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XR headset shipments declined 49% YoY in Q2 2023. The decline was significantly more than in previous second quarters as the market struggled with lackluster demand.
The performance of the newly launched next-generation Sony PSVR2 (PlayStation VR2), along with the price reduction on Meta’s Quest 2, saved the global market from a bigger decline.
Meta captured half of the shipments in Q2 2023, similar as in Q1 2023. The share decline was a result of the highly anticipated launch of Sony’s successor to its 2016 headset PSVR.
2023 is the year of next-generation VR headset launches. The PSVR2, E4 and Vive XR Elite are some of the prominent launches so far. And then, of course, Apple has announced its Vision Pro and Meta its Quest 3.
WATCH: AjnaLens VR Training – Teleporting Trainees to Job Site
For a more detailed AR & VR headsets (XR) shipments tracker, click below:
This is a comprehensive database of Extended Reality (XR) headset model level shipments by quarter including retail price and 30+ specifications and features. It covers tethered as well as standalone Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headset models. We are tracking 35+ XR brands and 70+ headset models by memory variants. Covers 99% of the global market Data: Model level shipments of XR headsets including retail price, specs, and features. Time Period: Q1 2020 – Q2 2023
For detailed insights on the data, please reach out to us at sales(at)counterpointresearch.com. If you are a member of the press, please contact us at press(at)counterpointresearch.com for any media enquiries.
Apple announced Vision Pro at the June 5 WWDC with a launch price of $3,499.
It will be released early next year starting with the US, the biggest XR headset market with over 70% share in 2022.
Featuring advanced specs and a sleek design, it has enterprise, gaming, content and connectivity use cases.
However, with a price of 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, it is unlikely to ship over half a million units in its first year.
Apple made its long-anticipated foray into the extended reality (XR) market with the announcement of a $3,499 headset, Vision Pro, at this year’s WWDC on June 5. While Apple is calling it an augmented reality (AR) headset, it is effectively a mixed reality headset based on video pass-through, although done better than anyone else. This is an important step forward for the technology which may eventually replace smartphones, personal computers and televisions.
Apple’s short-term and long-term prospects
With such high expectations, Apple’s stock reached an all-time high before the announcement but fell during the keynote address. This shift in investor stance reflects the challenges that complicate this opportunity.
Apple has also not jumped on to the AI bandwagon so far as it is not its core strength but may yield dividends in the nearer term, thus influencing investor perception of the stock’s attractiveness.
Given primarily the hefty price tag, which is 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, the first iteration of the headset is unlikely to sell more than half a million units in the first year of availability. Investors’ reaction also reflects this. Apple’s concern, however, is not the day’s stock movement but the next decade and beyond of technological evolution – about a post-smartphone future and how to secure it.
WATCH:Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features
Cutting-edge technology and Apple premium explain the price tag
In order to secure this long-term future, after eight years of work and 5,000 patents, Apple has announced what it describes as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever”. It features Apple’s powerful M2 processor with its custom R1 co-processor that helps manage the computational load from multiple cameras and other sensors in the spatial computing device.
Its two microOLED displays offer an unrivalled viewing experience with more than a 4K-per-eye resolution. So far, only tethered VR devices by Czech-based VRGineers and China-based Pimax have offered headsets with 4K display but in LCD.
The Vision Pro also takes the industry forward with an immersive audio experience enabled by two amplified drivers in audio pods next to each ear.
In demos, Apple employees scanned reviewers’ ears and their surroundings to calibrate spatial audio, besides scanning their faces for Face ID.
The device uses advanced scanning to personalize the experience. Facial scanning is done to create a representation of the user’s face. This is used in, for example, virtual conferencing. Eye movements and facial expressions are rendered faithfully. The device also scans the environment to optimize the audio settings to deliver accurate spatial audio.
With an external battery pack, Vision Pro is just shy of being completely self-sufficient
The headset does not come with controllers as it uses advanced eye, voice and gesture tracking through 12 cameras, 6 microphones and 5 sensors.
An external battery pack, however, prevents the device from being completely standalone despite featuring multiple integrated chipsets which enable autonomous computing. A two-hour battery life, then, is disappointing.
Developer kits and six months to create apps for wide-ranging use cases
The gestation period of six months before the headset is available for purchase in early 2024 in the US will enable developers to build, iterate and test apps on the headset. They carry a heavy weight of expectations to update existing apps for the spatial environment and to create killer new apps offering use cases for both consumers as well as enterprises on Apple’s all-new VisionOS platform.
Scale and size to allow Apple to forge partnerships critical for the technology’s success
The partnerships, such as those Apple has struck with Disney, Unity and Zeiss, are also key to ensuring the success of Vision Pro, and indeed the technology in general, especially in the early days when buyers may need every push to try out a technology with which few are familiar.
Meta has tried this for its enterprise-grade headset, the 2022-launched Quest Pro, with indeterminate although likely unremarkable outcomes. Apple’s advantage lies in its ability to entice a whole host of firms, including Hollywood studios, to create custom content for its headset.
