SAN FRANCISCO -- The holiday season is even close to being over yet, and there's already plenty of talk about what we can look forward to at CES 2013 next month.
Broadcom hosted a small group of reporters and analysts on Tuesday afternoon to offer its predictions for the biggest topics at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January as well as throughout 2013.
The networking solutions provider has it narrowed down to the following six trends.
Also linking a few of the following trends together, Broadcom is introducing two Near Field Communications solutions today, including what it is describing as the "industry's first" quad-combo platform that integrates NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio onto a single chip.
Michael Hurlston, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcom's home and wireless networking team, explained that this also means developing a "contextually-aware platform" in which as the mobile device moves from outdoors to indoors, the content being delivered to that device is consistent with the location. For example if you're at home, apps and alerts relevant should pop up. The same goes on an enterprise network.
Hurlston provided a step-by-step scheme for how to zero-in to device locations as precisely as possible from cellular networks down to Bluetooth Low-Energy and MEMS technologies. When you combine a number of these (including Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, etc.), you can determine the user's location to nearly the exact spot within a store.
While this might sound a bit scary to most consumers, Hurlston pressed that this technology offers many different applications and use cases in terms of advertising and content as well as useful everyday notifications for weather and traffic.
Hurlston noted that this medium is often referred to in a number of different ways, but the end application is basically the seamless transfer of content from mobile device (i.e. smartphones and tablets) to larger displays such as a TV. He added that digital content is "clearly moving towards these devices."
While it was talked about at CES earlier this year, Broadcom expects more products to hit shelves using next-generation connectivity to roll out next year. Nevertheless, Broadcom execs talked up how far 5G came in 2013, as Hurlston said that it has been integrated by "every major infrastructure customer" in the notebook and infrastructure industries.
In 2013, Hurlston said that Broadcom expects we'll see 5G integrated more on PCs, digital TVs and mobile devices -- the last one more so by Mobile World Congress in February.
Three more, including some enterprise concerns, on the next page >>
NFC seems to be the one trend over the last few years that gets a lot of attention, but it just hasn't gone anywhere with consumers yet.
That could change next year as potential use cases continue to move farther away from thinking simply about mobile banking and payments.
Hurlston asserted that as NFC extends beyond to gaming (i.e. on the Nintendo Wii U) and TVs even, the NFC ecosystem is "getting broader than we initially forecasted."
Mohamed Awad, associate product line director for the mobile and wireless group at Broadcom, added that iIt's about interacting with devices in new ways and enabling them to move content from device to device.
"You have to bridge virtual world with physical world, and NFC enables that," Awad continued.
Essentially, based on the way Broadcom is presenting the future of NFC, it looks another -- if not a better way -- to transfer content from device to device beyond Bluetooth.
Using the NFC-enabled Nexus 4 smartphone and the Nexus 10 tablet, Awad demonstrated launching the same applications (i.e. Angry Birds) and activities (a particular website already open in Chrome) between these two devices.
By focusing on those types of things, Awad remarked that Broadcom can then "free up" time and work for partners like Google and Samsung to worry more about the high-level experience.
Awad admitted he thinks NFC-enabled mobile payments will happen, but the reality is that consumers need to get more comfortable with the technology and infrastructure behind it. He added that widespread mobile payments via NFC probably won't happen for two to three more years, but the content transfer between devices is happening now.
With an entire wing dedicated to it this year, there should be a lot of conversations about connected cars at CES 2013.
Right now, Broadcom estimated that approximately 15 percent of U.S. households own a vehicle with a connected communications system. Furthermore, Broadcom reps cited ABI Research from this year that this market will grow to $39 billion by 2018.
Nick Ilyadis, vice president and CTO of the infrastructure and networking group at Broadcom, explained that the company is focused on reducing connectivity costs and cabling weight within connoted cars while providing 100Mbps Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
We all know by now that BYOD raises a lot of questions and worries about security threats, but 2013 will be the year where these worries need to be addressed.
Citing a Lippis report, Ilyadis remarked that analysts are predicting that BYOD adoption will be the biggest transition within the enterprise world since the birth of the mainframe.
As wireless becomes the primary method that employees connect to a corporate network, Ilyadis listed some of the solutions that Broadcom is working on to address BYOD. That includes unified switching for scaling more efficiently with better redundancy as well as application intelligence about which apps are running on devices down to the user and port levels.
A more unique use case is an platform that schedules which times certain websites and applications can be available to users on an enterprise networks. This is more in reference to personal and social-related platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter. Thus, an IT department could free up access to Facebook for an hour or two for use during lunchtime, and then they are blocked off again for the rest of the day.