TOP BRANDS SHOWCASE A WEALTH OF SMART INNOVATION

IFA builds on its role as an innovative force in the consumer and home electronics market

The world’s top brands are showcasing a wealth of smart innovation at IFA. Key trends at IFA 2018 include (in addition to voice control and AI): intelligent, connected devices for the home, TVs with even better picture quality and advanced
connected electric appliances.

In 2018, global turnover in the consumer electronics market is forecast to exceed 854 billion euros, equivalent to about 1% growth. Developments in the global market for electrical home appliances are positive too. GfK’s market researchers predict that sales of small domestic appliances will reach approximately 48 billion euros, a rise of around 8%. Sales of major domestic appliances are expected to attain 178 billion euros, an increase of 2.2%. In this light, IFA continues to build on its role as an innovative force in the consumer and home electronics markets: a veritable international platform and meeting place. IFA has also long established itself as the world’s largest trade show for home appliances, and this year the industry is celebrating its tenth anniversary of coming to Berlin. Since the launch of Home Appliances@IFA in 2008, the number of companies exhibiting small and major domestic appliances has trebled.

IFA – THE “SMART HOME OF THE DIGITAL WORLD”
Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, stated that 2018 is a year of disruption: “The disruption is political. Just take Europe. Who knows how Brexit will play out: soft, hard or not at all. The disruption is economic. We live in a world of trade wars, and they are escalating. It is obvious the disruption is a threat to all technology industries”, he said, adding, “Competition is also driving this disruption. Companies that were once champions are not champions any more, and still new challengers are emerging all the time.”

WE ARE ON THE EDGE OF NOT ONE, BUT MANY TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTIONS. I PREDICT THAT EACH OF THEM WILL TRIGGER CHANGE SO BIG, IT WILL BE BIGGER THAN THE IT REVOLUTION OF THE 1980S AND 1990S, AND THE MOBILE REVOLUTION OF THE PAST TWO DECADES

“Finally, the disruption is technological”, explained Dr Göke. “Innovation is bringing change like never, ever before. We are on the edge of not one, but many technology revolutions. I predict that each of them will trigger change so big, it will be bigger than the IT revolution of the 1980s and 1990s, and the mobile revolution of the past two decades.”

One key disruptor, he said, will be 5G networks, ready for rollout with their high speed and high bandwidth data connectivity. “They will enable a new wave of connected devices for smart work, smart health, smart transport and smart living.”

Another, he said, is voice control – the next generation user interface.“When you walk the halls of IFA over the next few days, watch out for all the innovation around smart speakers.”

Disruption is also coming to displays. “Take OLED screens. For TVs, they used to be a sideshow. Now they are taking centre stage in ever more living rooms.”

Dr Göke stated that the technology with the biggest potential for disruption is artificial intelligence. “Until a few years ago, consumers thought AI was very alien and abstract. Today, AI is entering our homes and mobile devices. It is becoming real. I am certain that in just a few years, AI will play a central role in consumer electronics.”

The Messe Berlin boss stated that with all this disruption comes complexity, giving rise to a new wave of innovation, as no company can innovate alone. “If you truly want to succeed and disrupt, you need partners, alliances and open ecosystems,” he said, adding, “We call this the age of co-innovation. You see it all across IFA. There are seven, eight, nine different industries all driving the edge of innovation. Each brings its ideas and insights to the table.”


Photo: Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin