technology

6G

The Move Towards 6G Technology

Technology is evolving rapidly and constantly. While the world is still implementing 5G technology in its daily applications and processes, early discussions of 6G have got the tech world abuzz with the potential updates that 5G’s successor can bring to the table.

Research and development on 6G started in 2020, just a year after the launch of 5G. However, realistically, 6G is only expected to be introduced commercially in 2030. As the future of technology shifts towards a world with augmented and virtual reality as the probable norm, the technology that supports it must ensure seamlessness on all fronts, from integration to latency, speed, and other components.

6G is expected to be significantly faster than its predecessor by almost 10–20 times. While 5G is running at a top speed of approximately 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), 6G is expected to hit 100–200 Gbps. Earlier this year, China announced that it had managed to achieve the world’s fastest real-time transmission for terahertz (THz) wireless communication within the expected 6G range. China also launched the world’s first 6G test satellite into space in 2020 to test the technology from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. The satellite, Tianyan-5, was designed to test high-frequency THz communication payloads.

6G

6G is expected to make significant use of distributed radio access network and the THz spectrum to boost its capacity and spectrum sharing and decrease latency. This would allow for streamlined and seamless wireless connectivity, making 6G highly likely to become globally heterogeneous, especially in developed and developing nations. While its predecessors are currently being used heavily in mobile frameworks, 6G is expected to be used beyond those scopes in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and more.

With the speed of technological evolution, 6G would allow for a seamless convergence of vastly disparate technologies in the near future. While 5G has allowed for some degree of convergence, especially in IoT and big data, 6G is expected to make larger waves in this convergency, thus allowing for complete integration across various systems for daily technological applications in different fields.

The race to 6G is on, and companies such as China’s Huawei Technologies, South Korea’s Samsung, and Finland’s Nokia are some of the big names working on the technology. Research is also ongoing in countries like Japan, Australia, India, and Singapore. It will be interesting to see which country or region dominates, as 6G will be an unprecedented game-changing technology.

This article was first published in the Q2 2022 edition of Asia Research Media

Concept testing at CES 2022: Assessing the potential of new products among Singaporeans

Since its inception in 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the premier global event for technology-led brands to showcase their latest products and services. The event is where people go to get a sneak peek at the future of consumer technology – the first home VCR by Philips, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Microsoft Xbox, and even the DVD player all made their public debuts at CES.

However, the increased scale of CES (from 200 exhibitors in 1967 to 4,400 in 2020) and the prevalence of social media have resulted in increased hype and coverage by technology reviewers and industry experts. While these voices are critical, the voice of the average consumer is far more important, as some high-profile failures, such as the 3D television and the Palm Pre have shown. These products, while lauded by industry experts, were not accepted by the wider market.

To give this consumer perspective, 2CV tested 20 products that were introduced at CES 2022, using our Meaningful Disruptive Credible (MDC) concept-testing framework.

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The MDC framework was developed by reviewing 2CV’s extensive back catalogue of concept tests, as well as successful and unsuccessful real-world product launches. The framework determines if consumers consider a new product to be sufficiently meaningful, disruptive, and credible for a successful launch. For this exercise, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,016 Singaporean consumers during the week after the CES event.

Of the products tested, three stood out as resonating strongly among Singaporeans:

  1. SAMSUNG ECO REMOTE

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This was the most popular product tested – it provides a battery-free experience by using solar energy and harvesting radio waves to power the device.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: It’s not hard for consumers to understand the benefits of switching from a battery-powered remote control to free power sources – no more dead batteries!
  • Disruptive: Although not reinventing the remote control, the use of alternative power sources in this common device was seen as highly innovative
  • Credible: As a leader in home electronics, Samsung is seen as a credible brand to deliver this product
  1. SONY BRAVIA CAM

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Another immensely popular product among Singaporeans was the Sony BRAVIA CAM, which is a camera that connects to your TV and allows you to control it with hand gestures. It also monitors where you sit and alerts you if you’re too close and adjusts its brightness and audio based on your position.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: Singaporeans responded positively to several of the product’s features – for example, the alert feature (when too close to the TV) was the most popular feature across all tested products
  • Disruptive: While similar products have previously been introduced, consumers found the combination of safety and tech features new and exciting
  • Credible: While there are some concerns about data security, assurances provided by a strong brand like Sony seemed to allay many of these fears

 

  1. INVOXIA SMART DOG COLLAR

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Like fitness bands for humans, the Invoxia Smart Dog Collar monitors your pet’s vital signs – it uses a series of radar sensors and innovative embedded artificial intelligence signals to monitor your dog’s heart and respiratory rate, regardless of how furry your pet is. It also doubles up as a GPS and activity tracker to monitor their location and fitness levels at all times.