Concerns and challenges that may obstruct Apple’s path to spatial success
Vision Pro is clearly only an early step in what is going to be a long journey before face-worn computers become mainstream. There are several obstacles that obstruct this path and will need to be overcome to realize such a future.
While Apple’s ski goggle-like design is sleek and attractive, widespread acceptance can be attained by compressing similar compute in a compact eye-worn glass-like design.
The headset offloads some of its weight to an external battery pack but is still described by reviewers as being hefty. For a headset to become mainstream, it will need to be lightweight enough to be comfortably worn for extended periods.
Eventually, the battery needs to be integrated with the main headset while concurrently reducing its weight. Besides, the battery life will also need to be increased to at least 8-10 hours before headsets can come close to becoming integral parts of our daily lives.
In this regard, Apple has already taken steps to allay concerns by ensuring that consumer data is protected, and in some cases, not even accessible to Apple. With its current headset looking clearly like a tech device and unlikely to be used for extended periods in public, Apple has also dodged one of the bullets that killed Google Glasses – the fear of headset users breaching the privacy of unsuspecting passersby. However, as Apple’s headset becomes sleeker, these concerns will have to be addressed.
Apple’s success will be the industry’s gain
Regardless of these challenges, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the segment has already generated an upswing in consumer interest towards XR hardware that perhaps even Facebook’s name change to Meta did not. This interest is likely to translate into increased sales of headsets of all types. For those unable to afford Apple’s prices, or unwilling to wait long enough for it to become available for sale (especially outside of the US), rival headsets will be good alternatives to try out the tech.
So, even if the launch of what Apple described as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever” may not be an iPhone moment, it is a positive step and will take the industry forward.
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Meta announced the launch of the Quest 3 headset on June 1. To be retailed at just under $500, it will be released in autumn. The Quest 3 will have both VR and MR capabilities.
The Quest 2 has also received a $100 price cut, with the entry-level variant available at $299 starting June 4.
Together with its newly discounted predecessor, the Quest 3 is expected to help the company maintain market dominance for now.
Meta’s announcement came days ahead of WWDC, where Apple will reportedly announce its own MR headset.
London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – June 5, 2023
The announcement of Meta’s Quest 3 headset at $499.99 and the Quest 2’s $100 price cut to $299 just before the rumoured launch of Apple’s first mixed reality (MR) headset shows the social media parent’s determination to lead the extended reality (XR) headset market.
Meta described the Quest 3, which will have both VR and MR capabilities, as its “most powerful headset yet”. The announcement of a successor to the best-selling XR model in history after three years of no consumer-grade headset launches by Meta is an important step forward for the company as well as for the industry.
In line with the season’s flavour, mixed reality, the Quest 3 features the next generation of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and yet to be disclosed but likely superior display resolution, memory, battery life and weight.
The Quest 3’s launch in autumn, together with the price cut of the Quest 2, will be enough to maintain Meta’s market dominance in terms of shipments for the foreseeable future.
Apple’s expected announcement of a $3,000 MR headset during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5 will create the biggest challenge to Meta since its entry into the segment through the acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014. If Apple succeeds in bringing the cost down and gaining a foothold in the market through successive iterations of the $3,000 headset, it may supplant Meta as the biggest revenue generator in the market which Meta has dominated thus far both in terms of revenue and shipments.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
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One in three construction machines sold in 2022 had embedded connectivity.
The connected construction machinery market is expected to see an annual growth rate of 11% over the next eight years.
The top five players – Caterpillar, XCMG, Sany, Komatsu and Volvo – captured 60% of connected construction machine shipments in 2022.
San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – April 27, 2023
Global connected construction machine shipments grew 6.7% YoY in 2022 despite a decline in overall construction machine shipments, according to Counterpoint’s latest Global Connected Construction Machine Market report. One in three construction machines sold had embedded connectivity. The slowdown in China’s construction activity impacted the shipments of Chinese players and overall global shipments. However, due to a 10% YoY increase in the average selling price (ASP) in 2022, construction machine revenues grew 3% YoY to reach $213 billion. The ASP increased due to supply shortages and addition of features like electrification and connectivity.
Construction machines refer to equipment, machinery and vehicles specially designed for construction tasks such as excavation, loading and unloading, moving materials, material handling and demolition. The construction machinery also includes mining machinery applications like rock drilling, rock cutting, crushing and tunneling. Engineering and construction projects are complex and difficult to manage. Connected machines help measure construction activity, which is regarded as a barometer of economic prosperity for any region.
Commenting on connected construction machine brand dynamics, SeniorResearch Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “Construction machinery is a highly concentrated market with the top five players – Caterpillar, XCMG, Sany, Komatsu and Volvo – capturing 60% of connected construction machine shipments in 2022. Smaller players like Liebherr are aiming to make inroads by providing connectivity in a larger proportion of their SKUs. JCB and Hitachi cater to the lower end of the market by offering cost-effective solutions and have fewer machines with connectivity. We expect significant growth opportunity for connectivity for these brands in the coming years.”
