Nine Great Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges for 2012 - Slide 9

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The TV looks set to pick up new momentum in 2012 by reinvented itself with advanced features like brilliant OLED screen displays, ultra-thin bezels, Internet connectivity, 3D display and a multitude of sensors, including voice and motion. GP Bullhound believes that these feature sets will transform the TV in 2012 into a fully interactive device and usher in the era of truly differentiated TVs.

While voice and motion detector technologies have garnered a lot of attention for their applications in other areas such as smartphones and video games, they are also gaining increasing importance in the TV market. In January, Verizon FiOS announced compatibility with the box Kinect platform, allowing for voice control over your FiOS TV. It has been widely speculated that Apple will soon introduce a TV which would incorporate their Siri in place of a remote control. Further to this end, Nuance, the company that licenses its voice recognition technology to Apple for Siri, announced Dragon TV, its new platform for voice-controlled television sets. With it, HDTVs could allow users to speak a task, such as "Watch 'Boardwalk Empire'" to initiate playback.

These and other value-added features such as 3D and LED and OLED screens are ushering in a new era of differentiation in the TV market. TV manufacturers are no longer competing solely on the basis of screen size (they’ve already outgrown our houses…), but rather based on the feature set they can offer. This paradigm shift is driving surging demand for Smart TVs – while more than 26 million Smart TVs shipped in 2011 (10.4 percent of all TVs shipped globally in 2011), more than 52 million sets are expected to ship in 2012 (20 percent of all TVs shipped).

Companies to Watch: Nuance, Myriad, Qello

As technology analysts and advisors, GP Bullhound expects a volatile 2012 with pockets of great innovation, opportunity and new successes, but also continued challenges as commoditization will wreak havoc to some industries, and hype will remain in others creating near-term opportunity and in some cases long-term issues.

We are entering the new year under rather unusual circumstances. The macroeconomic outlook remains cloudier than ever due to unprecedented uncertainty around a number of major global economic and political situations including the fate of the Euro and the European economies, the status of the U.S. recovery and the role of the U.S. dollar, nervousness in recently outperforming emerging markets, like Brazil, and the global impact of a slowdown in China just to mention a few.

Some things do remain the same however such as the continued global Internet trend, the rapid mobilization of users and applications and the inevitable trend of increased online social interaction.

In 2012, GP Bullhound expects Internet to continue its inevitable shift from being an information and content channel to a trusted platform for socializing, sharing, communicating and most importantly for 2012, consuming. Furthermore, they expect a lot of opportunity to come out of the rapid adoption of mobile online activities, particularly in emerging markets. They also expect to see some much needed innovation in the enterprise software arena, which is now well behind the consumer technology curve.

The macroeconomic outlook however remains cloudier with unprecedented levels of uncertainty on a global scale. In an ever-more connected and competitive global technology world, there will be little room to hide without differentiated products or services. The value of IP will continue to rise, while commoditization will punish the me-too players. As a consequence, they are seeing investors and acquirers becoming increasingly willing to travel far to find best-of-breed companies, supporting an anticipated rise in cross-border acquisitions and investment activities. All in all, they look forward to an interesting 2012.

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