Consumer Watch

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Glenda Thompson

Consumers are in for a huge treat in the next few years with appliances coming onto the market that think for them.  CEO of Hirsch’s, Allan Hirsch recently attended IFA, an annual event held in Europe (this year it was in Berlin) that showcases the latest products and innovations in global consumer technology. He said that many of these appliances would be in the market in SA next year.

What impressed Allan most were the carbon products from the Grundig stable.  “These were incredible.  Fridges and other appliances, large and small, made from carbon, the same material that super yachts etc. are made from.  Light weight, incredibly durable and very attractive, with a long term guarantee.  Something else I loved were juice blenders that suck all the oxygen out of food before it blends the item.  The food doesn’t go brown and it stays fresh and clear the whole day. Steam cooking is also very popular in Europe, and soon most Defy products will come with steamers.

Without a doubt the most talked about topic at the show was Artificial Intelligence – “it will bring each aspect of our lives into a seamless connected experience.” These were the words from LG’s Electronics Chief Executive Officer Jo Seong-jin at the opening of the show.  Continued Jo Seong-jin “Your home will know what kind of day you’ve had in the office and will roll out the welcome mat by preparing the perfect environment for when you walk in the door.”

Also in abundance at the show apparently, were robots.  Hoover and Samsung had new stick-vacuums on display with claims of superior suction and battery life. Robot vacs were plentiful, including the 3D Sensor model with Electrolux that, as the name suggests, senses in 3D. A fun display from LG was its new robot mower, and with the amount of lawns that we have in South Africa, it will be interesting to see how these machines go down here.

On the health front, examples of products that are designed to improve our health included the Philips SmartSleep headbands and apps designed for the almost 40% of us who don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours sleep.  Smart sleeve boosts slow-wave activity to enhance the quality of deep sleep.  Philips are also making pasta makers that put a measure of flower in and it will tell you how much liquid you need to make the perfect pasta – can also be made with broccoli or beetroot

Clothes and dishwashers are now using smart technology to make sure that you never run out of detergent.  Combined with auto-dosing capabilities, companies – including Miele, Bosch and Siemens have Amazon Dash support which automatically re-orders detergent when stocks are running low.

Topping my personal list of amazing appliances that are about to be launched are washing machines that fold your laundry! These will be launched by Panasonic in 2019.  I also love the idea of the Siemens odour removal washing machine.  If you have worn a jacket for a few days and it’s beginning to smell of stale smoke, just toss it into the machine, and without running a wash cycle it will eliminate the odour through a senso fresh function.

Finally, here is something that every executive would love – the PA in your ear.  If you want to send and sms or whatsapp without using your phone, or you want  the weather forecast without referring to the phone, Sony have developed the “Xperia Ear” – a small Bluetooth earphone that can tell your smartphone to send texts or recite information!

So there we have it folks. Love it or hate it, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay.  In a few years’ time we will hardly remember what life was like without it!!

Drop me a line on gjthomo@gmail.com  if you have any consumer related enquiries.

 

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