TOKYO • Visitors to Japan's biggest IT electronics show would have noticed that many big and familiar names were missing, including Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba.
Instead, many of those taking part in the annual Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC), which opened on Wednesday, were showcasing products for the Internet of Things, a network that enables everything, from home appliances to smartphones to wearable devices, to be controlled remotely, Japan Today reported.
Mr Takashi Kikushima, general manager of CEATEC Japan Management Office, said that when CEATEC started in 2000, home electronics were the focus of the event. But, considering recent technological trends, CEATEC is no longer just a home electronics show, he said.
For example, Kintetsu International, a travel agency, introduced technology featuring a goggle-type gadget which allows a user at a sightseeing spot to see what the place looked like in the past, Japan News reported. And Rakuten is showcasing a shopping system that enables visitors to purchase items shown on an electronic display by connecting it to their smartphones.
This marks the first time service-industry exhibitors are participating in the expo.
NEC Corp is showing off technology which analyses the behaviour of crowds captured on surveillance camera footage. It can be used for purposes such as addressing congestion in public places.
Electronics giant Panasonic is showcasing a variety of home gadgets and appliances that communicate with one another, Agence France-Presse reported.
These include a mirror which, when hooked up to the rest of the gadgets at home, can display your body mass index (BMI) when you sit down in front of it. BMI measures body fat based on height and weight. It can also gauge how healthy your skin is.
The Internet of Things market is expected to rapidly expand, said Japan News. According to research company International Data Corporation Japan, the global Internet of Things market is projected to reach US$1.7 trillion (S$2.4 trillion) in 2020 - 2.6 times the size of last year's market.
Besides smart gadgets and appliances, robots such as Sharp Corp's humanoid robot named RoBoHoN were also key attractions.
RoBoHoN, a cute little robot measuring 19.5cm in height and weighing 390g, can walk and dance on command and doubles as a smartphone.
One of the most popular exhibits, said the Daily Mail, is TE Connectivity's dinosaur robot, the TE Saurus. Using a smartphone application, the 2.1m dinosaur can be made to walk or jump, while a shake of the smartphone prompts the TE Saurus to bark.
For start-ups, CEATEC is a good chance to promote themselves, according to Japan Times.
"People have never heard of ventures like us and have no idea what our services are, so we want to increase our recognition (at CEATEC)," said Mr Toshikatsu Oshima, director of Tokyo-based Movacloud Inc.
Launched in February, his firm develops a software system which runs tests for smartphone apps to check for bugs.