TAITRA welcome, and Acer
TAITRA, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, is a non-profit organisation that aims to aid Taiwanese businesses develop their international trade and relations. We recently paid a visit to TAITRA in Taiwan, as well as a number of familiar ICT companies, to learn more about their businesses and developments in areas like the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes and PC gaming.
First, a bit of background on Taiwan – TAITRA describes the country as Small but Big. It's a small island with a population of just 23.4 million but ranked 23rd in the world in 2015 for GDP and 34th for GDP per capita. This economy is estimated to grow by 1.47 percent in 2016 too. Its dominance in the components and ICT industries is well established – its semiconductor foundries hold a 67.3 percent market share worldwide, and Taiwanese companies account for roughly 89 percent of the world's laptop production. Its central location in the Asia Pacific region gives it strong global logistics and Taiwan, ultimately, is a crucial part of the global supply chain, especially of ICT and electronics. With that said, let's take a closer look at what we saw.
At Acer's Demo Centre we saw all of the company's latest gaming laptops, desktops and monitors. However, the real focus was its Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) solution. This was started in 2014 and is powered by the Acer Open Platform, although Acer has been working in Cloud ever since 2001. The focus going forward is on what it calls Beingware, which aims to merge intelligent connected devices, cloud computing power and specific apps to create new solutions.
One example of Beingware is grandPad, which Acer has a large stake in. It's a tablet designed specifically for seniors with a focus on simplicity and user experience as a result. The aim is to connect, or reconnect, seniors with their family, friends and carers. It's currently a US-only service costing $60 per month (including free tablet and LTE connectivity). It's ready out of the box and family members can connect by downloading the companion app to their own device. It has pre-loaded content, and examples of use include Uber with pre-set destinations and a limited range of operation, with the ability to message family members journey details. The next stage is to phase in connected care devices.
Another example comes from Xplova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Acer. The X5 cycling computer targets cycling enthusiasts, currently with a focus on Pan Asia but also the US. It can display info like body stats and GPS location, and automatically record interesting parts of the cyclist's journey with its built-in wide-angle camera – these clips can then easily be shared via social media.