Rapidly becoming Europe’s answer to CES (the US’ International Consumer Electronics Show), IFA has become an important predictor of the hottest trends that will influence the holiday market. We sent our innovation experts to be our eyes on the ground, giving us the scoop on the latest and greatest developments within the world of consumer electronics. They didn’t disappoint.

One of the reasons IFA is on our must-attend list every year, is that it acts as a barometer, showing us the direction in which the consumer electronics industry is headed, both for 2018 and beyond. This year, we spotted five trends that will have an impact on the industry.
Standalone products don’t cut it
Standalone products don’t cut it
Companies are realizing that to compete in our connected world, they need to offer more than products. Products need to become platforms that support regularly updated services. The days where you could launch a standalone product that would dominate the market for an extended period of time are gone. Now it’s all about the ecosystem. Building an ecosystem around a product ensures that it stays relevant in this world of rapidly changing standards and light-speed technological advances. Through connectivity and software updates, products actually increase in value over time, something that interests both companies and consumers. The challenge with this trend is that consumers tend to put very little value on the physical products themselves. Almost all the value lies in the intangible, the system of services that the product enables the consumer to access.

The future is in infrastructure
Consumer electronic companies are expanding their portfolios to an unprecedented scale in order to offer organizations operating in public and private infrastructure a sustainable approach to the future. Over the past few years, consumer electronic companies have had their sights set on public and private infrastructure, developing products and services that target this domain. This year at IFA, this trend finally hit the mass market. All of the top brands were targeting domains like transportation, health, education, food waste, renewable energy and city infrastructure, offering companies in these sectors visions for how their products could help them have a positive social and environmental impact on the future.

For example, Panasonic’s exhibition, Better Living Tomorrow, presented a future where Internet of Things (IoT), AI and robotics technologies combine to make people’s lives more convenient by creating a connected environment between households and the outside world.
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IFA acts as a barometer, showing us the direction in which the consumer electronics industry is headed, both for 2018 and beyond.
At Cogniance, we work with companies to help them spot the digital trends that are relevant for their customers, business and industry. Once we have the trend that’s right for you, we work with you to translate that trend into a product, service or solution that solves real problems for real people.
Lifestyle is everything
Companies are increasingly using storytelling to ingrain their products in users’ lifestyles. People are not buying products; they are buying experiences. Today’s consumers want more than a product. They want an experience. To accommodate this trend, companies are finding themselves in the role of both product developer and storyteller, having to move beyond product development to experience creation. As the lines between home, work and play are being blurred, products must speak to people no matter where they are and no matter what they’re doing. To win people’s hearts, and wallets, companies need to put their products in a context, a lifestyle that appeals to their customers. IFA provided several examples of how major brands are introducing multi-touch point experiences.
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To win people’s hearts, and wallets, companies need to put their products in a context, a lifestyle that appeals to their customers.
AI is leading the way
Most new devices are using external software and artificial intelligence (AI). This trend puts Google, Amazon and Microsoft firmly in the driver’s seat in terms of defining how these devices will function in the future. Of all the products we saw, tested and tried at IFA, only wearable devices were running their own software. Everything else was using software from Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Steam. Amazon Alexa was the software of choice for many of the devices we saw, particularly the smartphones and home speakers. This is a very interesting trend when it comes to identifying which players will influence innovation over the next couple of years. Based on this trend, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are quite favorably positioned to drive the future development of these devices in terms of functionality and capabilities. It also means that they have a decided strategic advantage when it comes to the future monetization of collected data.

Unite & conquer
Users demand holistic experiences. To meet this demand, companies must think outside their own four walls and partner with other brands to offer complementary products. In the age of holistic experiences, companies are recognizing that they can’t go it alone. Small and big businesses alike are forging partnerships, pooling their respective resources and expertise to give consumers the seamless connectivity they demand. These partnerships not only keep these companies relevant, they help them expand their product portfolios at the pace necessary to keep up with the hyper-drive like demand. Just to name a couple of the examples we saw: Netatmo is partnering with Velux to enable a smart home experience, and Panasonic is teaming up with Tesla to provide renewable energy solutions. Standalone products don’t cut it

As you can see, IFA 2017 was a veritable smorgasbord of new technology, connected digital experiences and daring concepts for the future. Perhaps you’ve gotten inspired just reading our summary. Could some of these trends be relevant for your business? Are you looking for a way to use one or more of these innovative technologies in your product portfolio?

At Cogniance, we work with companies to help them spot the digital trends that are relevant for their customers, business and industry. Once we have the trend that’s right for you, we work with you to translate that trend into a product, service or solution that solves real problems for real people. Give us a call. Together, let’s create an impactful future for your customers.
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