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INDUSTRY MOVERS A look back at 2016 and forward into 2017: GC reports the views of some of the ‘movers’ in our industry
SPOTLIGHT ON… The Smart Home
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Spotlight on the smart home
The Word In and around the industry
George Cole Gets Connected GC’s consumer guru broaches the tricky subject of UHD
The Kitchen Studio
The Product Gallery Are we more tuned in to the Feng Shui doctrine than we think?
The Future is in Your Hands… The electrical industry’s ‘movers’ reflect on the progress made during 2016 and outline their plans for 2017
Custom Install The connected home: Multi-room Audio and Home Cinema
From the Bench Alan Bennett looks at the servicing of ‘analogue antiques’
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COMMENT OUR INDUSTRY DOESN’T OPERATE IN A VACUUM: NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EVENTS HAVE AN IMPACT ON THIS BUSINESS. SEVEN YEARS ON FROM THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL COLLAPSE, FOR EXAMPLE, WE KNOW THAT WE’RE STILL STRUGGLING TO ADAPT TO A MASSIVELY CHANGED MARKETPLACE. WHAT’S HAPPENED THIS YEAR TO MAKE US TAKE NOTICE?
has been particularly rich in events that will continue to shape our future in ways we couldn’t, in January, have anticipated. Some confirmed expectations, while others came as utterly unexpected shocks. Financial spivs continued to plunder the retail industry, getting rich beyond even their dreams of avarice at the expense of retail workers already under pressure from stagnant or falling incomes. Unless something is done, Sir Philip Green and Dominic Chappell remain just ugly symptoms of a deep malaise that leaves us indignant but powerless. We need to protect our retail heritage while we still have one. The UK’s vote to leave the EU came as a huge shock to the establishment, and from all the evidence the economic prospects – higher inflation, lower growth and a falling pound – are not good for consumers, whose incomes will be worth no more in real terms in 2021 than they were before the financial crash in 2008. They’re your customers. If it’s not good for them, it’s not good for you. In the end, Brexit looked more like a protest vote against an out-of-touch political “elite” than a considered democratic decision.
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
We will now have to live with it. And talking of huge shocks, the choosing of the next President of the United States was one of those absurd events that slowly unfolded while we watched and said “surely he won’t get the Republican nomination, will he?” And he did. Then “surely he can’t actually win.....?” And he did. Again, it seems like a protest vote against career politicians seen as untrustworthy, mendacious and remote. If the democrats had chosen any other candidate than Hillary Clinton – say a cuddly toy or a cheese sandwich – they would have stood a better chance of winning. The mood of unrest and dissatisfaction in mature democracies is throwing up strange choices that generate uncertainty, and if there is one thing that the markets hate, it’s uncertainty. But at least it’s Christmas, so that means the sales that will make the year’s hard graft worth it. Doesn’t it? Maybe in the old days, when people bought for Christmas at prices yielding a decent margin, and the January sales were there to liquidate old stock. That process has been changing for some time, as retailers lose their nerve in the annual pre-Christmas game of “chicken” with their customers, and cut prices early just to compete. Black Friday is the ultimate example of retail shooting its foot off. As one electrical retail commentator remarked to us: “Black Friday is just a hypedup nonsense that is knackering margins. It’s January sales at the end of November. At the time of highest demand, we’re cutting prices. The laws of supply and demand turned upside down.” For all that, may we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. It’s not the end of the world, and we do have a way of adapting, reinventing and fighting back.
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THE VERY LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
RETAILERS ENJOY STRONGEST SALES GROWTH SINCE JANUARY A
positive start to the final quarter of 2016 was recorded for October as retail sales grew 2.4%, against a 0.9% increase in the same month last year. The figure is clearly ahead of the 3-month and 12-month averages, both of which stand at 1.1%, and represents the strongest growth since January. Like-for-like sales also increased, up 1.7% compared to a 0.2% decline in October 2015. A more balanced contribution was noted in all product categories, most
of which experienced a degree of sales growth. Electronics saw strong sales result from new product releases and was a significant driver of the month’s performance. KPMG Head of Retail Paul Martin said the performance continued the ongoing theme of UK shoppers being undeterred by the prospect of Brexit. Over the three months to October, online sales grew 11.1% while in-store sales declined 1.3% on a total basis and 1.5% on a likefor-like basis.
Heather Barson, Business Development and Sales Director for Retail and Hospitality for Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said the figures demonstrate that even in times of uncertainty consumers are still happy and willing to shop. She added: “What is interesting here is that the amount spent online this October has in fact increased by 11.1%, compared with October last year. This is a clear indicator of consumers becoming ever more comfortable with using digital channels to shop.”
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS, BUT THE NATION KEEPS ON SPENDING
onsumer confidence in the UK declined in October amid fears for the general economic situation in the forthcoming 12 months. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased by two points to -3, but the public’s appetite for spending on big-ticket items remained firm. The Major
Purchase Index increased five points to +14, seven points higher than at this time last year, although the falling value of the British pound may see belts tighten as rising prices feed through to consumers. Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said: “Despite the continuing feel-good factor
arising from persistent low interest and inflation rates, sterling’s sharp decline is arguably stoking fears that price rises will hit UK living standards hard next year. “However, views on the state of our personal financial situation for the past year and next continue to remain positive when comparing with 2015 levels, underlining that we feel more optimistic about situations we can control.”
FALL IN SHOP PRICES EASES, BUT NO BREXIT IMPACT YET
hop price deflation of 1.7% was recorded for October, a slight move on September’s 1.8% decline, but sterling’s devaluation since the Brexit vote has so far not had any effect, according to the British Retail Consortium. Non-food deflation remained unchanged at 2.1% for the second consecutive month, while food deflation decelerated marginally to 1.2% in October from 1.3% in September. But the BRC warned that shop price deflation is likely to move closer to zero at the turn of the year and could move into inflationary territory at some point during the first half of 2017. Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said: “While we know that the devaluation of sterling since the Brexit vote is stoking inflationary pressures, the good news for consumers is that retailers have been successful in managing this to date and there is still no impact visible in shop prices. “However, it is inevitable that imported inflation will begin to make its mark and we would expect to start to see this effect coming through in the first quarter of 2017.”
RETAIL FOOTFALL FALLS IN OCTOBER BUT SHOP VACANCY RATES IMPROVE
etail footfall fell 0.4% in October following a drop of 0.9% in September, with shopping centres faring worst, at -1.8% after a 2.5% fall in the previous month. Figures from the BRC and Springboard showed that high street footfall dropped for the second consecutive month, although the 0.4% fall was
marginally better than the 0.5% decline recorded in September. Footfall in retail park locations grew 1.1% after a minor drop of 0.01% in September. BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said the figures underlined some of the challenges facing bricks & mortar retailers. “However,” she added, “the picture
is mixed across the country. While most areas saw a decline in shopper numbers, the North and Yorkshire region showed a 0.5% year-on-year increase.” Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, said the slight strengthening of shopper numbers in October to -0.4% from -0.9% in September
demonstrates that any worries about economic uncertainty are not yet adversely impacting footfall. The BRC and Springboard also published their quarterly shop vacancy rate data, which shows town centre vacancies fell to 9.5% from 10.1% in July this year. The fall follows two quarters of consecutive growth.
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NEW RESEARCH SHOWS HIGH STREET INDIES THRIVING Data released by the Local Data Company (LDC) and the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) shows that traditional independents opened slightly more shops than were closed in Britain’s town centres in the first half of 2016, while the national chains continued to see a fall.
ndependents saw an increase of four shops in the six-month period, and small as the number may be, it is a reversal from the net decline of 194 shops in the same period last year. Net growth of 200 units on high streets was one of the main drivers in the growth of independent retailing in H1 2016. The chain retailers remained in decline, however, with a net loss of 2,001 shops across Great Britain, compared to a loss of 828 in the first half of 2015. Regional data showed:
The West Midlands had the greatest increase of independents at +159 units versus -22 units in H1 2015.
Greater London continued to show the greatest decline of independents at -288 units, but at a slower rate than in H1 2015.
Scotland also saw a change in fortunes, reversing a net decrease of -42 units in H1 2015 to a modest increase of +63 units in H1 2016.
Sparkhill, Birmingham had the highest percentage of independents at 95.0% (based on locations with 50+ units).
Telford was the town with the lowest percentage of independents at only 18.1%, against a GB average of 65% (based on locations with 50+ units).
Wider analysis of in- and out-of-town locations showed that high streets saw dramatic improvement, from a net decline of 25 units to a net increase of 200 units in H1 2016.
Other shopping destination types saw less of an overall change, with shopping centres still recording a net decline of 0.61% (versus -0.44% in H1 2015) and retail parks edging up by 0.63% (versus no change in H1 2015).
Independents now account for 65% of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain.
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Matthew Hopkinson, Director at the Local Data Company, commented: “It is encouraging to see a reversal in fortunes of independent shops from a year ago with positive change, albeit minute, yielding a net gain of just four shops across the country. “Independents are a sensitive barometer of business confidence and thus their fortunes are worth tracking closely. “As ever, the devil is in the detail and regional variations abound, with decline visible in London but with increases evident in the West Midlands and a reversal of fortunes for independent shops in Scotland. “Contrary to popular belief, the high street is alive and well with independents, and H1 2016 saw a tenfold increase in net openings from a year ago. This sector continues to provide a key element of stability to our towns in particular.”
