Consumer technology is an ever-changing and dynamic industry where new technologies are constantly being introduced and others improved upon. We have augmented reality, virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT), gaming and many other aspects of this industry to consider as well as a combination of these technologies like gaming with VR.
It is an exciting and highly-innovative industry on the cutting edge and that is why it is important for companies to hire software developers who themselves work with consumer tech on a daily basis. If a developer is only familiar with business software, they may not understand what works and how the software has to fit the hardware.
An Industry that Continues to Innovate and Grow
Consumer tech encompasses many different technologies within many different fields. It generally consists of gadgets and various devices like phones or tablets for both entertainment and productivity. However, today with the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming widespread, consumer tech also includes utilities like fridges and the Smart Home.
If you want to see just what is out there and how many different phones, not to mention the tons of other gadgets from TVs to fridges, there are available, check out the coverage of any of the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) lineups showcased within the last few years. This event occurs annually with the last show taking place January 7–10 of this year.
The industry is highly changing with 3D movies being popular one minute and made way to 4k or 8k movies the next. Thus, a highly flexible approach is also recommended with a wide range of talent.
It is also constantly growing in scope and revenue. Early last year, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predicted a 3.9% consumer tech annual growth, with retail sales expected to hit $398 billion by the end of the year.
Certain Trends May Be Here to Stay - Form over Function Is One
There are certain trends within the consumer tech industry that I would argue are not going away anytime soon. One of these trends is form over function. Many TV makers and some gadget makers like Apple continue push for the idea of smaller, thinner tablets, phones and TVs rather than for more specs as within the Windows PC gaming market for instance.
This makes sense with TVs because as HDTVs become LED and thinner, they are easier to carry and move around. If you grew up in the 90s or earlier you may recall the headache of having to move a CRT around your living room and what it did to your back due to its weight (at least when dealing with one of any considerable size).
However, I would argue the iPad is just fine the way it is and doesn’t need to keep getting thinner. Most covers or cases make it thicker and bulkier to begin with so it isn’t like we care. Yet Apple still pushes this feature every year and with the 2018 Pro models being so thin and paper-like, customers ended up breaking them or splitting the display in half with some slight-to-mild bends.
I still think this trend is here to stay and more consumer tech makers will continue to push for more streamlined gadgets with a form over factor approach.
User Experience and Seamless Navigation Are Key
Consumer tech needs to be fun to use to be effective. People do not want to navigate complicated menus to turn on their TV sets or gaming consoles. The user experience (UX) is paramount. The more fluid and easy to navigate the software is, the greater the audience will be. There are exceptions, of course, like complicated PC war games, but they cater to specific and niche market segments.
Many developers want to work within consumer tech and create software for devices like gaming consoles or phones and tablets. Because they are often heavy users of consumer tech within their daily lives and want to influence or create the type of software they enjoy using themselves.
Thus, there are many developers to choose from or consider when looking for talent with a wide range of programming languages on their resumes. The type of developers you should hire depends on many factors.
An Industry with High Risks but High Rewards
With so many gadgets out there that need constant software development, the industry is highly competitive. Many companies fold and some that have a good idea, but not a lot of market reach get absorbed into larger companies during acquisitions.
Some of the largest and most successful companies put their main or at least a heavy emphasis on consumer tech. There is a reason for this. It is a great although highly-competitive and sometimes risky industry to get into.
Companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have divisions across a wide range of consumer tech channels. These channels include voice recognition software like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to Google’s driverless cars. There are also the aforementioned smart homes alongside smart cars, foldable phones and many other gadgets and consumer software to consider.
If you are looking to make a dent in this market, you will need to have the right teams in place. This includes software developers who are varied in skills and great marketing efforts to remain competitive.
A good idea sometimes is enough to start, but to turn it into a successful product is not always easy. Once you have the right teams, funding and interest in what you’re working on, then the market will come to your doorsteps.