The demand for connectivity is driven by theft prevention, predictive maintenance, automated operations, distance monitoring, AR/VR-based simulation and usage-based applications like insurance, vehicle financing and rental services. The tracking of machine assets also helps schedule construction operations in a better way and complete projects on time. Orbcomm, Teltonika, Calamp, syniotec, Machinemax, Trackunit, VisionTrack, Tenna, Trimble and DPL Telematics are a few among many players embedding connectivity in heavy construction machines while offering complimentary services like connectivity and device management platforms.
Commenting on the market outlook, Associate Director Mohit Agrawal said, “Global construction machine shipments are likely to remain flat and reach 2.33million units by 2030. The current downtrend is expected to last another two to three years. We expect the market to rebound from 2025 onwards. The scarcity of skilled technicians, laborers and drivers will fuel the growth of automated machines. We expect nearly 75% of construction machines to have embedded connectivity by 2030 as the industry shifts towards electrification and autonomous operations. Further, we expect the connected construction machinery market to see an annual growth rate of 11% over the next eight years. Currently, 4G is the leading technology in the connected construction machine market but we expect 5G to be the most preferred technology by the end of the forecast period.”
Feel free to reach us at email@example.com for questions regarding our latest research and insights.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
Smartwatches, AR/VR and smart glasses were everywhere at MWC.
An unconventional attempt from Huawei stands out for smartwatch. OEMs seem to have begun to consider a new form factor beyond functionality.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces, XR developer platform will help expand the XR market by enabling more diverse content development.
Wearable devices are evolving and their future market prospects appear to be bright. Innovations in this sphere are getting more intriguing not only for device manufacturers, component suppliers, application developers and platform companies, but also for potential consumers. During MWC Barcelona, 2023, various new products and technologies were showcased that attracted a lot of attention. Here is a summary of some of the key wearable innovations announced during the event:
Smartwatch: Smartwatches have become the new battleground for smartphone OEMs. To differentiate their products amid intensifying competition, OEMs are emphasizing on conventional watch designs or on experimental form factors.
Xiaomi S1 Pro: During Xiaomi’s Mi 13 series smartphone launch event, the company emphasized on its latest smartwatch the S1 Pro’s traditional design and connectivity with other devices. The long battery life of up to 14 days is one of the device’s key strengths. Through this launch event, Xiaomi attempted to solidify its ecosystem by establishing connectivity between smartphones and wearables, such as their smartwatches and earbuds.
Huawei Watch Buds and Watch GT Cyber: Huawei presented two experimental smartwatches at MWC 2023. The Watch Buds is a combination of a smartwatch and a set of earbuds. The device is designed to store earphones inside the watch display. Meanwhile, the GT Cyber’s design allows the bezel and strap to be separated. This indicated the possibility of the device evolving into a modular smartwatch like LG’s G smartphone series in the past.
Smart Glasses: Many Chinese consumer IT vendors who were absent during CES participated in MWC 2023, exhibiting their latest smart glasses. As smart glasses equipped with AR functions become mainstream, light and comfortable-to-wear glasses-type smart wearables are emerging as a form factor that can provide optimal user experiences for both consumers and businesses in the future.
OPPO Air Glass 2: OPPO’s smart glasses, the Air Glass 2, was unveiled at OPPO INNO Day in January 2023. The company focused on the ultra-light design of the glasses, which can be worn for a long time, as it weighs only about 38g. The device is equipped with the world’s first diffractive waveguide lens developed in-house. A voice-to-text conversion function has been added for the hearing impaired, in addition to the basic functions of AR glasses, such as making a phone call, translating and navigating. This is still only a concept product as mass production of the mounted Micro LED display has not yet been achieved. It is highly likely that it will take a long time to commercialize the glasses or for them to be sold only in China on a small scale.
ZTE Nubia Neovision Glass: ZTE unveiled its first AR smart glasses as the company pursues versatility to meet users’ needs not only in daily life but also in work environments, sports and entertainment. It has a Micro OLED display and will be released in China soon at a price of RMB2,999.
TCL NXTWEAR S: These smart XR glasses from TCL won the Best Connected Consumer Device Award at GLOMO 2023. The TCL NXTWEAR S is tethered with other devices such as smartphones and PCs. As its marketing concept, TCL emphasizes that the glasses appear like a 130-inch screen in front of the user’s eyes. In addition to the Micro OLED display, the glasses are equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor to focus more on gaming use cases. After TCL’s previous smart glasses, the NXTWEAR AIR, won the Most Innovative Award of The Year at CES 2022, the latest award at MWC proves that TCL has advanced the technology in this field.
Mymanu Titan: Mymanu, a UK-based audio technology company founded in 2014, showcased the world’s first voice-controlled eSIM-enabled earbuds, called Titan, which allows a standalone connected “phone-free” experience. The earbuds also have built-in live voice translation. The eSIM feature allows Titan to connect to a 4G network with which a user can perform some basic tasks that do not require a smartphone, such as playing music, making calls and sending texts.
Google finally announced its eSIM plans allowing Android to streamline the eSIM transfer experience while switching phones. Deutsche Telekom will be one of the first to adopt eSIM transfer on Android smartphones.
Docomo’s Motion Sharing Platform: Human augmentation platforms facilitate remote sharing of feelings and sensations using special wearables. This will be a possible use case when 6G is commercialized. The connected robot moves according to the movements of the user, who is equipped with motion sensors. This is expected to be highly useful in dangerous work environments or in remote medical care and healthcare.
(Demonstration of Docomo’s Motion Sharing platform using 6G at MWC)
Mudra Air-Touch: Israel-based Wearable Devices exhibited the Mudra Air-Touch feature, a neural input technology, and the Mudra Band for Apple Watch. These are the company’s solutions to integrate its technology into consumer products. The Mudra Air-Touch feature seamlessly switches control from devices such as iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and Apple TV devices, as well as other connected devices, including smart glasses, using subtle finger and wrist movements from hands-free and touchless devices.
Rollable Display: Lenovo attracted a lot of attention with its concept devices, the rollable Motorola smartphone and the rollable notebook. These devices are equipped with a rollable display developed by BOE. The rollable display was first introduced by LG Display at CES in 2018. Since then, major display panel makers such as Samsung Display, BOE, Visionox and CSOT have disclosed that they have rollable technology. The rollable display technology fits very well with the requirements of wearable devices to be worn on parts of the body. Therefore, this will be an important part of the expansion of the wearable market, but before that, the excessively high price issue needs to be resolved.
Google Keep for Wear OS: Through Google Keep for Wear OS, Google has added a function that allows smartwatch users to make notes or to-do lists by simply tapping the clock screen. Wear OS 3+ also has a new sound mode, display mode and gray scale to improve the clock’s accessibility.
(Google Keep for Wear OS / Image source: Androidpolice.com)
Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces: Qualcomm’s most impressive announcement was its collaboration with seven carriers (Vodafone, Deutsche Telecom, Telefonica, KDDI, DoCoMo, T-Mobile and China Mobile) for the XR expansion ecosystem. Based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces’ XR developer platform, helping these carriers support and commercialize developers in their respective countries will generate more diverse content keys to expand the XR market. It is expected to grow into an XR platform that can compete with Apple’s ARKit.
At CES 2023, which was held in early January, interest in XR was hot, and the number of innovation awards related to virtual/augmented reality surged to 25 in two years. Several startups and manufacturers also showcased new XR-related technologies along with their products at the show.
Here, we will focus on two of the XR-related technologies showcased at CES 2023 – a transparent display with XR and hands-free controllers. These technologies are the foundation for XR to expand into various areas such as health and education.
1. Transparent display with XR technology
Transparent display categories include HUD (head-up display), HMD (head-mounted display), transparent OLED, and more. HUD is often used as a display for vehicles. However, until now, commercialized HUD for vehicles has taken up only a part of the front glass. But at CES 2023, several automakers introduced AR HUD with more advanced forms and expanded areas.
Most prominently, BMW unveiled ‘BMW i Vision Dee’ and announced its plan to commercialize by 2025 advanced HUDs that use the entire front glass. Also, BMW will expand its personalization experience by allowing the driver’s avatar to be displayed in the side window. This advanced HUD is combined with the MR slider to set a range of information displayed on the HUD. The range varies from driving-related information to virtual/augmented reality information.
BMW i Vision Dee
However, in the future, if the transparent OLED introduced by LG Display at CES 2023 is commercialized, it could replace HUD that transmits images to the windshield. LG Display introduced a concept car equipped with a 55-inch transparent OLED at CES 2023. The transparent OLED serves as a window, provides content such as advertisements and news, and provides information on places outside the window in real-time through AR technology. This means that AR technology can expand opportunities to provide various experiences to all occupants, not just driver assistance features.
LG Concept Car With Transparent OLED
Source: LG Display
2. Hands-free tracker
Among the CES’ innovation awards in the virtual/augmented reality category, controllers were included to highlight how they allow users to have various experiences hands-free.
Contact Glove of Japanese company Diver-X is a haptic VR controller in the form of gloves. The glove is a tactile controller compatible with all SteamVR games, allowing VR gamers to enjoy an in-depth gaming experience. In addition, the device can capture the user’s hand movements and manipulate buttons and sticks with only finger movements.
Contact Glove by Diver-X
Another innovation award-winning Surplex, a body tracker in the form of shoes, was announced by the Chinese company Shenzhen Qianhai Xiangfang Future Technology. The device, with its 480 embedded pressure sensors, has the advantage of not being space constrained. Also, it is compatible with all SteamVR-compatible headsets such as the Oculus Quest 2. Such hands-free controllers are expected to be of great help in expanding the use cases in the industrial segment as well as the experience of general consumers in virtual/augmented reality.
