Trend-Monitor travelled to Berlin to join the 245,000-strong crowd of visitors who flocked to IFA 2019 in September, to find out what the latest trends are in the world of home appliances
IFA is the leading showcase for the global technology industry, hosting more innovation and product launches than any previous event, and presenting more digital lifestyle products in one place than any other show worldwide.
Appliance Design Trend #1 – The Environment
Concerns about the environment made it to the top of the agenda at this year’s IFA. In his keynote speech, Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO of Arçelik, which is the parent company of Beko and Grundig, called for action against climate change and plastic waste.
In a bid to kickstart activity on this issue, he said that Arçelik is willing to share some of its groundbreaking microfibre filtering technology that it has developed for its washing machines with its competitors for the greater good. The system is able to block 90% of microfibres from entering water sources, with the filtration box located in the detergent drawer filtering the water before discharge.
“This microfibre filtering technology is one of the most important innovations to come out of Arçelik and it has the potential to create far-reaching and significant change in our world,”Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO of Arcelik
Arçelik has also developed a washing machine tub made of recycled PET bottles, and a fridge made with bio-based plastics, polyurethane insulation material and composites made of food residue.
They are also currently working on a solar fridge thatwill be ready for serial production early next year.
Appliance Design Trend #2 – Tackling Food Waste
The issue of food waste is being tackled from the refrigeration angle, with brands presenting ways to keep food fresher for longer, and help consumers use up the products they’ve already stored in their fridges.
Gorenje’s NatureFresh built-in fridge-freezer range claims to preserve food with its SmartHumidity membrane that keeps humidity in the drawer at optimum levels, its VitaLight that maintains the natural ripening process of fruit and vegetables, and IonAir technology that enriches the air with extra negative ions to preserve flavour.
Beko was showcasing its HarvestFresh technology, which is set to be available across selected lines of the brand’s cooling appliances in the UK from next year. It uses green, blue and red lighting within a range of refrigerators to mimic the 24-hour sun cycle, including times of darkness. By recreating a natural environment, the aim is to preserve the vitamins in fruit and vegetables so that food lasts longer and retains its nutritional value.
AEG was showcasing the Smarter FridgeCam – a wireless fridge camera that takes a photo every time the fridge door is closed allowing you to see your fridge contents from anywhere via your smartphone.
Appliance Design Trend #3 – Wellness
Wellness continues to be a strong trend for home appliances, with plenty of brands highlighting the need for healthy diets and introducing products to make this easier to achieve.
Bosch used a striking display of its new indoor gardening solution VarioTray on its stand, which can be operated via the SmartGrow app to grow your own healthy herbs and salad at home.
Beko presented its new steam cooking solutions under the banner of its Eat Like A Pro campaign, which it runs in partnership with FC Barcelona and UNICEF, encouraging children to eat healthily like their footballing heroes.
Over on the Miele stand, taking a cue from the bathroom spa sector was the Miele Aura 4.0 cooker hood, which not only features ambient lighting that moves through customisable colours, it features AmbientFragrance, which emits three delicate fragrances to enhance the atmosphere – SummerGarden, French Bakery and MintyFields.
Appliance Design Trend #4 – Digital Assistants
Hands-free voice control was one of the top, must-have features that brands were offering at the show, with the ability to connect appliances to digital assistants such as Alexa, Google and Siri all the rage.
This seemed to particularly be the case with oven technology.Sharp’s Smart Oven can be linked to smart displays such as the Google Nest Hub for hands-free operation, and Siemens was showcasing an oven that can open its door on command.
Taking the idea in a different direction, Gorenje was presenting its digital assistant Anna, who is designed to help consumers buy the perfect appliances and offer tips about how to use them more efficiently.
Appliance Design Trend #5 – Connected Home
Brands were highlighting platforms that they have developed that allow communication between connectible products. Gorenje and Hisense were presenting their ConnectLife platform, that allows communication between Hisense Group appliances from all categories. BSH’s cross-brand Home Connect app for Bosch, Siemens and Neff was being relaunched at the show as a ‘command centre and interface’ with improved navigation.
Samsung was using the Bot Chef on its stand to highlight the theme of connectivity with a cooking demonstration by Michel Roux Jr and Michel Troisgros.
Samsung’s AI-powered kitchen assistant robot was operated by voice control and helped with a variety of tasks including seasoning and stirring food, while the presentation demonstrated how Samsung’s ‘mobile ecosystem capabilities’ created connectivity throughout the cooking process across the brand’s appliances.
Appliance Design Trend #6 – Ease and Speed
Manufacturers are coming up with new ways to save the time-poor consumer precious minutes, while also relieving them of dull tasks. The Cookit from Bosch was unveiled at the show – it’s the first ever food processor with cooking functions that is designed to make light of the more mundane aspects of food preparation and also provide recipe inspiration and tutorials via the brand’s Home Connect App. Shredding, cutting, kneading and mixing can all be taken care of with minimum effort, and the Cookit can notify you via text message when dishes are ready.
Samsung was launching its AirDresser compartment to hang clothes, featuring a JetAir system and Air Hangers that clean and freshen up outfits at home, saving consumers’ time and money by reducing trips to the dry cleaners.
Appliance Design Trend #7 – Personalisation
Tailored experiences have made it into the appliances arena. Sharp’s Love2Cook Smart Oven is integrated with connected cooking platform Innit, which adapts and personalises recipes according to users’ preferences and dietary requirements by suggesting substitute ingredients.
Similarly, Bosch, Siemens and Neff parent company BSH will soon be adding an app to its product range that delivers personalised recipes based on existing food in the household, favourite ingredients or food intolerances. All recipes come with step-by-step instructions.
The trend for being able to personalise the look and style of an appliance is still in relative infancy, however, Samsung’s new BeSpoke range offers users the chance to style up their cooling appliances to complement the colour of their interior decor.