The IFA Product Technical Innovation Awards are showing the way ahead for the industry

IDG is sponsoring the prestigious IFA Product Technical Innovation Awards alongside the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK). The awards celebrate creativity, innovation and design in global consumer electronics. We asked IDG’s Orient Zhu about the awards, and how they are reflecting developments in the industry in China, and around the world.

This year especially when we are evaluating products, we have been paying more attention to the functions of the home electronic appliances and the concepts of the internet of things, and artificial intelligence. We also pay special attention to the innovation of the product and technology, and also to its intellectual property.


How are the awards being judged, and by what criteria?

We have a very serious selection and evaluation process, paying a lot of attention to product innovation, technological innovation, design, user interfaces et cetera, along with competitiveness, growth and market potential as well. The awards’ expert evaluation committee consists of different stakeholders, including the CTOs of consumer electronics companies, industry media experts and many others.

What is new this year?

Products always evolve, for instance from the monochrome television to today’s smart TV, but, especially this year, we do see a lot of concepts ofIoTandAIandwedo foresee very big changes in the future trends of home electronic appliances. The highlights of the innovations this year are in the health sector and also food conservation, energy saving ideas and new user- friendly interfaces. And when we talk about AI, we have figures and analytics from IDC, a subsidiary of IDG which concentrates on market trends, which estimate that by the year 2020 the artificial intelligence sector will be worth E35 bn.

How many contenders and winners are there this year?

This year we have had applications for 300 products from a couple of hundred companies and we are going to select 28 from 23 companies as the winners. We have been looking at products related to a lot of smart home appliances, for example refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, and air and water purifiers.

How do you see IDG’s role in assisting the market, in China and globally?

In the Chinese market, in terms of innovation and startups, there is a very good environment. IDG has contributed a lot to help the market move forward. For instance, we have successfully invested in 700 companies, 170 of which have already been listed.

When we are looking at our investments in China many are related to AI and also to IoT. Looking at the global market, IDG has a lot of media resources, we own 700 media, so we would like to utilise all resources to promote technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. We want to integrate our resources to provide better services to companies and help them grow.

How important is IFA to you at IDG?

Everybody knows it is the biggest expo for consumer electronics. We follow IFA all the time and have very close co-operation with the organisers because here we find the innovations, the new products and the companies with new solutions.

What are this year’s key lessons?

One key take-away at IFA this year is related to trade. There are a lot of buyers, wholesalers and retailers here, so there are a lot of transactions going on. Every year we have a lot of Chinese brands here and a lot of Chinese buyers, and a lot of e-commerce. This year we would like to see more trading, and also transactions between the brands, bringing them back to China as well. We have also been discussing a lot with many big Chinese companies including TCL, Haier, Huawei, Changhong and Midea and we noticed that every year at IFA, the fact that they have a lot of orders is helping them become more internationalised. Every year, IFA has been inviting a lot of big buyers from China and this is very important as well.

Photo: Orient Zhu, Vice President Asia, International Data Group (IDG)