The Magazine of The Electrical Goods Industry www.gcmagazine.co.uk
THE GREEN ROOM – REFRIGERATION Cool technology making refrigeration green and stylish
THE SMART HOME – CE The revolution’s here and it’s an opportunity for retailers to make Consumer Electronics pay again
THE SMART HOME – MAJOR DOMESTIC APPLIANCES The ideas and the manufacturers who are making white goods part of the connected home
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Can consumers trust the security of smart connectivity?
FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett examines the promise and the reality of digital sound quality
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017 THE NOMINATIONS All the products that made it through to the finals. Now it’s your chance to choose the ultimate winners
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INSIDE... 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word
In and around the industry
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The Green Room – Refrigeration
The Smart Home – Consumer Electronics
Refrigeration is “greener” not just in energy saving but in prolonging the life of foods. Where are we now, and what do consumers care most about?
The Smart or Connected Home is already a reality for many UK consumers, and it has been largely led by developments in CE. Where do we go from here, and what are the opportunities for retail?
The Smart Home – Major Domestic Appliances It may all have started with electronics gadgets, but White Goods are claiming a growing piece of the Smart action, with forward-looking manufacturers leading the progress towards relevant connection
George Cole Gets Connected
From the Bench
The Get Connected Product Design Awards 2017 – The Nominations
Do consumers trust CE manufacturers and retailers?
DAB quality: Alan Bennett on why it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be
All the Consumer Electronics, Major Domestic and Small Domestic Appliances that have made it through to the finals of the GC Design Awards 2017. PLUS your opportunity to vote for the ones you believe are worthy of the final accolade: Get Connected Product Design Awards Product of the Year 2017.
I was hoping to be able to say “thank heavens it’s all over” … But it’s not now. Looks like there’s much more to come before we see some semblance of (dare we say it?) “stability” restored.
the Queen I feel sorry for. She’d already cancelled the Garter ceremony to make way for the Queen’s Speech scheduled, before the election, for 19th June. That didn’t happen, and the subsequent uncertainty about when she’d be needed in Parliament ruined Ascot Week for her. In the meantime, no functioning Government in Westminster, and the frightening spectre of failure to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland looming. You couldn’t make it up.
It’s the Magic Money Tree that grew billions of pounds out of nowhere for the Bank of England to “invest” in UK company bonds, when there was actually nothing in the bank.”
The campaign plumbed the depths of nastiness, obfuscation and “alternative facts” that the Brexit referendum had primed us to expect. And in the end the biggest losers were us. Again. One thing that came up in the campaign caught our eye as being worthy of further questioning. (This is NOT a party political point. More a development of a theme we’ve pursued before in this column.) Manifestos from all sides always draw the criticism: “That’s all very well, but how are you
going to pay for it?” Let’s get this straight once and for all: There Is Plenty Of Money. The only real questions are: where is it, who’s got it and how can we get it from there to where it’s needed? Despite all the mocking, patronising assertions, we can also confirm that THERE IS A MAGIC MONEY TREE. The only thing that needs arguing about is not whether it exists, but who’s allowed to sit under it and enjoy its fruits. It’s the Magic Money Tree that means someone can amass a personal fortune from UK business activity, pay no UK taxes on it, sell part of it for a quid then swan off to the Med for a holiday on a £100,000,000 yacht leaving hundreds without jobs or a pension. That’s Magic. It’s the Magic Money Tree that produced tens of billions of pounds to save greedy and incompetent bankers from ruin, and keeps on growing more to continue to pay those same avaricious and (possibly) criminal people annual bonuses of hundreds of millions of pounds. As if they’d done something good. That’s Magic. It’s the Magic Money Tree that grew billions of pounds out of nowhere for the Bank of England to “invest” in UK company bonds, when there was actually nothing in the bank. They call it “quantitative easing,” but really, That’s Magic. It is clear that, party politics aside – because all colours of Government have presided over the planting and tending of the Magic Money Tree – there are small numbers of people who feel absolutely entitled to hog the rich harvest of the Tree. And why not? It’s legal, so it must be right. Right? I guess we can all trust those entitled to rule us to do what’s best for us. But do remember, as you’re opening up the shop or driving to your next appointment or meeting industry partners to negotiate… and maybe thinking how nice it would be to take a little break on a £100,000,000 yacht…. do remember that, as taxpayers, WE are the Magic Money Tree.
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NON-FOOD SHOP PRICES STILL IN DECLINE IN MAY THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
UK RETAIL SALES SLOWDOWN CONTINUES INTO MAY
he BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor covering the four weeks 30 April to 27 May showed a like-for-like decrease in UK retail sales of 0.4%, compared to a 0.5% increase in May 2016. Food and non-food sales continued to diverge, with food sales up 3.2% on a likefor-like basis for the three months to May, while non-food retail sales decreased 0.3% during the same period. May’s total nonfood performance was the worst recorded since May 2011. Online non-food sales, however, continued to grow, up 7.0% in the three months to May, while like-for-like in-store sales declined 2.3% in the same period.
Commenting on the figures, Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at e-commerce consultant Salmon, said they offered “mixed reading” for retailers. “Online sales may have risen in May, but in comparison to the previous year, where sales grew by 13.7%, ecommerce players face the challenge of continuing to grow and encourage customers to spend. “It’s clear that online shopping will be the driving force moving forward, yet vendors cannot afford to sit still in a world that is dominated by technology. The overall value growth of pure online retailers has risen incredibly by 388% since 2006.”
UK RETAIL PARKS TO GROW FASTER THAN HIGH STREETS IN NEXT FIVE YEARS
he UK retail parks sector is expected to grow by 13.8% between 2017 and 2022 and is set to outperform the high street, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The company’s latest report states that this growth will be driven both by the establishment of new retail parks and the extension of existing ones. Overall, retail parks are becoming more attractive to shoppers as they become less dominated by traditional out-of-town retailers within sectors such as electricals and DIY & gardening. Electricals’ share has fallen by 3 percentage points. According to the 2,000-respondent survey, 90% of consumers have shopped at a retail park in the last 12 months and 54.3% visited at least once a month, demonstrating their broad consumer appeal.
VISIT GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK FOR THE STORIES BEHIND THE NEWS... 75% of UK shoppers “worried about online fake reviews” Hoover takes on 745-mile bike ride for charity Beko sponsors Leinster GAA awards Indesit adds web series to its #DoItTogether campaign New laundry appliances exclusive to CIH Q Acoustics teams with Systemline to provide powered install speaker systems
According to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, while overall shop prices reported 0.4% deflation in May, compared to 0.5% deflation in April, there is a growing divergence between food and non-food, with food continuing to rise in price while nonfood continues to fall. Food inflation accelerated to 1.4% from the 0.9% rise in April, while non-food shop prices fell 1.5% in the year to May, compared to the 1.4% decline in April. Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Overall prices continue to fall year-on-year, albeit now at the slowest rate since November 2013. However, the trends for food and non-food are now two quite different stories.” While food becomes more expensive to retailers, who are now beginning to pass on some of their input cost price increases to their customers, by contrast, says Dickinson, “heavy discounting in the wake of a weak start to the year and the fact that some businesses are still protected by hedging contracts are keeping non-food prices deflationary for now. “Nevertheless,” she concludes, “we expect the general trend of inflation to be upwards over the course of the year, which will squeeze disposable income at a time when wage growth is slowing.”
UK CONSUMER CONFIDENCE RISES BUT SQUEEZE STILL TO HIT HOME, CAUTIONS GFK
consumer confidence recorded an unexpected uplift in May as consumers reported increased confidence in their personal financial situation, the wider economy and future plans both for major purchases and saving. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index increased two points to – 5, with four of the five measures used to determine the level rising and one remaining unchanged. The Major Purchase Index increased two points to +9, to hit the same level of this time last year, while the Savings Index rose four points to +5 – one point higher than in May 2016. But Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, asked: “When will we get our comeuppance and realise we have to ‘pay the piper’?” He said: “Despite life becoming more expensive with inflation hitting its highest level in four years and wages dropping in real terms for the first time in three years, stagnant living standards haven’t yet significantly dented consumers’ spirits. When it comes to retail therapy we remain happy to splash the cash as sales jump ahead of expectations. “After years of people paying off debts post-downturn, unsecured borrowing has steadily increased since 2014, reaching record highs this month. Perhaps the real squeeze in living standards is yet to hit home.” Surprisingly, the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months increased two points to +4.
