Samsung, LG to step up 3-D TV business in Europe, but face skepticism from consumers
ALICANTE, Spain ― Smart innovation and green technology are expected to dominate the IFA, one of the world’s top electronics trade shows, to be held in Germany in September, its organizers said.
During a preview and news conference for the international press in Alicante from April 14-17, leading industrial firms ― such as Samsung Electronics, Siemens, Bosch and Ford ― presented how they will set the stage at IFA.
The trade show will be held in Berlin from Sept. 2-7.
Moving from a bi-annual to an annual event in 2006, IFA has attracted 238,000 visitors, including 125,000 trade visitors, and showcased 1,423 exhibitions from 47 countries in 2010, according to Rainer Hecker, chairman of the supervisory board at gfu, the event’s organizer, along with Messe Berlin.
“IFA is the festival of global brands,” he said. “It’s a success story for more than 80 years in consumer electronics and home appliances and an international meeting point for industry, media, retail and customers.”
In the consumer electronics sector, the world’s top flat-screen TV maker Samsung Electronics claimed smart TV and convergence will be the two major trends in 2011.
“Smart TV is a normal TV and it’s not a TV with a built-in piece,” said Michael Zoeller, marketing director for TV at the Samsung Electronics’ Europe headquarters. “(But) it offers more content, more convergence and more experience.”
Introducing its Series D8000, Zoeller said the smart TV that is also equipped with 3-D will provide a channel and program guide as well as access to TV applications on one screen.
People will be able to connect TV with multiple devices such as their laptop, blue-ray hot disk drive and smart camera as well as wireless devices, including tablet PCs and smartphones, he said.
“It’s very simple and easy,” he added.
Zoeller also said that Samsung is upgrading its marketing tactic to gain a larger share in the European market.
The Seoul-based company is going to launch the 3-D video on-demand service with some free 3-D content in Europe next month and reduce the price of 3-D glasses, offering two pairs at 79 euros, down from 120 euros, according to Zoeller.
“We hope that with these kinds of activities, the adoption of 3-D will grow,” he said. “This is not future and it’s happening right now. We’re presenting more examples of convergence and smart TV at IFA.”
Market research firm DisplaySearch, however, said that many European consumers were not convinced about TV replacement in its survey that questioned 1,000 consumers in five European countries, including France, the U.K. and Italy.
Although the details are to be released during IFA, there was a clear need for the industry to educate consumers more about why TV replacement was necessary, said Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics and Europe TV research at DisplaySearch.
The survey also revealed that price was not a particularly strong motivator to buy in many countries, he said.
“France, Germany consumers are skeptical about replacing their TVs early,” said Gray. “(But) Emerging market consumers have a shorter replacing cycle. Indonesia consumers said they would replace TVs every three years.”
Automobile manufacturer Ford, on the other hand, introduced a SYNC system on its model Focus, saying people could now drive smart.
The SYNC system enables people to connect to digital devices while driving on the road, even creating a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car.
With the voice-activated system, drivers can turn on the entertainment and navigation system, and control the temperature in the vehicle by talking into the system, said Jason Johnson, user interface design manager at Ford Motor Company.
The system is currently available in 19 different languages and comes with 10,000 first-level voice commands, he said, adding that the vehicle will be available in Europe next year. A total of 3 million SYNC vehicles have been sold in the U.S., he added.
“It also has an emergency assistance feature that provides key information directly to the operator and supports emergency assistance in more than 30 countries,” said Johnson.
In the home appliance sector, two German-based companies Siemens and Bosch introduced a washer, dryer and refrigerator that focused on innovation and green technology.
Stressing efficiency and convenience, Siemens said its washer named i-DOS is the first example of such innovation for it comes equipped with an automatic dosing system.
“We had a successful launch in Germany (last year) and we’re rolling out the system now in Europe and the market is ready for it,” said Ulrich Twiehaus, head of marketing and communications at Siemens.
It also presented blueTherm, a self-cleaning condenser, which it says maximizes convenience and increases energy efficiency.
Bosch featured its refrigerator dubbed “SmartCool,” claiming the product takes a year to use the electricity other refrigerators consume in six months.
By Cho Ji-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent (email@example.com