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APRIL 2016

gcmagazine.co.uk

T H E M AG A ZI N E O F T H E E L E C T R I C A L G O O D S I N D U S T RY

THE TV & SOUND PROJECTION Home cinema fans want more than just the bigger picture – they want great sound as well

DESIGNER PRODUCTS Inner genius: it’s all about what’s inside the box

GEORGE COLE

ORIGINAL

RETRO

IS

Is digital radio shooting itself in the foot?

FROM THE BENCH Bake your TV in the oven – 200°C or gas Mk.6! Visit gcmagazine.co.uk for the latest

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CONTENTS

INSIDE... 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word

In and around the industry

12 13

The Product Gallery

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Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 marlinda@gcmagazine.co.uk Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741 brian@gcmagazine.co.uk

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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SB.

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14 TV & Sound Projection

GC looks at what manufacturers are doing to improve both the look and the sound of their TV products

18 Designer Products

GC looks at how design influences the home appliance industry

25 George Cole

Gets Connected

The good and the bad in the world of consumer electronics

26 From the Bench

Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1SB

Alan Bennett discovers a bizarre method of printed circuit board repair

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EDITORIAL COMMENT

COMMENT “GREAT THINGS ARE DONE BY A SERIES OF SMALL THINGS BROUGHT TOGETHER.” WHEN VINCENT VAN GOGH SAID THAT BACK IN THE LATTER HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURY, HE COULD NOT HAVE CONCEIVED THAT BY THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY THERE WOULD BE AN “INTERNET OF THINGS” (IOT) WORKING ON BRINGING TOGETHER THE DEVICES AND DOMESTIC APPLIANCES WE ALL USE AND RELY ON EVERY DAY.

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connected devices, and consequently to ven some 21st century householders highly sensitive information: perhaps your (myself included) still find it difficult bank details, passwords, identity credentials, to conceive a life in which not only our daily routine, when you are most likely to be “obvious” devices – smartphones, tablets, away from home..... Criminal paradise. laptops. PCs and, latterly, TVs – but also our The more appliances connected to your fridges, cookers, washing machines, radios, domestic system, the more porous and multi-room music systems, thermostats, vulnerable it could become. energy meters, motor cars... even light bulbs, There is also the basic question of privacy. are connected to the Internet and able to Intelligence services do, quite legitimately, communicate with us, and with each other. Whether we imagine being able to control gain access to citizens’ information. You lights, cookers and washing machines may say that you don’t, in the interests of remotely, monitoring and modifying energy national security, worry too much if the consumption or having our fridge reGovernment knows what brand of sausages ordering for us when we run short of you like, how much ice cream you sausages, manufacturers and eat or how often you use the retailers are clearly excited oven. If you’ve nothing to hide, why should by the opportunity to you be concerned offer their customers more convenience, that the details more information and of our daily lives more control over can be harvested every aspect of their by “legitimate” daily lives through authorities whose appliances and job it is to keep us “The more appliances connected devices that create all safe? to your domestic system, the a truly “connected It might be different more porous and vulnerable if we had unelected home.” And rightly so. it could become.” The opportunity is real, totalitarians in charge. and growing rapidly. Intel But we don’t have a estimates that by 2020 some 200 Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un billion new “Things” will join what has snooping on us and taking arbitrary been called “our global information grid.” exception to how we lead our lives. Free, fair, “Global information” is not something democratic election processes absolutely we’ve been used to associating with our would not allow the remotest possibility of fridge or light bulbs, and therein lies both a lunatic coming to power through the ballot the opportunity and the challenge. Because box. Would they? every appliance that is “smart” enough to Two words: Donald. Trump. be connected via the Internet is, in effect, Forgive the apparent flippancy. This another computer. And computers can is not meant to be scaremongering be – and often are – hacked for a myriad of technophobia, nor a disparagement of the criminal and “spying” purposes. So every real opportunities offered to us all by IoT connected device or appliance becomes a and the connected home. Just an earnest potential entry point to your system. Your request that manufacturers, retailers and IT “core” IT devices are generally protected security experts work together to make sure with robust security systems, but If there’s the hard-won lessons of the first computer a “connected” light bulb or a cooker that’s revolution are built into the IoT from the been manufactured with inherent security beginning, to make it the “great Thing” that it weaknesses, it could give access to all your undoubtedly can be for the industry.

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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

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INDUSTRY NEWS

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SHOP PRICE DEFLATION WEIGHS HEAVILY ON NON-FOOD RETAILERS

THE VERY LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS

CHANCELLOR’S MOVES ON BUSINESS RATES WELCOMED

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he government has raised the threshold for small business rates relief from £6,000 to £15,000 and announced that 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates from next year, while 250,000 will pay lower rates.

Presenting his budget to the House of Commons in March, Chancellor George Osborne said he wanted to get rid of tax for small businesses “in a nation of shopkeepers.” He also announced that business rates would in future

“BREXIT JITTERS” SHAKE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

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onsumer confidence in the future prospects for the UK’s general economy fell 18 points in the year to March 2016, as concerns about Britain’s exit from the European Union appeared to be weighing on people’s minds. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index remained stubbornly at zero during the month, unchanged from its level in February this year, with two of the measures used to calculate it declining. Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, suggested it could be the “Brexit jitters” at work. “Looking at how consumers see the wider economy developing

over the next 12 months, we are 18 points lower this month than in March 2015. So, despite good economic headlines about low inflation, interest rates and prices in the shops, concerns about Brexit and the ongoing Eurozone crisis appear to be hitting home,” he said. Consumers were a tad more upbeat about their personal finances for the next 12 months – the Index increased one point to +9, two points higher than March 2015 – but were less inclined to spend on major purchases, as the measure fell one point to +11.

See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news...  Small business confidence at three-year low  Ecommerce boom eating into non-food retailers’ profits  kbb Birmingham 2016 deemed “best show yet”  Electrolux presents ‘For the Better’ initiative  London Fire Brigade attends tumble dryer incident  Indesit Company tumble dryer recalls spread to Australasia  CEDIA accredited by Investors in People  Intertek and ESF support industry with product safety

consultancy services

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be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI), providing more accurate rates bills for retailers, although the sting in the tail is that this is not scheduled to take place until 2020.

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arch 2016 marked the 36th month in which non-food prices fell in the UK – good news for shoppers but not good for retailers, whose margins continue to be squeezed by bargain hunters. The BRC shop price monitor shows that non-food deflation rose to 2.6% in March from a 3.0% fall in February, while overall shop prices reported deflation of 1.7% from a 2.0% decline in February. March also marked the 35th month of falling overall prices. Food deflation remained at 0.4% for the second consecutive month.

STRONG FULLYEAR TRADING DRIVES AO WORLD SHARES AO World shares rose 11% on the news of a strong trading performance for the year ended 31 March 2016. The company said its UK business performed strongly during the fourth quarter with revenue and EBITDA ahead of expectations as it continued to gain market share. The online retailer expects full year UK revenue growth of c.18.5% with growth of c.27% for ao.com and UK adjusted EBITDA of c.£17m. Expectations for the UK business in the next financial year remained unchanged. AO added that its European adjusted EBITDA for the full year will be slightly better than expected due to its focus on driving efficiencies. The company trades in the Netherlands and Germany.