Surplex Full-body Tracking Shoes
In 2021, the total XR market size was about 11 million units and Meta was the main player with about 75% market share. According to the latest Counterpoint Global XR(VR/AR) Forecast, the XR market is expected to grow to about 63 million units by 2027. However, Meta is expected to lose its market share as new players such as Apple will enter the market. Therefore, competition in the XR market is expected to intensify, and manufacturers will constantly diversify the use of XR devices to defend market share. Accordingly, it is anticipated that new technologies related to XR will continue to pour in.
At the first full-fledged CES event after the pandemic, the excitement was palpable. The event did not disappoint in terms of the variety of announcements across the internet of things (IoT) spectrum. Our teams, both on-ground and online, tracked over 260 announcements made by over 240 companies covering a range of segments across consumer, enterprise and industrial.
Devices formed the most popular category, with three out of every five announcements relating to this segment. As expected, the consumer and smart home sectors took center stage, but it was intriguing to see new launches in industry segments such as agriculture. Additionally, smart home, metaverse, augmented reality, healthcare and robotics were among the most talked about segments, attracting large crowds.
Here are the top 10 IoT announcements from this year’s CES, according to Counterpoint analysts:
MediaTek introduced the Genio 700 IoT chipset targeting industrial, smart home and smart retail applications. This chipset will be available by Q2 2023. MediaTek also showcased Wi-Fi 7-supported products like gateways, mesh routers, televisions, streaming devices, smartphones, tablets and laptops partnering with TP-Link, Lenovo, Hisense, ASUS, BUFFALO INC, Skyworks, AMD, Qorvo, LitePoint and MAC MLO among others.
MediaTek is slowly diversifying its offerings beyond smartphones. The availability of products with superior capabilities and increased partnerships will help MediaTek increase its footprint in the IoT market.
2. Smart Home: TP-Link expands Tapo smart home products
TP-Link unveiled new products under its Tapo line of smart home devices. These new additions include cameras, a doorbell camera, a smart video door lock, robot vacuums and a smart hub home connection center. Besides, the company also launched its first Matter-certified smart plugs, smart switches, smart outlet extenders and smart bulbs. The launch of these products at CES 2023 highlights TP-Link’s focus on expanding and diversifying its offerings in the smart home market.
The company’s adoption of the Matter protocol for its Tapo and Kasa lines of smart home products shows its commitment to making smart home technology more accessible and user-friendly.
In addition to the smart home products, TP-Link also showcased Wi-Fi 7-supported router and gateway solutions for use in homes, enterprises and ISPs. The integration of Wi-Fi 7 will improve the gaming experience, as well as increase productivity in enterprise applications.
3. Asset Tracking: Pod introduces paper-thin tracker with SODAQ, Lufthansa
Pod Group, in partnership with SODAQ and Lufthansa Industry, has developed a paper-thin smart label tracking device that utilizes low-power cellular connectivity (LTE-M) for a battery life of up to six months. This sustainable, eco-friendly device uses alkaline batteries instead of lithium and has the potential to revolutionize the tracking and logistics industry by improving supply chain efficiency and reducing operational costs.
Similar efforts by SODAQ with Vodafone and Bayer utilizing NB-IoT technology have been observed, but the use of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) may be more beneficial as it targets a wider range of telecommunications operators.
Bosch Group subsidiary Bosch Sensortec presented a variety of new sensors at CES 2023. These offerings include an AI-enabled smart sensor system, magnetometer, barometric pressure sensor, and an air quality sensor. These sensors demonstrate advancements in power efficiency, accuracy and compact size, and aim to enhance the user experience by tracking personal health and fitness, providing accurate data and prolonging battery life.
Bosch has been a leading manufacturer of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors since 1995 and has produced over 18 billion units to date. It is also investing in quantum sensors, which can provide measurements that are significantly more precise than current MEMS sensors and enable more accurate diagnosis of neurological diseases. Additionally, the company is developing angular rate sensors that use the nuclear magnetic resonance of noble gas atoms and are optically pumped. These could prove to be highly precise and stable for navigation applications. Bosch believes that sensors will play a key role in IoT and continues to make investments in this area.
Quectel is partnering with Skylo to integrate satellite connectivity into its 5G-ready BG95x/BG77x series of LPWA modules. This hybrid connectivity solution improves network coverage and makes it ideal for a variety of applications, such as trackers, wearables, smart cities and smart meters. Low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites are going to be a key for the non-terrestrial networks (NTN) coming up in 3GPP Rel17/18 in addition to the high-altitude platform system (HAPS).
Quectel also launched the AG59X series of automotive-grade 5G modules based on Qualcomm’s SA525M platform to support autonomous driving. The company has strong partnerships with Chinese automakers such as Li Auto, Nio and BYD, and this module will further strengthen its efforts to increase share in the automotive connectivity market.
