IFA executive director Jens Heithecker on this year’s trends

As is the case at every show, it’s interesting to look at the key exhibitors and participants. We asked IFA executive director Jens Heithecker “what’s new”.

All you have to do is look at our Keynote Line- Up, and you will see that the driving forces this year are mobility, the chip industry, and connected or intelligent devices. A new world has arrived, with connectivity as a back bone!

Another big news is also that Japan is our Global Innovation Partner for IFA NEXT this year. This will be particularly interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we have learned that when people from different regions talk about innovation, they often have a very different meaning. In Japan, there is no single term that means “innovation”. They have two terms, which when used in combination mean something like “revolution”.
In Germany, when we say innovate, it doesn’t mean the same thing as in America. In the end, we wanted to use the same language in order to make it a level playing eld. With some of the top players from Japan on stage, we will have the chance to highlight innovations which otherwise may go undiscovered.


Why is coinnovation so important this year?

We are talking about two things: innovation and coinnovation. Innovation is important and is a driver for the market. You need innovation to encourage consumers to invest in new devices and solutions. But innovation is now a challenge for many companies in this connected world, as no company is really able to innovate all on their own. You need partners, and you need to be open minded. You need to integrate developers and other solutions, other parts and other technology providers. It means you need to cooperate in innovation, without that, you might be lost. Especially if you are on the global stage. We think the word “coinnovation”, is the best expression to underline how we bring innovation to IFA, and also help our exhibitors and innovators to find each other and exchange ideas. With coinnovation as a goal, we created IFA NEXT to help both sides bring innovation to the markets. It’s a kind of matchmaking, in people, ideas and mind-sets.

What are the key themes for emerging themes at IFA this year?

5G will certainly be one of the key trends. The keynote by Huawei is indicative of the importance of this, as they are one of the biggest manufacturers both for the 5G backbone and 5G consumer devices. It will give us a hint as to where technology and products will move in the near future. Of course, Cristian Amon, President of Qualcomm, will explain why 5G will be a fundamental driver of technological progress and usher in the next era of great inventions.

Our other keynotes will be remarkable as well. Anthony Wood, the founder, chairman and CEO of Roku is arguably the most successful challenger to Netflix and cable networks alike. He will talk about the visions and innovations that will transform television. And with twelve global brands, Arcelik is a market leader in most of its markets, including two of Europe’s largest household appliance brands, Beko and Grundig. During the IFA Keynote, Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO Arçelik, will explain his strategic insights and his company’s global position.

The “power of data” is the key topic at this year’s IFA+ Summit. On 8 and 9 September, numerous international speakers will look ahead to how disruptive technologies will change and shape our digital future. The Future of Mobility will be discussed at the SHIFT Automotive convention on 10 and 11 September. And IFA Global Markets, from 8 to 11 September, will see suppliers, component manufacturers and OEMs/ODMs meeting customers and partners from the consumer and home electronics industries.