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
GDHA CE RESIGNS UK
appliance manufacturer Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (GDHA) has announced the resignation of Denver Hewlett from his role as chief executive. Hewlett has been with the Glen Dimplex family for more than two decades, joining kitchen appliance brand Belling as marketing director in 1996 where he proved influential in taking it from a name synonymous only with electric cooking to a brand with broad appeal and a comprehensive range of products. In 2001 he was promoted to chief executive of the newly created Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, becoming custodian of the Stoves, New World, Belling and Lec refrigeration brands. “This has been a difficult decision to make as I have enjoyed a long and rewarding career with GDHA and have a great deal of affection for the brands and the people,” commented Hewlett. “I leave with some wonderful memories of my time with the business; however, I feel the time is right for me to hand over the reins to somebody new. I wish the team all the best for the future and am confident they will ensure that GDHA is a major player in the domestic appliance market for many years to come.” Hewlett will officially leave his role in December 2017.
BEKO TAKES EARLY ACTION WITH VOLUNTARY REPAIR PROGRAMME
AO WORLD WARNS OF “SIGNIFICANT SLOWDOWN” IN UK GROWTH
eko plc has announced that the company is initiating a voluntary repair programme for a total of 3,450 8kg and 9kg Beko and Blomberg condenser tumble dryers manufactured between May and November 2012. In a safety notice issued 30 May 2017, Beko said: “As part of our ongoing product monitoring, we identified a production batch with a faulty component supplied by a third party. In rare circumstances the component could fail and overheat, potentially leading to a risk of fire. “Although the risk of fire is low, Beko Plc has advised Trading Standards that it is undertaking a voluntary product repair programme.” The affected models are DCU8230W, DCU9330R, DCU9330W, DSC85W and TKF8439A. Beko will be using a number of measures to locate products, including direct outreach through its own customer
records, in addition to those of its retailers. This will be accompanied by press advertisements and an online product checker. Consumers can check if they have one of the affected dryers by visiting either www.beko.co.uk/dryerrepair or www.blomberguk.com/dryerrepair and entering the model number into the online product checker or by calling freephone 0800 917 2018. Beko will arrange an authorised service engineer to visit the home of any customer who may have an affected machine to check and replace the faulty component. All visits are free-of-charge and the repair will take approximately 30 minutes. To avoid any potential hazard, customers who believe they may have an affected product are advised to not use their machines while waiting for an authorised Beko Plc service engineer to visit.
MONTPELLIER SUPPORTS INDIES WITH CONSUMER AWARENESS DRIVE
has said its UK business would see a “significant” slowing in growth in Q1, as the “challenging” trading conditions experienced last year continued in the UK. The company cited a combination of factors including a post-Brexit weakness of consumer confidence, the slowdown in the housing market and continued inflation. AO’s revenues for the year to 31 March were up 17% at £701.2 million, but full-year operating losses grew to £12 million from £10.7 million last year. The operating losses had their origins in Germany and the Netherlands, where investment in distribution infrastructure was “higher than anticipated.”
ANOTHER YEAR OF GROWTH FOR DIXONS CARPHONE
ixons Carphone reported like-for-like revenues up 4% for the year ended 29 April 2017, despite what Group Chief Executive Seb James described as “a lively political backdrop.” Total sales, which include those at newly opened stores, rose 9%. The company said that growth was recorded across all regions and gave Group headline profit before tax guidance of £485m-£490m (previous guidance £475m-£495m). The UK & Ireland reportedly had a good year, with like-for-like revenues up 4% driven by a strong performance in electricals, which more than offset a tough year in the phones sector. Total revenues grew by 2%.
ontpellier Domestic Appliances has announced plans to host consumer events and cooking demonstrations at its newly opened showroom in Gloucestershire. Head of Marketing Gabriella Fryer said the move would both inform consumers of the brand’s presence and support retailers by giving them an extension to their own showrooms. Montpellier was created in 2012 to provide a reliable alternative brand for independent retailers, whose support has since driven significant growth for the company. It is now going through a period of rapid expansion, with its new purpose-built head office and showroom in Tewkesbury operating a liveried fleet of 17 vehicles, raising brand awareness nationwide, and a staff recruitment drive currently in hand. Retailers of Montpellier products can visit the new showroom with their customers by appointment to experience the full range of appliances. Fryer said feedback so far has been “fantastic.”
BERTAZZONI ESTABLISHES UK SUBSIDIARY
talian cooking appliance manufacturer Bertazzoni has established a subsidiary in the UK to support ambitious plans for growth. Bertazzoni UK will occupy 1,600 sq ft premises in Prenton, Wirral, comprising offices and a showroom which is due to open in the coming months. Products from the family-run company have been available until now via a distribution agreement with Glen Dimplex Home Appliances. Bertazzoni said this has ceased by mutual consent. Commenting on the move, CEO Paolo Bertazzoni said the business has “big plans to increase our presence across the country.” He added: “Having enjoyed a successful partnership with GDHA over the past three years, we felt that the time was right to establish a dedicated operation in the UK.” Maurizio Severgnini – formerly of the Hoover Candy Group – will lead the Italian brand’s activities in the UK in the role of managing director, UK & Ireland.
WHIRLPOOL OPENS NEW EMEA HEADQUARTERS
hirlpool Corporation has opened newly built EMEA headquarters in Milan, which will accommodate in excess of 600 employees from 28 countries, and a new flagship 500m2 showroom – the ‘World of Whirlpool’ – displaying over 150 products from Whirlpool Corporation’s four major European brands: KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Hotpoint and Indesit, each in their own dedicated setting. The company said the new showroom aims to be “more than a shop window.” “The World of Whirlpool is a new, exciting space where we can share the experience of our brands and products,” commented Norb Schmidt, Vice President, Products and Brands, Whirlpool EMEA. “The environment has been conceived as an immersive experience that allows guests to explore, live and experience our brands’ products through interactive content, showcooking and ‘edutainment’ activities.”
Digital radio company Pure International Limited has announced the appointment of Sir Hossein Yassaie as Chairman. The move comes several months after AVenture AT GmbH acquired Pure from Imagination Technologies. Sir Hossein, Imagination’s former CEO, played a pivotal role in the creation and development of Pure. Whirlpool has announced the appointment of Catherine Balderson as Brand Manager. Balderson previously held the role of Customer Marketing Manager for the company’s New Business Home Delivery Channel.
Hoover has appointed three new members of staff to support its ambition to become the “supplier of choice.” Rob Pearse has joined the team as commercial manager – Ireland; Gema Aldridge has assumed the role of account director, freestanding and built-in appliances; Becks Simms has been appointed account director, built-in appliances.
VOGEL’S ACQUIRES MARMITEK
mounts and supports company Vogel’s has announced the acquisition of Dutch firm Marmitek BV, which develops smart applications for audio and video. Vogel’s said the move is an aim to position itself more explicitly as a specialist in product-based solutions to improve people’s experience of sound and vision in the domestic and professional markets. CEO Gerdi Vogels said: “It is an expansion that neatly complements our current activities. Through this combination, both brands can increase their position in the market and strengthen their distribution. “In addition, we are looking forward to using Marmitek’s product development knowledge and expertise for future developments. With this acquisition, Vogel’s is spreading its wings even further. It will offer us new opportunities in our sector.” Marmitek will continue to exist as an independent entity after the acquisition.
Exhibitions, organiser of the Brooke House Exhibitions Exclusively Housewares and Exclusively Electrical Shows, has appointed Lindsey Hoyle as director of sales. She succeeds Patrick Wade. Cuthill, a sales agent who represents Chris Cuthill premium Dutch kitchen fabricator Keller and appliance manufacturer Teka, has added the HotSpot Titanium boiling water tap to his portfolio of brands. He has been appointed to cover the northern region, including Scotland. Lindsey Hoyle
Hughes Trade has announced the promotion of Simon Quinlan to the newly created position of Commercial Operations Manager. He takes over the dayto-day responsibility for Hughes’ commercial branches in Leicester, Norwich and Rochester.
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THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
DE DIETRICH LAUNCHES “2017 CONNECTED COLLECTION”
ioneer of the induction hob De Dietrich has announced the introduction of a collection of connected appliances, launching in the UK in July 2017. It incorporates a range of ovens, microwaves, induction hobs, gas hobs and extractor fans, each of which can be controlled via the product interface or a mobile app. A main focus of the launch is on a 73-litre Multi Purpose Plus ‘Pyrolysis’ Built-in Oven which, connected to a smartphone, lists six different cooking modes, more than 60 pre-set recipes, and will alert users when it’s time to serve. The appliance also offers a range of integrated cooking methods: Chef mode, “Created by De Dietrich”, is said to be a “unique automatic cooking system for the ultimate precision cooking.” The technology automatically sets the parameters for nine of the “most cooked” dishes. Those parameters are: the cooking mode, the ideal temperature and the cooking duration. A sensor constantly analyses the moisture content of the dish and precisely adjusts the cooking time to the minute. Other integrated cooking methods include Low Temperature Cooking, which is accurately controlled to preserve the texture and taste of food; French Pastry mode, which includes up to 14 proposed recipes; Drying Function – a dehydration process that dries food at a controlled temperature between 60°C and 80°C, and a Culinary Guide which has up to 35 proposed recipes and automatically determines the cooking parameters. Pyrolytic cleaning is also incorporated in the new oven collection as a function with three
options: Pyro Express, Pyro Turbo and Pyro Eco. As for the aesthetic design of the products, De Dietrich said it is “honouring a heritage of craftsmanship” with the cutting-edge design revisiting historical materials such as iron and copper. On the oven range, “De Dietrich’s signature copper can be seen on the dial next to a stainless steel front plate to magnify the feedback
screen, and [on] a brushed stainless steel handle incorporating the signature De Dietrich engraving.” The Multi Purpose Plus Pyrolysis Built-in Ovens are available in four finishes: Absolute Black, Precious Stainless Steel, Pure White and Steel Grey. The 2017 Connected Collection is available from AB Distributors.
VOGEL’S EXTENDS NEXT WALL-MOUNT RANGE AND OUTLINES DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY
V bracket manufacturer Vogel’s used an event held in London to introduce new products added to its high-end NEXT range, which it said would now form part of a selective distribution agreement with all authorised stockists listed on Vogel’s dealer locator.
James Attfield (right) with Vogel’s CEO Gerdi Vogels
The new products include motorised options and incorporated soundbars aimed at capitalising on the current sales growth of larger format screens. Stockists are entitled to free of charge state-of-the-art in-store demonstration units which allow consumers to experience and fully appreciate the added value features on offer. James Attfield, Managing Director of Turnstone AV, Vogel’s exclusive importer in the UK, commented on the new distribution strategy: “Our selective distribution agreement precludes any sales online through any third-party marketplace sellers, because it is absolutely critical for us to drive consumers into stores so that they can experience the products for themselves. Whilst there will be online sales, this is only through authorised partners who can provide the full suite of experiences including landing pages, rich media content feeds and our best-in-class flatscreenfitter tool. “We are confident that we are appealing to those retailers who aspire to provide their customers with the very best products money can buy. And, of course, with the ERPs starting at £399 and going up to £1,099 there is clearly the opportunity for bracket margins on high-ticket items, which we know is music to the ears of progressive retailers. “Sadly, there are still a lot of retailers in the UK that need to be convinced of the opportunity to upsell brackets and experience the exciting cash margin that is on offer and help provide the ultimate viewing experience.”
DYSON WINS EUROPEAN COURT APPEAL ON ENERGY LABELLING
VESTEL OFFERS HIGHER MARGIN OPPORTUNITIES WITH NEW TOSHIBA TV RANGES
urkish manufacturer Vestel has announced the launch of a new range of TVs under the Toshiba brand which it says offers an affordable mid-market proposition and the “possibility” of higher margin sales outside of Europe’s narrow 20% premium sector. The new collection ranges from 65” OLED and 55/49” wide colour gamut TVs to Ultra HD and smart DVD TVs.
The five core ranges reflect the Toshiba brand identity, providing user-friendly designs, enhanced audio performance and greater attention to aesthetic detail, such as bezel-free and ultra-slim bezel frames and space-saving brushed aluminium stands. Matthew Lang, Pan-European Head of Toshiba TVs and Managing Director of Vestel UK, said: “With this launch, we’re not only breathing new life into an iconic TV brand, but also
revitalising the industry by offering an alternative mid-market range. “Toshiba has always offered a win-win proposition, providing retailers with attainable upsell opportunities, and consumers with genuine value for money. It’s this brand approach that we believe can differentiate us and drive up margins in a market that’s currently dominated by replacement TV sales.” See www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the full story.
WHIRLPOOL ENHANCES 6TH SENSE LIVE® CONNECTED APPLIANCES WITH IFTTT COMPATIBILITY
hirlpool has said it has extended its leadership in the Internet of Things by developing IFTTT compatibility for its connected appliances. IFTTT is a powerful cloud-based web service that makes it possible for users to connect a wide
range of apps, services and products. The new capability enhances the brand’s 6TH SENSE Live® suite of appliances with the ability to communicate with products such as connected thermostats so users can create specific automated processes and personalise the experience of the connected home.
he European Court of Justice has upheld Dyson’s Judicial Review Appeal against an earlier judgment by the European General Court, and has ruled that the testing of vacuum cleaners for energy efficiency labelling must now, where possible, adopt “a method of calculation which makes it possible to measure the energy performance of vacuum cleaners in conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use, requiring the vacuum cleaner’s receptacle to be filled to a certain level.” Dyson’s argument was that the standard energy label test in use since the introduction of labelling for vacuum cleaners across Europe in September 2013 was “unrepresentative and misleading” for consumers, and did not give an accurate measure of energy efficiency in real-world conditions. The standard test regulations stipulate that the test should be carried out when the cleaner is empty and without dust. Dyson argued that, while cyclonic cleaners do not lose suction as they fill with dust, cleaners with bags and filters become clogged and their performance – and energy efficiency – declines progressively during cleaning. It is possible, said Dyson, that in actual use a machine tested and given an ‘A’ rating label could drop to a ‘D’ or ‘E’ rating as it fills with dust. This, claims Dyson, “calls into question the future of testing in Europe and is a harbinger of positive change for consumers.”
SHORTCUTS A custom-built Hotpoint Mobile Teaching Kitchen is ready to take to the road this summer to arm the nation with essential cooking skills. The initiative is part of a multi-year European partnership with the Jamie Oliver Group to support Hotpoint’s new built-in range of cooking appliances and its aim to become the “number one” in the sector. Belling has launched a national cash-back campaign to raise awareness and demand for its new range cookers – the Farmhouse
and Cookcentre. The activity runs until 31st July 2017 and offers up to £150 back on any model from the brand’s newest range cooker collections. Premium appliance brand KitchenAid has announced an exclusive agreement with KBB distributor Waterline for the distribution of its major domestic appliance range to all channels. Stoves has announced a partnership with cookery theatre provider Chefs on Stage which
will see its built-in appliances used at food and drink festivals across the UK during 2017. The brand will be promoting the events and supporting them with activity including social media. Chefs taking part will provide recipes and content for the Stoves website. Fisher & Paykel has kitted out the Cookery School at Little Portland Street, London with the latest appliances from its portfolio. The partnership will see the school run specialist cookery classes for southern-based F&P retailers.
THE GREEN ROOM » REFRIGERATION
STRONG AND STABLE... Refrigeration was until recently the dominant force in the major domestic appliance market, and although its standing has been challenged, it remains in a sound position. GC reports
he cooling sector outperformed all other white goods sectors for a number of years, according to GfK, with value sales rising around £280 million (44% growth) since the recession-led low of 2009. And while this category is no longer the MDA standout, the researcher and analyst recorded sales up 8% in value and 11% in volume in the first three quarters of 2016 which, of course, includes the important spring/summer period. Amrit Kalher, Refrigeration Product Manager at Beko Plc, maintains that summer provides retailers with the “ultimate opportunity” to refresh their cooling displays. And as a peak season for refrigeration sales, it is the ideal time to highlight the special functions and features of products which help consumers make the most of the good weather and the barbecue and party season. “For example,” says Kalher, “our MultiZone technology allows you to switch one compartment to either fridge or freezer mode with just the touch a button. Retailers can communicate this benefit to shoppers by highlighting real-life examples of how this could be useful; for example, stocking up on food before a party, or chilling some beers before a big game.”
PRODUCT TRENDS According to GfK, growth during the first three quarters of 2016 was driven primarily by combi fridge freezers – up 10% in value and accounting for 60% of the total market value – while American-style and multi-door models recorded just a 1% value uplift, to represent 22% of total market value. Yet Beko’s Kalher states that larger capacity cooling appliances are now proving more popular than ever, with both the side-by-side and multidoor market experiencing significant growth – up 9.7% in volume year on year in the first quarter of 2017. “Large capacity appliances are practical for growing and big families, offering the benefit of storing more and shopping less. The average price has also come down, making what was once a luxury appliance more attainable to the mass market.” But as Stuart Netscher, Head of Category for Refrigeration at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, points out: “Combis are the fastest growing area in the refrigeration category and that is unlikely
Liebherr’s Premium BluPerformance model CBNPes4858
that their cooling requirements will be different too. We live in a world where bottles and jars of foodstuffs need to be refrigerated once opened; greater varieties of vacuum-packed and chilled foods exist; the health-conscious, and those who enjoy experimenting with food and foreign dishes, are turning more so to fresh meats and vegetables. Whirlpool Brand Manager Catherine Miele product manager Max McCormick: Balderson comments on “Our K20.000 refrigeration collection offers improved this ongoing shift: “With energy ratings, a special ‘Blackboard’ edition and people eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, glass finishes with a variety of storage options and increasingly more including a DailyFresh Drawer, which adjusts the interested in health and humidity levels as well as integrated freezer lighting.” fitness, the fridge needs to be more spacious than ever before. In addition, the reduction of Netscher predicts the continued growth of preservatives in sauces and jars of food, part of frost free products, including Low Frost and Total the response to the increasing trend towards a No Frost appliances, as consumers enjoy the healthier lifestyle, inevitably means that more hassle-free benefits. “We’ve also seen growth in space is required to store opened bottles and demand for chest freezers,” he adds. sauces in the fridge. That said, the size of the SHIFTING NEEDS average home is still diminishing and many It is more than likely that the consumer replacing homeowners are limited on kitchen space. It is a cooling product after a long period of time will unsurprising, therefore, that the most popular find that their lifestyle has changed, and with type of cooling appliance is the combi fridge to change, as the convenience of having a fridge and freezer in one [appliance] suits the majority of households. This is underlined by the continued investment by manufacturers in providing improved features and benefits on these products to ensure the consumer’s needs are met.”
THE GREEN ROOM » REFRIGERATION
Beko’s new range of American-style fridge freezers incorporate EverFresh+ technology
freezer, with the most popular arrangement being the 70:30 split as it ticks all the necessary boxes for the consumer. Further, with many homeowners opting for sleek kitchen designs that need to blend in with the living area, integrated models are extremely popular.” Balderson also notes the demand for larger capacity cooling appliances, reasoning in this instance that “children are ceasing to fledge as they struggle to afford homes of their own, and socialising and entertaining at home continuing in popularity.” For those with the space for a larger appliance, she recommends a dominant side-by-side or a tall single-door fridge and matching freezer. Such appliances, she says, “certainly attract attention and deliver a ‘wow’ factor to the kitchen, while catering for every occasion and need.”
ENERGY TALK Few consumers are aware of the powerful refrigeration technologies incorporated in many of today’s appliances, being faced in-store on occasions with a wall of cooling products, many of which may appear much the same. But as Miele product manager Max McCormick
remarks: “Refrigeration appliances are much more than cold white boxes.” According to a study by LG Electronics, more than half of consumers are now considering the energy efficiency of white goods before they buy (Research base of 2,000 UK adults, November 2016), which LG says “positively indicates that consumers are keen to purchase
going to be a hot topic and so there is great competition to produce appliances which can reduce energy usage. The best appliances are now offering A***, and we’re producing appliances which are an extra 20% more efficient than this base standard.” It is with energy efficiency in mind that Indesit Category Lead Nicholas Mawby says retailers should always take the time to explain the energy labelling system, and help customers to compare models and brands in order to demonstrate how much energy can be saved by choosing the most efficient: “Why not take the time to try to estimate how much their current appliance could be costing them in comparison, so they understand how much technology has progressed in recent years. It may have been some time since the customer last purchased a cooling appliance, or even their first time, and therefore they may not be aware of all the technical advances available that contribute to a highly efficient appliance.”
GDHA’s Stuart Netscher also observes an increase in demand for fridge freezers that are more energy efficient, but he moves to highlight another important fact that saves consumers money while helping the environment at the same time: “It’s been talked about for some time,” he says, “but consumers really are demanding better food preservation from Gorenje UK Sales Director Stuart Benson: their appliances now, “Our range of A+++ rated Retro models are extremely and Total No Frost technology – which popular with those who want their fridge freezer to act means both the freezer as a focal point in the kitchen but also have functional fridge have frost features such as IonAir with DynamiCooling technology.” and free technology, rather than the more common appliances that are environmentally friendly frost free appliance where the back of the and eco-efficient, saving them money in the fridge can still freeze up – is a great solution. long term.” These products offer better fridge airflow, which Liebherr’s Divisional Manager for the UK Tim maximises the preservation of food by creating Hutchinson, who maintains that the introduction a more consistent temperature dispersal of new innovations and technology has seen throughout the appliance.” the quality end of the cooling appliance market Whirlpool, which has invested in the grow faster than the volume end, supports development of an e-learning platform that LG’s positive view: “Energy efficiency is always gives retailers access to training on all product
Style and function, perfectly combined… Introducing the brand new PC52 American-style side-byside fridge freezer from CDA Available in either a stainless steel or sleek black finish, this model provides practical frostfree cold storage and makes a designer statement in modern kitchen appliance design. Beautifully recessed handles create a seamless finish to the doors, and a modern white electronic display allows users to control food storage with precision. Practical solutions should never leave your customers compromising on style. CDA refrigeration comes with a 5-year parts and 2-year labour guarantee for peace of mind. Visit the website for information on our latest refrigeration products, buying guides and technical advice.
THE GREEN ROOM » REFRIGERATION
Caple product manager Like Shipway:
“Our CAFF60 fridge freezer features three temperature zones, each of which can be turned off independently to further help consumers lower their electricity bills.” categories, believes that describing the clear benefits food preservation technology now offers in everyday terms will help the consumer to relate to the appliance technology and encourage a more informed purchase. Brand Manager Catherine Balderson says: “Translating technical jargon into recognisable benefits will help the consumer from feeling overwhelmed.” She also advises retailers to have their cooling displays “wired for action”, not least because Whirlpool offers a demo mode which is “incredibly easy” to manage in a retail environment. “It is imperative to have a model or two up and running so you can to demonstrate the flexible interior and how it may be customised to fit with the customer’s lifestyle, and so that they can experience the latest energy-efficient LED lighting, which is clear and bright. What’s more, during the summer months and the festive and party seasons, don’t forget to make the most of nifty benefits and demonstrate features such as
“LG’s Door-in-Door™ technology saves energy by reducing the loss of cold air. A double-layered door features a unique panel that opens at the push of a button, allowing users to conveniently grab their favourite snacks and food items without opening the main refrigerator door.”
Whirlpool’s Quick Ice facility – two trays of ice ready in just 30 minutes.”
AT THE COALFACE “The independent retailer wants to be seen as a destination for inspiration, advice and great service, asserts Hotpoint Senior Brand Manager Jennifer Taylor. “However,” she adds, “it is important to note that an incredible 75% of domestic appliance purchasing journeys now begin online. The independent must ensure that their retail outlet is part of this purchasing journey, otherwise the customer base will dwindle. “Independent electrical retailers need to have a strong website which clearly displays product information, and demonstrates the business’s expertise, to drive the customer into the store.” And when that first part of the journey has produced the desired result, Daniel Dewey, product manager, Hoover Candy Baumatic (Built-in), believes that, when in-store, informative POS displays can play a vital role in attracting customers to a particular product and in helping them digest the unique benefits of the appliance “at a glance.” In his opinion: “Key information on POS should include capacity, energy ratings and specific features such as frost free technology.” He adds: “Furthermore, varying the type of fridge freezer models on display – from integrated to American-style side-by-side – is important, as it enables retailers to match the appliance to the consumer’s lifestyle. Having
Fisher & Paykel has a handle on design… Fisher & Paykel’s new range of fridge freezers picks up on the trend for handle-less kitchen cabinets. The new concealed recessed handle models appeal to consumers looking for a streamlined finish to their kitchens. All models feature new internal door shelving, with an aluminium trim to stop spillages, plus the ever-popular fully extendable runners to enable easy packing, picking and cleaning of the food bins. The ActiveSmart™ food-care system and ultra-slim water dispenser (on ice and water models) are retained, making this new range a perfect fit for the Fisher & Paykel product family. The new recessed handle, real steel fridge freezers give kitchens beautiful clean lines and a real design edge. But even more importantly, a fully featured fridge that is A+ energy rated, has an auto defrost system and is easy to clean.
Sophisticated cooling from premium brand Miele
a range of refrigeration models on display can also help greatly with sales, and it can act as a reference point for the sales team to point out key internal features such as dedicated wine racks and safety glass shelving. Demonstrating unique features is a great opportunity to upsell.” But Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division, advises of research showing that the cheapest fridge freezer which meets all individual requirements remains the reigning priority for the majority of consumers, so added extras that aren’t of any use to each individual personally are unlikely to sway purchasing decisions. “This is where retailers will benefit from understanding each customer’s requirements and explaining just how different features can help solve their current problems.”
THE SMART HOME – CE
Image courtesy of CEDIA member Intuitive Homes
EXPERIENCE The smart home, or connected home, is a reality for many people. According to CEDIA, the global home technology authority, a Digital Homes survey found that 41% of UK homeowners have some form of connected technology in their home. By 2020, Frost & Sullivan suggests there will be ten connected devices in every household. George Cole looks at how retailers can get involved
here are many compelling reasons for consumers to consider smart home technology. And according to Taft Stricklin, sales team manager at Just Add Power, one of them is the “tremendous” value they add to the consumer’s life by way of energy savings, security, peace of mind, convenience and information. But Chris Wray, product specialist at Yamaha Home Audio Division, maintains that the technology is all about making life easier for the customer and, “what’s really helped make this reality,” he says, “is that almost everyone has a smart device in their pocket that they can use to control almost everything in their life.” Brett Stokke, director of Marketing at RTI, suggests that consumers are drawn to the world of automation for the convenience and the novelty of seeing technology working for them, while Rob King, vice president of consumer electronics for UK & Ireland at Samsung, considers “time constraints in everyday life” to be one of the many reasons why consumers are considering smart homes and technology.
Samsung’s SmartThings Starter Kit enables consumers to add hundreds of compatible smart devices to their home. Armour’s Systemline 7 is a multi-room digital home audio system that is built into the fabric of a home, providing access to online music services. QMotion’s latest product, QiS, is a two-way wireless control solution for a range of motorised roller shades, enabling installers to integrate blind control into a house or single room automation system. Panasonic Smart Home offers a wide range of accessories to monitor, secure and control a home, including window/door sensors, motion sensors, an indoor siren, smart plug, indoor camera, outdoor camera and even a waterleak sensor. Up to 50 accessories can be added to the system.
There are many ways for retailers to get into the smart home market”
Bob Abraham, brand director for Systemline, which is part of Armour Home, says consumers choose smart home products because they are convenient and accessible, and many can also be controlled through simple apps via smartphones and tablets. “In addition,” he says, “there are fewer wires and boxes and the products are getting smaller, sleeker and more sophisticated, meaning they fit into any home very easily.”
PRODUCTS There are many products and lots of support for retailers looking to move into the Smart Home market. J+P products can be used to distribute 4K video around the home, while RTI provides control and automation systems. RTI’s Integration Designer programming software provides dealers with a simple drag-anddrop programming environment that can be customised to suit each customer’s system.
THE WAY IN
There are many ways for retailers to get into the smart home market. Matt Nimmons, managing director, EMEA at CEDIA, suggests multi-room audio is an excellent gateway for independents looking to offer a professional set up and installation service, and there is no shortage of product choice. Sony’s HT-MT500 soundbar with wireless subwoofer can be used across multiple rooms wirelessly. The brand’s wireless speakers, Hi-Fi systems, soundbars and AV Receivers have Chromecast built in, and can work with Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Users can talk to the Google Assistant to stream music from a streaming service, pause it, adjust the volume, and skip to the next track by using their voice.
THE SMART HOME – CE
“Retailers need to help debunk some of these myths by simply educating consumers on the benefits and features on the smart home technology they’re selling,” he comments.
It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of options on the smart home market”
Image courtesy of CEDIA member Perfect Integration
Yamaha’s MusicCast wireless music system includes wireless speakers, soundbars, sound bases, micro systems, HiFi components, home theatre components, wireless amplifiers, adapters, and preamps, all working with the same app.
SUPPORT Electrical retailers keen to grow their business in the smart home sector can benefit from CEDIA-led training sessions to further their skills and knowledge and the certifications required to boost companies and individuals ahead of the competition. Just Add Power’s Stricklin believes that anyone selling smart products needs to educate consumers and turn a question on technology from a curiosity into a need: “I remember when someone asked me why I bought an iPod, and once they spent two
minutes with it, they were off to buy one.” AWE managing director Stuart Tickle adds that retailers must understand the benefits of the products they are selling, and how these devices connect with each another. “Working in a customer’s home requires trust and professionalism. This requires training. AWE’s Smart Home Academy covers a range of courses, including CEDIA Training.” AWE offers specialist products, knowledge and support, and claims to be a one-stop shop for retailers looking to move into the smart home sector. Ian Claxton, managing director of QMotion UK, maintains there are still many misconceptions around smart home technology. Some of the most common myths, he says, include ‘the technology is too expensive’, ‘it can only be installed in new homes’, ‘it becomes outdated quickly or is too complicated to use’.
SELL THE EXPERIENCE Samsung’s King says retailers should bring to life the benefits products offer. “Showrooms should display products in real-life settings to enable people to see how appliances and products would work in their own home. We are committed to working closely with our retail partners to ensure that they have the necessary skills to inform customers and demonstrate the various features of our whole range of connected appliances and products.” Armour’s Abraham maintains that it is very easy to become overwhelmed by the variety of options on the smart home market. “Therefore,” he says, “pre-qualifying what a customer wants before showing them the products is a great way for retailers to help consumers move into the smart home market. It involves making sure that the staff are familiar with the products so they can provide the best advice, but fundamentally, it is about providing consumers with suitable solutions rather than a list of products.” “We work with retailers to ensure products are displayed effectively in the space available in store,” comments Matt Laird, TV marketing manager for Sony UK & Ireland. “If retailers have space for a dedicated listening room it can help with sales – recreating a living room scene can enable consumers to visualise how products could be enjoyed in their home.” “Sell the experience and the dream. It’s not about explaining all the fancy technology; it’s about showing how the tech can enrich their lives,” concludes Yamaha’s Wray.
HUGHES ELECTRICAL IN-STORE SMART HOME Last autumn, Hughes Electrical unveiled a £20,000 Smart Home at its Felixstowe Road branch in Ipswich. The space comprises a garden, kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom showcasing the latest electricals, heating, lighting and security systems. Ashley Shorey-Mills, Hughes’ Smart Home manager, explains why the retailer has invested so much in this sector: “The smart home or connected home is becoming more prevalent. Almost every product on the shop floor can now be connected to a network or another device. We wanted to show customers the different aspects of home
and how they can come together in a simple way.” Reaction to the Smart Home has been very positive (so much so, that Hughes is planning at least one more installation) and a lot of footfall has been driven by manufacturers recommending the Felixstowe Road branch to customers. Comprehensive staff training is also a key to success, adds Shorey-Mills. Not every retailer can afford to invest thousands in smart home technology and Shorey-Mills says there is no need to: “Give it a try – it’s not that expensive. You can start with the existing customer in the store buying a TV or a kitchen or audio product.
“It’s how you can make that everyday sale better value for you – and you can do that with existing sales or installation teams without masses of investment. Give your staff a little more confidence in networking
or how to distribute sound and vision around the home. You can maximise that customer by bringing in more products with better margin, and form a stronger relationship with the customer.”
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THE SMART HOME – MDA
GET CONNECTED... Connected appliances are the future, and they offer strong opportunities for independents that are prepared to invest the time and energy in staff training and demonstration. GC reports
hile custom installers and consumer electronics retailers are well-adjusted and fluent with the concept of the smart home, it is a relatively new and very different experience for those selling kitchen appliances, and no further back than a few years ago, many MDA retailers were sceptical that ‘smart’ appliances would ever catch on. Fast forward to 2017 and the majority of major brands have connected appliances in their product portfolios and the smart home has become the most talked about and exciting opportunity in the world of electrical retailing. According to GfK, the smart appliance market is now worth £136 million with value sales up by 226% in 2016. Given that this is a relatively new sector, it is unsurprising that it is showing growth, but as Gino Grossi, Growth Brands Manager at Beko, cautions: “We as an industry need to be mindful of how we ensure it becomes appealing and profitable.”
DESIGN WITH PURPOSE Grossi advises that 54% of consumers state that if new technology is not easy to use, they lose interest, “so it really is our responsibility to ensure we don’t lose sight of this,” he asserts. “It’s a case of balancing the cost associated with putting in connected technology against the benefit to the consumer. Most manufacturers
are still trying to get a sense of what connected appliances are going to look like. It all boils down to ‘is it worth doubling the price of a product in order for someone to see how many hours their washing machine was on and how much detergent it used compared with last year’?” Whirlpool Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley comments on a 2017 TimeInc Smart Technology Survey which revealed that over half the population want technology that makes life easier at home. “The survey revealed that people will buy the smart appliances they understand, with 85% saying that knowing how to interact with the features and functions would be the most important consideration before purchasing.”
CHANGING TIMES Moverley says this is an opportunity for the retailer to be one step ahead. “By embracing emerging technologies, the savvy retailer will avoid falling into the trap of the cynics; such as those who argued that the wireless radio, cinema, the telephone and the home computer would never catch on. In the early days of the Internet, many people had concerns about its security,
and much of the older generation mourned the demise of traditional forms of communication, but the technology exploded nonetheless and since then has exceeded many expectations. “With the consumer now expecting to see smart home products and appliances in-store as the technology becomes ever more talked about, the retailer who does not keep up with the changing times, and chooses not to take the step into connectivity, is likely to be already missing out. Connected appliances offer innovation that brings genuine lifestyle benefits and crucial economic improvements that are real upsell opportunities for the retailer.”
IN-STORE SMART HOME Moverley believes this is a great opportunity for the independent electrical retailer, particularly as such products cannot be demonstrated on the Internet. “By taking ownership of the technology, opening up the showroom to demonstrate the connected home, the entrepreneurial retailer can add another valuable string to their bow.” Last year retail giant John Lewis dedicated a 1000 ft2 area in its flagship Oxford Street store to smart home products. The space contained four interactive zones – Kitchen, Entertainment, Sleep and Home monitoring – demonstrating how customers can enhance their lifestyles by controlling their home through an app on their smart device. Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division, highlights this move by the eponymous retailer and reiterates a quote from Mintel’s recent ‘Kitchens and Kitchen Furniture – UK’ report, in which the researcher acknowledged that John Lewis had taken an important step in improving consumer understanding of the connected home: “For many, the sheer functionality of connected products is overwhelming and without seeing the products/appliances in operation, it can be very hard for an individual to understand how they would benefit them. Therefore, it is vital that retailers visually demonstrate the unique features connectivity offers in order to convey the benefits effectively to the consumer.”
…people will buy the smart appliances they understand”
A big step forward: Grundig’s Cooling Oven offers a chiller mode that keeps food fresh and safe before cooking
“Although 2017 may not be the year smart appliances become mainstream, we predict it will certainly be a year in which sales of smart appliances will rise and awareness will increase,” says Daniel Dewey, product manager,
Our business has always been built on strong connections. Now our appliances are too.
We’re committed to connecting all of our products by the end of 2017. But it’s not just our products that stay connected – we’ve been working together with retailers and customers for over 100 years. Most recently we’ve been voted in the top three domestic appliance manufacturers for aftersales service, and have won the Sirius Manufacturer of the Year 2016 and CIH Supporter of the Independents 2016. With our commitment to operational excellence, steadfast relationships and product innovation, our connections are only getting stronger. For more information, please contact your local Hoover representative or call 01685 725572. Alternatively visit www.hoover.co.uk or www.hooverwizard.com
THE SMART HOME – MDA
Siemens’ Home Connect built-in dishwasher, coffee centre and oven
Hoover Candy Baumatic (Built-in). “In the last 18 months, advancements in technology have seen some of the most hi-tech kitchen appliances to date launch in the UK, with a real focus on the connected home and Wi-Fi enabled appliances. Consumer demand for connectivity for all elements of the home, including kitchen appliances, will continue to rise. Those not offering any smart appliances at all risk losing out on a major area of market growth. On the other hand, retailers that get on board with this trend now can position themselves as industry experts, known for providing guidance to customers when it comes to making informed decisions in new technology.”
income levels, and inevitably we will see more of the higher earners willing to adopt the latest technologies in luxury-end goods. “As the popularity of smart home products grows and the message gets around, volume will certainly increase and prices will inevitably fall – just as electronic sensor technology and even the induction hob were only available in premium appliances, today they are available to a wider audience and at entry level.” Hoover Candy Baumatic’s Dewey believes the main challenge for retailers will be the training of their staff, “as it is essential that the people selling new technical appliances know exactly how they work and the benefits they offer to the consumer. However, once the training is complete, staff will have the ability to bolster smart appliance sales; therefore, the potential return on investment for this training is huge.”
customer data on a continuous basis,” commented Steve Macdonald. BSH said: “Data protection and data security are given top priority, which is why the Bosch Smart Home System stores all personal data solely on a local drive, the Smart Home controller. Only when activated expressly, for example if the Smart Home app is used when out and about, will the specific data cleared by the user for the app be sent over the internet.” “As recent history has shown, almost no system is unhackable,” is the pragmatic response from Whirlpool’s Moverley. However, he does not dismiss the significance of the concern. “Whirlpool has approached the issue of malicious attacks to its connected appliances by putting in place a dedicated team that is addressing this on a global level. We have implemented technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risks of the processing and nature of the data. Whirlpool masks its communications using industrystandard encryption and performs regular testing against its infrastructure and its apps by using specialised tools and agencies.”
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
A rather tricky obstacle for retailers selling smart appliances may be the issue of privacy and security. The internet is rife with stories of connected products that have been, or can be, hacked – even a Miele commercial dishwasher came under suspicion recently when a vulnerability was discovered in the appliance by an outside source. So what are our manufacturers doing to keep consumers’ data and connections safe? A few manufacturers responded to this question, and this is what they had to say: “We take the issue of data security very seriously at Hoover Candy and have a specialist team who robustly monitor and safeguard
So, there are opportunities and there are challenges, both for manufacturers and appliance retailers. But one thing is clear: connected appliances are the future, and the opportunities they bring for the independent sector will be secured by those prepared to invest the time and energy in staff training and demonstration. As BSH Home Appliances Marketing Manager Sean Liddle says: “To hear and read about connected appliances is one thing, yet to experience them working is a completely different thing. This is where the true value lies in being able to sell connected appliances and the improved lifestyle they can bring.”
As recent history has shown, almost no system is unhackable”
CHALLENGES There are clearly many opportunities for retailers selling smart appliances, but opportunities often raise their own challenges. LG Electronics maintains that, because the technology is still a relatively new concept for some consumers, it can be perceived as either daunting, a novelty, or out of their budget. “The challenge therefore for retailers is to raise awareness and clearly explain the vast and diverse smart technology benefits which make smart appliances savvy investments.” Whirlpool’s Moverley elaborates: “Of course, we are talking about products that are at the top end of the market and, unsurprisingly therefore, one of the leading obstructions to smart home product sales is price, with over a third of people in a recent study quoting it as a barrier. Currently, the market for smart kitchen appliances is largely dependent on
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics
TRUST IS A GAME-CHANGER O ne of the highlights of the IFA Global Press Conference is the presentation by Paul Gray, principal analyst/ researcher at IHS Technology. The theme for this year’s talk was “New Patterns of Consumption, New Patterns of Use?” One of the topics he touched on was something that all manufacturers and retailers should take very seriously: trust. I have occasionally commented on how manufacturers are in danger of losing the trust of consumers if they feel that their privacy is being breached. Paul Gray went further: “Trust could be a game-changer in the industry,” he said. “It could kill the industry if consumers say ‘I don’t want this.’” He noted how connected devices and the internet of things were testing the bonds of trust between manufacturers and consumers, and added: “Manufacturers think it’s incredibly important that their products don’t harm their consumers – they don’t want anyone to be poisoned or electrocuted – but tend to see privacy and security as an add-on. Manufacturers need to be mindful of the privacy issues when they create products, and think about how people interact with them.” Later on, I asked Paul whether any of the recent scandals around privacy (such as Smart TVs surreptitiously collecting data) had harmed any brands. “So far,” he said, “no brand has been severely damaged. However, there is a constant chatter [online] about trust – everybody is sensitive to it. My fear is that there will be a big one and that could just be a gamechanger for the industry.” He adds that some banks and retailers have suffered major data losses which, so far, have been shrugged off by the public. “I have a feeling we are living on borrowed time.” Security cannot continue to be a bolt-on, says Gray. “If you want to make really secure products, you start by designing security systems from the chip upwards.” He says he would not use a Bluetooth lock for his home. “If someone
I finished by asking what retailers could do to help when it came to connected devices and privacy. For example, should they show consumers how to switch default data sharing functions off or inform them of the privacy implications of having a webcam or microphone in the living room? “That’s a fascinating question,” says Gray. “Retailers have buyers who bring product to market. As a consumer, you are sitting on the shoulders of the expertise of the buyer who understands the category and other issues. Retailers probably ought to ask more questions and demand more assurances on security, and say ‘we want to keep our
Manufacturers think it’s incredibly important that their products don’t harm their consumers – they don’t want anyone to be poisoned or electrocuted – but tend to see privacy and security as an add-on...”