RETAIL SALARIES, JOB APPLICATIONS AND VACANCIES ON THE UP
he latest data from independent job site CVLibrary shows that retail salaries increased by 5.1% month on month in October, outpacing the national average salary growth of 3.2%. According to CV-Library, investment from businesses across the retail industry is paying off, with applications increasing by 9.7% month on month. But the year-on-year figure suggests that the sector’s overall labour market is in a trickier position than it was twelve months ago, as applications fell 17.5% on the previous year. Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “Many retail organisations are investing heavily in their
future workforce, with salary hikes pointing towards increased business confidence. But, while application rates were up on the previous month, it’s clear that the industry is still struggling, with a significant drop witnessed when comparing year-on-year data. “While this could be perceived negatively, it is clear that businesses are working hard to maintain the resilient job market in recent times and should continue to do so in the months leading up to Christmas.” Job vacancies across the retail industry rose 3.1% in October compared to the previous month, making the sector one of the few to continue to rise after a busy September for hiring.
NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
BEWARE THE ‘SERIAL RETURNER’ AS
Black Friday approached and retailers were gearing up to welcome seasonal bargain hunters both to their high street stores and websites, Barclaycard issued a warning to traders to prepare for an increase in customer returns from shoppers who deliberately over-purchase and return unwanted items. The American post-Thanksgiving sales import has now become a firm fixture in the festive sales calendar and is accepted as the springboard for what should be for retailers a lucrative period of consumer spending. But its arrival in the UK has added to the impact that returned goods have on the bottom line. According to Barclaycard, 30% of shoppers class themselves as ‘serial returners’ and one in five order multiple versions of the same item to make their mind up at home, resulting in stockrooms holding unsellable items including products which have clearly been used (48% of unfit items returned), those that are marked (29%) or have parts missing (28%). Online retailers are the hardest hit by serial returner activity – 30% claim that managing the returns process has an impact on their profit margin and 57% say that dealing with serial returners has a negative impact on the day-to-day running of their business. When it comes to managing returns, retailers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The majority (89%) acknowledge that a good returns policy is important to their customers and, as a result, are caught between accommodating shoppers’ demands and balancing their bottom line. 57% give refunds regardless of the condition of the product returned to maintain a positive relationship with customers. Sharon Manikon, Director of Customer Solutions at Barclaycard, said more than at any other time of the year, retailers need to be prepared for high volumes of both purchases and returns. “While seasonal discounts provide an opportunity to entice customers with reductions and offers, as our research shows, the draw of a bargain is likely to encourage shoppers to impulse buy in bulk and later return the items they decide not to keep.” Manikon added that retailers need to not only focus on drawing consumers in with seasonal bargains, but to also ensure that they have a clear and flexible returns policy. “Those that balance these competing demands will be able to meet customer expectations without impacting their own bottom line,” she commented.
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
JOHN LEWIS OPENS REGIONAL FLAGSHIP STORE IN LEEDS
ohn Lewis in Leeds opened its doors to customers during October, attracting more than 1,000 people in the first hour of trading. As the anchor store in Hammerson’s £150 million Victoria Gate development, the 255,000 sq ft regional flagship outlet represents a £37 million investment in the city and has created 550 jobs locally. It is one of the largest
John Lewis shops outside of London. The store offers a range of goods, services and experiences for customers and is supporting local talent by stocking over 120 products from 11 Yorkshire suppliers based within a 30mile radius of Leeds. The initiative is part of the retailer’s new ‘Made Locally’ partnership with The Great British Exchange.
CMA WARNS ONLINE RETAILERS AGAINST PRICE FIXING
he Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has warned online retailers against price fixing after finding evidence of collusion between traders on an online marketplace. The CMA said it has written to a number of online companies which may be denying customers the best available deals to remind them of their obligations under competition law. The warning came in the buildup to Black Friday as a reminder to sellers that discussing and agreeing price levels with competitors is illegal and can result in serious penalties. The organisation has also engaged with online marketplace providers, which it said are helping to make its advice available to online sellers, and has produced information that includes an at-a-glance summary that explains what constitutes price fixing and what they can do to avoid it. Stephen Blake, Senior Director of the CMA’s Cartels and Criminal Group, said: “Online markets are a hugely valuable tool for consumers to shop around and find the best value products, making the most of effective competition. But these benefits for shoppers are put at risk if the suppliers seek to restrict competition between them. “The CMA is strongly committed to tackling anti-competitive behaviour in online markets. Entering into
“The CMA is strongly committed to tackling anti-competitive behaviour in online markets.”
agreements that limit price competition cheats consumers, is illegal and can have serious consequences for the companies and individuals involved.” The move follows a recent decision by the CMA to impose a fine of over £160,000 on an online seller of posters and frames after an 8-month investigation revealed that the company, Trod Ltd, agreed with a competitor, GB eye Ltd (trading as GB Posters), not to undercut each other’s prices when selling on Amazon’s UK website. GB eye escaped a fine by reporting the cartel under the CMA’s leniency programme. Amazon was not involved in the cartel and was not investigated by the CMA.
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TREASURY’S BUSINESS RATES APPEAL BLOCK COULD COST SMES £700M Business leaders from eight trade bodies have condemned Government plans to stop businesses appealing incorrect business rates calculations, which research shows could hit small firms with more than £700m in “unfair” taxes over the next five-year rating period.
ccording to property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP and Blackstock Consulting, under the ‘reasonable professional judgement’ provision, ratepayers won’t be able to argue against a rates bill if its margin of error was inside 15%. The two firms used official Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data to arrive at the £700m figure. The proposal is included within draft regulations for the new business rates appeal regime known as ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’, which has been widely condemned by major business lobby groups representing thousands of small firms. The reason for the outcry is that even a small percentage difference in a rates bill can make the difference between firms paying something and nothing at all. Small companies enjoy relief for low value properties. This means that if the VOA overvalued them, they could extract more money from SMEs without them having any recourse. Debbie Warwick, head of rating at Daniel Watney LLP, said: “For most businesses, rates are the third largest expenditure and for any ratepayer an overpayment of 15% will impact profitability. “Rating professionals fully understand the need to “These reduce the number of spurious appeals, especially at a wildly unfair time when the Valuation Office Agency is dealing with proposals represent year after year budget cuts. This can be remedied by the Government’s helping ratepayers better understand the basis of their assessment from the outset and demonstrating that intention to grant itself their assessment is fair in relation to others.” the equivalent of Using official Valuation Office Agency data, the papal infallibility and research found that qualifying small businesses whose properties had a rateable value (RV) between £12,000 legislate away its and £15,000 could overpay by up to £137m a year if this errors...” new rule is applied. Over the full five-year ratings cycle, this would work out at more than £689m. The full figure would also include businesses above the £15,000 threshold, increasing the potential cost significantly. Of those overpaying £689m, there are many whose assessments would fall below £12,000 RV and be totally exempt from rates if their assessment was reduced by up to 15%, but under the proposed ‘reasonable professional judgement’ clause they could be denied these reductions. Those that could qualify for total relief will instead pay out £431m of the £689m total over five years. The consortium of business leaders has warned that the new changes could allow the VOA to overvalue properties with impunity, since companies would have no recourse whatsoever. Martin McTague, Policy Director at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We welcomed the Government’s ambition to make the business rates appeals system fairer and easier to navigate. However, it is hard to see how this proposal helps to achieve that aim. “We believe this clause simply fails the fairness test and could result in the door being shut on small businesses who want to correct inaccuracies in valuations and reduce their rates bills. This research shows that businesses that are already struggling could be pushed into insolvency, with smaller firms particularly at risk.” Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at property consultancy Gerald Eve, said: “These wildly unfair proposals represent the Government’s intention to grant itself the equivalent of papal infallibility and legislate away its errors, making hard-pressed businesses pay for the VOA’s mistakes. The Government seemingly has no confidence in the VOA’s assessments, in which case it needs to reform the VOA or the system, not penalise businesses by outlawing appeals.” “It is hard to see how these proposals improve our broken business rates appeals system,” commented Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation. “They will undermine ratepayer confidence and compound the already high burden of business rates. Not only do businesses and jobs suffer as a result, but the more money that is spent on business rates, the less that is available for property owners to invest in improving our towns and cities.”
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
NEW OUT OF GUARANTEE REPAIR & PROTECT COVER INTRODUCED WITH CAPLE CARE
aple has strengthened its after-care package with the launch of Caple Care, a three tier solution which includes a new Out of Guarantee Repair & Protect scheme. The Out of Guarantee cover joins the appliance brand’s existing free two-year guarantee and its five-year protection on parts and labour which covers appliances for a total of five years for a one-off payment or monthly fee. Out of Guarantee Repair & Protect is designed for those that choose not to opt for the five-year extended guarantee and allows customers to arrange a service call or a replacement product up to five years from their purchase date for a fixed fee of £139. This new protection covers callout, evaluation and labour fees, the parts required to repair the reported fault and a twelve-month guarantee on parts and the labour completed. Should a repair not be possible, an alternative Caple appliance may be offered at a reduced cost. Caple service director Richard Wood said the Out of Guarantee Repair & Protect is designed to provide retailers with an extra sales tool and consumers with affordable and flexible ways in which they can guarantee their appliances.
