The pace of technological change is breathtaking. Capabilities that were fodder for science fiction stories just a few years ago are rolling out to consumers and businesses today. Innovation, in terms of artificial intelligence, machine learning, chip manufacturing, intelligent edge devices, and computing technologies of all types, are transforming our reality on a daily basis.
Take one example. The Qbear is a baby monitoring system that listens to a baby's cry and uses AI to tell you whether she's hungry, hurting, or lonely. Here's another example. The ELSA smart labeling system gives retail operators to dynamically and automatically change shelf labels across an entire store, or even across an entire chain of stores. Here's one more example. The AREC media station is a small, portable box capable of mixing multiple video streams and broadcasting live anywhere broadband can reach.
It is this focus on technology and innovation that the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) seek to highlight across the world. Starting 1993 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, outstanding and innovative products made in Taiwan are nominated for the annual Taiwan Excellence Awards, and judged for R&D, design, quality, and marketing.
Each of these products was designed and produced in Taiwan and each is a winner of the Taiwan Excellence Award. Winners like those below have passed through two comprehensive judging phases that include both on-spot evaluations and jury of international panelists. Those that win embody a combination of innovation and everyday excellence that reflects the following values:
- Innovation: Products are practical, user-friendly and optimized for customers' needs
- Excellence: Companies and teams are passionate about common goals, foster team spirit, enthusiasm, and knowledge-sharing.
- Value: Practical products that truly enhance daily life
- Dependable: Products that do what they promise from companies that are responsive their customers
- Empathy: Creating win-win relationships through attention, care, and warmth
In this article, CNET looks at some award winners for business and consumer products. In a companion article, we'll be looking at some exceptional industrial products that the awards committee judged as setting the bar for innovation and quality.
And with that, let's look at some of the best of the best.
The following are just a few of the Taiwan Excellence Award winners for business and consumer products.
The Media Station LS-US2 by AREC is a multi-source live streaming and recording device. The device is capable of capturing, switching, mixing, recording and live streaming in full HD quality. It is able to mix two video sources provided by a variety of streaming sources including from a USB camera, a network camera, and streaming inputs, along with USB audio.
It's possible to control the stream using the device's online director Web page, which provides a graphical user interface for managing controller sources. You can also control the device via iOS or Android smartphone, setting the stage for a powerful mobile live streaming hub. Plus the device has a streaming API and already interfaces with auto video platforms like Opencast, Panopto and Kaltura.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner AREC provides audio/video over IP solutions integrating the hardware and software for signal capture and mixing, video/audio codec processing, multimedia network streaming, and interactive communications. AREC, Inc. is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
In AVerMedia's endless quest to provide creators with essential tools to elevate their content as they boldly create, it has developed the first-of-its-kind audio mixer and streaming deck to empower creators to truly take control of their live content creation.
As an audio mixer, it has six tracks for audio mixing: three physical inputs (optical, line in and XLR), and three virtual tracks that can be routed on the streaming PC. It also has a built-in amplifier and audio processor that lets creators modify their XLR microphone input. With Dual Mix, creators will be able to control two independent audio mixes (one audio mix for their stream, the other one for their headsets).
As a streaming deck, the AX310 consists of a 5-inch IPS touch screen panel and four dedicated function buttons. Together with its dedicated app, creators can fully customize the control panel to take full control of their live streams.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner AVerMedia was formed in the early 1990s to provide audio/video computer peripherals for content creation, live streaming, and more. AVerMedia Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
The AERO 15 OLED laptop by GIGABYTE is all about empowering creative workflow for 3D artists, graphic designers, visual effects artists, and other professionals. It starts with 4K resolution with a 3mm display.
But what makes these laptops stand out for visual creatives is that each laptop is individually Pantone Validated and X-rite Color Calibrated, making it one of the very few laptops that hold dual certifications and can produce a Delta E < 1.
Delta E is a standard color calibration measurement defined by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (International Commission on Illumination). It describes the change in color between what the display should produce and what the display actually produces. A Delta E of less than 1.0 is not perceptible by the human eye, making the laptop extremely accurate for color-related creative work.