wants to pick a door lock, they have to be physically present, but if a Bluetooth lock has a flaw, then every lock is vulnerable and you can crack it with an app.” I asked whether privacy was a generational issue. After all, young people today seem quite happy about sharing their personal information online. But Gray warns: “I’m not convinced that it’s a generational thing. I think a greater concern is the speed at which younger people use social media. It means that a toxic event can be in the public domain faster than a company can react.” Gray thinks manufacturers need to adapt a strategy when it comes to data, privacy and consent: “People have tried to collect data that could be profitable without consumer consent, when they should be rewarding them. Look at Air Miles and Tesco Club Card – people are happy to give their data if they receive a reward.”
consumers happy and secure,’ in the same way they test a product for safety.” Gray acknowledges the burden this places on retailers, who often sell products or systems that are designed to work across different brands. Interoperability is an issue, and being able to assess whether a product’s security is compromised when it’s connected to a specific device is not always easy. The smart home, connected devices and the internet of things offer new opportunities to the trade, but they also bring new challenges and potential threats to the bond between consumer and manufacturer, and that between consumer and retailer. It’s time for all of us to up our game when it comes to privacy and security.
Next month, we’ll hear Paul Gray’s views on OLED and UHD TV.
FROM THE BENCH
FROM THE BENCH
DIGITAL AUDIO QUALITY Originally, Digital Audio was hailed as a vast improvement on analogue. But its quality varies tremendously, explains Alan Bennett
ll that’s left of analogue sound systems is vinyl records and AM/FM radio broadcasts, the one enjoying a revival in its minor role and the other gradually falling into disuse. The first emergence of digital sound came 35 years ago with CD, which offered a great advance on the other systems in use at the time. Now, digital audio goes with every TV and video transmission and recording, is fundamental to home streaming and capture, and is moving towards a 50% share of radio listening in the UK.
DIGITAL AUDIO BROADCASTING DAB radio, established here in 1995, has several advantages over analogue broadcasting, primarily a wider choice of stations. But sound quality is not one of them! It is inferior to that of FM so long as the latter has adequate signal strength, is properly tuned and free from interference. The problem is not down to the receiver manufacturers; it can be laid at the door of the broadcasting platforms and stations and perhaps media regulator Ofcom and its predecessor the Radio Authority, who have accepted – and continue to accept – technical standards which, in the opinion of many, fall short of listeners’ expectations. It’s down to sampling rate and quantization depth - the number of “snapshots” taken of the original sound each second and the number of steps in each sample. It’s generally agreed that a rate of 128-192 kbps (kilobits per second) is the minimum tolerable to a discerning music listener, though that’s still not as good as FM can achieve on UHF. But some DAB stations use a much lower sampling rate than this: Radio 5live and Radio 4 Extra provide no more than 80 kbps, while the World Service and TalkSPORT manage just 64, these in mono only. Classic, Radio 1 and Radio 2, along with 6 Music and Radio 1Xtra, go to just 128 kbps; Radio 3 uses 160 or 192. The effects of low bit-rate are a ‘coarseness’ of the sound, a higher level of noise riding on it and a smaller dynamic range – the ratio between the quietest and loudest sounds that can be perceived.
a very respectable signal/noise ratio of 90 to 100 dB and a dynamic range in the same region. In terms of its technical parameters it typically equates to 6501000 kbps, though its ‘signature’ sound cannot easily be defined…
TV PIGGYBACKING AND INTERNET RADIO Making the most of DAB radio technology
Low bit-rates impinge on the ‘presence’ of a piece of music, on the subjective impact of percussion instruments and the attack and decay times of stringed ones. Of course, much depends on the programme material, the listening ambience and the perception of the listener. Very often radio listening forms the background to other activities and thus its fidelity is less critical; mono sound such as speech requires less bit-rate likewise; and listening in cars does not usually call for very high quality, primarily because of the high ambient noise levels there. Indeed, a reduction of dynamic range can make for clearer and more comfortable listening on the road. At least in the car the speakers are spaced widely enough to reproduce stereo well.
DAB+ A more technically advanced transmission system, DAB+, offers at least a partial solution. Using a coding system called AAC+, it can provide the same sound quality as DAB for less than half its bandwidth demand, and it’s more efficient in weak signal areas. It’s been adopted in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Many current UK DAB radios are compatible with DAB+, perhaps with a firmware update. So why don’t we go over to it now? Because it cannot be received by existing old and cheap DAB radios and would thus involve a second (simulcasting) phase in future. There are already a few commercial DAB+ stations in the UK. Make your customers aware of DAB+ and its potential for the future! For comparison purposes, standard DVD audio provides a rate of 1411 kbps, rendering a very acceptable quality level. Vinyl cannot be assessed in the same way, but has to offer (in ideal conditions)
The TV platforms offer a wide range of radio channels, all at higher bit rates than DAB. Freeview and Sky, for instance, afford 192 kbps on BBC Radio1/2/3/4 with no subscription charges; the problem is that the listener is tied to a box of one kind or another and its Wi-Fi reach at home. Regarding with-picture TV sound, DVD and Blu-ray, quality is high, with the added advantage of multi-channel surround sound, even Dolby Atmos. In this realm sound quality has kept pace with that of the picture! Virtually all radio streaming systems offer higher bit-rates than DAB radio; there are over 25,000 radio stations on the internet, offering between them more than 30million music tracks. Some of them are of the highest attainable quality.
HIGH-END SYSTEMS The most exotic digital sound systems provide the closest approach to the sound that was present in the studio. High-resolution audio is embodied in encoding systems ALAC, AIFF, DSD and FLAC, whose details and take-up are easily found on the internet. They provide bit-rates higher than DVD and can reach up to sampling rates of 96 to 192 kHz and 24-bit depth: with stereo it comes out at 9216 kbps, effectively lossless and uncompressed. They need very good equipment throughout the chain to do justice to them. Some high-res audio is available on Super Audio (SACD) discs, for which special hardware is needed, but it comes primarily by internet streaming. Popular sites for this are HDTracks (10,000 albums on offer) 7Digital and Qobuz; a typical price amongst these is £10 to £18 per album. If your customer is interested in high-res audio ensure that he buys good loudspeakers and a suitable sound processor and disc player.
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
THE GET CONNECTED NECTED
PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
Celebrating the great design that produces great products, great brands and great business
THE NOMINATIONS Your opportunity to vote
he nominees for the Get Connected Product Design Awards 2017 have been chosen, and retailers and distributors now have the opportunity to vote to help decide which products will receive the final accolades. The Get Connected Product Design Awards recognise genuinely innovative, high performance products with the outstanding USPs and sustainable technologies that enhance consumers’ everyday lives. Design is about aesthetics and engineering, looks and performance, in combinations that bring the right products to the right markets at the right price. The nominations include both new and established products that were available in the UK market during the 12 months from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. So there are fresh products and technologies alongside those which have proved their worth over a number of years. Each nomination represents, in the Panel’s judgment, “best in class” qualities, and it is an outstanding achievement to have been chosen from among the many entries received.
HOW TO VOTE The products chosen by the Panel for nomination in the 2017 Awards are set out on the following pages, grouped in familiar industry categories. Some brands have chosen to promote their products in these pages, but all nominated products can be viewed in greater detail at http://gcmagazine.co.uk/vote For your convenience, voting can be carried out online using the form at http://gcmagazine.co.uk/vote/. Simply tick the box beside the products you judge to be worthy of the Get Connected Product of the Year 2017 Award in each of the product categories. You are entitled to vote for as many products as you wish.
Turn to the voting form on page 27 of this issue, tick the boxes next to your selections, and complete your details (these are for verification purposes only and will not be divulged to any third party). Post the form to: GC Awards, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hants. GU34 1SB
The Closing date for receipt of your votes is 25th July 2017. The winning products will be featured in the August issue of Get Connected Magazine.
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
LEADING DESIGN COOKING
○ BLOMBERG OEN9480X SINGLE MULTIFUNCTION OVEN ○ HOTPOINT CLASS 9 S19891 SP IX PYROLYTIC SINGLE BUILT-IN OVEN ○ LEISURE CUISINEMASTER CS90D530X ○ NEW WORLD DESIGN SUITES ○ SMEG DOLCE STIL NOVO COOKING COLLECTION ○ WHIRLPOOL FUSION BUILT-IN INDUCTION OVEN AKZM 8920/GK
BUILT-IN INNOVATION FROM NEW WORLD New World Design Suites collection has brought innovation to the built-in market and is delighted to be shortlisted in the Get Connected Design Awards. This fully coordinated, high-spec, but affordable collection, includes a 60cm multifunction single oven with a huge 70 litre usable capacity; a 45 cm 900w compact combination microwave and the first-to-market NW Suite 45 CS which offers a choice of steam, microwave, fan oven and grill, plus combination microwave/steam and convection/steam functions. Completing the collection is a 14cm warming drawer, which is ideal for proving, and a 60cm built-in four zone induction hob with Link+ technology and power levels of up to 1.85kW.
0344 248 4149
LEADING DESIGN MDA COLLECTIONS ○ HOOVER WIZARD COLLECTION ○ SMEG VICTORIA COLLECTION
LEADING DESIGN REFRIGERATION ○ BEKO FREESTANDING AMERICAN STYLE FRIDGE/FREEZER MULTI-ZONE GN1416221ZX ○ GORENJE ONRK 193BK BLACK FRIDGE/FREEZER ○ HOTPOINT ULTIMA XUL85 T3Z XOV FRIDGE/FREEZER ○ WHIRLPOOL SUPREME DUAL NOFROST BSNF 8993 PB FRIDGE/FREEZER
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
LEADING DESIGN GARMENT CARE ○ BLOMBERG LTS283W 8KG HEAT PUMP TUMBLE DRYER ○ HOOVER DXOC 510C3 ONE TOUCH 10KG WASHING MACHINE ○ INDESIT MYTIME WASHING MACHINE EWD 81482 W UK ○ TEFAL PRO EXPRESS CONTROL PLUS GV8931 STEAM GENERATOR ○ WHIRLPOOL SUPREME CARE LIVE® LAUNDRY DUO
DESIGN FOR THE 21ST CENTURY HOME The Blomberg LTS2832W 8kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer is exclusive to Euronics Agents and is jam-packed with innovative technology. This 8kg model is ideal for those looking for a large capacity machine that is energy efficient too. The A++ Blomberg LTS2832W saves on energy bills, and has a large water tank so you don’t have to empty it as frequently. In addition to this, it has special senor programmes that stop the machine automatically once clothes have reached the required dryness level.
01923 818 121
LEADING DESIGN DISHWASHERS ○ BEKO ECOSMART SIX LITRE DISHWASHER WITH AQUAINTENSE DFN28320 ○ BRITANNIA IDW60 CASCATA DISHWASHER ○ HOTPOINT FREESTANDING ULTIMA SLIMLINE SIUF 32120X DISHWASHER ○ INDESIT ECOTIME SLIMLINE DISHWASHER DSR 15B UK ○ WHIRLPOOL SUPREMECLEAN WFO 3P33 DL DISHWASHER WITH POWERDRY
LEADING DESIGN FLOORCARE ○ BOSCH ATHLET CORDLESS CLEANING RANGE ○ IROBOT ROOMBA 980 ROBOTIC VACUUM CLEANER ○ SEBO E1 PET VACUUM CLEANER
SEBO – TOUGH ON DIRT The SEBO E1 Pet takes cleaning to a new level, brilliantly combining form and function. With a super-quiet, yet extremely powerful motor and great features such as variable suction, free-rolling castors, a long cleaning range and an ergonomic handle, cleaning up is easy. A floor turbo brush and mini turbo brush make light work of picking up pet hair, wherever it hides, and the hygienic sealable bag means that once pet hair is picked up, it need never be tangled with again.
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
LEADING DESIGN SMALL DOMESTIC APPLIANCES ○ DE’LONGHI DEDICA COFFEE MACHINE
○ SMEG ECF01 COFFEE MACHINE
○ KENWOOD CHEF SENSE FOOD MIXER
○ TEFAL ACTIFRY SMART XL AH980840
○ KITCHENAID ARTISAN MAGNETIC DRIVE BLENDER
○ TEFAL COOK4ME CONNECT CY703840
THE NEXT GENERATION: TEFAL ACTIFRY SMART XL The Tefal ActiFry you know and love, redefined. Introducing ActiFry Smart XL. The next generation ActiFry. A truly versatile machine, beautifully and carefully designed to meet the demand of the kitchen of the future. Access a huge library of recipes with the My ActiFry App and with the added benefit of ActiFry Smart XL you can make use of the dedicated Smart recipes. With these recipes, via a Bluetooth connection, ActiFry Smart XL knows exactly what you’re cooking and automatically adjusts the time, temperature and paddle rotation for you, delivering perfect results every time. Still with only one spoon of oil.
COOKING MADE EASY: TEFAL COOK4ME CONNECT Tefal Cook4Me Connect, unrivalled design, exceptional results. The one-pot digital cooker for fast and fresh meals made easy for the whole family. Simply follow intuitive on-screen cooking steps for 50 built-in recipes to cook meals from scratch. Or create your own recipes in the manual mode. Make a risotto in as little as 8 minutes (and no stirring needed) or a chicken tikka masala in 3 minutes! With the Bluetooth connection you can access over 100 recipes and monitor the cooking progress right from your smartphone or tablet using the My Cook4Me App.
LEADING DESIGN CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ○ HISENSE 75M7900 75-INCH 4K HDR TV ○ HUMAX H3 ESPRESSO SMART MEDIA PLAYER ○ KEF EGG WIRELESS DIGITAL MUSIC SYSTEM ○ LG OLED TV RANGE ○ SKY Q ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
THE GET CONNECTED PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS 2017
VOTING FORM Simply tick the box beside the products you judge to be worthy of the Get Connected Product of the Year 2017 Award in each of the product categories below. You are entitled to vote for as many products as you wish. OR go to http://gcmagazine.co.uk/vote and use the online voting form. COOKING
Blomberg OEN9480X Single Multifunction Oven Hotpoint Class 9 S19891 SP IX Pyrolytic Single Built-in Oven Leisure Cuisinemaster CS90D530X New World Design Suites Smeg Dolce Stil Novo Cooking Collection Whirlpool Fusion Built-in Induction Oven AKZM 8920/GK
Hoover Wizard Collection Smeg Victoria Collection
Beko Freestanding American Style Fridge/Freezer Multi-Zone GN1416221ZX Gorenje ONRK 193BK Black Fridge/Freezer Hotpoint Ultima XUL85 T3Z XOV Fridge/Freezer Whirlpool Supreme Dual NoFrost BSNF 8993 PB Fridge/ Freezer
Blomberg LTS283W 8kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer Hoover DXOC 510C3 One Touch 10kg Washing Machine Indesit MyTime Washing Machine EWD 81482 W UK Tefal Pro Express Control Plus GV8931 Steam Generator Whirlpool Supreme Care Live® Laundry Duo
Beko EcoSmart Six Litre Dishwasher with AquaIntense DFN28320 Britannia IDW60 Cascata Dishwasher Hotpoint Freestanding Ultima Slimline SIUF 32120X Dishwasher Indesit Ecotime Slimline Dishwasher DSR 15B UK Whirlpool SupremeClean WFO 3P33 DL Dishwasher with PowerDry
Bosch Athlet Cordless Cleaning Range iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Sebo E1 Pet Vacuum Cleaner
SMALL DOMESTIC APPLIANCES
De’Longhi Dedica Coffee Machine Kenwood Chef Sense Food Mixer KitchenAid Artisan Magnetic Drive Blender Smeg ECF01 Coffee Machine Tefal ActiFry Smart XL AH980840 Tefal Cook4me Connect CY703840
Hisense 75M7900 75-inch 4K HDR TV Humax H3 Espresso Smart Media Player KEF EGG Wireless Digital Music System LG OLED TV Range Sky Q Entertainment System
Please complete the following details (these are for verification purposes only. Your votes remain confidential) Name: _______________________________________________ Position: _______________________________________________ Company Name: ________________________________________ E-mail: ___________________________________________________ Telephone: ____________________________________________ POST the completed form to: GC Awards 2017, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hants GU34 1SB OR VOTE ONLINE at http://gcmagazine.co.uk/vote CLOSING DATE FOR RECEIPT OF VOTES: 25th July 2017
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Published on Jun 21, 2017
*NEW LOOK* Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware elect...