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK
CONSUMER CONFUSION HAMPERING GROWTH OF SMART APPLIANCES Smart home automation, smart appliance ownership, and smart home surveillance may be primed and ready for growth, but progress is being hindered by widespread confusion, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting.
the face of it, the study which interviewed more than 4,000 people across the UK, France, Germany and the USA returned a positive response for the industry, showing that nearly half of consumers are “reasonably, very or extremely likely” to choose a smart washing machine on their next purchase, with a similar response received for refrigeration goods. Further positivity was seen in the response from current smart appliance owners, 94% of whom said they would replace their existing smart appliance with another next time around, demonstrating that once consumers have experienced the functionality they don’t want to lose it. But it’s not all “fanfares and feasting” for the industry, according to Simon Bryant, Associate Director at Futuresource Consulting: “Although ownership of smart appliances is moving beyond the
innovators, many consumers are still confused by what constitutes a smart appliance, and that’s a serious problem. “To demonstrate the full extent of this confusion, 21% of consumers told us that they owned a smart appliance. However, when we drilled down into the detail, many people were classifying their smartphone or smart TV as a smart appliance.” Bryant added that the concept of smart appliances does not yet resonate with the vast majority of consumers and many elements of the smart home study underline the need for consumer education regarding the benefits of products. By 2019, the value of the global household appliances industry is expected to exceed $300 billion and, according to Futuresource, if the industry is able to educate
a wider majority on the benefits of smart appliances, it will extend the market’s technology roadmap, provide consumers with opportunities to save money and micro manage their homes, and offer vendors an additional revenue stream from valueadded services and subscriptions. When consumers were asked who they trusted most in the smart appliance and smart monitoring services market, over 20% cited Samsung. Bosch was the second most frequently mentioned, although some way behind with a mention of 10%. Outside the traditional appliance manufacturers, several other players were also mentioned by consumers, including Apple, Sony, Microsoft and Google, showing that some respondents are thinking beyond traditional white goods manufacturers, though these tech brands did not achieve widespread mentions and have some way to go. Beyond smart appliances, the smart home is being shaped
through entertainment distribution & control, security, lighting and climate control. “With the scale of the opportunity, it’s not surprising that a vast array of companies from a diversity of sectors are getting involved,” said Bryant. “The smart home is becoming a strategic battleground with just over one in five respondents in our survey stating that they are using some type of smart home service, with security and remote monitoring leading the way, predominantly in the US.” Futuresource believes that once the education gap is plugged there will be an influx of interest in the sector. “Watch out for remote monitoring, house control systems and the rise of voice interaction,” said Bryant, adding that Amazon Echo, which launched into the UK market two years after its US debut and comes with intuitive voice technology and 3,000 apps, or ‘skills’, could prove to be the catalyst for the entire smart home revolution. “Google and Apple have since played their hand in this space and will add significant momentum,” he said.
HUGHES ELECTRICAL INVESTS IN IN-STORE SMART HOME
ughes Electrical has invested £20,000 in building a Smart Home in its branch on Felixstowe Road in Ipswich, giving customers the opportunity to see how the latest technology can bring convenience and efficiency to their day-to-day lives. The home has a garden, kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom showcasing the latest electricals, heating and security systems. It features a wide range of appliances, all of which can be controlled from a smartphone, tablet, remote or a light switch. “We know people are confused about the latest technology so we wanted to show them how easy and simple it can be to use and also how it can save them money,” said
Ashley Shorey-Mills, Hughes Smart Home manager (pictured). “You really need to try it and see it in action for yourself to appreciate the benefits it can bring. Therefore, we took the decision to build our very own mini Smart Home.” Along with controllable appliances, consumer electronics and heating, visitors to the Smart Home will also see how they can easily control window blinds, door entry, security cameras, outdoor lighting and speakers in the garden. “By making an appointment to come along to our Smart Home, people will be able to see for themselves that technology is not scary or difficult to use but can have a very positive effect on their lifestyle.” NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK >> UPDATED DAILY
COMPAN¥ £INAN€IAL$ Slovenian appliance manufacturer
income rose 12% to SEK 680 million on sales of SEK 9,579
a profit of €4.1 million for the first nine months of 2016
million. Electrolux said it expects European market demand
compared to a loss of €9.4 million in the same period last
growth of 2-4% for 2016; however, this is likely to be in the
year. Revenues grew 2.9% to €900.9 million for the January
lower end of the range.
to September period. Profit in the third quarter increased from a loss of €2.5 million to a positive €2 million on revenues of €319.6 million, up from
Whirlpool Corporation announced third-quarter net earnings of
€317.4 million in Q3 2015. Gorenje said its successful performance was fuelled by major appliance sales and a 36.3% rise in revenue from small domestic appliances. Based on incoming orders, 2016 fourth-quarter sales are expected to be the highest quarterly sales of the year. Group revenue in the period is expected to be between €340 million and €350 million. Gorenje estimates that its planned net profit of €7.6 million will
“Gorenje said its successful performance was fuelled by major appliance sales and a 36.3% rise in revenue from small domestic appliances.”
$238 million, compared to $235 million for the same prior-year period. Net sales fell from $5.3 billion to $5.2 billion, but increased slightly excluding the impact of currency. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, operating profit rose to $40 million from $32 million on sales of $1.3 billion, down from $1.5 billion in Q3 last year. Ongoing business segment operating profit for the region fell from $71 million to $48 million. Whirlpool said the results on
be attained for 2016.
a GAAP basis were negatively impacted by Online electrical retailer
AO World announced a
strong first half in which it delivered group earnings of £1.5
acquisition integration costs and prior-year period results were negatively impacted by legacy product warranty and liability expenses.
million following a loss of £4.5 million last year. Group sales for the 6 months ended 30th September rose 22.9% to £324.7 million. In the UK, earnings grew to £13.1 million from £5.1 million, driven by improved gross margin and brand awareness. Losses of €14.2 million, against €13.3 million last year, were recorded in Europe, where its operations are building scale. Total UK revenue increased 18.7% to £295.1 million, while revenue in Europe grew 66.9% to €36.2 million. The group recorded an operating loss of £2.8 million (down from an £8.9 million loss in 2015) due to investment in Germany and the Netherlands.
Samsung Electronics posted a 30% fall in third-quarter profits after the recall of its Galaxy
Note7 smartphone. Operating profit fell to KRW 5.2 trillion from KRW 7.39 trillion in the same quarter last year. Sales dropped from KRW 51.68 trillion to KRW 47.82 trillion. The Mobile Division posted KRW 22.54 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 0.10 trillion in operating profit for the quarter, down from KRW 2.4 trillion in Q3 2015. Samsung issued a recall of the Note7 in September after complaints about exploding batteries. In October it stopped sales and production of the devices when replacement
Electrolux reported a 25% rise in net profit for
The company said, however, that smartphone shipments
the third quarter of 2016, reflecting improved results in most
remained solid during the third quarter of the year due to
of its business areas. Income for the period grew from SEK
continued stable sales of existing flagship devices.
1,014 million to SEK 1,267 million on sales of SEK 30,852
The Consumer Electronics Division, including the Visual
million, down 1.4% on the same period last year. Operating
Display and Digital Appliances businesses, posted KRW 11.24
income grew 21% to SEK 1,826 million. Demand in Western
trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 0.77 trillion in
Europe slowed compared with previous quarters, although
operating profit for the quarter, up from KRW 0.36 trillion.
there was a slight increase year over year. Markets such as
models were reported to have caught fire.
Samsung said it expects to maintain a solid performance
the Nordics, Benelux and Germany continued to improve,
in the fourth quarter by focusing on increasing sales of
while demand in the UK, France, Italy and Spain declined.
premium products such as Quantum Dot SUHD TVs and
Eastern Europe rose by 2% year over year. EMEA operating
strengthening year-end promotional activities.
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GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK >> UPDATED DAILY
NEW TV PARTNERS JOIN FREEVIEW PLAY PLATFORM F
reeview has announced that a further four TV brands are to support its subscription-free catch-up and ondemand TV service Freeview Play. Blaupunkt, Hisense, Sharp AQUOS and Toshiba TVs will host the service in the coming months, joining brands including Panasonic, Humax, LG and JVC. Since its debut in October 2015, around 20 leading brands have launched Freeview Play TVs and set-top boxes.
AMDEA PRIZE DRAW ENCOURAGES CONSUMERS TO REGISTER APPLIANCES
The service brings an enhanced EPG to TVs and set-top boxes, allowing viewers to access catch-up programming from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and UKTV Play by scrolling back through the TV guide. Additional on-demand content is also available from the Freeview Play apps page on compatible devices. Freeview Play compatible Blaupunkt, Hisense, Sharp AQUOS, and Toshiba TVs will be available in 2017.
MDEA (the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances) and its members are offering consumers the chance to win a range of luxury home and lifestyle prizes via the website www.registermyappliance.org.uk. The initiative will run to January 2017 to include Register My Appliance Day on the 19th January. The day will be celebrated with further opportunities to win gifts and to help ensure home safety. www.registermyappliance.org.uk is AMDEA’s online safety initiative, which is supported by the Government and local Fire Services and provides quick access to the registration pages of over 60 leading brands of domestic appliances. It allows the public to register new appliances and those up to 12 years old.
DUAL TURNTABLES RETURN TO UK MARKET
erman turntable brand Dual has re-launched in the UK market with a view to capitalising on the commonly known ‘vinyl revival’, which saw sales of the format increase by 64% to 2.1 million units in 2015. Distribution of the brand in the UK is via Manchester-based Nimans and sales will be handled by nationwide sales agency Big Red Sales. Nimans Sales Director Richard Carter said: “We are delighted that
Dual is entering the UK market again. UK electrical retailers have an exceptional sales reputation and we are excited to be tapping into this through Big Red Sales and their nationwide sales agency. “I was proud to own a Dual turntable in 1979 and thus I am particularly pleased to be involved in the re-launch of the brand. We are confident that retailers will greatly appreciate the superb quality and sound of Dual products.” “People who know me will
SHORTCUTS Sound Design Distribution, an independent UK distribution company specialising in premium quality audio systems, has signed a deal to distribute the Tivoli Audio product line in the UK market. British loudspeaker brand Mission has appointed Exertis Unlimited as its exclusive UK distributor and pan-European e-tail partner for all Mission-branded products.
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appreciate that I am very much a ‘vinyl man’, so handling sales for Dual in the UK is very exciting,” commented Big Red Sales founder and director John Reddington. “And now with the Season looming ahead – and with
Audio brand TANNOY was presented with two awards at the What Hi-Fi Awards 2016. TANNOY’s Eclipse 3 won Best Floorstander under £500 and the Revolution XT 6F won Best Floorstander £1000-£2000 for the second consecutive year. AEG’s range of built-in ovens with SteamBake™ technology received a gold award for Innovation in Technology at the Designer Kitchen and Bathroom Awards 2016. Whirlpool’s 6TH SENSE® technology received a gold award in the Innovation in Sustainability category at the Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards 2016. Swiss speaker brand PIEGA has been awarded a Recommended badge for its Classic 5.0 speaker by consumer audio title Hi-Fi Choice. The unit received a 4.5-star review.
all the young vinyl converts getting into the groove – it could not be a better time to start selling the product.”