D&G ANNOUNCES RETAILER OF THE YEAR AWARDS WINNERS

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omestic & General has announced the winners of the annual 2016 Retailer of the Year Awards, which celebrates the UK’s best electrical retailers as voted for by consumers. D&G annually polls 250,000 customers following a major electrical purchase such as a TV or washing machine, in what is said to be the UK’s biggest consumer survey of independent electrical retailers. This year, over 1,000 high street shops and online retailers were rated on key areas including store presentation, product information and customer service. The 2016 winners are:  Independent Retailer of the Year: Gillmans, Gloucester  Multi-site Retailer of the Year: Stellisons, which has eight stores across Kent, Suffolk and Essex  Online Independent Retailer of the Year: Hughes Electrical

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TOSHIBA SELLS APPLIANCES BUSINESS TO CHINA’S MIDEA

T ARGOS OWNER BACKS SAINSBURY’S TAKEOVER BID

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rgos owner Home Retail Group has accepted a collective £1.4 billion bid from supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, following four months of negotiations between the two companies. Sainsbury’s said the move creates a leading food and non-food retailer of choice for customers, offering a winning combination of location, range, speed and flexibility. The transaction will result in over 2,000 points of presence across the UK. The deal, which will see Home Retail Group shareholders holding 12% of the combined business, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

ULTIMATE PRODUCTS EYES SALE OR IPO

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anchester-based Ultimate Products, which sources and distributes electrical goods and housewares, is said to be considering an IPO or sale of the business. Sources say it has appointed Shore Capital to explore the options. The company, which holds the licence to sell Russell Hobbs’ homeware products to retailers and owns brands such as Beldray, Intempo and Giles & Posner, was founded in 1997 by Simon Showman and partner Barry Franks and has grown to deliver sales of c.£60 million. It has operations in around 30 countries. Retail partners include John Lewis, Argos, Robert Dyas and Shop Direct. In 2014 its biggest shareholder, private equity firm LDC, bowed out via a management buyout.

SAMSUNG FORECASTS 10% RISE IN Q1 OPERATING PROFIT

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amsung Electronics has said it is expecting a year-on-year rise of around 10% in operating profit for the first quarter of 2016. In its earnings guidance for the three months to the end of March, the company said operating profit for the period is forecast at KRW 6.6 trillion, up from KRW 6.0 trillion in the same period last year. Sales are expected to rise from KRW 47.1 trillion in Q1 2015 to KRW 49 trillion, down from KRW 53.3 trillion in the final quarter of 2015.

oshiba has announced an agreement to sell an 80.1% stake in its home appliances business, Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation, to China’s Midea for ¥53.7 billion (US$473 million). Under the agreement, Toshiba will retain a 19.9% shareholding. The business will continue to develop, manufacture and market white goods under the Toshiba name. The company said that all employees of TLSC group engaged in the business will continue to work within the group. Midea will be licensed to use the Toshiba brand worldwide for 40 years.

FOXCONN AND SHARP ANNOUNCE ¥389 BILLION TAKEOVER DEAL

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oxconn and Sharp have reached an agreement in which the Taiwanese company will take a 66% stake in Sharp for ¥389 billion, around ¥100 billion less than first offered. In a joint statement, the two companies said: “We are committed to restoring profitability and strengthening operations to once again make Sharp a leader in the global electronics arena and a world-class company with a positive outlook. Both our teams are on the same

page working towards the same goal.” In February this year, Sharp Corporation posted a loss of ¥24.7 billion for the third-quarter of 2015 compared to an ¥11.5 billion loss in the same period of the previous year. Sales were down 13% to ¥663.3 billion. The company has undergone a series of restructuring in recent years as it continued to post heavy losses. In 2015, it announced its second bank bailout in a three-year period.

B&O STRIKES OLED PARTNERSHIP WITH LG Bang & Olufsen has entered into a strategic technology partnership with LG Electronics, which it says will achieve the technological capabilities and scale needed to improve the business’s long-term profitability.

“The first OLED TV produced by LG for Bang & Olufsen as a result of the partnership is expected to be launched in 2017.”

As part of the agreement, Bang & Olufsen will focus on its competence in design, acoustics and smart home integration in TV development and combine this with LG’s technical leadership in OLED technology. The first OLED TV produced by LG for Bang & Olufsen as a result of the partnership is expected to be launched in 2017. The agreement also involves collaboration in other areas such as licence and product bundle activities. Bang & Olufsen said it expects the collaboration to improve gross margins and reduce capacity costs, with an annual savings potential of DKK 150-200m when fully implemented over the next three years. APRIL 2016 GET CONNECTED

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MIELE REFURBISHES LONDON EXPERIENCE CENTRE

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JOHN LEWIS UNVEILS DEDICATED INSTORE SMART HOME EXPERIENCE

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ohn Lewis has opened its first smart home retail space to give customers hands-on experience of the latest smart technologies in an interactive setting. The 1000ft2 area at its flagship Oxford Street store has four interactive zones – Kitchen, Entertainment, Sleep and Home monitoring – demonstrating how customers can save time, effort and enhance their busy lifestyles by controlling their home through an app on their smart device. Johnathan Marsh, Buying Director for Electricals and Home Technology at the firm, said it is seeking to “demystify” the latest smart technology for customers.

The move comes in response to an 81% increase in sales of smart home products in the past year at John Lewis. The retailer said18 times more people searched for smart home products on www.johnlewis.com in 2015 compared to the previous year. “In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase,” said Marsh. “To help customers understand which smart technology is for 8

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them, our Partners have received extensive training to provide added value.” The area showcases an oven that enables users to switch on the dinner before they leave the office, a bedside device that monitors the quality of their sleep and a smart fridge that does their internet shopping for them. John Vary, Innovation Manager at John Lewis, said: “Smart home technology is designed to make life more convenient, and the introduction of this new curated experience – the first on the high street – marks a brilliant step in innovation for John Lewis.” The smart home was unveiled 7th April and John Lewis said electricals & home technology sales were the standout success story of the week ended 9th April, partly due to the launch of the new concept. “Retail space unveiled at John Lewis Oxford Street and a homepage takeover on johnlewis.com resulted in a 19% uplift in sales of smart home products at Oxford Street when compared with the previous week,” said Retail Services Director Barry Matheson. “EHT finished at +12.7% for the week, with large electricals bolstering overall figures for the category.” The smart home experience will be rolled out to other John Lewis shops across the UK, commencing with the new Leeds store which is scheduled to open in autumn this year. Products featured in the Oxford Street smart home experience include Philips Hue lighting; Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Music System; Nest Protect 2nd Generation Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm; AEG BS8836880B ProCombi Plus Smart Oven and the Netatmo Welcome Home Camera with Face Recognition.

iele‘s London Experience Centre, which was created to deliver a superior experience for customers of retail partners in the region, has been refurbished to showcase the brand’s latest appliances at their best in an interactive setting. The exterior of the building in Cavendish Place has been enhanced with a welcoming new entrance featuring two full-length glass doors. Inside the 200m2 Centre, four stylish kitchens with appliances grace the front half of the space, while another section houses a laundry and dishwasher area along with a working kitchen providing appliance demonstrations. Courses on offer at the Centre include ‘Taste for Design – Just Imagine’, which retailers can send prospective customers on to experience Miele’s cooking appliances and the precision and results the products can achieve. According to the German manufacturer; historically, nine out of 10 attendees will upgrade their order after attending this half-day demonstration and lunch.

Training on built-in appliances will take place at the London Experience Centre for kitchen studios within the M25. This includes cookery demonstrations that highlight the quality and signature features of appliances and how they can benefit retailers’ customers and time spent with in-house home economists that have a wealth of experience cooking with Miele products. The day also aims to show how customers will be looked after if they attend a ‘Taste for Design – Just Imagine’ demonstration. Simon Grantham, managing director for Miele GB, said he was proud to lead the openings of the Miele Experience Centres in the UK which, he added, “set the benchmark” for demonstrating and experiencing Miele products. “London and its refurbished Experience Centre are at the heart of our growth strategy. It will deliver a premium service and is a valuable tool for our kitchen partners to help them increase their overall business,” he commented.


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Opinion: Bill Miller, Managing Director, Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG), asks if retailers should charge for their kitchen design service

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HOOVER CANDY OPENS NEW TRADE SHOWROOM H

oover Candy has opened a new showroom for trade customers and partners, located at the company’s Bromborough site on the Wirral. The facility, which was officially opened in March by the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Les Rowlands, incorporates an Innovation Zone showcasing the very latest Hoover and Candy designs before they are released to the market. Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover’s freestanding division, said: “The showroom exemplifies our position as a market leader, delivering a hub for our entire customer and partner base

and enabling us to share company developments, market insights and product trends. “This investment also demonstrates our increased support for retailers as the showroom’s primary purpose is to provide a one-stop destination for them to view the latest innovations in our range and meet with our product experts.” Hoover Candy said the opening of the facility comes after a very successful period for the company, which currently employs over 550 people in the UK and boasts more than a century making quality home appliances.

EXCLUSIVELY EXHIBITIONS FOCUS ON UPCOMING TRENDS

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xclusively Electrical and sister show Exclusively Housewares will be looking ahead to Christmas 2016 and Spring/Summer 2017 when the events open at the Business Design Centre, London in June.

“We know from contact with Exclusively visitors that trade shows are important not just for finding new suppliers and new products, but also to get an overview of what is being planned for the seasons ahead,” said show director Simon Boyd. Both shows will offer visitors a new ‘On Trend’ display area, free accompanied ‘Trend Tours’ undertaken by trend forecasters Scarlet Opus, and a series of free quick-fire industry presentations with market briefings aimed at retailers keen to stay on top of consumer trends and providing an insight into what customers will be looking for in the near future.

ome years ago, when independent kitchen retailers sold a kitchen it was a reasonably straightforward affair. What customers saw on display was usually what they chose. A design was created and quotation prepared and, if everything went well, within a few weeks the job was probably wrapped up and the money in the till. How different it is today. For many independent kitchen retailers it is now quite rare for a customer to simply just want to buy a new kitchen. With the current trend towards ‘improve not move’, a new kitchen extension is now one of the most common drivers of kitchen sales. In a recent survey, undertaken by a leading independent kitchen retailer 89% of kitchen sales over a year were due to a new extension or building work. What impact is this having on kitchen retailers, and why does it matter? One result of this trend is the extended lead time from first customer contact through to job completion. This has now gone from typically a few weeks to often many, many months and in some cases more than a year. Kitchen designs are now being created based upon architects’ drawings, and retailers have to work alongside architects and builders, agreeing the placement of utility services and the positioning of window and door openings in order to create a better kitchen space. In short, the whole process has become much more complicated and time consuming for retailers. Typically all this expert advice, numerous site visits and design service are given free of charge and with no assurance that at the end of the process the retailer will get the kitchen order, or even if the customer will get planning permission. I know, speaking to many retailers, that this situation is putting terrific strain on their businesses and, due to extended lead times, is adversely affecting cash flow. Serious consideration now needs to be given to whether retailers should charge for their kitchen design service. At least by doing so, the designer is getting a commitment from the customer. I have met some retailers who are now refusing to undertake any kitchen design work if planning permission has not first been granted, but even once it is in place, in my view it is not unreasonable to charge a customer around £500 for a kitchen design. I would be interested to hear what other kitchen retailers think?

Bill Miller can be contacted on 07887 247 811 or by email: b.miller@derkreis.co.uk

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IOT RAISES HACKING, SNOOPING AND PRIVACY CONCERNS AMONGST UK CONSUMERS

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survey of 6,000 UK residents has shown that consumers have “real concerns” about the security and privacy of the Internet of Things due to potential hacking and data theft being carried out via their connected devices. The study, by internet security business BullGuard, states that 57% are worried about their privacy being intruded, 66% are concerned about data being collected by device manufacturers or stolen by hackers, and 78% are concerned about viruses, malware and hackers. Concerns about connected devices are also being heightened by governments’ intentions to snoop on the public. In March this year, The Guardian carried an article on the UK government’s aim to expand the powers of the police to access people’s web browsing histories and to hack into phones. It followed an article published the previous month in which US intelligence

chief James Clapper was quoted as saying that intelligence services might in the future use the Internet of Things for surveillance. With kitchen appliances, TVs, home security, lighting, heating systems and a wide range of other equipment now connected, BullGuard says devices are vulnerable as each manufacturer takes a different approach to security. It also notes that breaches are already happening – 34% of those surveyed have experienced a security incident or privacy problem. The study shows that 25% of consumers plan to buy an IoT device this year and 6.4 billion devices will be in use in 2016, but it suggests that technology has already left users behind. 72% don’t know how to configure a router to keep their home safe, and 22% of consumers with advanced technical skills are not confident in keeping their IoT devices secure.

CALCULUS INTRODUCES NCOMPASS MOBILE 10 APP

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alculus Software Solutions has announced the official launch of its new NCompass Mobile 10 app (NCM10), with rollout commencing April 2016. It is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Mobile 10 platforms and brings added convenience to the Calculus NCompass Advanced Retail system. Service engineers and delivery drivers receive new jobs direct to their phone, and built-in advanced GPS features allow detailed location tracking of drivers and engineers live in-store, giving data such as time to arrival and the ability to automatically allocate new service calls to the nearest engineer. On-site job updates, customer signatures and installation photographs are automatically sent back to the store and NCM10 also captures travel times and onsite durations to provide accurate cost reporting and analysis. “Our company ethos is all about enabling efficiency and putting information at your fingertips. Our suite of retail tools like NCompass Mobile 10 really does empower your business,” said Calculus managing director Rupert Woolger. 0845 125 9192 | sales@findesolutions.com

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HEADPHONE MARKET CHALLENGER LOOKING FOR “QUALITY” RETAIL PARTNERS

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UMP Audio, a relative newcomer to the market, founded in 2014, is looking for quality retailers, bricks & mortar and online, to sell its range of headphones and earphones. The company believes it provides retailers with “a real alternative” to current leading brands by offering exceptional value for an extremely high quality product. PUMP founder Adam Blair (pictured) told GC: “Our rivals offer a limited warranty on their products and try their utmost not to validate claims. We, however, offer a no quibble guarantee on any manufacturing defect. “While our competitors are all looking to outdo each other with good-looking poor-sounding products, we at PUMP have stayed true to our goals from the outset and have produced a high quality, amazing sounding, durable product that gives unrivaled sound quality both inside and outside of its price category.” PUMP products offer retailers margins of around 50%, according to Blair, and the company is currently working with its distributor, HCI Distribution, to ensure its channel strategy gives no retailer an unfair advantage. “We are more than happy to work with any potential partner to ensure that this does not happen, as working in this way can also have a negative impact on the brand itself,” said Blair. PUMP is looking for retailers that are known for selling quality products; have a high focus on customer service; a good reputation with their customers and a proven track record of excellence in their field. Blair said the company will support partners with POS material and will happily supply tester sets including changeable buds for retailers’ customers to judge the product for themselves. “We are currently in the process of purchasing a number of freestanding display units for our retailers to market our products from, so they do not lose any existing shelf space and are able in turn to put PUMP products in a premium location.” Commenting on customer support and delivery, he added: “We have our customer service team available either by phone or email with dedicated enquiry lines for both trade and public use. Our delivery times are all next day if ordered by 12-noon Monday to Friday both for pallet loads or single purchases.”

Retailers interested in finding out more about PUMP Audio and its products should contact Dave Hopper, Operations & Retail Director, on 07446 883007 email: dave@pump-audio.com.


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EPE GROUP OUTPERFORMS SDA MARKET IN 2015

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new Guinness World Record for the tallest house of cards built in 12 hours has been set by LG Electronics and professional card stacker Bryan Berg. The record-breaking 48-storey, 3.3-metre tall structure was built with standard playing cards on top of an LG Centum washing machine while it was spinning at 1,000rpm.

Distributor of branded small appliances EPE Group has announced that its sales increased 18.2% in 2015, with notable performances in food preparation and linen care.

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he company said it has grown organically, taking market share from its competitors, and at a faster rate than the small domestic appliances market as a whole. EPE Group investment and marketing director Harry Singh said: “In 2015, Kenwood and Philips performed well in the food preparation category, with Braun and Philips more than holding their own in the linen care category. In floorcare, AEG, Bissell and Kärcher performed well.”

As the exclusive distributor of Philips’ SDA range, EPE has recently launched the brand’s new Anti-Allergen Home Range (see The Product Gallery in this issue). “The anti-allergy market is growing as more and more customers become aware of the health benefits that these products offer,” said Singh. “Our customers know that there is money to be made in the SDA market. As we grow our business, our customers are growing their businesses too.”

Moves Maurice Lay, founder and former managing director of Caple brand owner Maurice Lay Distributors, has been named the company’s new chairman. Lay’s son, former sales director Danny Lay (pictured), takes on the role of managing director.

Tim Clutton

INDUSTRY NEWS

NEW WORLD SHORTLISTED FOR WHICH? HOME APPLIANCE BRAND OF THE YEAR

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len Dimplex Home Appliances’ New World brand has been shortlisted for the Which? Home Appliance Brand of the Year 2016, “for great value, affordable products that have received numerous Best Buy icons,” according to Which? Jonathan Casley, Managing Director of GDHA, said: “The products always do very well in Which? tests and we believe that the brand offers consumers a range of well designed, reliable products at an affordable price.” John Lewis, Miele, Samsung and Sebo have also been shortlisted. Winners of the Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on 25th May.

 SHORTCUTS Bromsgrove-based Crown Domestic Appliances has been named by the London Stock Exchange as one of ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ for the second consecutive year.

Danny Lay

Hisense UK Ltd has expanded its operation with the appointment of two new members of staff. Tim Clutton has joined as national account manager and Andrew Press as key account manager.

Bill Simpson (pictured) has joined Hoover Candy Baumatic as head of contract sales, reporting direct to Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing for Built-in. Bill Simpson

Daniel Schröder has been appointed General Manager for KitchenAid Small Domestic Appliances EMEA.

Hoover is staging a new promotion offering customers 90 Finish Quantum tablets with selected Hoover dishwasher purchases until the end of April 2016.

InSinkErator® has released a new full-colour glossy brochure outlining its complete product range. The publication, entitled ‘Enhance your Life, Enhance your kitchen’, is split into two parts: food waste disposers and steaming hot water taps.

Whirlpool is continuing its #WhirlpoolFoodies campaign in collaboration with pop-up and event specialist Meredith O’Shaughnessy with a series of pop-up brunch clubs at locations in London. This latest string in the campaign will focus on menus devised around one main ingredient.

Beko has launched a worldwide Official Partner of Play campaign, with global football stars from the FC Barcelona team featuring alongside their animated characters in a short film for the brand. The animated players will be seen in various advertising media over the coming months.

On-demand TV service UKTV Play is to become available on Freeview Play, with the app arriving automatically on devices when it launches later in Q2 this year. It offers catch-up and on-demand access to programmes from UKTV’s free-to-air channels Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama.

Daniel Schröder APRIL 2016 GET CONNECTED

11


THE PRODUCT GALLERY

gcmagazine.co.uk

SPECIAL EDITION SMEG / DOLCE & GABBANA REFRIGERATOR COSTS A COOL £30,000 Italian brands Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana have partnered to produce a special edition range of 100 hand-painted FAB28R-DG refrigerators, which will sell for the princely sum of £30,000 each. The designs were inspired by the ornate Sicilian cart and are embellished with classic floral motifs. The collection has been created by local Sicilian artists under the personal direction of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. j

0844 557 9907 or visit www.smeguk.com

BRITANNIA LIVING LAUNCHES FIRST MINI RANGES Britannia Living has expanded its portfolio with the launch of the Delphi Professional 60cm collection. Both models have multifunction 55-litre ovens and are available in dual fuel or with an induction hotplate. They are finished in stainless steel and offer eight cooking functions, a rollout storage compartment, LED clock and programmer. j

www.britannialiving.co.uk | 0844 463 9705

PHILIPS ANTI-ALLERGEN HOME RANGE This new range from Philips offers a collection of eight products including an air purifier; dust mite cleaner; bagged, bagless and cordless vacuum cleaners plus a number of product accessories. Appliances in the range are endorsed by The British Allergy Foundation and ECARF. The Anti-Allergen Air Purifier (pictured) kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in the first hour of use. Available from EPE Group: j j

0844 800 8055 sales@epeinternational.com

YAMAHA LAUNCHES RX-V81 SERIES AV RECEIVERS Yamaha’s new RX-V81 series AV Receivers with Bluetooth incorporate the latest HDCP 2.2 protection; 4:4:4 support and 4k/60p pass-through; support for HDR and BT.2020 pass-through. Networked models feature Yamaha’s multi-room MusicCast system. j

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GET CONNECTED APR 2016

http://uk.yamaha.com


THE PRODUCT GALLERY

QUAD INTRODUCES Z SERIES LOUDSPEAKER RANGE Quad’s new Z Series loudspeaker range comprises two stand-mount models (Z-1 and Z-2) and two floor-standers (Z-3 and Z-4). The Z-1 is 383mm high and incorporates a 150mm bass/mid cone, while the larger Z-2 uses a 175mm bass/mid cone. The two floor-standers sport three-way configurations, coupling a 150mm midrange driver with two 175mm bass drivers in the Z-3 (pictured) and three 165mm bass drivers in the Z-4. j

www.quad-hifi.co.uk

CAPLE CAFF60 SIX-COMPARTMENT FRIDGE FREEZER The A++ CAFF60 fridge-freezer from Caple has a high-quality stainless steel interior and exterior and six compartments that provide easy access to items. It offers a total capacity of 820 litres and incorporates three independently operated temperature zones and a dual refrigeration system with two compressors and three evaporators. j

0117 938 1900 | www.caple.co.uk

WHIRLPOOL SLIM-LINE DISHWASHERS Whirlpool has launched a range of slim-line dishwashers with ten place settings and flexible interior layouts. The freestanding ADP 502 and built-in ADG 522 benefit from Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® technology. Eight programmes include 6th Sense® Eco, Intensive, Fragile, Overnight, One Hour and an Express Wash. j

www.whirlpool.co.uk

LEEMA ACOUSTICS EXPANDS ELEMENTS RANGE WITH NEW DIGITAL PREAMP Leema Acoustics’ high performance space-saving Elements range now includes a new preamp with a high quality DAC section. The brand’s advanced on-board digital to analogue converter offers a 24-bit/192kHz S/ PDIF coaxial input, three 24-bit/192kHz S/PDIF optical inputs and a 24-bit/192kHz asynchronous USB input. j

www.leema-acoustics.com

PHILIPS AE8000 WITH INTERNET RADIO, DAB+ AND FM Gibson Innovations’ all-in-one Philips radio with internet Radio, DAB+ and FM provides access to over 30,000 internet radio stations with up to 20 presets. It has a large display, rotary controls and a remote control, and “guarantees” powerful and clear sound from the large front-firing speaker. j

www.philips.co.uk APRIL 2016 GET CONNECTED

13


TV & SOUND PROJECTION

SOUND PROPOSITION HOME CINEMA FANS WANT MORE THAN JUST THE BIGGER PICTURE; THEY WANT GREAT SOUND AS WELL. GEORGE COLE REPORTS

