The main difference we saw this year was the massive change in technology in just 12 months. Areas like 3D printing and Virtual Reality have made massive progress, becoming faster, cheaper and with much better capabilities.Even in areas like networked attached storage, there were large increases in capacity and capability accompanied with decreasing prices for customers, which places this technology within the reach of even the smallest business.
These QNAP NASs are designed for high speed data storage with 10G SFF ports perfect for storage large CAD our video files. CAD is something that we only see a little of, but more and more businesses, including ours are doing more video editing and it is not uncommon now to see 1 Gig files being manipulated. This requires a dedicated workstation and a storage solution capable of handling high data transfers.
We visited Quanta’s HQ in Taipei. It is a massive building, befitting of one of the largest ODMs in the world. Quanta manufacture a range of notebooks, including MacBook Pros and includes Facebook, Amazon and Google as customers for their servers.
Designed specific to be high density with low power consumption, reliability, performance and redundancy, these servers are extremely cost effective for mid and high range server solutions for small businesses.
The quality of the internal build of the Quanta servers impressed everyone. The componentry is solid and well put together.
Big increases have been seen in the IP Camera front. A large increase in bandwidth and resolution has seen a big increase in the need for storage, particularly if you need to review footage from 2 weeks ago. The picture quality is now extremely good which mean that customers can now provide the Police with the one thing that they need in order to get a prosecution in courts, and that is a good, clear picture of the perpetrator. Now, images can be obtained further out, even at night with the Infrared models, making cameras a significant deterrent to crime.
These is a great demonstration of the increase in capabilities of 3D Printers at Computex. The fidelity of the printing has increased greatly, along with the speed and most importantly, the materials that can be printed with. We saw cookie dough being used to create edible scupltures, titanium which can be used to create bespoke dental implants, along with the generic multicoloured plastics. This ferris wheel was a working model with a motor driving the ferris wheel around.
This will be my new laptop when it arrives in Australia. The Acer P658 has a 23 inch screen, faster CPU, SSD drive and fingerprint scanner. The backlit keyboard is great for working in lowlight situations and this laptop should have improved battery life. My existing P645 has been my workhorse around the world for nearly 3 years and it hasn’t missed a better. THe SSD and large amount of RAM makes a huge difference in productivity, especially for those, who like me, like to have 50 windows open at a time.
The Macbook Pro killer was very impressive. Fast and almost impossibly light for a laptop that is this large and powerful. ASUS has a lot of innovative products and this one garnered a lot of attention at the show.
In retail, we will be seeing a lot more of the new glass displays. The image quality is quite high and it certainly creates an impression.
Mercedes has done a lot of work on increasing the safety of their vehicles and a lot of the technology is moving towards their concept of a self driving car. With Lyft committing to self driving vehicles in 2017, the widespread adoption of self driving cars cannot be too far away. This view is reinforced by the recent deal between Toyota and Uber. Uber is one of the largest investors in self driving vehicles, with plans to do away with their drivers. This will dramatically decrease the cost of transport again. Very disruptive technology.
The IP Camera scene has seen a huge increase in resolution, number of cameras and details that can be resolved. On top of that there is a new breed of smart surveillance solutions that are able to interpret the image from the cameras. This solution determined the gender of passers by and also tried to estimate their age.
Taipei is the Silicon Valley for Hardware. It is in the DNA. There are a lot of stores like the old Dick Smiths of yesteryear, with transistors, multimeters and PCBs, all of which fuels the passion for building great hardware projects. We were lucky enough to attend a behind the scenes factory tour of the Aten manufacturing facility, which detailed the processes and quality assurance program they had to manufacture the products that their R+D division had developed.
Of course, there was some time for shopping and enjoying the night markets in Taipei. It is a very friendly city with an amazingly efficient public transport network.
For small businesses, the traditional focus has been on making incremental improvements in the business, with occasional injections of technology to increase productivity. Computex 2016 had a lot of products that would easily deliver productivity gains, but it also had technology that will fundamentally alter businesses processes, businesses and industries as whole. Two years ago 3D printing was a solution in search of a problem, now we are starting to see the introduction of real solutions based on printing with a wide range of materials at much faster speeds. Self driving cars will have profound economic effects and Artificial Intelligence will make obsolete many traditional jobs. This makes it all the more important for small business owners to be looking 5 years in advance of where we are today, because the biggest change that we are seeing is that the rate of change that we are seeing is changing. It is getting a lot faster and creating huge opportunities for small business to grow very aggressively.