Appliance and kitchen brand Caple has published the first edition of Design + Living, a lifestyle magazine featuring exclusive interviews, recipes and the latest trends to help consumers transform their kitchens.
The Sirius Buying Group has added distributor of De Dietrich and NordMende appliances AB Distributors, Fisher & Paykel, Bolton-based distributor PJH Group and cooling specialist Liebherr to its list of Preferred Kitchen Retail Suppliers.
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK
JURA OPENS LONDON STORE
wiss bean-to-cup coffee machine manufacturer JURA has celebrated the official opening of its first UK flagship store in London. The outlet is sited on the capital’s Marylebone Road and showcases a range of stylish household and high-performance professional bean-to-cup machines. JURA UK Managing Director Roger Heap and CEO JURA Elektroapparate AG Emanuel Probst declared the store officially open during an exclusive VIP event.
PRODUCTION OF MILLIONTH STEAM OVEN A MILESTONE FOR MIELE’S BÜNDE PLANT Miele has produced its millionth steam oven at its Bünde plant in Germany, illustrating the brand’s success in bringing steam cooking technology to the mainstream consumer market. Commenting on the achievement, plant manager Dr. Uwe Brunkhorst said: “Bünde is the birthplace of steam cooking as it is known today. One million units is quite a milestone, but we intend to reach the two million mark far faster.”
HUGHES SUPPORTS LOCAL RSPCA Hughes Electrical in Ipswich has donated a new tumble dryer to its local branch of the RSPCA. It will be used daily at the charity’s cattery in Martlesham, which looks after up to 56 cats.
Moves CIH RETAILERS SECURE RECOGNITION AT BEKO CLASSIC PRO-AM GOLF TOURNAMENT CIH retailers who took part in the long-standing Beko Classic Pro-Am Golf Tournament at the Gloria Serenity Golf Resort near Antalya, Turkey were rewarded for their success at the three-day event. The team led the tournament after the first day; sixteen under par on day two and twelve under par on the final day, coming in fourth place overall.
Hisense UK has appointed Richard Lee to the role of National Account Manager. KitchenAid SDA has anno unced the appointment of Helen Simpson as Marketing Manager UK & Ireland and Suzanne Bowes as Key Accounts Manager UK. Richard Lee
Pictured (left to right): Golf Pro Bjorn Pettersson; CIH’s Andrew Thomas and Martyn Acland; Ahmet Ağaoğlu, President of the Turkish Golf Federation; Dr. Önder Çerezci, American Hospital, Istanbul
John Lewis has announced that Paula Nickolds, who has been with the business since 1994, will be appointed Managing Director, effective from January 2017. She succeeds Andy Street, who stepped down from the role on 28th October after being selected as the official Conservative Party candidate to run for West Midlands Mayor. Dino Rocos will be the lead director responsible for John Lewis operations in the interim peak trading period. Paula Nickolds
Trudi Keeble from the RSPCA with Hughes Branch Manager Daryl Peck
Manufacturer of food waste disposers and steaming hot water taps InSinkErator® has appointed Denise Iordache as Marketing Manager, Europe and Russia.
Hoover Candy Baumatic has appointed Matthew Walker as head of sales – multiples and merchants, a role intended to maximise the development and growth of all three brands within major national retail accounts.
Whirlpool UK has appointed Stephen Rickersey as Head of Channel, Kitchen, reporting to Sales Director Nick Hughes.
French SKA brand Magimix has appointed Steve Punter as General Manager of its UK business, responsible for overseeing the UK management, brand development and product roadmap. Gorenje has appointed Matt McLatchy to the role of regional sales manager for the South West, responsible for looking after existing customers, maintaining and increasing sales in the region and expanding the company’s customer base.
NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
SPOTLIGHT ON THE SMART HOME
AUDIO INDUSTRY SET TO CAPITALISE ON NEW ROLE AT CENTRE OF THE SMART HOME VOICE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY IS SHAKING UP THE CE INDUSTRY, BROADENING THE HORIZONS OF SPEAKER VENDORS AND REINVENTING THE AUDIO DEVICE AS THE GATEKEEPER OF VOICE, SMART HOME AND MACHINE LEARNING. THIS IS THE VIEW OF FUTURESOURCE CONSULTING, WHICH HAS JUST RELEASED A NEW CONSUMER ELECTRONICS REPORT COVERING A NEW PLACE FOR AUDIO IN THE SMART HOME
here is no doubt that the This year, 6.3 million voice audio industry will play assistant speakers will be “Speakers have the a starring role in the rise of shipped globally, generating ideal feature set for the connected home,” says revenues of $890 million, Rasika D’Souza, Senior Market according to recent incorporating voice, and Analyst, audio devices at research by Futuresource. right now this is a colossal Futuresource Consulting. Amazon’s Echo is opportunity for audio “The inclusion of wireless leading the way in the VPA companies, if they get connectivity in audio devices is market, with its intuitive propelling speakers far beyond voice technology and 3,000 it right.” simple music playback. Their apps or ‘skills’, which have flexible form factor and primary tripled in number since June. components for sound pickup and Owners are already using Echo amplification position them in the smart to alert them if somebody rings the home sweet spot, linking consumers to a doorbell, to turn appliances and lights on supply chain that fulfils many needs and and off, to control heating and order pizza. opens the door to value-add services.” According to the research, Amazon’s Alexa speakers (including Echo, Dot and Tap) are expected to capture 8% of worldwide wireless speaker shipments and account for 15% of the US market alone. By the end of 2016, voice speakers will account for 51% of Wi-Fi speaker shipments. And the opportunity extends across the audio market, with Sonos, Denon, Bose and DTS’s Play-Fi speaker brands announcing partnerships with Amazon Echo. JD.com already has a VPA speaker for the Chinese market whilst startup company Omate has announced an Android-based personal assistant called ‘Yumi’ which is also partnered with Amazon. Retail group Rakuten meanwhile is also expected to announce VPA speakers for the Japanese market next year. “In consumer electronics, the winners are those who can ride the riptide of
changing consumer tendencies,” says D’Souza. “Voice recognition technology is the next big thing, and it’s going to be huge. Everyone is talking to us about it. Speakers have the ideal feature set for incorporating voice, and right now this is a colossal opportunity for audio companies, if they get it right.” Audio vendors are constantly improving the user experience for in-home music listening. Wired stereo systems have evolved into Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices for convenient streaming from smartphones. The focus on multiroom capability has now shifted to providing music content directly on-speaker – Apple music on Sonos speakers, Spotify on Bose speakers. “And now it feels like the industry has found its window of opportunity, as speakers become even smarter and are capable of communicating with other smart home applications, placing audio at the beating heart of the smart home revolution,” comments D’Souza. But she also urges vigilance: “The audio brand landscape could so easily be destabilised as Amazon, Google and other technology giants look to seize market share. Over the next two to three years we’re going to see the voice interface flourish. Where visual and touch have dominated to date, voice and speakers will become more relevant for certain environments. Longer term we’re going to see integration with TVs, appliances, light bulbs and furniture, and the companies that act quickly on the opportunity are the ones who will emerge victorious.”
For further information: https://reports.futuresource-consulting.com
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GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
ARE YOU READY FOR ULTRA HD? AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER, THE ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY (RTS) HOSTED A SESSION ON ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION TV, ENTITLED: ARE WE READY FOR ULTRA-HD TV? THE CONCLUSION OF SOME OF THOSE TAKING PART WAS DEPRESSING FOR THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY. CONSULTANT NIGEL WALLEY DECLARED THAT THE TV MARKET WAS CHAOTIC, WITH CONSUMERS THINKING THEY WERE BUYING FUTUREPROOFED UHD SETS, WHEN THIS WASN’T THE CASE.
om Griffiths, director of broadcast and distribution technology at ITV, added: “There’s a whole generation of people who’ve been sold sets that don’t work unless you have the right HDMI ports and content protection – more and more sets will only be partly along the journey to full Ultra-HD compliance.” The third panel member was Andy Quested, whose day job is head of technology, BBC HD and Ultra-HD. Quested is also chairman of the ITU’s
(International Telecommunication Union) Working Party 6C, and it was in this capacity that I spoke to him a week after the event. The ITU sets global standards for broadcasting, and last July Quested’s working party published the new standard for High Dynamic Range (HDR), which boosts image quality.
Quested understands why TV manufacturers have been scrambling to catch up with the fast-changing UHD standard. “It was twenty years after the first HD standard was signed off before we got the first proper HD broadcasts. Everybody forgets that, and when the first HDTV sets arrived, you had HD Ready, Full HD etc. UHD is better – it was six months from signing off the first standard to getting the first satellite UHD transmissions.” Quested says there are five core elements to UHD – resolution; enhanced colour; HDR; frame rate; enhanced 5.1 audio. Broadcasters are shooting more and more programmes in UHD – including ITV’s Victoria and the BBC’s Planet Earth II - but those at the RTS event estimated that only 5% of existing UHD sets could deliver the full UHD experience for a programme like Planet Earth II.
SPECTRUM OF SOLUTIONS
Many people think that lack of broadcasting spectrum is holding up UHD transmissions, but Quested states that, in his personal opinion, there is no need for dedicated UHD channels. “There are currently no plans for a BBC UHD TV service, and Sky doesn’t have one. Sky’s UHD movies are downloaded and live UHD sports events are a red button service,” he says. Quested argues that the chipsets inside today’s sets can already seamlessly switch between different formats, such as standard definition and high definition, and 4:3 and 16:9.