M

anufacturers are doing much to improve both the look and the sound of their televisions. Sony, for example, has incorporated “unique” audio technologies within its 2016 Bravia TV range that deliver excellent sound quality to complement the design. Neil King, head of home entertainment, Sony UK and Ireland, explains that these include Sony’s S-Force technology, which simulates surround sound without the need for multiple speakers. A ClearAudio+ mode selects the best sound settings without the need to manually fine-tune the TV. Amit Rullay, marketing Manager for TP Vision UK, tells GC that sound has always been a key focus area on Philips TVs and this continues into 2016. “Despite the thin and elegant set designs, there has been no need to compromise on audio performance thanks to innovative solutions throughout the 2016 range allowing each model to produce powerful yet clear audio.” The Philips 5211 series of sets integrates a Bluetooth speaker into the stand of a Full HD TV and offers 16W power output. Music can also be played from a connected smartphone, tablet or computer. Philips’ double- and triple-ring speaker technology features in both the 6000 and 7000 ranges, while the 7181 series features a front-firing speaker bar attached just below the screen, giving 45W total sound output. The Philips 8601 series offers an 18-speaker, 50W 14

GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

wireless sound system. The drivers are mounted in two polished dark chrome bars that run the length of the set, but can also be detached and placed wide of the set by mounting them on optional stands. LG’s G6 Signature OLED TV has an audio system designed by Harman Kardon, which includes a front-firing soundbar speaker system. LG says that, with the speakers pointing forward, rather than downward as on many thin TVs, viewers will hear clean, detailed audio without any distortion and reflection. The soundbar system is equipped with extra woofers to boost the power of the speakers.

Philips Fidelio B5 offers a surroundon-demand solution

WATCH FULL HD TV IN ANY ROOM – WIRELESSLY Watch TV anywhere in the home with the new Wireless HDMI Sender from accessory specialist One For All. People can now enjoy a movie in their bedroom or watch sport in the kitchen, with no need for a multi-room subscription. The Wireless HDMI Sender transmits an interference-free signal from any A/V device with an HDMI output on the 5GHz frequency to another TV or home cinema projector. It streams Full HD and 3D up to a radius of 30 metres. Simply ‘plug & play’. The HDMI Sender (SV 1760) is priced £199.99. Trade sales: email ofa-help@uebv.com or phone 00 31 5 3488 8000.

TRANSFORMATION

Neil Drain, retail consultant for Midwich, notes that TV manufacturers have been working towards improving TV sound quality, but often the easiest solution for them is simply bundling screens with inexpensive soundbars. When it comes to improving TV sound, he says: “TV makers are somewhat hamstrung by the demands for modern screens to be very slim and have an incredibly small bezel. That generally means rear-facing speakers in very small volume enclosures – a recipe for poor sound. This has been a key reason for the massive growth of soundbars in recent years.” “We all owe a debt to the first guy who said: Hey, why don’t we incorporate Bluetooth into a Soundbar?,” comments Steve Reichert, spokesperson for Q Acoustics. “Wireless technology has substantially boosted soundbar sales because it transforms the soundbar into a complete home audio system, on top of its TV sound enhancement role.” LG’s latest soundbars incorporate wireless technology. The SH8 and SH7 include wireless subwoofers, while the curved HS8 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. LG says the curved shape extends the sweet spot for optimum listening. Midwich’s Drain maintains that the huge growth in the soundbar market has been driven by sound quality, technology and value. “The latest B3 soundbar from Edifier uses DSP modes and a six-driver array for clear sound and features Bluetooth 4.0 technology for music playback – all for a retail price below £150 with a good retailer margin. The B7 CineSound package also adds a matching subwoofer with an 8-inch bass driver and DSP controlled amplifier for a retail package price around the key £250 price point.”

VERSATILITY

“As the soundbar market has matured, so has the audio quality,” says Neil Truckell, MD, Acoustic Energy. “AE’s Aego Soundbar targets the consumer who wants a


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TV & SOUND PROJECTION

“...huge growth in the soundbar market has been driven by sound quality, technology and value”

Sony’s SD85 Curved screen 4K HDR with Android

soundbar system to act as their audio hub, transforming the sound from their flatscreen TV and able to stream music from their smartphone via Bluetooth.” He adds: “Many customers don’t want huge plastic soundbars with loads of EQ and features they will never use. They demand higher sound quality rather than DSP modes. Simplicity is also a growing trend – many soundbars have

ORBITSOUND A70 AIRSOUND™ BAR The A70 airSOUND™ Bar is Orbitsound’s latest offering, with a striking new industrial design that showcases its airSOUND™ technology including a new wireless subwoofer, aptX® lossless Bluetooth streaming with NFC, TV remote control learning and a hidden backlit display and controls, it’s a complete high fidelity home audio system. Measuring a compact 75cm x 7.4cm x 6.5cm, the ultra-slim soundbar is designed to effortlessly blend into the room, making sound its primary focus. Its unobtrusive design works as well table- or wall-mounted. Underneath the hand polished, high gloss exterior, the soundbar is made from engineered wood housing 5 speakers including an ultra HD tweeter. The 300W output ensures ample power to deliver an incredible, room-filling audio experience for true cinema-quality sound. Price: £499.95 Contact: Mariam Shahid (mariam@orbitsound.com) Website: www.orbitsound.com/en

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GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

the connectivity and complexity of a multi-channel AV receiver, whereas some employ a more elegant solution and use the TV optical digital output, keeping cabling to a minimum.” Darren Judd, marketing manager for audio and home cinema at Gibson Innovations, notes that the Philips Fidelio B5 offers a surround-on-demand solution. “In its standard configuration, the Fidelio B5 delivers TV sound and music via Bluetooth; however, for watching movies the two ends of the soundbar can become wireless detachable speakers and placed behind the listener for a fully immersive experience.” Philips’ range includes 3.1-channel soundbars which feature a dedicated centre channel for voice. Several Sony Soundbars incorporate High-Resolution Audio, and music from many sources can be up-scaled to produce sound closer to Hi-Res Audio with Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX). S-Force technology, emulates 360-degree sound with just two front speakers, saving consumers living room space.

AT THE COALFACE

Retailers selling and demonstrating thinbezel TVs and sound projection equipment can do much to help customers gain the very best home cinema experience. TP Vision’s Rullay says the best way to demonstrate the sound performance is through comparative demonstrations. “Comparing two or three products, one after the other with the same content will clearly highlight the benefits of selecting the best sounding product. It is also important to use a variety of different audio clips for demonstrations: voices and action scenes from movies should be used alongside music demonstrations. This is particularly of interest to customers now that TVs are becoming increasingly used as the entertainment hub of the home.”

