IFA is most succinctly referred to as the European version of CES. It is where well-known and many unknown tech brands come to showcase their latest wares to the industry. IFA is a glimpse into our future lives where the ubiquity of technology is not acknowledged and digital is not a prefix, rather a silent constant that is interwoven within the fabric of our daily lives.
IFA confirmed the fruition of many trends we have heard about over the last few years but as yet have seen relatively little about when browsing the aisles of our department stores. Invention is becoming innovation, and much of the tech you have heard about is on the verge of becoming mass market as price is lowered. Here’s snapshot of what you’ll soon be buying.
HOME APPLIANCES – SMART HOMES
The connected home took centre stage at IFA. In fact you could seemingly not escape at times through the maze of internet enabled white goods. For all the hi-tech on show, the possibility of doing two loads of washing at the same time, with the Haier dual-drum washing machine was one that garnered the most fevered attention. Whilst adding an extra drum to a washing machine might not be the most radical advancement, it does point to an important theme. Incremental gains that save us even the smallest amount of time are valuable in our time-poor lives.
UPGRADING THE OLD
As we approach an inflection point where our old products are dumb and new ones on the market are smart, there will be a period in between where consumers seek to satisfy their desire for smart products. LG have provided a quick fix in bringing to market the ThinQ Sensor. Attaching the sensor to our aging products may satisfy this desire, at least in the short-term. The sensor tracks motion and temperature so, for example, attaching it to your washing machine can let you know when the washing cycle is over by monitoring its vibrations. How useful this is going to be is questionable but for those looking to keep up with Jones’, it’s a solution.
TOYS, DROIDS AND DRONES – GIMMICK OR ENGAGEMENT
As you would expect, much of IFA is hi-res, hi-gloss and hi-tech. Yes, there’s lots of “ohh, ahh, look, shiny-shiny” moments and it’s easy to be overawed by the bright lights and scale of the exhibition. The difficulty comes when considering the utility of the products and tech on show. How much of it is a gimmick and how much has true utility? Some of the most popular stands were the Star Wars BB-8 Sphero toy droids and the synchronished Parrot drone display. They are light on utility when it comes to real-life situations but heavy on dwell time. From a media POV, if you’re audience is middle aged techies you could do worse than grabbing their attention through such a medium which we might otherwise dismiss as a gimmick.