“It was twenty years after the first HD standard was signed off before we got the first proper HD broadcasts. ”
Therefore, broadcasters could transmit different programmes in different resolutions at different times of the day. For example, a prime-time movie might be broadcast in UHD, but an afternoon soap could be in HD or even SD. “We’ll see mixed resolution services,” adds Quested, “broadcasters will want all their programmes to look as good as possible, whatever the resolution, which is why the new HDR standard includes provision for 1920x1080 HD transmissions.”
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
So, if Quested was buying a UHD set today, what would he do? “The first thing I’d ask is: is it a Connected TV – does it have Wi-Fi or Ethernet? Because you’ll never get upgrades without that. I’d check if all HDMI ports were 2.0, and ask the retailer to demonstrate HDR and tell me what HDR formats it supported. Does the set work with the new Blu-ray standard? What does the set sound like? I’d also like to see live demos from the satellite UHD channels and material stored on a USB stick.” Quested adds: “Retailers are the key – UHD is not budget TV. Retailers should be focusing on the consumer experience rather than the technology. Buying a TV today is about personal choice – it’s the equivalent to buying audio speakers. When someone wants new speakers, does the retailer simply say that ‘bigger is better?’ No, they ask, ‘what do you listen to and what type of sound do you like?’ It’s the same with TVs. Some consumers will prefer the picture you get from an OLED set, while others will prefer LCD or plasma. Retailers are the people that can make or break the audience perception of what UHD with HDR can offer.” NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
INDESIT ADDS TURN&COOK TO ARIA BUILT-IN RANGE Indesit has developed a simple solution for creating perfectly cooked meals in just an hour with a Turn&Cook function that automatically sets the time and temperature for over 80 recipes and turns the oven off at the end of the cooking time. It is available on Indesit’s KFW 3844 H IX oven, which is part of the brand’s new Aria built-in cooking collection. j
www.indesit.co.uk | 08000 921 922
WHIRLPOOL LAUNCHES CONDENSER COOKER HOODS
BELLING PUTS MODERN TWIST ON ICONIC RANGE COOKERS Belling has re-launched its Farmhouse and Cookcentre range cookers, with an upgrade in build quality and several new features. The new products are constructed from a single piece, tempered steel frame that is unique to Belling. The Cookcentre (pictured) offers modern design and spacious cavities across 90cm, 100cm and 110cm size options and is available in Silver, Black and professional Stainless Steel. j
Whirlpool’s premium condenser cooker hoods stop condensation gathering on and around the appliances, preventing water droplets dripping onto the hob. The AKR 809 MR and AKR 808 BK incorporate a new heating film concealed behind the surface of the extractor. When steam meets the cold surface of the hood, the formation of condensation is prevented, no matter what the ambient kitchen temperature may be. j
NEW COMPACT APPLIANCES FROM AMICA Amica has added two compact built-in ovens and a warming drawer to its portfolio of appliances. Both ovens sport the brand’s Platinum Design and provide a 38-litre capacity with built-in microwave and grill and touch-control LED clock and timer. The 23.5-litre warming drawer (AWDT6BI) with red LED indicator light holds six place settings and has Pop In Pop Out operation. j j j
www.amica-international.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01425 461600
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
PHILIPS 5231 THREE-IN-ONE TV, MONITOR AND BLUETOOTH SPEAKER This contemporary styled three-in-one concept (24PFS5231) from Philips combines a 24” TV, monitor and Bluetooth speaker with a Full HDTV. It plays music from a connected smartphone, tablet or computer, or TV shows, movies and music direct from the set. Sound quality is enhanced by the built-in 2.1 system combined with a powerful 16W output. The unit also benefits from Philips’ Digital Crystal Clear picture processing, providing natural looking Full HD pictures from any source. j
TEAC ADDS BLUETOOTH CAPABILITY TO TURNTABLE RANGE
LOEWE INTRODUCES ‘KLANG 1’ SATELLITE SPEAKERS
TEAC has added a new model to its range of analogue turntables with the launch of the TN-400BT, the first standalone TEAC turntable with Bluetooth aptX wireless audio, allowing users to simplify their music playback system by wirelessly streaming records in high-quality to Bluetooth-enabled headphones and speakers. j
German manufacturer Loewe has introduced the ‘klang 1’ (klang meaning ‘sound’ in German), the first of a new generation of satellite speakers designed to work in a number of configurations. The units use an enhanced 3-inch full-range drive unit with a precisely designed waveguide for optimal sound dispersion throughout the room and can be used in a full Loewe system, integrating seamlessly with Loewe TVs and active subwoofers, or with any amplifier. j
www.loewe.tv | email@example.com | 0333 123 0220
KEF INTRODUCES LS50 WIRELESS KEF has introduced the LS50 Wireless, a digital wireless lifestyle audio system comprising two speakers whose connection to the user’s music source is completely wireless. Designed to mark the 55th anniversary of KEF, the LS50 Wireless is closely based on the design of the brand’s LS50 speakers – winners of multiple awards and five-star reviews worldwide. j
www.kef.com NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
THE KITCHEN STUDIO
WE HAVE THE
ARE WE MORE TUNED IN TO THE FENG SHUI DOCTRINE THAN WE THINK?
Feng Shui terminology, the kitchen is the most “energetically loaded” room in the home, and how we cook (and the food we eat) can help us create a happy, prosperous life… allow cooking to become an act of nurturing – not a chore – and we will begin to see our affluence grow, or so the theory goes. According to Feng Shui tenet, in this “fire energy” room the stove is the main appliance that generates a flow of abundance, and its position is the most important factor in the kitchen for wealth and plenitude because the fire energy enters the space through the 20
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
burners. Ideally, when at the stove, the person cooking should be facing the most frequently used kitchen entrance. Facing the door is an important principle in Feng Shui because the chi of a room enters through the door and brings with it what is referred to as the life force. Life force carries the energy that fuels and nurtures our lives. Gobbledygook? Perhaps. But the unwavering desire for the kitchen island or peninsula may well be an unconscious nod to the principles of this ancient Chinese philosophy as both layouts make it possible for the cooking station to face the door.
The shift to open-plan living has changed the way people use their kitchens and become an important factor in where appliances are placed. As Kelly Penn, marketing manager for Hoover Candy Baumatic, points out: “The U shape design of yesteryear meant that the cook would face the wall, the hood would be located above, the hob would be installed within the work-surface and the oven fitted directly beneath – the classic oven, hob and hood pack. Nowadays, the rules have changed and the oven(s) will sit at eye level within tall cabinetry, the hob will be
THE KITCHEN STUDIO
“There has been a definite trend in the desire for an open space. More people want to remove walls and install folding/patio doors and islands” Paul Jenkinson, Managing Director, Faith Furniture Company
Kitchen island with 60cm induction hob from Sharp Home Appliances
when bought to take pride of place on a central island to create cooking theatre for friends and family.”
BUILT-IN IS BOOMING
Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Penn notes that the continuing trend for open-plan kitchens has resulted in a steady yet significant rise in sales of built-in cooking appliances over the past five years, and it has also had a positive effect on volumes of behind-the-door integrated products such as fridge freezers and dishwashers, the latter now outselling freestanding versions for the first time with 53% market share (Source AMDEA August 2016). Penn also observes the continued rise in sales of electric ceramic hobs (the category in which induction hobs are included), which are up by 19.9%, “thus indicating that the trend for induction cooking shows no sign of abating as it is safe, speedy, economical and the surface is very easy to clean,” she comments. The growing demand for induction has resulted in more brands expanding their offerings with additional models and technologies. Some months ago, GDHA launched its first flexible induction hobs under the Stoves, Belling and New World brands, bringing the technology to consumers at a range of price points and providing clear trade-up opportunities for retailers. Jordan Radcliffe, Product Manager for built-in at GDHA, said the company is expecting “significant” demand for the new ranges.
installed separately on the island and the cook will always face out to the room, so they can simultaneously interact with family and guests whilst cooking.” The desire for a streamlined, clutterfree kitchen (according to one Feng Shui guru, clutter contributes to financial jams and cash flow problems) has also led to built-in banks of appliances becoming more commonplace. Caple managing director Danny Lay says: “A popular configuration is an oven, steam oven or combi microwave and even a coffee machine and warming drawers. And hobs are trending,” he adds, “especially NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
THE KITCHEN STUDIO
THE SMART OPTION… D
e’Longhi has introduced the PrimaDonna Elite, the first fully integrated beanto-cup coffee machine to offer smart connectivity, allowing the user to create, personalise and deliver their perfect coffee using their mobile device. Operated by the Smart Coffee App from any Apple or Android smartphone or directly via the machine’s intuitive premium 4.3" colour touch display, the PrimaDonna Elite allows the user to personalise any drink to match personal tastes, set up personal profiles by memorising the ideal aroma, temperature and quantity of coffee and milk for each drink, and even create new recipes. De’Longhi PrimaDonna Elite (RRP: £1,499.99) www.delonghi.co.uk | 0239 239 2392
Industry statistics also show that gas hobs over 60cm wide are up by almost 5% year on year, and electric multifunction ovens – by far the bestselling type of oven – grew 17.8% in volume. Double ovens are also showing double digit sales growth, according to Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Penn. “Better functionality and energy efficiency in both ovens, combined with the offer of greater internal capacities, have brought them back in demand,” she maintains.
