasingly choose Activity Trackers and Smart Watches with added functionality.
The mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Device market is served by a wide range of suppliers, from well-established health and wellness/sports and fitness device vendors such as Polar, Garmin, Suunto, Omron and Beurer, to newer more focused vendors such as Fitbit and Jawbone, large multinational sports clothing suppliers such as Nike, and many smaller niche suppliers.
Being a bit of a wireless audio geek it probably comes as no surprise that my recent trip to the End of the Road Festival, UK one of the highlights was the Silent Disco.
In a silent disco the revelers are given wireless headphones and are able to choose (usually) between 2 DJ or music streams to dance and or sing to. It all comes together for a unique and really enjoyable experience. You have to try it to really appreciate it!
It’s not new, silent discos have been a regular attraction at music festivals for a 10+ years, the Flaming Lips (which incidentally I also saw at EOTR and where excellent) played one of the first headphone concerts in 1999 at SXSW) but it’s not a common experience for everyone.
So why add this to the LWW blog? Well it is a good example of what can be achieved with wireless audio that wired audio just couldn’t do, imagine groups of people trying to dance around with wired headphones, it would not end well.
FM has largely been the technology of choice for these systems but there is potential for other wireless technology to be used.
It may be a small market when compared to smartphones but it should still be on the radar for equipment and technology vendors. It is growing in popularity not only at music festivals but for cinemas, weddings, etc.
Broadcom recently released a dev kit that combines both Bluetooth Smart for connectivity and also 5 MEMS sensors, this seems to me to be a good implementation to bring together these two staples of IoT devices and make development of many new devices even simpler.
There are many connectivity suppliers out there and many MEMS sensor suppliers but not many that can do both. It seems likely that partnerships will continue to be made by these largely disparate groups, consolidation is a very likely future trend.
This is not a place to speculate on which companies are likely to consolidate but there are many good combinations that I can think of.
Although the activity tracker market is becoming increasingly crowded there is still room for innovation and for new products to capture the imagination of consumers.
Indiegogo continues to be one of the major enablers for entrepreneurs to reach a wide audience and help get their products to market and move from a concept to production.
The Sync Smartband is another device that is making waves on Indiegogo and has reached its rather modest goal of raising $50k with almost 4 weeks to go before funding close date. The underlying technology doesn’t seem to be all that different from other products on the market – it seems to uses Bluetooth for proximity, tracking and connection to a smartphone/tablet and an accelerometer for motion detection. What sets this product apart from others though is that it is aiming at a family market.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this campaign, our guess is that it is on track to reach $200k+ before the campaign is over.
The latest press release from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) predicts good news for semiconductor suppliers in the short term.
WSTS expects the overall market to grow 6.5% in 2014 (from 2013) to reach total annual revenues of US$325 billion. It stated “All major product categories will show a high single digit growth rate, except microprocessors which will show a soft decline. The growth will be largely driven by smartphones, tablets and automotive. The highest growth rates are shown for the Analog (9.1%) and Sensor (9.1%) category. ”
SensiAn Research’s assumption is that while overall microprocessor revenue may be falling the market for microcontrollers is growing as many low power devices associated with IoT (wearable devices, beacons, etc.) are growing rapidly.
WSTS predict that overall market growth will continue into 2015 and 2016 reaching US$350 billion in 2016.
Another Beacon device has reached its goal on Indiegogo
The Silent Beacon has reached $20k+ in 2 weeks.
What sets this apart from many other beacons is that it uses GPS to track location rather than using Bluetooth for proximity.
It does use Bluetooth as the connection technology though and is capable of being used as a Bluetooth hands free device.