6. AR/VR: Thundercomm unveils XR2 VR HMD, 5100 AR glasses and smart vending machine
Thundercomm, a joint venture between Thundersoft and Qualcomm, unveiled a VR HMD solution based on the Snapdragon XR2 platform and AR glasses based on the Snapdragon W5 platform. These products will not only provide flagship experience but also offer low power consumption, higher resolution and more wear comfort. The AR/VR space is heating up with the increased participation from leading technology and smartphone players such as Meta, Apple, HTC and Google. However, an early entry can be beneficial for Thundercomm.
The newly launched smart vending machine will help increase operational efficiencies for retailers. Moreover, this solution will improve the shopping experience and further extend retailers’ reach. Thundercomm is expanding its product lines to capture maximum value from both the consumer and enterprise IoT markets.
Autel Robotics has unveiled a new drone, the EVO Max 4T, which is capable of a variety of applications such as autonomous navigation, semi-autonomous flight missions, firefighting, and inspections. It is equipped with three high-quality cameras, capable of capturing footage from a distance of 1.2 km. Autel has also released the Dragonfish NEST infrastructure, which supports automated eVTOL systems, and the EVO NEST infrastructure, which can operate in all weather conditions.
Drones and eVTOLs will see higher adoption in the future with better efficiency in power consumption, security improvements and better regulatory compliances. These innovations will help Autel increase its presence in the enterprise market and remain competitive with companies like DJI.
8. Industrial IoT: ZVISION partners NVIDIA to improve industrial sensing
ZVISION, a provider of solid-state MEMS LiDAR solutions, is working with NVIDIA to use its robotics simulation platform Isaac Sim to develop advanced robot sensing capabilities and provide high-performance LiDAR solutions.
In Industry 4.0, robotics and simulation will play a key role. Its partnership with NVIDIA will allow ZVISION to expand its applications beyond vehicles, while also reducing costs and speeding up time-to-market for companies undergoing digital transformation. ZVISION offers both short- and long-range LiDAR options that can be tailored to various applications.
9. Platform: Tuya pushes PaaS 2.0, Cube for digital transformation
Tuya officially launched PaaS 2.0 to develop personalized solutions to fulfill global customers’ demands for “product differentiation and independent control”. For private cloud customers, it also unveiled Cube, an enterprise-level IoT platform deployment solution.
PaaS 2.0 is a unique innovation that can assist customers in reducing R&D costs and increasing product competitiveness. Tuya is focusing on public and enterprise cloud applications which are dominated by big cloud players like Alibaba cloud and Tencent cloud.
10. Healthcare: OMRON launches blood pressure monitor with ECG
OMRON introduced a new upper-arm blood pressure monitor with built-in ECG capabilities. This device aims to facilitate the early detection of heart disease by combining blood pressure monitoring and ECG technology. Utilizing home-monitored data, healthcare professionals will be able to provide early treatment and detect Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) at an early stage.
The company also announced the expansion of its digital healthcare apps with new features, such as the Personal Heart Health Coach and the Care Team within the OMRON Connect app. These new features will utilize AI technology to analyze vital data and provide patients with personalized guidance and exercise advice. OMRON’s innovative solution, leveraging technologies like AI, ML and IoT, will help healthcare professionals to better understand patient data through analysis.
CES 2023 has provided ample food for thought for industry executives. Each of the announcements made at the event has significant implications for the direction of the industry. For example, the satellite-related announcements made by chipset and module players could help IoT companies focus on new use cases. Additionally, with Wi-Fi 7 becoming mainstream and Matter-certified home products being rolled out, we can expect to see a significant uptick in demand for smart home products. These developments and more continue to shape the future of IoT and solidify the role technology plays in our daily lives. With more innovation, the possibilities are endless and we are excited to see how the industry will continue to evolve.
In 2021, XR shipments crossed the 10-million mark for the first time, showing 60% growth compared to the previous year. Although the growth has slowed down this year due to the lack of a new mass-level device, it is expected to accelerate next year and take the annual shipments to about 48 million in 2025. Recently, Meta unveiled its new product, the Quest Pro. Unlike the previous device, which only allows hand tracking, the Quest Pro features eye and face tracking. Through Quest Pro, Meta is trying to consolidate its leadership position in the consumer sector and expand its market share in the enterprise sector.
However, the competition is expected to intensify with the expected release of Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 and Apple’s first XR headset next year. As major OEMs enter the market in earnest, attention is being paid to what specifications they will release. This blog looks into some of the key technologies that will form the XR market’s focus going forward.
1. Wider FOV for immersion enlargement
Field of view (FOV) is the range of viewing. It is one of the most important features of XR devices. In theory, the wider the FOV, the better. But the screen size is limited. So, if the FOV is increased without taking into account the screen size, the screen will look crumpled.
