[IFA 2017] Samsung proposes ‘new normal’ lifestyle for global consumers

By Song Su-hyun

Clever connectivity, innovation added to home appliances showcased at IFA 2017

  • Published : Aug 31, 2017 - 01:01
  • Updated : Aug 31, 2017 - 09:33
BERLIN -- Aiming to grab the spotlight among global tech giants, Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that its presentation theme at Europe’s largest trade show for home appliances will be of lifestyles with enhanced connectivity and convenience.

Two days before IFA 2017 kicks off Friday, Samsung Electronics unveiled new flagship consumer electronic products and services for the second half of the year at a series of press conferences.

Calling it the “new normal,” David Lowes, chief marketing officer of Samsung’s Europe business, said, “To become meaningful, technological innovation should naturally meld into the daily lives of consumers and be able to change their lives. 

David Lowes, chief marketing officer of Samsung’s Europe business, rehearses his presentation on Samsung's 'New Normal' theme for home appliances at Tempodrom Berlin in Germany on Wednesday. (Samsung Electronics)

“Samsung is making best efforts to introduce innovative products and services that are going to become a new normal for the lives of consumers around the world.”

Samsung is among some 1,800 companies from 50 countries participating in the six-day IFA convention at Messe Berlin in Germany, showing a slew of high-tech home appliances and mobile technologies.

From South Korea, Samsung and LG have joined along with 39 other smaller manufacturers.

IFA is one of three world‘s largest technology-related trade shows, alongside the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

IFA began in 1924 and has been held every year. Starting with keynote speeches on the first two days, IFA+Summit will host lectures by scholars and experts on new technologies. IFA Next features some 160 startups from 20 countries, while IFA Global Market is dedicated to marketing professionals.

Keynote speakers include Pieter Nota, chief business leader of Philips’ Personal Health businesses, Peter Han, vice president of partner devices and solutions at Microsoft, James Park, CEO of Fitbit, and Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei‘s Consumer Business Group.

This year’s main focus is expected to be a continuation of last year‘s highlights on the Internet of Things, smart home and ultra-definition TVs.

An outdoor advertisement shows Samsung’s proposal for lifestyles with enhanced connectivity and convenience at City Cube Berlin, a venue for the IFA 2017 trade show that kicks off Friday. (Samsung Electronics)

For this, Samsung Electronics debuted its 43-inch art frame-like TV “The Frame” for Europe, the first market where it is being launched. The model will be introduced later in Russia and the US.

The release follows the successful launch of bigger Frame TVs -- 55 inches and 65 inches -- in the region in May.

The Samsung Frame TV has also become a new platform for the distribution of artworks, providing consumers with content related to the arts through partnerships with renowned art galleries, including Prado in Spain.

Samsung plans to secure up to 1,000 pieces of artwork for its Art Store platform, through which users can purchase art pieces via their TVs by the end of the year.

As for technological partnerships, Samsung announced a new alliance for its High Dynamic Range 10 Plus, the company’s visual display technology, with Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox and Japan’s Panasonic to expand application of the technology for visual content on different devices.

Another first for the company is the new artificial intelligence-powered washing machine QuickDrive, which cuts washing times in half. Its exclusive Q-Drum consists of a large main drum and a plate in the back that rotates independently.

Unlike conventional washers that move clothes repeatedly up and down over the course of a cycle, the latest washer moves clothes from top to bottom in the drum, while the plate in the back of the drum introduces a back-and-forth movement, the company said.

QuickDrive’s smart AI feature, dubbed “Q-rator,” has a function called Laundry Planner through which the washer recommends an appropriate course when users set a finish time. Another function, Laundry Recipe, recommends the best course according to the amount of clothes. An automatic detergent refill function allows users to order more detergent through Amazon as well.

“QuickDrive will make significant changes to lives by returning the time spent on household chores back to consumers as spare time,” said Daniel Harvie, head of marketing of household appliances in Europe.

Samsung also introduced its first cordless standing vacuum machine Power Stick, with 150-watt suction power, making it the industry’s most powerful. It has a handle that folds in at up to 50 degrees when reaching under beds or the atop closets.

In addition, the world’s biggest handset manufacturer showed new wearable devices Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro with enhanced functions for sports, as well as the cordless ear set Gear IconX 2018. 

Gear Sport (Samsung Electronics)

Smartwatch Gear Sport and sports band Gear Fit2 Pro both won the 5ATM water resistance grade, meaning they can be worn while swimming up to 50 meters underwater.  

Samsung had an exlusive partnership with Speedo, a leading swimwear brand, to develop the algorithm for the two new wearables, which accurately tracks performances of swimmers, the company said. 

Gear Fit2 Pro (Samsung Electronics)

The Gear IconX not only enables music streaming, but also provides fitness coaching and health data. If a user owns a Bixby-based Samsung smartphone, the ear set can be linked to the device’s voice-activated AI program, allowing the user to operate the smartphone by issuing verbal commands via the ear set.

Gear IconX 2018 (Samsung Electronics)

Google Assistant and Samsung‘s S Voice are also compatible with the new ear set, the company added.

At the core of Samsung’s new normal for home appliances lies “clever connectivity,” which aims to connect all kinds of devices and appliances, “championing impossibility,” the company highlighted.

“Samsung and about 390 other companies around the world are working to set standards for Internet of Things technologies to connect a countless number of devices in order to maximize user experience,” said Matthew Perry, head of the Open Connectivity Foundation, a global organization for the Internet of Things. 

By Song Su-hyun
Korea Herald correspondent