Onboard RAM can be expanded up to 64GB. Storage is connected via internal PCIe Gen 4 SSDs and ports that connect external storage via blistering fast Thunderbolt 4, providing load times fast enough for demanding performance tasks like video editing.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner GIGABYTE was founded in 1986 to provide PC and server solutions and has become one of the world's leading suppliers of PCs and PC technology. GIGA-BYTE Technology Co., Ltd. is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
The DO-CAM document camera by IPEVO provides archivists, teachers, and creators with a very useful tool for capturing information on a physical desktop. Whether you're digitizing books and documents, teaching math by drawing formulas and charts on paper, teaching a craft by demonstrating the steps, or even filming small-item unboxings, the DO-CAM document camera can help you get it done.
One of our editors tells us he bought an IPEVO document camera back in 2012 and still uses it every day for monitoring 3D printers. One of the benefits of the IPEVO design then, as well as now, is how IPEVO's camera is built into a light-weight cantilevered mount that allows the camera to be easily positioned over objects on a desk.
The difference between the early model used by our editor and the current one is, of course, the camera quality. The DO-CAM is an 8-megapixel camera with a resolution of 3264x2448 pixels. It uses a fast-focus Sony CMOS sensor which can not only focus quickly, but also reduce noise and improve color reproduction. In video mode, the DO-CAM camera can record up to 30fps.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner IPEVO was founded in 2007 to provide design-driven teaching tools. In addition to the Taiwan Excellence Award, the company is the recipient of the Good Design Award, the iF Product Design Award, the I.D. Annual Design Review, and Red Dot design award.
Don't confuse the ELSA Smart e-Label system with a device that prints paper labels. This is much more powerful. You've been in a hardware store, warehouse, and a supermarket. We all have. Every shelf is filled with products and just in front of all those products are little, printed shelf tag labels describing the product, its price, and sometimes additional information.
There are thousands of those labels. Every time there's a change in product, the label has to be removed and a new one printed. Imagine, as we're experiencing now, there's a time of inflation. Or the store wants to do a pricing roll-back. Employees have to go from product to product, removing the old labels, and printing and affixing the new ones.
The ELSA Smart e-Label eliminates all that work, along with the associated errors that come from so much detailed change. Instead of paper shelf tags, you place the ELSA Smart e-Labels, which are tiny display screens, wirelessly connected to a central hub. Updating the shelf tags is no more work than updating a database entry, and all those changes filter out across the store – or across an entire chain of stores – automatically. It really is an idea whose time has come.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner M2COMM was founded in 2012 to provide wireless IoT solutions in smart retail, industry 4.0 and smart medical markets. M2COMM is headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Qbear by Quantum Music makes a fascinating claim: that it can use AI technology and data analysis to understand the reason your baby is crying and inform you about your child's needs through an app notification on your smartphone.
The Qbear device can be hung on your baby's crib or placed near the child. When the baby cries, Qbear's AI system parses the sound waves, using heuristics to determine if the child is hungry, needs a diaper change, is sleepy or fussy, or is in pain, in which case you can seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Within seconds, Qbear sends a notification through the cloud to your phone. At that point, you can decide whether to go immediately to the little one, or let Qbear autoplay relaxing music to comfort your baby.
CNET is spotlighting this award winning product for its innovative premise, but we haven't yet had hands on experience with it, so we can't confirm how well it works, or if it will for every baby. Even so, it's an absolutely fascinating application of technology.
Taiwan Excellence Award winner Quantum Music Co., Ltd. is a company composed of music producers, audio scientists, and AI programmers and develops intelligent, audio-enabled products for children. Quantum Music Co., Ltd. is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
An environment that fosters innovation
In looking at the products we've shown you, you can see how these five pillars of everyday excellence have been forged into the DNA of each product. Winners are outstanding products with innovative value that proudly wear the "Made in Taiwan" designation. Taiwan Excellence is showcases Taiwan's premise that innovative, cutting-edge technology lead the way to a better future.
The winners of the 2022 Taiwan Excellence Awards demonstrate how Taiwan's work to build an economic and investment climate conducive to innovation is bearing fruit. For more information, visit Taiwan Excellence at https://www.taiwanexcellence.org/en.
And, be sure to check out our companion article, where we look at some of Taiwan's award-winning industrial products.