IFA 2020 puts focus on smart home applications

The first global electronics fair since the pandemic outbreak was held physically

The focus of International Consumer Electronics Fair (IFA) 2020 Special Edition, held in Berlin, was on smart home applications and devices with positive influence on the way of life. Furthermore, the emphasis was on cutting-edge technologies, such as IoT, 5G, Mixed Reality, AI and robotics aimed to redesign the world in the era of digital working and learning, telemedicine and digital health, businesswire.com reported.

IFA 2020 Special Edition has ended, sending the message that “tech is back” and that both the consumer electronics and home appliances industry and tech media have a hunger for real-life experiences, the organisers said. This year’s IFA Berlin was a hybrid event: three days of keynotes, presentations and product launches took place in real life under tight health and safety rules, but were augmented by IFA’s new virtual platform, IFA Xtended Space. IFA 2020 also hosted SHIFT Mobility meets IFA NEXT, an innovation platform that brought together start-ups, innovators and many companies shaping the future of mobility and everyday life.

Among the global brands, that took part in the event were LG with its impressive hologram presentation, BSH, Haier, Honor, Huawei, Miele, Neato, Qualcomm, TCL etc.

6,100 attendees met face to face at IFA 2020. 150 companies presented their ideas, but they were joined by an additional 1,350 exhibitors from 30 countries at IFA Xtended Space and the IFA Virtual Market Place. More than 78,000 people followed the IFA 2020 Special Edition online, and generated 262,000 views – watching the keynote and press conferences, following panel discussions and exploring the virtual product demonstrations.

Nineteen cutting-edge products from leading consumer electronic brands like HONOR, Midea, Panasonic, Samsung and Siemens were awarded with the IFA Product Technology Innovation Award. The Award is held annually and is recognized worldwide. It is a praise of the global consumer electronics industry and an international platform for exchange, display, and cooperation, organizers said.

The trade fair business in Europe was brought to a juddering halt by the pandemic, with the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the ITB travel fair in Berlin and the Geneva Car Show all called off at the end of February. IFA 2020 Special Edition was the first major global fair for consumer and home electronics that physically took place since the pandemic. Outstanding brands and up-and-coming start-ups showcased their novelties, trends and highlights at the Berlin exhibition grounds from 3rd to 5th September. “After all those event cancellations, our industry urgently needs this platform in order to present its innovations. Virtual events are certainly helpful, but they lack the emotional connection”, said Director Jens Heithecker.

Tthis year’s edition of the event, first held in 1924, was shaping up to be a lot like Champions League soccer - the players are on the pitch, the support staff are on the touchline, but the stadium is empty. “A normal IFA, with 240,000 visitors and 6,000 media representatives from 80 countries just isn’t practical,” IFA Director Dirk Koslowski told Reuters before the event.

The number of participants was limited, because health and safety were top priority.

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm kicked off proceedings with a keynote address at which it launched chipsets to power cheap 5G phones and ‘always on, always connected’ laptops for people workingat home. But the presentation, by Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, was a pre-recorded video - he wasn’t able to travel to Berlin. More worryingly for the organisers, the disruption caused by the pandemic has accelerated a trend for big-name brands to stage their own, standalone product launches before a global online audience, Reuters reported. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics had just held events to promote its second-generation Fold2 folding phone and the latest product range from its booming home appliances division. China’s Huawei Technologies, a major sponsor of the congress circuit, also gave a video keynote address at IFA but saved big product announcements for its developer conference in Shenzen on 10 September.

That leaves just a corner of the vast Berlin trade fair ground occupied by smaller players battling for market share in an industry that has held up well despite a broader slump, as people spend more on home working, cooking and entertainment, Reuters added.

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