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Week-end Edition - Day 2 & 3 - IFA International

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  • Appliances
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  • Consumer
  • September
  • Haier
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ©

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW © IBM WE ARE UNDOUBTEDLY IN THE MOST EXCITING AND TRANSFORMATIVE ERA IN HISTORY – MANY PEOPLE SEE THIS AS THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION Harriet Green GM, IBM Watson IoT, Commerce and Education Orchestrating the IoT-enabled Smart Home Technology is leading us into “the fourth industrial revolution” Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, delivers today’s IFA Keynote that tackles the timely subject of The Internet Of Things: Changing The Way We Live”. The former CEO of UK travel titan Thomas Cook, and chief executive of electronics distributor Premier Farnell, Green was voted the Leader Of The Year at the 2013 National Business Awards in the UK, and promises to lead IBM Watson into the IoT frontier. “With the emergence of advanced technologies such as cognitive computing, IoT and robotics, we are undoubtedly in the most exciting and transformative era in history – many people see this as the fourth industrial revolution,” Green told IFA International in the lead-up to the keynote. Green described a new era of rapid change that will be largely driven by IoT innovation. “Using sensors we are improving our relationship with the physical world. We are giving objects eyes and ears, so they can sense and interact with us better. As a result our relationship with buildings, cities, cars, devices and appliances are being transformed.” For Green, the big challenge over next few years will be when the Internet of Things becomes the world’s biggest source of data. “That’s where IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system comes in,” she said. Green explained how IBM Watson has employed machine learning techniques, among others, to investigate this rich new source of data, and to generate analysis that will help to automate tasks, improve product design, create new services and help people to make better decisions. Describing the way resulting technologies are “changing the way we live, work, produce and consume - disrupting many of our existing models for business and innovation”, Green is especially interested in the way IoT will impact our lives in the home. According to Green, IBM Watson is focused on IoT-enabled smart home “orchestrators” that will potentially streamline the management of all household chores and tasks. She cautions that this will not be easy, and that IBM’s powerful cognitive computing technology will be vital for developing an effective IoT. Having established a global headquarters for its IoT business in Munich in 2015 that employs hundreds of developers, designers and researchers, IBM now has around 750 IoT patents - many more than whole nations. “Some of the biggest names in consumer technology are turning to IBM to help transform their goods and services,” said Green. “For example, Whirlpool is using IBM’s Watson IoT platform to help deliver superior customer service by enabling its home appliances to connect with one another and to their users – opening up a new era of man-machine partnership in the home and better results for all. Panasonic is also utilising IBM’s Watson technologies to create smart homes and give consumers greater peace of mind.” In the future, the increased cognitive computing capabilities of things connected to the internet will allow these things to see, smell and hear, meaning people will in essence be able to talk to their home. “People will become more comfortable talking to their home, to the things inside their home, with their cars and more,” said Green. “Natural language interfaces will be more robust, handling more language and being capable of dealing with challenges like accents, background noise and interference. And as devices become smarter and connected, people will want to talk even more to the things around them to tap into their knowledge, solve problems and improve their lives.” 30

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Haier Aims Higher IFA leveraged as launch pad for new home appliances from the global HA giant THIS YEAR, HAIER EXPANDS ITS HOME OFFERING BY ENTERING A NEW PRODUCT CATEGORY: COOKING Yannick Fierling CEO Europe, Haier Haier topped the Euromonitor appliances rankings again last year for global sales. We asked the company’s European CEO, Yannick Fierling, what is the state of play in Europe… Haier is building a strong profile in the European Home & Electronic Appliances market with substantial year-on-year growth. By providing a wide range of highly innovative products that are in tune with an ever-evolving market, Haier has succeeded in transforming an Asian brand into an outwardlooking international group with a strong presence in Europe. Since gaining a foothold in the European market we’ve reinforced Haier’s European production capacities with the opening of a new factory and R&D centre in Russia. Brand awareness has increased in all key European countries as a result of targeted marketing activity and we are set to ramp up marketing spend in 2016 to further consolidate our brand image. What are your star categories at IFA this year and what are the star products? The White Goods sector remains Haier’s key market and this is reflected in another strong showing at IFA. The Haier Duo washing machine had a great impact last year; its double drum allows the consumer to save time. This year, in response to consumer demand, we revealed an even more sophisticated version of it, the Haier Duo Dry. Cooling is also part of our Group DNA and generates many exciting innovations. We’re pleased to introduce a range of large capacity refrigerators with the widest freezer drawers available on the market, offering more choice as always to consumers. Customisation is also a key area of development that is demonstrated at our booth this year. It’s a trend that reflects our desire to listen to the needs of the consumer by offering greater choice and personalisation. This year, Haier expands its Home offering by entering a new product category: Cooking. Our diversification into this dynamic market, with a complete builtin line, is a natural business progression which complements Haier’s existing product offering. What is your key competitive advantage in the market? One of the key contributors to our success is our ability to launch innovations that correspond with changing consumer needs. We don’t believe in gimmicks only benefit-oriented innovation. The “Zero Distance” strategy allows us to be directly connected with consumer habits and needs through the development of our collaborative platform. Haier is also leading the way in creating connected factories that enable interactive dialogue between its factories and consumers. Another key advantage for us is the reliability and durability of our products; our long term warranties are proof of the trust we have in our production. In order to better communicate these advantages we are rolling out a TV and digital communication campaign in major European countries. Please tell us more about the partnership with GE Appliances and what it will mean to future sales and marketing. We are currently discussing the details of our cooperation on the European market. What we are sure about is that this acquisition will allow us to further develop our innovative capability. In terms of sales and marketing, Haier will remain the key brand of the Group. What are the key trends in your appliances this year? We have responded to the growing desire for customisation, with consumers and distributors in mind, by offering an array of products that can be personalised to suit individual requirements e.g. colour selection, sizes, door widths, etc. The creation of umbrella concepts to group Haier’s innovations together under a recognisable theme (e.g. Fresher Techs) and the use of innovative technologies that deliver sustainable performance and dedicated care. In response to consumer demand for smart appliances, all Haier products will be connected through the U+ platform, where consumers have access to real-time information about their home appliances on their mobile device. How important is the show as part of your global marketing and why? IFA is the annual must-attend event for all the big players in the electronics industry. For us it is an important barometer of the future potential of our products and we’re eager to gauge the response to our latest innovations. The show is also a valuable opportunity for Haier to meet and exchange with consumers, distributors and the media on our future ranges www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Saturday 3 th & Sunday 4 th September 2016 31

IFA International