IFA Berlin is referred to as the world’s most important technology and consumer electronic fair. As every year design-people participated and came back with lots of inspiration. From smart homes over robots to data security, we’re happy to share our notes about trends and topics
Personal wellness & care, fitness and health products were massively exposed at IFA. Fitbit launched their competent Apple Watch competitor, Ionic, focusing on fitness apps. Nokia showcased a portfolio of analog watch-style fitness trackers and the Finns are now presenting a range of health-related smartphone accessories. Philips presented devices that consumerize otherwise professional medical equipment; they impressed us with at new tooth-brushing assistant with extensive sensor and AI technology, allowing for a better control of your tooth-brushing results. Click here to watch a video.
We met numerous startups at IFA. At their booth, Samsung presented a range of startups they support within their ‘Next’ startup program.
Likewise, we found the ‘IFA Next’ area for startups very inspiring. Much of what the startups presented was more exciting, innovative and consumer relevant than what larger corporations showed at the rest of the IFA. Placing this year’s UX design award at IFA Next emphasized the importance of the area. This year’s winner: a med-tech startup printing 3D organs. Read more here.
Robots will enter your home. The robot vacuum cleaner category is growing, with +22% in the first half of 2017 in Europe. In other words, consumers are getting used to having robots in their homes. Also the humanoid service robots, or robo-butlers, were highly present at IFA this year, both for entertainment purposes and for service purposes.
Voice control was everywhere. Many appliance manufacturers integrate voice control and in particular make use of Amazon Echo’s AI assistant, so-called ‘Alexa’ to do so. Google and Microsoft presented similar devices, but Alexa was dominant this year. We saw the technology put in to use to operate fridges, ovens, speakers or humanoid robots.
Data privacy and security in IoT was discussed intensely at the IFA+ summit. Professionals and consumers are concerned. The way consumers are forced to blindly sign ‘General Terms and conditions’ with substantial data privacy issues to follow, was criticized.
We have only seen the beginning of the Internet of Things – 50 billion devices are expected to be online by 2020 (according to Cisco) meaning a massive amount of (potentially personal) data being recorded and traded. Brands who want to build a sound IoT business depend on consumer trust, which makes data privacy an essential focus area for the future of IoT.
Smarthome solutions are getting more refined with the kitchen as a hub. The connected fridge is still a widespread proposal although the entire use case for the consumer (fridge content analysis, shopping list or automated shopping, meal recipes or meal preparation) still seems complicated. In comparison, analog home-delivery of meal boxes has double-digit growth rates in Scandinavia. Gardening also pushes forward in the smart home segment. For example Innogy (former RWE – utility) presented an extensive suite of connected smart home products with a comprehensive app, supporting various 3rd party devices like lawn movers.
LP records and CD’s go strong. In the audio and home entertainment IFA halls, among all the new wireless and interconnected, now textile wrapped, loudspeakers, we saw lots of LP and CD players. The ritual of selecting music in a more tactile way seems to attract a growing share of consumers.
A keynote at the IFA + summit by Amber Case was about ‘Calm technology’. As IoT devices invade our surroundings, it’s important to offer IoT concepts and interaction designs that create everyday benefits without stealing the users’ attention. We saw several examples of physical shortcut buttons in Smarthome systems, enabling the user to leave their smartphones in the pocket. Additionally, when used right, voice control can reduce attention to devices and leave more space to focus on the people and tasks around us.
You are welcome to get in touch with us to discuss how IFA trends may influence your upcoming solutions…
With kind regards from the design-people IFA team
Some of our clients