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[Herald Interview] IFA to shift focus back to consumer electronics

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Published : 2014-04-28 21:06
Updated : 2014-04-28 21:06

BELEK, Turkey ― Jens Heithecker, executive director of the Internationale Funkausstellung, believes the IFA will continue to be the world’s exhibition platform for promoting consumer electronic goods rather than being distracted by other products.

“The last International CES trade show was dominated by car manufacturers,” Heithecker told the press, calling it “crazy.”

Four of the top 10 participants at the CES held in Las Vegas in January 2013 were automakers. Another four were software manufacturers, and the rest were consumer electronics makers including Samsung Electronics, he noted.
IFA executive director Jens Heithecker

“The topic of connected cars is very interesting, but connected cars should just be a sideline event at a consumer electronics show,” said the director.

He reiterated that IFA organizers, above all else, will put consumer electronics under the spotlight.

This year, the IFA will highlight and feature home appliances connected to the Internet and mobile applications under the topic of the Internet of Things.

“The topic has long been talked about in the news media but had hardly been accepted by both consumers and retailers. Now the technologies are really coming to people and they are booming,” he said.

The event will also consist of seven categories including home entertainment and audio entertainment, while Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics unit CEO Yoon Boo-keun will deliver a keynote speech at the German trade show, scheduled for Sept. 5 to Sept. 10.

Around 1,500 companies exhibited their products and services, and a total of 240,000 people visited the exhibition last year.

Participants secured deals worth some $4.2 billion, excluding those made before and after the event, during the six-day show last year, according to the IFA.

The trade show is co-organized with Messe Berlin GmbH, a German trade fair company, and gfu, an association for the German consumer electronics industry.

When asked about its worldwide appeal compared to CeBIT, another German IT expo that has been losing its edge, Heithecker said that efforts to globalize the trade show have been the key to its success over the years.

“We think internationally and act internationally. We pay a visit to global headquarters (of companies in different areas) including Seoul, Tokyo, and North America,” he said.

By Kim Young-won, Korea Herald correspondent
(wone0102@heralcorp.com)

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