Commenting on how consumer needs have changed in recent years in regard to the type of cooking appliances purchased, Owain Harrison UK head of sales and marketing for Hoover Candy Baumatic (Built-in) says increased capacity and
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
Whirlpool’s Interactive Kitchen of the Future
advanced functionality are two major design trends, particularly in the built-in category. “Consumers often opt for larger capacity appliances as they provide the flexibility to cater for a greater number of people. When it comes to functionality, there has been a real trend in appliances that allow for remote operation, as this is extremely valuable for consumers with increasingly busy lives. By creating smart appliances, manufacturers are able to help consumers save a considerable amount of time and give them greater control over their home.” “As the market suggests, kitchens have now become an area for entertaining as opposed to just a functional space, and this has seen the need for built-in appliances to rise again,” says Rhys Evans, V-ZUG Sales Director UK and Ireland. “We have tried
to reflect this current market trend in our portfolio by showing the virtues of integral appliance solutions to ensure seamless design between furniture and appliance. Combine this fact with the strong desire for open-plan living and the market has forced the need for home technology to continue to develop to ensure both brand and product portfolio are not left behind. Driving factors like minimising space and noise pollution, multifunctional operation, efficiency and smart facilities are more commonplace.” Whirlpool’s Charles Bernstein, Category Manager, Built-in, believes consumers are increasingly looking for appliances that offer ease of use, but he maintains that the rise in the selection of oven cooking functions available may lead to users finding the choices bewildering.
‘You know what, we work really well together’ Combination Microwave Oven
‘Hey, don’t forget us! We’ve got a great spec too!’ Combination Steam Oven
‘Yeah and our margins aren’t bad either’ Multifunction Single Oven
A new, great value range of appliances that complement each other in any kitchen. Including a Multifunction Single Oven, a Combination Steam Oven, a Combination Microwave Oven and a Warming Drawer. All with competitive features. For more information, please contact your GDHA Area Sales Manager.
Caple appliance bank with centre island
Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Harrison observes connected appliances being embraced by the early adopter seeking new technology and wanting to be the first to experience the benefits. “As the concept of the connected kitchen and how it can enhance everyday life becomes more widely understood, we expect more consumers to demand kitchen appliances that are Wi-Fi enabled,” he adds. Whirlpool, whose Interactive Kitchen of the Future project explores how connectivity and sensorial interaction could evolve in the kitchen and our home environment in the near future, foresees sensor technology which can measure the nutritional content in a packed lunch, and an interactive kitchen that can monitor the arrival time of the school bus and suggest breakfast ideas based on how much time a parent has to get their children out through the door. In this new sensor-controlled “With the Whirlpool world, a signal from kitchen increasingly the baby monitor indicates when it’s time to warm merging with living space the baby’s bottle on the in the home, consumers are induction cooktop, and seeking appliances that deliver the interactive display practical convenience, promote shows cooking alerts to take the latter “The risk is that the technology is wasted tidiness in the home and satisfy and reminders to flip to the next level by because the consumer is too confused or stir ingredients when way of functions to realise the full potential of their busy lifestyles” required. Smart vessels that allow users to appliance and achieve the best cooking Kevin Carr, UK Sales Manager, will sense their own delegate choices to results. Today, appliance manufacturers InSinkErator® contents and automatically offer incredible value, with an array of the appliance. “Through heat or cool to the ideal functions delivering tremendous results harnessing this technology, temperature, and the packaging and cooking automatically with sensor appliances would be able to on goods will auto-set a microwave… controls, all for less than the price of the choose the best time to operate, latest mobile phone.” and this in turn would allow for the SETTING THE SCENE integration of more re-usable energy into the running of our homes. With the demand for more connectivity, CONNECTED FUTURE “With the technology here now, the more convenience driven and clever Bernstein maintains that consumers increased use of smart phones and tablets technology, a more natural look and feel is will continue to expect a great deal is greatly influencing home and appliance providing the perfect balance for kitchen from their appliances, not only in terms design. As the future develops, we fully environments, maintains Sharp Home of performance and results, intuitive expect that our lives will be made simpler Appliances’ Rita Balestrazzi. Kitchen operation and time savings, but also in design, she says, is increasingly being resource savings, and he believes that and easier with intelligent programming inspired by the great outdoors and is finally connected appliances hold the potential and interactive technology.” moving away from the austere extremes of industrial style, offering instead a greater range of natural shades and colours: “Shades of Scandinavian-inspired blue and evergreen are being integrated into tiles as well as kitchen units, whilst the appliances The stylish SKyKettle M170S-E is a themselves are being designed to blend in must-have for every home. Not only seamlessly.” can it reheat boiled water to a preset “Stainless steel, white glass and black temperature, but it can maintain this glass appliances are still on trend when for up to 12 hours and is controllable matching appliances to new kitchen via a smartphone. designs,” comments Caple’s Danny Lay. It is perfect for tea lovers who require lower temperature drinks (such “Black glass and stainless steel finishes as green tea fans) and parents warming up baby bottles. Utilising the are incredibly versatile as they will suit lower temperature presets saves energy at the same time. modern and classic kitchens just as well. This kettle can be controlled manually using the buttons on the White glass is the preferred choice for the base or via a smartphone (through Bluetooth or WiFi). more contemporary kitchen and is proving For more information please visit: popular with high-gloss cabinetry.” www.heavenfresh.co.uk Looking at the dominant trends in kitchen cabinetry, Doug Haswell, furniture
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THE KITCHEN STUDIO
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manager at Caple, says these include sophisticated styles that are more in touch with nature, with the warmth and natural beauty of oak leading the way. “This lighter wood tone suits the new country kitchen style and will still look stunning in years to come. Subtle finishes are ideal for timeless appeal in a luxury, classic scheme. The latest trends feature lighter neutrals which complement solid wood and wood veneer perfectly.” According to Haswell, the Shaker design is making a big comeback. “However, he adds, “this time around it’s all about bold lines and less fussy detailing. The design emphasis is pared down with fewer frills. This works well with the new
colour palette for the kitchen for a more sophisticated finish.” For those looking for colour in the kitchen, Haswell advises that muted, matt shades are bang on trend. “And there are plenty to choose from, with darker colours such as navy, grey and charcoal and neutral pastels including pale green and cornflower blue hot off the interiors catwalk.” Drawing on a recent Mintel report, Stuart Benson, Sales Director at Gorenje UK, says: “The design and functionality of cabinetry is becoming more important as consumer magazines continue to promote the trend of having clear surfaces, meaning the cabinetry can be open, easy
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THE KITCHEN STUDIO
to access and have compartments to store items that were typically left on the kitchen counter such as jars for teabags and coffee, or bread. This is supported by Mintel’s recent ‘Kitchens and Kitchen Furniture, Sept 2016’ report, which found that there is an increased demand for cabinetry that has a logical workflow, whereby everything needed for cooking is at hand but the work surface is still clear. Style and finish can vary depending on the mood of the room. If a consumer wants to stamp their personality on the kitchen they might opt for bright, bold and colourful appliances and match them with a darker, neutral colour in cabinetry, such as slate grey.”
“Appeal for kitchen gadgets, in particular coffee machines, has continued to grow in recent years with many consumers seeking out quality, reliable brands because they want to invest in products that will last longer and look good, offering long-term value for money” Alex Pickering, UK and Ireland Marketing Director, De’Longhi Group
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For consumers that want the dream kitchen on a limited budget, Simon Bodsworth, Managing Director of kitchen manufacturer Daval, maintains this can be achieved without compromising on design, style and quality or buying “off the peg.” In fact, he strongly believes that bespoke furniture is the best way for customers to save time and money when choosing a new kitchen. “Designing to exact furniture needs will allow budgets to be freed up for more advantageous design features such as mixed material surfaces and finishes, additional preparation and dining areas, an integrated bank of appliances, or custommade storage options for the height of contemporary function. “Kitchen design also comes with the opportunity for stylish cabinetry which will fit in with the living area – perfect for open-plan living. Through expert consultation, this method of kitchen design is the best way to account for every detail, giving greater control over the end result – monetary and cosmetic.” Bodsworth’s advice is to try and get your customers to work off the principle that they need to budget approximately half of their kitchen spend on the furniture, with the remaining budget reserved for new worktops and appliances, if the latter need to be replaced. “Typically, the average spend in the UK for a new kitchen is around £10-20K, but this can vary from brand to brand if you compare quality of design, substance and manufacture. That said, it is wise to try and leave a small contingency budget, as new practical elements such as working storage or smart functions may escalate the price by giving something extra to think about.”
“Even with a small budget consumers can create their dream kitchen. First and foremost, it’s important they consider that the cost of an appliance isn’t restricted to the initial purchase,” advises Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Harrison. “Early on in the selection process it’s important to consider how much the running costs will be. The energy rating of an appliance can have a big impact on the budget long term, and significant savings can be made by opting for an A+ energy rated appliance compared to a C-rated appliance, for example. “A further consideration should be technology. There has been a big rise in technology in the kitchen, and the prices of features such as touch-control operation have dropped in recent years, making them affordable to a much wider audience. It’s certainly worth looking at what affordable tech ranges are out there, as for slightly more money a wealth of additional features may be available.” Harrison adds that it is also important to assess how much kitchen space is available and how big the appliance needs to be, as customers could save a substantial amount in terms of the upfront cost, as well as in long-term running costs. For those that want to make a statement in the kitchen with a range cooker, not all is lost if the budget and space are restricted. Steve Dickson, Head of Category for Range at GDHA, acknowledges that 90cm models remain the most popular, but he adds that “the increase in the size of our kitchens hasn’t kept pace with the supersizing of many of our domestic appliances.” So, a 60cm model from the Britannia Living portfolio may well fit with the kitchen space, and the budget. Caple’s Danny Lay advises that consumers should look for a brand whose name can be trusted and which will deliver high performance appliances and good quality kitchen cabinetry at an affordable price. “Consider exactly which functions and programmes are required for your customer to benefit from each appliance and they may find they can cut costs by choosing a model with slightly fewer features, but those which they truly require.”