Ideal displays for XR devices should have a FOV larger than 160° to cover the FOV of the human visual system. In addition, monocular focus cues are needed to recognize the interaction between virtual content and real-world environments, just as the human eye recognizes objects with central and peripheral vision.
However, the average FOV is about 89° for existing XR devices, 47° for AR, and 112° for XR. This is because the FOV was reduced to provide a clearer image at a limited resolution.
Source: Radiant Vision Systems
2. ToF technology for gesture tracking
AR devices will need to come with a variety and combination of control options to be truly hands-free. These will range from gesture control and eye tracking to voice control.
Gesture control can be done through the application of multiple 3D sensing modules to detect hand movements and nearby objects via spatial detection. Among the 3D sensing modules, ToF (time of flight) technology is expected to be mainly used. The ToF technology consists of iToF (indirect time-of-flight) and dToF (direct time-of-flight). iToF is advantageous for short-range measurements and has excellent security, so it is used for smartphone facial recognition. On the other hand, dToF-based solutions support a wider measurement distance than iToF. Therefore, both solutions are expected to be adopted for XR devices.
Source: SK Hynix
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is essential for understanding the surrounding environment and human beings to provide an optimized experience for each user. When AI and AR are combined, it becomes possible to receive optimized information for each user. Furthermore, if AI technology for detecting and recognizing a user’s emotions is applied to an XR device, facial and gesture recognition limitations can be supplemented. In other words, it collects objective emotional information such as a person’s face, voice, body movement, and bio-signals with sensors, and obtains abstract emotional information based on AI to automatically recognize people and provide a real-time personalized environment even if they do not express their emotions under a given environmental condition. This will facilitate communication with users in a virtual space and enrich the XR usage environment by being used in various ways, such as evaluating and improving products and services, and identifying and responding to safety-related conditions.
Just as rapid technology innovation led to smartphone market growth in its early stages, XR devices are expected to show similar trends. Therefore, technological development is also an important factor in market growth. Even as major smartphone OEMs such as Apple and Samsung apply for related patents, OEMs that have the upper hand in technology competition are expected to survive in the market.
The metaverse has become a buzzword for many areas of the technology landscape. But many aspects of the metaverse are not new for the world of online gaming. It has been using the metaverse concepts of digital connectivity and interaction for years, going back to online chatrooms in the early 2000s, and more recently through massive multiplayer online games (MMOs). All this has created the starting point for Big Tech to take the metaverse to new areas through developing various software designs, but it needs to start from the hardware to access this new ‘world’. Meta – formerly known as Facebook – has been the most popular in marketing the concept of the metaverse and has had significant success in developing the initial hardware. Other companies are expected to jump on the metaverse hardware bandwagon, a highly anticipated entrant being Apple with their development of a VR headset.
What is MMO gaming?
MMO gaming often involves open-world games where your character can interact with many people globally within a set world to complete tasks and can communicate with others through audio or text-based communication. MMOs are not restricted to PC gaming. Microsoft and Sony have MMO games like Call of Duty available through their consoles. The first MMO, Neverwinter Nights, came out in 1991 using AOL for text-based communication with other players. MMO games have created mass followings, some of the most popular being RuneScape, World of Warcraft and The Elder Scrolls. The concept of MMO has become so popular that companies are now starting to incorporate successful authors and directors to help make these games as complex and riveting as possible. The newest and most popular game here is Elden Ring, which has George R. R. Martin (author of the global sensation Game of Thrones) writing the storyline.
What metaverse gaming offers and how the VR market will look because of it
MMOs follow a storyline and have set goals and tasks for players to work towards within the confines of the story even though they are open world. Metaverse gaming offers a more immersive experience where there are no confines of the typical gaming story progression. As the games themselves evolve, so does the hardware required to interact within these games in the most immersive way possible.
Metaverse gaming has been developed with the idea that VR headsets would be the prime mode of interaction. Meta developed its standalone Quest VR headset series to drive Metaverse gaming outside of the existing hardware confines of gaming – PCs, consoles and smartphones. In Q4 2021, standalone VR headsets contributed to over 90% of total VR headset shipments globally (mostly Quest 2). This disparity between shipments of tethered and standalone headsets will reduce in future as console hegemons Sony and Microsoft release tethered headsets for their existing consoles.
Sony plans to release its new headset PlayStation VR2 by the end of 2022 but with the ongoing supply chain issues the OEM is facing, it is unlikely to release the device until 2023. Sony has announced that 20 games will be released by both first- and third-party developers with the headset. The games Sony releases with this headset will determine its success, as customers interested only in VR headsets will be more inclined to opt for Meta’s products, which are already on the market. Potential customers for Sony’s PlayStation VR2 will be those who already have a PlayStation console as well as those interested in the game titles that they cannot get with Meta. Many games have not been included on the Meta gaming platform as it needs to be connected to a Facebook account. At Counterpoint, we believe that that the VR standalone will greatly overtake other XR and reach almost 40M by 2025.
