Every year, Berlin plays host to IFA - one of Europe’s oldest industrial exhibitions. It has evolved over the years to give a glimpse of the most innovative products in technology that will set the trend for the next few years. This year I was delighted to represent Servify at the annual event where I experienced the convergence of global tech inside Messe Berlin.
Here are my key takeaways after spending three days at IFA 2019.
While AI and Smart Home technology isn't exactly new, it has still been a niche product so far. Only a few are able to afford these high-tech innovations and use them. This year, I feel, smart home is beginning to go mass market. Products are now available at affordable price points, are easy to set up and connect and easy to use via smart apps.
The idea of smart home automation has lingered on the fringes of our society for long and now we will see even more affordable products from this category in the market. One of our customers, Medion, is an example of one such company. Now getting solutions for smart cooling/heating, security, and much more - will be available 'on-demand' to the masses.
An unexpected innovation while roaming the booths of smart home automation was to discover the Smart City initiative. There were displays of Smart City platforms that can control every aspect of city life, on the backbone of Mobility and Connectivity. Throw in IoT to the mix and we can see how some of these astounding ideas can easily take shape and be implemented without too big an investment.
Of course, while we have seen how connectivity and IoT is shaping up, we haven't fully seen the mass adoption of e-mobility. Perhaps an Internet of Mobility revolution is imminent. First home appliance manufacturers are entering this business segment, with Vestel being one example.
2019 has been a clear breakthrough year for electronic powered vehicles. At IFA, many OEMs showcased scooters, e-bikes and other e-mobility devices. Some which weren't expected to enter this line of business, like Trekstor which have their roots in PC business.
SHIFT Automotive – held on September 10 & 11, saw the convergence of startups, car makers, big tech and city planners.
Streaming content is now the main way of watching TV. Cord-cutters are invested in the content-on-demand services that the traditional way of consuming content is becoming less appealing. This is changing the classical TV eco-system into a platform play.
Smartphones were where streaming really took off and it is no surprise, that now almost every OEM at IFA has Android TV in their portfolio. It feels like TV becomes a smartphone with a large screen, where users have access to their favourite apps as well. A number of TV manufacturers are not clear yet, if they go for Android TV as mass market or if they should develop their own Linux-based TV platforms. Differentiation is key, but so is scale and time to market. We’ll see...
OEMs are also coming up with new formats, along with adding more pixels - giving rise to unique high-resolution TVs. The one that clearly blew me away was the transparent TV by Panasonic.
During IFA, I also spoke to offline retail chains, which have the challenge of attracting millennials. This target consumer base typically buys from online retail channels.
All of the offline retailers are working on online offerings and on leveraging their local footprint for establishing an attractive, sustainable services business.
There is a clear need for a mobile first, device lifecycle offering with attractive VAS to improve their proposition especially to Millennials.
President - Europe
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