THE FUTURE 2016 will be remembered as an extraordinary year for the UK. The nation took a surprise decision to leave the EU, and consumer conﬁdence recorded its sharpest fall in 26 years following the vote. £1.2 trillion was reported to have been wiped off household wealth during the year, yet retail sales deﬁed all odds as consumers kept on spending, particularly on big-ticket items.
hat 2017 holds for retail, and the nation as a whole, remains to be seen. Rising prices are deemed a certainty due to the fall in the value of sterling, but how this will play out for the electrical sector in the long term is not yet clear. Our industry, however, remains upbeat. Audio has remained an important category in consumer electronics and is now predicted to play a “starring role” in the rise of the connected home (see page 16 of this issue). The smart home is one of the most talked about and exciting developments for manufacturers and retailers, both in CE and MDA. Even SDA has jumped onto the ‘smart’ bandwagon with app-controlled appliances. At the coalface, evidence shows that shop vacancy rates improved in the third quarter of the year, although retail footfall declined as online sales continued to grow. However, retailers who have truly embraced the omnichannel experience continued to reap the benefits of their investments in tailoring their services to public demand. Now, as we look forward to 2017, some of the ‘industry movers’ who are part of shaping the future of electricals give their views on the year past and that to come.
Keith Dutch, Managing Director, Peerless-AV, is looking forward to strong trade in 2017 “2016 was a great year for PeerlessAV and I am hoping that 2017 will continue in the same vein in my new role as MD. “Our re-designed wall mounts have gone down really well with the UK’s independent retailers and the mounts market overall in the UK has been very buoyant. Cables sales remain steady, as does AV Furniture, and we have seen a good increase in quality AV Furniture sales as consumers upgrade their TVs and increase screen size and features.
“Our award-winning Slimline® range of ultra-slim TV mounting solutions, HDMI cables and Aerial AV cables saw a 20% increase in growth in 2016 and sales of the SLWS351/ BK Slimline Ultra Slim Full Motion Wall Mount increased 35% on the previous model. Satisfying both retailer and consumer demands, the mount is easy to install and highly versatile, offering easy tilt adjustments, internal cable management, full motion and an i-frame design. Our Slimline HDMI
Cables with Ethernet have also been enhanced with a flexible ultra-slim ‘microcable’ design, making them among the most compact on the market. “I would like to thank all our customers for their continued support in 2016 and look forward to a strong Xmas and 2017.”
NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
Steve Dickson, Head of Category for Range at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances: Range Cooking, believes this cooking sector presents “huge” opportunities for retailers “In sales terms, 90cm range cookers remain the most popular, equating to approximately half the market, and we expect this popularity to continue. However, interestingly, our own recent survey of range cooker owners demonstrates a growing trend towards 100cm and 110cm models, particularly amongst female purchasers. So, for those people who do have the space, and as consumer
confidence grows, we expect to see more people investing in bigger appliances. “We also believe the key drivers when buying a range cooker, apart from capacity, are features which make life easier for busy cooks. The launch of our new Belling Cookcentre and Farmhouse range cooker collections reflects that, with features such as hi-resistance one-piece
hotplates, spillage trays, ClearView windows, a large clock and raised cast iron pan supports being a real focus. “We also expect to see growth in our top-specification collections. The range cooker sector presents huge opportunities for retailers and the latest data shows that when consumers are updating their kitchen they see a range cooker as the centrepiece at its heart.”
Dominik Pytel, Groupe SEB Marketing Director, looks at Tefal’s 2016 “breakthrough” connected appliances and says there is more to come in 2017
“Since its launch in 2006, the Tefal ActiFry has helped over 8 million households make guilt-free meals with just one spoonful of oil. Now, over a decade later, Tefal has once again changed the way we cook with the introduction of its first connected appliance, the ActiFry Smart XL. Controlled via Bluetooth and a
dedicated app, users can wirelessly send more than 200 recipes straight to the low fat fryer. “This revolution in home cooking was continued with the launch of Tefal’s second connected appliance, the Cook4Me Connect. This new one-pot wonder allows users to control the device from their smartphone or tablet. The appliance comes with 50 pre-programmed recipes, which include step-by-step guides detailing the exact ingredients and measurements needed for
each dish, all via the LED display. This feature is further enhanced thanks to Bluetooth and a dedicated app which lets users access a total of over 100 recipes which sync with the appliance. “Both of these breakthrough launches took place this year, but there’s a lot more to come in 2017. This is our first foray into the world of connected appliances and we have ambitious plans in place to further develop this market in the UK.”
As Dr Philip Morton retires from the role of REPIC CEO, Mark Burrows-Smith will continue to build on the producer compliance scheme’s success Following 12 years at the helm of the UK’s largest producer compliance scheme, Dr Philip Morton announced his retirement from the position of CEO in October. Taking his place is Mark Burrows-Smith, who brings a wealth of experience
“REPIC is a special company with many dedicated people.“
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from the recycling and waste management sectors with previous roles including Chief Operating Officer of Viridor and Chief Executive Officer of Greenstar. Phil was thanked for his “tremendous dedication, contribution and achievements for REPIC and for his pivotal input into shaping the WEEE compliance environment in the UK” by chairman of REPIC Abs Bokhari. Mark will now build on the significant progress made over the years. His knowledge and standing in the industry, together with his network into both national and local government will be invaluable
In making this decision it has been important to me that the changeover is a smooth transition and continuity of service remains.” Dr Morton is being retained by REPIC for all non-UK activities for organisations such as the WEEE Forum and WEEE Europe. as REPIC continues to be a major, progressive force in the WEEE industry. Morton says: “REPIC is a special company with many dedicated people. I have been CEO for over 12 years and I believe this is the right time for a new leader to take over.
Dr Attia, Founder and Chairman of SMART Worldwide Ltd, believes that his company’s products offer a unique proposition for the SDA market “SMART Worldwide is a familyowned business whose ethos is to design and manufacture small domestic appliances that are a pleasure to own and a delight to use, with the aim of making everyday tasks both fun and easy. “We are based in Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, where our team design the products and finalise all the artwork, packaging and manuals. Each product is tested thoroughly by the team in their own kitchens for at least three months before any approvals go to mass production.
“SMART Worldwide has been named a finalist in the prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2016, which is testimony to the hard work our dedicated team puts in.”
“We distribute products from our own warehouses to a client base ranging from independent retailers and e-commerce businesses to world renowned department stores throughout the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and many other markets. “The SMART Modern range offers a dynamic collection of multi-functional, everyday homeware products and gadgets. Most buyers opt for the whole range, from Pasta Makers that knead, produce and dry six types of Pasta and Waffle Bowls that offer unlimited menu possibilities, to the awardwinning Tunnel Toaster, unique Barista and Breakfast Master and many other innovative
products such as the Retro sugar-free candy floss maker, the peanut butter maker and the wholesome popcorn makers which make up the full SMART range. “SMART Worldwide has been named a finalist in the prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2016, which is testimony to the hard work our dedicated team puts in. Our SMART team of people pride themselves on their amazing customer service, which ensures that their clients, who made the SMART choice to range our products, achieve great success selling them. A number of our products have won the Opus Trend Award, and our fast-selling Waffle Bowl is a finalist in the Housewares Innovation Awards 2017. “The quality of the SMART range is endorsed by its unique features and patented design elements. The business has invested in the development of the range to create a unique proposition for the SDA marketplace.” www.smartworldwidefun.com
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MULTI-ROOM AUDIO & HOME CINEMA AS THE NUMBER OF SMART HOME/CONNECTED HOME PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS INCREASES, THERE ARE A BEWILDERING NUMBER OF OPTIONS OPEN TO RETAILERS, WRITES GEORGE COLE
growing number of retailers are looking to the custom install market as a means of expanding business and generating new revenue streams, and as the pace of technology ratchets up, it can be challenging for retailers to know what products or services to offer. Steve Simper, MD of distributor Alltrade, says the key areas of his business that are doing very well are multi-room audio, multi-room HD distribution and home cinema, while automated lighting, heating control and motorised shading are all growing nicely year on year. In Simper’s experience, clients will prioritise one area over another due to cost concerns, so he stresses that it is vital for installers to understand what the customer really wants. When it comes to identifying the fastest growing areas in the CI market, Thomas Issa, product manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe, says a key factor for customers is ease of use when it comes to home cinema projectors. “They want products that don’t require a lot of technical set up and don’t rely on them having a deep understanding of technology.” He adds that when it comes to home automation systems, customers are keen on having installers who can come to their home and take away the complexity of harmonising
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
different products into one working and easily manageable system. “We work with installers who have an indepth knowledge of our equipment, meaning that they can provide the customer with the best service and deliver the best user experience.”
Stuart Tickle, AWE managing director, maintains that the biggest change in the CI market is a much wider customer base learning about and installing systems within the traditional segments, including multi-room audio, home cinema and home control. “However,” he adds, “there is a growing awareness and demand for other connected products such as retrofit automated window shading, door entry and surveillance. Also very noticeable is the integration of mainstream consumer smart home devices alongside professional products such as smart thermostats (Nest), lighting (Philips Hue) and music systems (Sonos/HEOS by Denon).” Matt Nimmons, operations director at CEDIA, notes the impact of smartphones and tablets on the CI market: “In just a few years, the industry has transformed from highly customised touchscreens and control interfaces, to very accessible control on mobile devices. Voice control is rapidly becoming a viable
source of control in the home and residential broadband speeds will continue to improve.” Nimmons adds that the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue in its exponential march forward: “Frost & Sullivan research indicates projected growth in IoT home appliances to 36 per four-person family home by 2020. This growth will be led by smart thermostats in Europe with two million likely to be installed by the end of 2016.” Other fast-growing sectors include enhanced audio and video fidelity; immersive audio and wearable technology that allows users to control smart home appliances, lighting or heating systems through a smart watch or ring.