Metaverse gaming will not replace MMO and other existing forms
Even as metaverse gaming experiences an uptick with the release of new hardware and games, the popularity of MMOs will continue to see a wider fan base. PC MMO gaming is easily accessible through the existing platforms like STEAM, Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and other streaming-type platforms that have a wide variety of games that can reach anyone with a decent computer processor. MMOs on mobiles also create a new base of players who do not need to purchase a secondary device to access these games. At the same time, consoles continue to see record sales, with the PS5 and Xbox Series X still experiencing shortages two years after their release, thanks to the high demand combined with the lingering effects of the chipset shortages triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of IoT devices is making our daily lives smarter. IoT combined with artificial intelligence (AI), or artificial IoT (AIoT), is helping in automated real-time decision-making and data analysis. AI can add value to IoT through machine learning (ML) and improved decision-making. Similarly, IoT can add value to AI through connectivity and data exchange. With the rapid technological advancements, AIoT is transforming every industry, enterprise and consumer.
5G is going to be the key ingredient in driving AIoT applications. According to a Counterpoint Research study, the shipments of 5G AIoT-supported modules will grow at a CAGR of 84% between 2022 and 2030. Further, 60% of 5G IoT modules will have AI capability by 2030 for better processing and real-time decision-making.
The adoption of AIoT is becoming an emerging technology trend across a wide range of industries where real-time data operation is needed, such as industrial manufacturing, robotics, logistics, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities and smart home.
Manufacturing relies on digital transformation to become more efficient and reduce human error. This sector needs to adopt AIoT solutions. AIoT-powered robots in factories improve the manufacturing process with excellent efficiency. They help reduce labor costs as well as time.
In a smart city, there are several uses of AIoT, such as traffic management and waste management. To avoid chaos and congestion on the road in a crowded city, AIoT-based drones help monitor traffic and transmit real-time traffic data for analyses through AI and for making decisions on the speed limit and timing of traffic lights, all without human interference. Therefore, real-time traffic monitoring by drones increases efficiency and reduces congestion.
Security and surveillance are other important applications for AI in smart cities. AI cameras can help police monitor illegal activities and prevent unwanted situations.
Self-driving cars are one of the best use cases of AIoT applications. IoT-enabled devices like cameras, radars and sonars in the car gather data and the AI system helps analyze this data within a few milliseconds so that the car can make decisions like a human. Fully autonomous vehicles will generate 1-2TB of data per hour and AI will be required to handle this amount of data and take some decisions at the edge.
AI in the connected home space is mainly used for voice assistant, situational awareness, automation and security. Starting from door locks, smoke alarm, surveillance and smart speakers to smart appliances such as lighting, thermostat, refrigerator, plugs, routers, meters, home controllers and vehicle chargers, many applications have already adopted AI features.
Challenges in implementing AI in IoT
As most AI applications are based on real-time decision-making, they need a high-speed data rate to communicate. 5G’s high speed and low latency will be ideal for AIoT applications. But in many regions, 5G infrastructure is still not there or is in the initial phase. Hence, it will be challenging to scale. Data management and taking the right decision at the right time by handling huge amounts of data will be another big challenge for AI adoption. Moreover, the security angle will also need to be addressed. Both hardware- and software-level security will be required for AIoT applications to keep connected devices safe.
Initiatives by module and chipset players in AI applications
With the increasing traction for 5G-based AIoT applications, module vendors like Fibocom, Quectel, Thundercomm and MeiG are stepping forward to launch AI-supported 5G IoT modules. Some module vendors are offering AI features at the hardware level while some vendors are offering AI features at the software level. Whether to use hardware- or software-level AI features depends on the application and cost of the project. Recently, Quectel announced that it would add software-level AI capability in its Rel 16-based 5G modules by partnering with NVIDIA. International module vendor Telit is also adding AI capabilities in its FM980 5G module through NVIDIA software. However, Quectel, Fibocom, MeiG and Thundercomm are already offering hardware-level 5G AI-supported modules for high-end applications such as C-V2X, AR/VR, robots, smart cities, live streaming, gaming and edge computing.
In terms of chipset players, Qualcomm is leading in the 5G AIoT chipset space. This year, it launched the world’s first AI-supported 5G modem Snapdragon X70. Moreover, it has broader 5G AIoT SoC offerings with the QCM6490, Snapdragon 480, Snapdragon 690 and Snapdragon 750.
The second-largest IoT chipset player, UNISOC, is trying to gain momentum for 5G through AIoT-based SoCs. So far, UNISOC is offering AIoT features in its T770, T760 and T740 chipsets.
Recently, MediaTek launched the Genio 1200 chipset, specially designed for 5G AIoT devices. It is targeting applications such as smart home, industrial, robotics and audio/video terminals.
We expect that 2023 will provide momentum to the 5G AIoT market as the IoT market has been facing some instability lately due to inflation, supply issues and other macro factors.
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