[CEATEC Preview] Green, Healthcare Technologies Expected to Create New Markets

Sep 18, 2008
Kouji Kariatsumari, Nikkei Electronics

Focus should be placed on measures against global warming and healthcare at this year's CEATEC.

Leveraging the momentum built up by the energy-saving products at the Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July 2008, many exhibitors are likely to present electronic components with an excellent energy-saving performance at CEATEC, primarily in the areas of power generation, power storage and lighting.

In the power generation area, trends in solar cell and fuel cell manufacturers are likely to draw interest. Dye-sensitized solar cells, which a number of manufacturers exhibited at last year's CEATEC, will probably be displayed in a form closer to a mass-produced model with a boosted conversion efficiency.

Also, attention must be paid to whether or not someone will showcase a prototype of mass-produced compact fuel cells for mobile phones, which are expected for a commercial application in 2009.

In the power storage area, attention must be paid to trends in Li-ion secondary batteries and large-volume capacitors. Li-ion secondary battery manufacturers have stopped increasing the volume of their products due to a series of accidents caused by Li-ion secondary batteries in notebook PCs and mobile phones since 2006. But they are likely to start a new move.

As some firms including Hitachi Maxell Ltd indicated their will to market cells that use silicon alloy materials in the negative electrode in 2009, we may be able to see some samples of new cells at CEATEC. Trends in large-volume capacitor products including Li-ion capacitors that can replace lead batteries should be focused on as well.

Furthermore, exhibitions in the lighting area, which accounts for a large stake in the power used at homes and offices, must not be missed. In this area, electronics manufacturers are competing in developing high-power white LED lamps with the view to replacing incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps. Also, LED backlight technology that reinforces image quality and reduces the power consumption of large TVs is also expected to show evolution.

Meanwhile, many places focus on healthcare products that are growing fast, reflecting the current health trends focusing on metabolic syndrome and anti-aging. NTT DoCoMo Inc prototyped the "Wellness Mobile Phone," which incorporated functions to measure body fat percentage, pulse and oral odor, for example, as well as a pedometer, and drew interest from visitors at last year's CEATEC. More advanced healthcare products are likely to be presented by a number of manufacturers at this year's CEATEC.