LG comments that smart technology has become increasingly relevant throughout the home and offers a multitude of useful functions and benefits to consumers to enhance their day-to-day lives. The company’s Smart Diagnosis technology enables enabled LG appliances (such as laundry and fridge-freezer products) to selfdiagnose technical issues and communicate them to a server. But the Korean manufacturer adds that Smart TV is one of the applications recently voted in an industry survey as among the top ten most exciting
and most useful applications of smart technology. AWE’s Tickle notes that, as affordability improves, the benefits of home automation, which were previously only enjoyed by the rich, are now genuinely affordable by a wider proportion of the public, with entertainment and convenience being two of the most desirable benefits. And according to AllTrade MD Steve Simper, within new-builds and major renovations, the desire to control the look and feel of the end result and the opportunity to put technology into the fabric of the property, drives consumers to consider professional installs. “These customers often want fully integrated systems that will last for many years to come. In the case of retrofit systems, installs are driven by luxury, security, comfort and convenience. Energy savings as a result of the increased control is also becoming a must-have benefit of CI. It is easy to simply list system features as part of your CI pitch but it is vital to sell in the actual benefits to potential customers.”
GETTING IT TOGETHER
“We find that people are looking for a good home cinema set up that integrates well with other systems,” says Sony’s Issa. “Consumers want a simple, centrally controllable system
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which allows them to enjoy content, ranging from films to TV to sports, without having to be a technical expert. Custom installers make sure that the user will have a system where everything works together to enhance the home automation experience.” The Pleasure Home’s Paul Kasler draws our attention to the ‘Ultimate Multimedia Wall’, a fourmetre wide techno wall which he says reveals “an Aladdin’s cave of tech goodness” when opened. “From the 65-inch 4K Ultra High Definition TV in the middle to the two HD monitors above that will allow sports fans to watch three events at once, to the integrated DVD/Blu-ray player, CD/ Music Jukebox, 980W amp, integrated left, right and centre speakers, plus full internet and email access and movies and music on demand, the word ‘ultimate’ has rarely been so properly utilised,” he says. Custom installers and retailers can populate and configure the wall with their own choice of hardware and furniture finish to create a custom SmartWall. Optional extras available include an integrated fridge, electrically operated sliding doors, in-built fish aquariums, a subwoofer and rear surround speakers, and the option to upgrade to multi-room AV.
TIME AND ENERGY
Earlier this year, CEDIA produced an interactive survey aimed at engaging professional and consumer audiences on The Future of the Connected Home. One of the key findings to come from the report was that home technology professionals and consumers view cost savings and energy control as the biggest drivers for installing smart home technology. Cedia’s Nimmons says: “For homeowners, this is closely followed by increased home security. We’ve also seen that
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“The smart home technology industry is only heading one way – up!”
consumers are driven by a desire for the premium experience, whether that is entertainment, comfort or convenience.” LG notes that convenience and making peoples’ lives easier through efficiencies – whether that is time, energy or costs savings – are key sales drivers. For example, a recent industry survey showed that of those who intended to buy smart home products in the next twelve months, 42% stated it was because it would make their life easier. While 39% of those consumers said it would be because of monetary savings. The CI industry offers much advice for retailers wanting to bring their customers’ homes into the automated 21st Century. Sony’s Issa says: “Experience planning is a key area retailers should focus on. This involves looking at the whole ecosystem, including products, material needs, electricity and networks. They need to consider how heating, lighting and security, etcetera are going to connect with everything else. The best advice is to develop a plan and look at how you would like to develop the space to ensure that all the different technologies and systems can work well together.” LG believes consumers should be opting for products which
integrate smart technologies. “Near Field Communication (NFC) is a simple technology which helps manufacturers to futureproof products by enabling the updating of features for when lifestyles change. For example, should you have a child years after buying a washing machine, by using the LG Smart Laundry app and a smartphone, you could simply download a new baby wear wash programme.”
There’s also lots of industry support in the form of information, education and training and Alltrade’s Simper says retailers should speak to a specialist supplier and get training in the right areas: “Alltrade, for example, is geared up for the entry to mid level installs, has comprehensive training available at locations across the south of the country and offers full planning and support for their trade customers’ CI projects.” AWE’s Tickle points out that the most essential factor is a robust wired and wireless infrastructure.
“What products you stick on the end is secondary,” he comments. From this respect, he says that CEDIA has an excellent document – Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines – that covers all you need to know (https://goo.gl/scfeHz). “I would suggest retailers also look at the AWE Smart Home Academy for suitable training courses – www.smarthomeacademy.co.uk),” he adds. “Staying up-to-date with the latest education and training sessions is the best way to stay informed with the essential basics,” comments CEDIA’s Nimmons. “Education remains at the forefront of CEDIA’s commitment to the custom install industry. Professionals in the world of home automation can benefit from a wide variety of CEDIA-led training sessions, furthering the skills, knowledge and certifications required to bring customers’ homes into the automated 21st century. “Attending education or industry events also helps installers stay ahead of the competition and up to date with the latest trends, products and news. Manufacturers can support these programmes with their own training courses on brandspecific technologies.” For more information and to see a full list of CEDIA’s education courses, visit www.cediaeducation.com. “The opportunities are there,” adds Nimmons, “The smart home technology industry is only heading one way – up! The connected home landscape is evolving each year. As more and more products become available and smart home technology becomes accessible to wider audiences, the sector is set to continue to grow into 2017 and beyond.”
The Pleasure Home’s Smart Wall
NOV/DEC 2016 GET CONNECTED
FROM THE BENCH
ANALOGUE ANTIQUES IT’S SELDOM THESE DAYS THAT TECHNICIANS SEE VERY OLD EQUIPMENT ON THE REPAIR BENCH. ALAN BENNETT RECENTLY SERVICED A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD VCR…
he other day I had a surprise in the workshop. Amongst the thinscreen TVs and tuner boxes awaiting service was a real antique: a JVC VCR, no less! By the time of its manufacture VCRs were being challenged by DVD and HDD recorders, leading to their demise after a while. This survivor was marked up as having no sound. It was still in use for replay of precious archive recordings, I learned. On test we found that there were just sporadic burblings on sound and – ominously – newly-recorded pictures were rolling vertically.
“On the subject of VHS tapes we now find that a common problem is mildew fouling up the heads during replay.“
The first step was to carefully clean the rotary head drum by hand. This restored the sound, and in view of the age of the machine it was surprising that both video and sound heads were not badly worn. We followed up with a thorough clean of all the components along the tape path, only to find that the picture rolling remained on new recordings. An oscilloscope test on the off-tape FM envelope revealed that there was a sharp and clear-cut gap in the vision carrier at the beginning of each scan which could not be cleared by adjustment of the tape-entry guide. Then we discovered, quite by chance, that the picture stopped rolling during the last second or two before the end of each recording made since the fault appeared – intriguing! In fact this gave the clue to the cause of the problem. Close examination of the tape flow past the audio/control/erase (ACE) head showed that this assembly was positioned too high, so that the control track pulses, recorded along the bottom edge of the tape, were corrupting (in fact spot-erasing) the first part of each recorded video track. This is just where the field sync pulses are laid down on the tape, hence the loss of field sync in the TV. 34
GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2016
Enquiry of the customer revealed all. He had got a friend to look at the machine, and this gent must have screwed the audio/ control head block upwards in a misguided attempt to restore the sound. Sometimes a little knowledge is worse than none at all! This and similar machines will not last much longer, and we suggested to the owner that he get his most precious recordings transcribed to DVD before the recorder or tapes go downhill: this service is still available from specialist operators, some of whom can also offer (limited) enhancement of pictures and sound during the transfer. Most of the material they copy over are recordings, often made in camcorders of diverse virtue, of weddings, holidays and family stuff from many years ago and of much inferior quality to the images and sound we have got used to today. On the subject of VHS tapes we now find that a common problem is mildew fouling up the heads during replay. This is due to storage in a damp place. Sometimes it’s possible to clear this by dismantling the cassette and cleaning the tape edges or by using a cotton bud during fast forward or rewind in the deck, both timeconsuming and liable to disappointment.
Not long before this episode I was delighted to be asked to repair an even older item: a TV with a glass picture tube. The lady VHS Deck
who brought it in said she could not get on with the thinscreen TVs available now, and would be so grateful if we could get it going. She had come to the right place – look for a grey-haired technician! At switch-on the sound came on OK then the screen lit up with no picture, just a white glow which grew quickly brighter until the set cut out with a ‘bumping’ sound from deep inside. Some of you may have sussed this one out already? The cathodes of the picture tube were sitting at zero voltage so that all three guns turned full on as their heaters warmed up; this accounted for the delay in the onset of the fault. In this design, as in most, the HT supply for the tube-drive RGB amplifiers is derived from the line flyback transformer via a rectifier and smoothing capacitor. Interposed between them was a low-value fusible resistor: this had gone open-circuit without any sign of burning or damage, cutting off the 200V supply. A replacement (we’ve still got them in the stores!) restored normal operation and ran cool and happy, suggesting that the original had died of old age. As we feared, this one’s picture tube was showing signs of low emission, with impaired brightness and tinted picture highlights. We set up the grey scale to the best possible, and wished it well as we made up the bill after a day’s running to check for any other problems, of course feeding it from an SD tuner box as required since digital switchover. We tried to sell this lady an OLED screen (more suited to her needs, we felt, than LCD), but without success. Maybe when the old TV finally croaks out, she said, but promised to come back to us for it.
I find it a great pleasure to deal with this treasured old gear, subject to practicability, spares availability and compatibility with later equipment, but I give no guarantee beyond my workmanship and materials! Repair charges are seldom a problem with this sort of equipment, I find.
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Published on Nov 28, 2016
Inside: 4 Editorial Comment 6 The Word In and around the industry 16 Spotlight on the smart home 17 George Cole Gets Connected GC’s consumer...