13 Sep 2022

Virtual reality, Climate action and a connected future: a roundup of IFA 2022 keynotes

The return of an in-person IFA was a relief for everyone. The virtual platform is certainly interesting, but nothing beats meeting face-to-face and making an in-person impression. The 2022 event had one of the most diverse and dynamic programmes yet, with a range of keynote presentations by major figures from industry giants and forward-thinking companies. Here is a summary of the keynotes from this year’s IFA Berlin. 

Mark Zuckerberg joined Qualcomm CEO for a surprise presentation

Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated, used the opening keynote on Friday to announce a new partnership with Meta.

One thing was clear from Cristiano Amon’s speech: in the same way that connectivity between devices is essential, partnerships are fundamental to Qualcomm and their engineering of the future. 

Sharing stage time with Dr Won-Joon Choi, executive vice president of Samsung and Lila Snyder, CEO of Bose Corporation, Mr. Amon established the importance of collaboration to Qualcomm and the Snapdragon platforms. 

Mr. Amon gave the stage to a virtual appearance from Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta. Speaking via video of the “deeper engineering collaboration that’s a first for both of us,” Zuckerberg expanded on the need for Qualcomm’s expertise in building devices and chipset optimisation to help Meta develop the foundations of the metaverse. 

“We don’t do this alone,” said Mr. Amon. “We always believe in partnerships and one of the marquee qualities of Qualcomm is the ability to partner for the long term and build a broad ecosystem.”

Arçelik CEO made an urgent call to action

“You won’t like what you’re going to hear,” were the opening words of Arçelik CEO, Hakan Bulgurlu, during his keynote address at IFA Berlin on Friday.

As well as being the head of Arçelik, Mr. Bulgurlu is president of the APPLiA – Home Appliance Europe, a trade association that provides a voice for the home appliance industry.

Mr. Bulgurlu used his keynote presentation to call for immediate action to combat climate change, saying “I don’t believe in a world where people can get richer and the planet poorer.”

“We have to get to a net zero future, we have to limit global warming to 1.5 celsius by the end of the century […] nothing else matters,” he said.

Energy efficiency was also mentioned as a key method to help combat climate change. “The cleanest fuel in the world is the energy we don’t use,” was Mr. Bulgurlu’s simple statement.

He also pointed to wider solutions through policy-making, and outlined his company’s role in innovating sustainable solutions. Arçelik is carbon neutral in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, and over the past 10 years, the company has reduced washing machines’ consumption of energy [threefold], of water by 20%, along with sustainable updates to dishwashers too.

Honor embraced the connected future

Good things come in threes, and Honor impressed with a keynote presentation on Friday with three main talking points. 

Firstly, CEO George Zhao appeared virtually to share a preview of Honor’s upcoming smart collaboration operating system, MagicOS 7.0. The OS embraces open standards, allowing users to enjoy cross-platform and cross-device experiences. 

“MagicOS 7.0 is the perfect showcase of our commitment to openness and collaboration,” explained the CEO.

Secondly, Tony Ran, president of Honor Europe, appeared in-person to give an exciting unveiling of three new devices. 

The Honor 70, the latest addition to the company’s high-end N Series smartphone line-up, was the first on display, featuring two circular camera modules that host a triple camera system. The next device that was unveiled was the Magicbook 14, dubbed by Honor as a “mobile productivity powerhouse.” Lastly in the new Honor lineup was the Honor Pad 8, featuring an immersive 12-inch 2K FullView display with a screen-to-body ratio of 87%

For the third act of the keynote, Mr. Ran presented Honor’s investment in virtual and augmented reality. The company partnered with game development company Arloopa to create an interactive virtual experience at the iconic Wasserschloss building located in Speicherstadt, Munich. 

Huawei committed to Europe with focus on health and fitness

Huawei’s commitment to innovation and technology leadership was said to be “burning as bright as ever” as its president for Western Europe, William Tian, took to the IFA Berlin stage for Saturday’s keynote speech.

“Fitness and health is one of Huawei’s most focused categories right now,” Mr Tian said. “We have been putting a lot of resources into this area. This has led us to global number two sales of the world which means more than 100 million units of shipment last year and we have more than 350 million active users of Huawei Health.”

Other areas of innovation fall into the smartphone category, with Mr. Tian introducing the Nova 10 series with “the world’s best front camera phone” boasting 60 megapixels.

The company’s new partnership with Strava was also announced at IFA 2022, meaning the GPS cycling and running app will be integrated with Huawei’s wearable devices. Furthermore, the MateBook X Pro was unveiled with its interesting “knuckle knock” touchpad, which enables users to take screenshots by knocking twice on its surface.

Mr. Tian concluded by underlining Huawei’s continued commitment and investments in Europe. “We are still innovating, we are still bringing many new technologies and products to millions of loyal customers,” he added.

Schneider Electric showcased progress and sustainability for all 

In the fifth and final keynote of IFA 2022, Schneider Electric offered an insightful hybrid presentation, with Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, chief strategy and sustainability officer and Bidisha Nagaraj, VP of global marketing, appearing digitally and in-person respectively.

Bidisha Nagaraj asked Gwenaelle Avice-Huet three questions.

The first centred on Schneider Electric’s sustainable practices, with Ms. Avice-Huet pointing to integrated software, hardware solutions and services embedded all together as a key strategy. 

“When do you believe we are on the right track towards net zero?” was the second question put to Ms. Avice-Huet. “For me net zero is not a matter of destination, it’s a journey to combat global warming.”

The smart home in particular was identified as a key solution for combatting the CO2 emissions emitted by the residential sector. 

“It’s the home of the future we’re innovating for, with smart home energy management at its heart. We want to give everyone access to a sustainable future and continue to decarbonize our planet,” said Ms. Avice-Huet.

Finally, Ms. Avice-Huet was asked about what home means to her. “Home for me is where my family lives, where your family lives,” she said.

“It should be a place where you can feel safe and comfortable in, and that includes energy too.”