“Consumers want choice, usually three or four different systems to sample and choose from, and many will be looking for the most compact soundbar solutions to complement their new ultra-slim TV,” says Acoustic Energy’s Truckell. “Focus on design and build, and getting the customer to connect their own smart device and play their music in-store is a great way of demonstrating the sound quality they can have in their living room.” Sony’s King believes that retailers should consider how their in-store displays effectively demonstrate the benefits of a soundbar in conjunction with a TV. “Soundbars are perfect for consumers wanting compact sound solutions as well as a great surround sound experience. If retailers have the space in-store they could also consider creating a dedicated listening room, so customers can experience sound in a more home-like environment, away from the ambient showroom noise.” “It is important for the retailer to understand the requirements of the customer,” comments Gibson Innovations’ Judd. “Are they limited in terms of space, is their TV wall-mounted or on a stand? Would they like a separate subwoofer? Do they require Bluetooth to stream music? Do they regularly watch movies and would like a surround sound solution? Retailers should try to recreate the common living room/home cinema scenarios, such as a small room with limited space and lots of soft furnishings, to best demonstrate how the different sound projection equipment would work in their home.” Midwich’s Drain says that few customers come into store looking for a soundbar; most are incremental sales on the back of a new TV. “It is therefore vital to bring your soundbar demonstration in as part of the TV sales pitch, rather than tack it on at the end. While it might sound counter intuitive, demonstrate your TVs with soundbars from the outset. When you then switch back to normal TV sound, the customer will realise what they are missing. For soundbars with Bluetooth connectivity, getting the customer to pair their phone and play their own music will really engage them with the product and the possibilities.”


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

LG ELECTRONICS STARTED 2016 WITH A BANG BY STEALING THE SHOW AT CES 2016.

A

cross multiple categories the brand won 20 Innovation Awards and more than 50 from industry leading publications. The champion of that charge was LG’s award winning range of televisions: OLED TV. Not content with blowing the competition away last year, LG will be releasing four brand new series of OLED in 2016 alongside some of the existing models found in the market today. One of the stars of the show within this heralded range is the E6, an innovation winner for Video Display at CES and a truly outstanding TV packed full of evolution. OLED technology revolutionised the industry, delivering a picture of unprecedented colour, contrast and clarity all in a 4K resolution. But now it gets even better with OLED HDR, a truly new generation of picture quality to match a new generation of TV device. When something is shown in HDR, colours and contrast are enhanced so the picture is closer

to your eyes’ full potential. OLED technology is the best partner for this process thanks to contrast levels that are unlike anything else available today. By providing the widest possible contrast range for HDR content, OLED HDR creates the most life like picture ever achieved. All of LG’s 2016 range of OLED TVs are certified with the Ultra HD Premium seal of approval. This means that the televisions are recognised for their superior standards of contrast, brightness and ability to showcase HDR content. Not only

LG’s innovative Picture-on-Glass and Soundbar Stand design

are they premium certified but they are also arriving to market with Dolby Vision HDR. Utilising Dolby’s experience within the Hollywood film studios they are able to offer a new HDR viewing experience that will be featured in over 50 different Hollywood titles this year. Additionally, content providers Amazon Video, Netflix and more are already developing entertainment with this technology in mind, which upon its release can be accessed via LG’s award winning Smart TV webOS. This divine display is paired with intelligent architecture; a PictureOn-Glass design is purity to match a perfect picture. Due to OLED’s revolutionary construction, the screen is so thin and light that it can be bonded to a transparent pane of glass. This unique television architecture is simply stunning and means there is nothing to distract your attention from the incredible picture you are watching. Visual perfection is fused with audio innovation. A high quality

Soundbar Stand provides the pedestal for this television, delivering powerful multi-channel front firing audio from sound components designed by Harman/Kardon™. With discreet, modern styling you get incredible sound without complicated or cumbersome additional components. OLED picture quality, 4K Resolution, HDR technology, stunning design and sound engineered by Harman / Kardon™ all within a single television? It quite simply has never been as good as this before, as LG continues to astonish with groundbreaking, TV of the year products, which stay true to their mantra of ‘Innovation for a Better Life’. Contact your supplier to arrange a purchase of this product now. Discover more about OLED at www.lg.com/uk/discoveroled If OLED doesn’t quite fit the bill why don’t you check our entirely new range of Super UHD TVs here: www.lg.com/uk/super-uhd-4k-tvs

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17


DESIGNER PRODUCTS

INNER GENIUS

ACCORDING TO ‘THE DESIGN ECONOMY’, A REPORT PUBLISHED BY THE DESIGN COUNCIL, DESIGN CONTRIBUTES £71.7 BILLION OF VALUE TO THE UK AND HAS CREATED JOBS AT THREE TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, EMPLOYING 1.6 MILLION PEOPLE. GC LOOKS AT HOW DESIGN INFLUENCES THE HOME APPLIANCE INDUSTRY

IT’S

all around us. Everywhere we look. In structures and landscapes, our transport and communications systems, our homes, gardens, cars, furnishings, clothing and accessories, our domestic appliances and consumer electronics goods…. It’s an inescapable feature of our everyday lives and every consumer buys into it in an inestimable number of ways, sometimes unconsciously: the cheaper mobile tariff offering a smartphone upgrade, the offthe-peg jacket whose colour and style in all possibility trickled down from some or other catwalk, the distress purchase of an essential kitchen appliance whose construction may incorporate components developed for the car or aircraft industries. Design is a complex business which embraces both form and function – having one without the other fails the underlying principles of the process. 18

GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

Italian author, editor and curator Paola Antonelli, whose aim is to impart an understanding of design and the influence it has on society, is quoted as saying: “People think that design is styling. Design is not style. It’s not about giving shape to the shell and not giving a damn about the guts. Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know was missing.”

ANTONELLI WOULD APPROVE…

Whirlpool, which runs design studios in four continents, has a Global Consumer Design Studio based in Milan which analyses and explores future design trends, with experts in a variety of fields: designers to ergonomists, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists. Together they monitor the social trends of today and create new

concepts designed to improve the everyday life of the Whirlpool customer of tomorrow. Jennifer Spragg, Senior Brand Manager at Whirlpool Appliances UK, says initiatives like this not only fulfil the needs and aspirations of Whirlpool consumers but also ensure that the company never compromises the quality, design and environmental impact of its products. “Good design is not just determined by the visual aesthetic of a product, or even its ease of use, but is also as much about how it performs against its particular technical features. When it comes to design, the functionality of an appliance, the way it works and how it works is as important as its looks.” According to Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing Built-in, Hoover Candy Baumatic, product designers such as those at the Candy Group in Italy, who research, develop and design products for the

Gorenje worked with internationally acclaimed designer Philippe Starck to develop the Gorenje by Starck collection


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DESIGNER PRODUCTS

BRITANNIA MINI RANGE COOKERS Premium kitchen appliance specialist Britannia Living has launched its first mini range cookers – the Delphi Professional 60cm collection.

The two new 60cm freestanding Britannia models, which echo the professional aesthetic of the existing full-sized Delphi range cookers, feature a multifunction 55-litre net capacity oven and are available in dual fuel or with an induction hotplate. Both A-energy rated models are available in a stainless steel finish, include eight cooking functions, telescopic shelves, a roll-out storage compartment, LED clock and programmer and a triple-glazed door. The induction model offers four hob zones and retractable control knobs, whilst the dual fuel model has four burners, including a wok burner, and cast pan supports. 0844 463 9705 www.britannialiving.co.uk

