Sramana Mitra: You started with wearables, and this topic is very hot right now. Let´s talk about some of the analysis around wearables. Based on your current component shipments, where in the wearables segment is the maximum action?
Rahul Patel: Products are all going to get connected to the phones we all carry. That is the baseline theme for wearables. The maximum traction we are seeing from a product category point of view is in watches, fitness devices, and objects you would potentially have on your body that would make things better. It is not just for human beings, it is also for pets – there are variables for helping clear geo-fencing [and variables that determine interaction with a] certain restricted boundary. If a pet crossed that boundary, you would need to take action.
SM: What is the current state of the union of watches vs. fitness devices? Is the primary application of wearables computing in watches?
RP: The watch is the hub for a lot of things. Fitness data is one type of data the watch is going to provide. This includes information about your heartbeat, temperature, number of calories burned, etc. The watch is going to be the message center. You may not carry your phone all the time, but you may always be wearing your watch. If there is a text on your phone and your phone is not with you, the watch would get the text. Voice mail and other features can also be made available on the watch, including the traditional things a watch can do from an application point of view.
SM: On the appliance side, where is the most adoption? We hear a lot about the fridge and oven, and to some extent there is some use, but those don’t really have a lot of adoption.
RP: We already see some appliances adopting wireless connectivity, especially in the washer and dryer camp. We have seen designs from large OEMs that have wireless connectivity in them.
SM: These kinds of designs have been on the table for a long time. There has been very little consumer adoption.
RP: The cycles are longer. Washers and dryers are designed in three years – not like phones, which are are designed in a year. The industries are different. There are products that are available for the consumer. In China, for example, Haier has announced [that it has designed] washers and dryers with wireless connectivity. The applications are for both the consumer and the company. On the consumer-facing side, you can see what is happening in your washer or dryer, and you can manage and control the cycles. If you want to extend a cycle, you can do that without going to the dryer or the washer. For the company, the application is logistics. Before an appliance breaks, they can know about it and respond in advance. The cost of intercepting an issue before it becomes an issue is a lot less, and as a result it effectively helps the back-end logistics in the management of the product.