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TrendForce IT Industry Forecast for 2017 Highlights Rapid Expansion of IoT Applications and Strong Demand for Innovative Technologies

Global market research firm TrendForce held its IT Industry Forecast for 2017 on November 10 in Room 101 of National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) International Convention Center. Below is a summary of presentations made by the analysts at the event’s afternoon session:

Global vehicle sales expected to surpass 90 million units in 2016

Major regional auto markets have returned to stable growth in 2016, with annual vehicle sales in China, the U.S. and Europe projected to expand by 5~8%, respectively. On the whole, global vehicle sales for 2016 are estimated at over 90 million units.

The global auto market will continue to expand steadily in 2017. As for xEVs (plug-in vehicles), TrendForce estimates that global sales for 2016 are expected to reach 950,000 units. While China is expected to account for more than half of this year’s xEV sales, the market in the U.S. has also recovered from the previous slump and registered significant sales growth.

Eric Chang, TrendForce automotive electronics analyst, stated that the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and the pursuit of autonomous driving capability will continue to be major forces that guide the development of the global automotive electronics market. “The competition to provide IoV-related features and build autonomous vehicles will first transform the supply chain of the auto industry,” said Chang. “When the auto industry itself has lowered or removed certain developmental barriers, companies in other related industries will be able to enter the auto supply chain or collaborate with auto makers.” Ride-hailing businesses that emerged from the integration of the sharing economy and transportation services are examples of this cross-industry collaboration made possible by advances in the fields of automotive electronics and IoV.

5G to redefine roles of mobile endpoint devices in 2017

Major participants of the telecom and networking equipment industries are currently focusing on development 5G networks and are in the process of testing their technologies on mobile endpoint devices. As a result, smartphones in the future will have greater capacity to provide their users multi-level services.

Owing to the maturation of big data and cloud computing technologies, smartphones will be upgraded with new features for various applications, such as virtual reality. With expanded capabilities, these devices will then be able enter into various professional fields as indispensable tools. In sum, functions of endpoint devices will be redefined in 2017.

“The development of mobile application services will revolve around mobile health, mobile payment and mobile life services,” said Kelly Hsieh, TrendForce senior research manager. “In the mobile health market, health and fitness apps will be the mainstream products. As for mobile payment, the rapid rise of this market has led to booming demand for biometric technologies with fingerprint recognition as the most popular payment authentication procedure.”

Hsieh also noted that companies in various industries are also investing heavily in smart home services, which constitute a large segment of the mobile life market. Additionally, the IoV market will witness more personalized services next year. For instance, smartphones can be used to access infotainment systems, track tire pressure or activate other vehicle features related to security and safety.

Artificial intelligence under the market spotlight as the Internet of Things relies on big data solutions

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to bring changes to business models and create new innovations in services across industries. Associated with this development is the rise of the big data, which finds applications in areas that need efficiency and creativity. Using big data solutions, businesses can discover new insights and deal with operational blind spots that were previously undetected. The rise of big data also raises the importance of the chief information officer (CIO) within a company. The role of CIO is now a hot discussion topic in the market.

“The traditional IT structure of an enterprise does not have the capacity to deal with the explosive growth of data coming from the market, said Jimmy Liu, TrendForce IoT analyst. “Hence, more companies will be focusing on revamping their IT structures. At the same time, the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is again attracting significant public attention due to advances in Deep Learning algorithms. In the near future, AI systems using sophisticated algorithms not only will be able to help humans make complex decisions but also achieve intelligent automation of tasks.

Sales of industrial robots in China will grow at a CAGR of 21% from 2017 to 2019

China has become the world’s largest market for industrial robots in recent years as its government promotes the replacement of human workers with robots, according to Harrison Po, senior manager of TrendForce’s photonic and innovative technologies research. TrendForce estimates that the annual sales of industrial robots for 2016 will arrive around 90,000 units.

Nonetheless, China’s industrial robot density and operational stock are below international average. “Domestic branded auto manufacturers and auto parts suppliers continue to rely heavily on human workers to manually process their products,” Po pointed out. “Additionally, the country’s vast network of consumer electronic assembly factories will also need to use robots to replace human workers. China thus still has a lot of unfulfilled demand for industrial robots.”

TrendForce forecasts that the annual unit sales of new industrial robot to China will grow from 110,000 in 2017 to 160,000 in 2019, translating to a CAGR of 21% during the forecast period. Furthermore, almost 40% of all industrial robots sold worldwide in 2019 will go to the Chinese market.

Global medical device market will expand at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2015 to 2020

Sean Liu, TrendForce biotechnology analyst, pointed out that the scale of the global drug market hit the US$1 trillion mark in 2015 and is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 6.8% to US$1.5 trillion in 2020. “Demand is rising in the emerging markets, where growing populations and improving economies are boosting sales,” said Liu. “Much of the demand in these countries is also shifting from drugs that treat infectious diseases to drugs for non-infectious diseases.”

According to TrendForce, the scale of the global medical device market will grow at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$484.5 billion at the end of the forecast period. After the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the U.S., the medical device industry places more emphasis on value and cost efficiency in order to satisfy previously unfulfilled demand as well as helping to lower healthcare spending.

Additionally, many countries are now investing heavily in precision medicine and human genome projects. Their initiatives will trigger a boom in markets for next-generation sequencing (NGS) instruments, reagents, gene testing and other diagnostic services.

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