High purchase intent due to it being seen as:

  • Meaningful: Providing peace of mind when it comes to man’s best friend, pet owners could easily see the appeal
  • Disruptive: While not a purely new technology, the application to monitoring pet health drives perceptions of newness
  • Credible: With familiar technology already used in smartwatches and fitness trackers, Singaporeans feel that this is a credible stretch for this technology

While analysing the results across 20 products for this exercise, a few common elements stood out among the more compelling products:

  1. Products that resonated strongly were meaningfully disruptive concepts, that spoke from a position of credibility

Having a unique selling point is not enough for consumers; before buying, consumers want to make sure that the product can deliver on the promises made and can make a meaningful impact on their lives. Intent to purchase drops when one of these three factors is not perceived in a product.

Below are examples of two products that did not resonate strongly with Singaporeans, as they lacked in some key criteria:

  • EVE MOTIONBLINDS: Eve has created motion blinds that work with a smart home to allow you to easily lower and raise your blinds. The problem is that this is not differentiated enough, as multiple brands are now making their home products smart. While consumers saw the product as relevant, they didn’t rate it as disruptive enough to create high purchase intent.
  • BEV BY BLACK+DECKER: Bev the robot bartender fails to excite. While pod-based drinks have credibility through coffee variations, and Black+Decker is a well-known brand, consumers didn’t see its purpose in their own lives, as they didn’t see sufficient benefit from the machine mixing a cocktail vs doing it themselves.
  1. There is a sweet spot for concepts, which balances newness with consumer understanding

When this balance is achieved, consumers can connect their current experiences with the disruptive opportunity of the product, and as such, they are more likely to buy. The new Eco Remote by Samsung is the perfect example, where consumers can connect with the product because of their general understanding of remote controls, while appreciating the new eco-friendly features.

These results reinforce the need for any company developing innovations to consider whether it ticks off the three key criteria for success: its meaningfulness to the target audience, its credibility to offer the innovation, and the extent to which the innovation is disruptive enough to create interest among consumers.

 

This article was first published in the Q1 2022 edition of Asia Research Media

Electric Vehicle

Unlocking Behaviour of Electric Vehicle Owners and Opportunities for Marketers!

Imagine people widely using smartphones and laptops in the 1980s, colour TVs in the 1950s, or motor cars in the early 1900s. These technologies were regarded as futuristic concepts at first, but eventually became the way of life.

Similarly, the idea of operating a vehicle using electricity was conceived in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the concept did not progress beyond just being an amusement or as they say a parlour trick — “Look! No horse or ox, yet it moves!’’. Yet, after several ups and downs, when electric vehicles (EVs) subsequently entered the automobile market as an alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), they failed to penetrate the market due to multiple reasons.

With rising fuel prices and environmental concerns over the last few years, the automobile industry witnessed the return of EVs (electric vehicles) by new entrants such as Tesla painting a unique picture for the automobile sector with their high-performance EVs that use advanced technology. This led to a disruption in the automobile sector causing dominant automobile brands to rethink their strategy and evolve. But the big question is, has the industry and brands been able to address the consumer concerns associated with EV adoption?

Hence, Borderless Access conducted a study across 13 markets to unlock the evolving behaviour, brand preferences, and factors influencing the attitudes and perceptions of EV owners. The insights here would also highlight the opportunities for brand marketers and how can they help drive EV adoption to gain a bigger market share for their brand.

 

EVs are now more than just “cleaner vehicles’’

EVs have always been a smart environmental choice, and it is one of the top reasons for existing EV owners to choose an EV over a fuel guzzler, and a sizable proportion of respondents are considering purchasing one, with 67% stating that they believe faster EV adoption will help slow down global warming.

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Another common reason for owning an EV is its low operating cost, which is a significant purchase factor for a large number of existing EVs.

It is common knowledge among EV enthusiasts that EVs are more economical to operate and maintain than ICEVs. EV sceptics, on the other hand, will point to the premium pricing of many EVs. So, are EVs truly less expensive to own in the long run?

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EVs are not only environmentally friendly, existing owners find EV’s to be more comfortable with better ride quality and fast acceleration.