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GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

latest technology, so high performance appliances will always be key in the modern kitchen and there will inevitably be a slight price increase to reflect this. When a consumer is looking for state-of-theart programmes and controls to cater for every eventuality in the kitchen, they will be willing to pay more, but this should be for the intuitive programmes and controls as well as the appliance style. As long as they can clearly see the results from programmable oven recipes, which produce dishes a chef can be proud of, to gleaming glassware following the completion of a short programme in the dishwasher, they will be happy with their investment on an appliance which will stand the test of time.” “There has to be a margin in vanguard design,” says Whirlpool’s Spragg, Spot the cooker hood: “otherwise there is no point to Miele’s DA3690 flush fit creating and marketing it. motorised 90cm canopy hood follows the trend Consumers have always for minimalist kitchen paid more for premium “Key to market designs style and design, and growth, the affordability a large price tag has of design-inspired often been seen to reflect the substance appliances is motivating of the product. customers to buy into new However, over recent technologies” years manufacturers Rita Balestrazzi, Sharp Home have had to become Appliances ever more competitive and, as a result, Baumatic brand, reproduction of great design consistently monitor has trickled further down the trends in the overall marketplace for consumers to enjoy. design marketplace in order to “Although appliances which offer avantensure that the built-in appliances they garde design are more affordable than ever, create always blend with the overall style there is undoubtedly a cost implication with of the fashionable contemporary kitchen. those that meet the latest design trends. “The two go hand in hand,” he says. We all pay more for original, stunning “Today, this means that the appliance, design which, of course, in time is often whether an oven, hob or hood is likely to reflected in the middle and entry levels, be intentionally minimalist in its external at which point the premium end once aesthetic, while equal attention is paid to again moves on to the next new design its size, functionality and controllability.” trend. Brands reflect their market position Swedish appliance maker Electrolux by their style and design and the newer takes much of its inspiration from its and more original the design is, often the professional division, which produces more expensive it is. This is familiar to products for professional kitchens and all markets, whether kitchen furniture, restaurants. Richard Vallis, Head of appliances, cars or clothes.” Product, Brand and Marketing for Small WHAT TYPE OF CONSUMER BUYS Domestic Appliances and Floorcare, INTO DESIGN? says: “This enables us to bring high-end According to Caple’s Danny lay, consumers technology to the consumer. We also listen who buy into design range from those to and communicate with our consumers who enjoy spending time in the kitchen and different markets around the world cooking for family and friends to those who to follow culinary trends and how people enjoy the luxuries in life with technology actually cook and use appliances. We at their fingertips, as and when they may call this ‘consumer focused innovation’ need it, yet Whirlpool’s Spragg maintains – the consumer is always at the heart of that those who buy into design are looking everything we do.” to impress their visitors. “And having SHOULD CONSUMERS PAY MORE matching built-in designs is particularly FOR STYLE AND DESIGN? appealing,” she remarks. “With the Yes, believes Caple managing director kitchen increasingly becoming a place for Danny Lay. In his opinion, “good appliance socialising and entertaining, as well as its design must always be coupled with the role even more so as the hub of the home,


You’ll have to go a long way to beat our stylish, feature rich wine coolers. We have got 7 versions from a compact 7 bottle unit all the way through to a massive 181 bottle unit, all of which reflect our perfect balance of function and style. For further details please have a look at the website www.montpellier-appliances.com

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“Kitchen technology and design have improved tremendously in the last 10 years alone, and some of the most environmentally effective products are those that fly under most people’s radar” Kevin Carr, UK Sales Manager, InSinkErator®

the most appealing designs are the ones that combine functionality with ‘fashion’. “In the replacement market, the consumer has an opportunity to trade up to an updated appliance that offers better or more benefits, or has a more engaging design that can bring a fresh and modern look to the kitchen in one single purchase. In this scenario, the consumer will often be looking for appliances that will offer up-tothe-minute style as well as convenience and excellent performance at a price they can afford.” Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Harrison asserts that “any product always has to perform to the high standards that today’s canny consumers are often seeking in terms of size and ease of use, and the democratisation of design also means that, no matter the market segment, potential

purchasers are well aware of what pleases them in terms of looks.” And, he adds, with built-in cooking appliances, less is often more. “The built-in category remains the fastest growing in the MDA marketplace. It is why many independent electrical retailers are choosing to limit displays of consumer electronics in their showrooms, whilst still promoting them online, and are alternatively opting to dedicate prime retail space to built-in displays, often in ‘real’ kitchen environments. The benefits of doing this are threefold: the consumer can view the design, fit, feel and finish of the appliances before they buy and can also receive excellent and trusted sales information from the retailer in the showroom. Meanwhile, the retailer can take advantage of higher retail margins on builtin appliances. A ‘win win’ for all parties.”

DESIGN TRENDS

Caple’s Lay says this season has shown product designers’ imagination and creativity to be almost limitless, and the introduction of raw materials such as copper is helping appliance manufacturers push design boundaries further than ever before. “In fact,” he advises, “the most upto-date finishes in kitchen appliance design range from chic white glass on a bank of ovens for a futuristic finish through to

The Whirlpool Interactive Kitchen of the Future is an intelligent and connected concept cooking environment that envisages the future of the smart kitchen

22

GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

STOVES ADDS QUINTESSENTIALLY BRITISH SHADE TO COLLECTION Leading cooker manufacturer Stoves has added a chic new colour to its Richmond collection. Soho Green, a countryside-influenced shade, was inspired by a special line of range cookers created by Stoves for the guest cabins and cookery school at Soho House’s new Soho Farmhouse property in Oxfordshire. The classic sage-green hue is available across Stoves’ Richmond 90, 100 and 110cm range cookers, available in gas, dual fuel and electric-induction fuel types. Colour Boutique is a fashion-led colour concept offering the ultimate in kitchen personalisation, with 11 inspiring colours and 137 product combinations across the Stoves and Belling brands. 0844 248 4149 | www.stoves.co.uk


Versatility that creates more

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DESIGNER PRODUCTS

the warmth of rich copper on a cooker hood for a beautiful, bold kitchen display.” Jonathan Fish, Category Consumer Manager for Breakfast at Morphy Richards observes many consumers actively looking for ways to update their home with products and styles that are new to the market and not yet commonly owned. “In the same way that some consumers aspire to own the latest smartphone or tablet, there is also a desire to bring a level of exclusivity to their homes with the latest kitchen products and appliances. “Trends filter down through all industries, which results in inspiration coming from several areas. For example: the fashion industry often influences colours that are used in the SDA market, which gives manufacturers huge scope for colour choices.” Thomas Johansson, Design Director, Electrolux Group Design, comments on what’s to come: “We foresee a future in which appliances and new innovative solutions are connected, intelligent, and seamlessly integrated into the daily lives of users – making their lives easier. A future where the kitchen is the hub of the healthy home, promoting and inspiring a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. “We will see smart ovens, hobs and cooker hoods that can be monitored and controlled from a remote device. These will also be connected together into an eco-system using sensors and cameras so that, for example, the hood knows what is happening on the hob and can anticipate through sensors when the fan or light needs to be activated. “We will also see new, innovative cooking technology – steam, sous-vide, smart temperature probes etc. – that opens up a world of culinary possibilities and great new taste sensations. Over the next year, Electrolux is going to launch a broad array of connected appliances in our core markets – the kitchen, the laundry room and the home comfort area.”

Whirlpool’s Spragg points out that there are more than 2.5 billion people worldwide connected to the internet. In 2008, the number of internet-connected things overtook the number of people in the world, and today, there are over 10 billion things connected to the internet. “This everincreasing Internet of Things continues to grow every single minute. As a result, there is little doubt that connectivity is the future, and the kitchen of tomorrow is closer than we think.” Whirlpool foresees the future kitchen as a natural progression from where we are now and has developed a concept kitchen to demonstrate where we may be in the near future. “The way we lead our lives has changed profoundly over the

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GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

last decade,” says Spragg. “People now need to stay in constant communication, maintaining minute-to-minute schedule flexibility and having the ability to adapt fast. It is important that the most powerful innovations are inspired by human behaviours and a real need. “Whirlpool matches consumer needs with the latest emerging technologies, to create a vision of how a family will cook and clean in the near future, and designs technology with purpose that gives the busy consumer the time and freedom to do what really matters to them. It is important to Whirlpool that new products should not only look good, but empower and positively impact daily living: otherwise, it’s simply design/technology for its own sake.”