EV owners demand better-charging infrastructure

Among the factors influencing EV satisfaction, range—the distance the vehicle can travel on a single charge—is crucial.

Access to efficient charging stations is not only a concern for potential EV buyers, but it also has an impact on the level of satisfaction of existing owners.

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Charging infrastructure remains of paramount concern due to inadequate number of charging stations and long charging times causing range anxiety, influencing the purchase decisions of consumers.

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36% of EV owners will consider an upgraded version only if it offers more drive range while 49% of the potential consumers will make a purchase decision based on the range offered.

 

Do consumers fully rely on their EVs?

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A majority of EV owners also own a fuel-powered car due to the concerns stated earlier, but, does that imply that consumers are more likely to use their ICEV in case of an emergency?

Possibly, yes.

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Type of cars owned and brand preferences

Sedans followed by SUVs are the popular choice of EV’s owned by consumers.

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When it comes to preferred brands, Tesla, the brand that more or less disrupted the EV market segment, is not at the top of the list. It is not surprising at all. Tesla offers a greater driving range, more power, and incredible acceleration for an EV, but it comes with a premium price due to its broad differentiation strategy. Though Tesla has rolled out its low-priced range EVs, there are now other established and new brands that are luring potential buyers with their high-performance and feature-rich EVs at better price points.

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Opportunity for EV Marketers

It is true that the movement towards cleaner vehicles has been a driving force in reshaping the EV market, and word-of-mouth has played a significant role.

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While making an expensive purchase, buyers mostly rely on the opinion of existing owners or users. In the case of EVs, there are already several concerns about cost and convenience, hence, real-time feedback from friends and family appears reliable. This gives brand marketers a great indirect marketing and sales team in the form of existing owners (95%) who are inclined to encourage non-EV owners to switch to electric vehicles. However, if the product does not meet the needs of the existing owners or creates a negative experience, then this can work against the brand, hence it\’s important for marketers to create fantastic experiences for their consumers at every touchpoint.

Almost at par with word of mouth, the next big medium driving awareness and influencing the purchase decisions are ‘social media and digital ads’. A compelling ad instigates the thought of considering the product and then a potential buyer goes to peers for recommendations and existing consumers for feedback. Social and digital media has played a crucial role in promoting EVs as a cleaner alternative and marketers have well-used this agenda to place the product.

Automobile review sites have been another excellent way to get more mind share.

Not surprisingly, ATL mediums—TV and Print—have been ranked low as a purchase influencer for EV’s due to its niche segmentation and TG that requires targeted BTL marketing avenues to create AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) for influencing consumer purchase decisions.

 

Future – Will EVs take over the automobile industry?

EVs do have a promising future. Consumers are more likely than ever to consider purchasing an EV, and sales could skyrocket.

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However, there is still a long way to go before witnessing a complete shift to electric vehicles. Manufacturers are attempting to address concerns about charging infrastructure and mileage. Charging infrastructure in some markets has certainly improved in recent years, which has been critical in the positive shift in EV adoption.

55% of the potential buyers think that the improvement rate of charging infrastructure is slow which consequently may impact the adoption rate.

The government, too, can play an important role in promoting EVs and boosting the adoption rate. Federal incentives are essentially rewards for people who make an effort to clean up the environment.

For 56% of the existing EV owners, government subsidies played a significant role in their purchase decision. Interestingly, 42% of the intenders feel that the current incentive scheme should be improved to encourage them to make a purchase.

Collaboration between local governments and businesses can aid in determining the best strategy for EV charging station locations. By ensuring that the appropriate charging infrastructure is in place, one can ensure that their and the public\’s money is being spent wisely, facilitating the increased uptake of EVs.

Conclusion

To address raging environmental concerns and fluctuating fuel prices, the world appears ready to transition to electric vehicles. The environment is not the only advantage of EVs. They are also cost-effective to operate and maintain. Nevertheless, the path to complete transition has several impediments.

The increasing demand for EVs is an opportunity to invest in EV infrastructure and consumer engagement. The top reasons for slow EV adoption are poor drive range due to limited battery capacity, the cost versus benefit, and lack of adequate charging infrastructure. If these concerns are not addressed in a timely and appropriate manner, they can hurt potential consumers\’ purchase decisions.

Not just the potential of EV adoption, but the loyalty of the existing owners will be determined by how well consumer concerns other than environmental impact are addressed and how brands create a positive experience for them.