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DIGITAL RADIO – SHOOTING ITSELF IN THE FOOT? T

here’s been some really good news regarding digital radio just recently. First, there was the launch of the new national multiplex from Sound Digital on 29 February, offering eighteen new stations by the end of March. As everyone in the radio industry has been saying, choice and content, rather than technology, will help sell digital radio to consumers. Pure has launched two new Highway in-car radio adapters that are easy to fit and offer streaming services. But let’s go back to the launch of the new DAB stations. Three of them – JazzFM, Magic Chilled and Fun Kids are broadcast in DAB+ rather than standard DAB. DAB uses an MP2 audio codec, but DAB+ uses a more efficient codec, AAC+, which is not compatible with MP2. So, in order to receive the new DAB+ stations, you’ll need a digital radio with DAB+. For some time now, many radios have been launched with DAB/DAB+/FM functionality, and in 2014, the first radios conforming to The Digital Radio Certification Mark (digital tick) were launched. These have DAB+ as part of the standard specification. I must confess that I was really excited to see JazzFM returning to digital – it stopped broadcasting on DAB in 2013 – but alas, I have paid the price for being a

WI-FI POWERS DOWN T

pioneer. All my radios are more than a few years old, and the result is that none of the four digital radios in our household have DAB+ and so cannot receive JazzFM. I know I’m not alone, visitors to a number of radio forums have made the same complaint, and what’s more, many brand new digital radios being sold today still only offer standard DAB/FM functionality. I appreciate that DAB has to evolve, and there are times when we have to replace our consumer electronics equipment in order to get new features and functionality, but you can probably understand why some digital radio owners will feel a little short-changed by this latest development.

here’s been a lot of noise about how a team of researchers at the University of Washington has been able to produce Wi-FI transmissions that use 10,000 times less power than conventional Wi-FI systems. The system, known as passive Wi-Fi, uses a single device plugged into a power supply to generate the Wi-Fi signal. The signal hits a series of passive sensors, which reflect the Wi-Fi data onto devices like smartphones and sensors. The researchers claim that this could greatly increase the battery life of mobile devices. Sounds impressive, but so far the passive system only works with the 802.11b Wi-Fi standard, which has a maximum throughput rate of 11 Mbps – well below the speed offered by the 802.11g and n standards. In other words, smartphones and tablets will still need conventional Wi-Fi components in order to take advantage of faster Wi-Fi speeds.

GOODBYE SKYPE FOR TV SO,

Microsoft has decided to stop supporting the Skype for TV app from this June. The company says it wants to focus on Skype for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, arguing that this is how most people access Skype. That may be the case, but it is a blow both for Smart TV manufacturers and people who preferred Skyping on a big screen to a PC or tablet. Skype for TV is ideal for when the whole family is in on the call, as it’s much easier to gather everyone around a large TV than huddle over a laptop or tablet screen. It’s true that the most popular Smart TV app is catch-up TV – such

as BBC iPlayer – but Skype for TV has many fans. Microsoft says it’s up to manufacturers to decide whether they continue offering the service after June. Samsung has already said that it will discontinue Skype for TV after June, and I suspect the other Smart TV manufacturers will follow suit. Whenever an app or operating system is no longer supported, it doesn’t just mean that no new features are being added, but that there are no new security patches either. I can’t imagine many Smart TV manufacturers would be happy about their sets offering apps with potential security holes in them. APRIL 2016 GET CONNECTED

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FROM THE BENCH

BAKE YOUR TV IN THE OVEN

ALAN BENNETT DESCRIBES A BIZARRE METHOD OF PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD REPAIR WHICH CAN ACTUALLY WORK – BUT IS NOT RECOMMENDED!

T

he advance of manufacturing techniques has made repair service more difficult, primarily due to miniaturisation and surface mounting of components. A fully capable repair technician and workshop is rare these days.

CIRCUIT BOARD REWORK

Virtually all consumer electronics equipment now uses high-density PC board assemblies with tiny surfacemounted devices and very often multiple layers of printed conductors. When they go wrong it’s difficult to diagnose faults and repair them. For many years, highly integrated silicon chips (processors etc.) have been connected to the board by ball-gate arrays with no visible contacts at all – they have a matrix of tiny conductive dots on their undersides, demanding very precise placement and carefully controlled heating through the board and the chip itself to reflow their soldered connections. Thus, successful repair calls for sophisticated equipment and a high degree of skill, always assuming that the replacement chip or other component is available at all. And what if the diagnosis proves, after component replacement, to have been wrong? Fault diagnosis is more difficult with today’s equipment than it was in the analogue era, and manufacturers are often unable to fully support repair technicians – for various reasons – with technical advice or even spares in the form of replacement boards 26

GET CONNECTED APRIL 2016

and especially individual components. The advent of lead-free solder (which is expensive and doesn’t wet or flow as well as lead) many years ago didn’t help at the factory or the repair bench; I know a couple of technicians who still treasure and use leaded solder: not a hanging offence when it involves small repairs, perhaps... Even after a successful repair, programming (‘factory set up’), beyond the user or installation menus is often needed, for which service data is required, generally confined by the manufacturers to their appointed service agents. In view of all this, you have to be very specialised, well equipped, supported and highly skilled to make a success of in-depth servicing now, considering the diversity and reliability of modern equipment. These are some of the reasons why the servicing side of our industry has shrunk; why many dealers and technicians confine themselves to simple repairs, and why equipment is often discarded when troubles arise with it. Sometimes the fault is a minor one but the gear may well go out of the door anyway.

INTO THE OVEN

This being the scenario, then, I was amazed to hear in the shop the exploits of Mr. A, who lives nearby. His five-year-old TV set had failed such that it was stuck in startup mode. The screen lit up at switch-on but got no further than displaying the manufacturer’s logo; no amount of zapper thrashing or mains resetting would make it

perk up. Mr. A trawled the internet forums for information on this, using a search engine and entering the make and model number and the symptom. At length he found a suggestion: reflow the soldered joints on the main PC board by cooking it in the kitchen! With a non-working set and thus nothing to lose he gave it a go. Ten minutes in the centre of a preheated oven at 200°C/gas Mk.6 was prescribed, followed by a 30-minute cooling period. He removed the panel from his TV, ran his wife’s oven up to temperature and inserted the PC board. After ten minutes he removed it and let it stand until it had returned to room temperature. Back into the TV set it went then. Up came the logo LG, Life is Good, and it was indeed, because – would you believe? – the set had come back to life, displaying pictures and responding to its remote control as before. Wow! But pride was swiftly followed by a fall – there was no sound. Nothing Mr. A did would bring it back. A check inside the oven revealed a few match-head and pinhead sized bits on the floor of the cooker. Because the reflow operation had smoothed the PCB solder lands into neat little shiny mounds it was not possible to see on the highlypopulated board surface where they had come from. Defeat in the jaws of victory indeed. Had not the little treasures fallen away in the oven the operation may well have been successful, as witness several replies on the same internet forum from people for whom this cure had actually worked.

WORKSHOP REFLOW

Normally the initial solder-flow operation is carried out in the factory in a specialised oven with carefully controlled thermal cycling, and in the service workshop with a hot air gun or infra-red heating. Could an ordinary oven play a part in PC rework by the trade? To prevent anything parting company with the panel there are service aids in the form of heat-resisting compounds (e.g. Chemask by Chemtronics) which are applied before heating and peeled off by hand afterwards. They may be of use in this application, perhaps by completely coating each side of the board in turn and roasting them separately one after the other. There would need to be a lot of more specific information on times, temperatures and perhaps ‘ramping’ of the latter. I would welcome any information from anyone in the trade who knows more about this, or at least has tried it. Any comments?


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Get Connected Magazine - April 2016  

04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 12 The Product Gallery 14 TV & Sound Projection GC looks at what manufacturers...