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SEPTEMBER 2014

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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

A breath of fresh air Let SEBO take the hard work out of housework SEBO vacuum cleaners help make cleaning easy. Light to push, with comfortable handles and long cables, using them is a breeze. High technology filtration ensures that all the dust they capture is safely trapped inside, protecting against harmful allergens, as well as keeping the home clean. Some models even filter out odour, which is great if there are pets.

THE GREEN ROOM Home Laundry: a new “as and when” attitude to laundry is emerging

As the world leader in professional upright vacuum cleaners, SEBO knows how to make reliable, high performance machines. Made in Germany, they are built to last, so you can sell them with confidence, which makes a refreshing change these days.

DIGITAL RADIO The road to switchover: cars, coverage and communication

GUEST COLUMN Euromonitor International’s Jamie Ko

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED YouView – a mixed picture

BACKCHAT A 2-minute interview with Britannia’s Michael Haigh FOR THE LATEST NEWS & PRODUCTS

SEBO – the vacuum cleaner professionals

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For a chance to win a SEBO vacuum cleaner, enter our monthly draw at: www.sebo.co.uk

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SMART POWER The new Miele Complete C3 Ecoline Plus. High suction power. Low consumption. Innovative EcoLine Plus motor

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Contents

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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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Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

The Product Gallery Guest Column

Euromonitor’s Jamie Ko looks at the challenges facing Haier

The Green Room

Laundry on demand – consumers want speed, convenience and flexibility

Digital Radio

George Cole provides an update on the barriers to switchover

George Cole Gets Connected

GC’s CE guru considers YouView, and Humax’s latest offering for the platform

From the Bench

Alan Bennett on the gloomy future for ground-based TV

Backchat

A 2-minute interview with Britannia Living Marketing Manager Michael Haigh

Updated daily with all the latest industry and product news.

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Editorial Comment

Comment The EU directive outlawing the manufacture or import of vacuum cleaners with motors of more than 1600 watts, effective from September 1st, caused a predictable little ripple of indignant comment in the UK consumer press. But the trade knows it makes sense, even if it’s been billed as another erosion of great British freedoms by the faceless European bureaucracy.

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irst of all, the directive was not sprung upon manufacturers or retailers. Its contents and implementation date have been well known to the trade for a couple of years. They have had ample time to prepare. And scenes of panic buying, with UK shoppers rushing to get their hands on the last of the “proper” vacuum cleaners, were perhaps a little overdrawn. Cleaners with wattages over 1600 will still be in the shops, and it’s not illegal to sell them; only to manufacture or import them. Nevertheless, it was tempting to portray Eurodom as having deprived British households of the right to own a vacuum cleaner that works properly, and forced them to make do with a weedy, underpowered excuse for a cleaner that simply won’t do the job to the standard we Brits are used to. After all, it stands to reason: the more powerful the motor, the better the suction performance. Right? We all know very well that it’s not quite that simple. We know that a welldesigned and engineered 1600 watt (or less) vacuum cleaner is capable not only of lifting all the dust and dirt in your home, but also, if you’re not careful, of taking up your fitted carpets. Conversely, a 2200 watt vacuum cleaner that’s poorly designed or badly built can let all that power dissipate out of a leaky and tortuous air system, and cost more in energy consumption to do an inferior job. The trade has known this for a very long time. We can remember writing, more than a decade ago, about adopting

the more accurate “air watts” measure as a true representation of vacuum cleaner performance, and educating the public to look for this rather than the macho but misleading motor wattage. The trade, although apparently agreeing, never really did get behind this at the time. Perhaps the expense, time and effort of replacing the simple “watts equals performance” belief with the slightly more complex – and therefore potentially confusing – air watts message, made it unattractive to manufacturers and retailers. Now, the EU has quite reasonably legislated to attempt to limit the profligate use of energy resources, and encourage all vacuum cleaner manufacturers to design and build to the highest specifications so that performance remains, but wasteful use of electricity is curtailed. The introduction of energy efficiency labelling – using the A to G system already familiar to consumers on other household appliances – will also be useful. However, how the testing will be done, and whether it will represent a true measure of efficiency, is open to question. James Dyson, for one, is asking the question, and, as is the litigious habit of the company, has gone to law to contest the EU’s methodology. However, the simple message – that it’s possible to produce high performance vacuum cleaners that don’t have high wattage motors – is the one to keep and pass on.

1600W

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The Word : Industry News

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WITH ALL THE VERY LATEST IN THE ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY

Industry News AUGUST RETAIL SALES SHOW BEST GROWTH SINCE JANUARY

UK

retail sales grew 1.3% on a like-for-like basis during August, against a 1.8% rise on the same month last year. Total sales rose 2.7%, against a 3.6% rise in August 2013 – the best performance since January this year, excluding Easter distortions. Food was the worst performing category with

a new record low 3-month average decline. The category declined 1.6%. Non-food recorded growth of 3.9% over the 3 months to August, in line with its 12-month average. Online sales of non-food products grew 19.8%, the highest online growth on record. The figure represented 16.5% of total non-food sales.

Linsar holds successful Dealer Day

Kelly Prestel with Terry Reed and Barry Kick (right)

More than 20 top dealers from around the country attended Linsar’s recent Dealer Day in Sandbanks in Poole, at which the company unveiled a new product and a high-profile display competition for the Christmas Season. Linsar directors Terry Reed and Barry Kick opened the event by praising retailers for their support of the brand. Reed said: “Your support has been outstanding

since we started, and now we want to help you take Linsar to the next level. We want Linsar to be bigger, bolder and brighter in your store and we are going to tell you today about how we will make that happen.” “We believe it’s very important to help our Dealers sell through, not just sell in,” said Barry Kick, “and to this end we have produced both product and brand videos, providing your consumer with so much more information about who we are and what our TVs are capable of doing. In addition, we want to be bolder in your stores and our mock up ‘shop in shop’ with new statement headers and Linsar lightboxes can now really start to make Linsar stand out in a professional way in your stores.” Reed told retailers that Linsar would be repeating its seasonal display competition, which this year would be open to its entire dealer base. It would be judged on in-store displays and offer incentives for staff.

Consumer confidence recovers UK consumer confidence rebounded into positive territory in August, after falling for the first time in six months during July. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index showed a rise of three points, to 1, with all five measures used to calculate the Index score increasing. Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK, said: “It looks as if we might be in a new period of relative stability for the Index.” But he added that there is no guarantee how long this stable position will last.

Kick spoke of the company’s commitment to its infrastructure and outlined the many investments made. He added that, in parallel with trade activity, Linsar is to increase its profile in the consumer media, both locally and in the specialist press. Linsar unveiled its latest product at the event, a TV with built in sound bar, Bluetooth connectivity and DVD (model X24), and announced plans to introduce colour options into its white goods range. During the day there were a number of fun competitions for dealers and their partners and a special draw in which Kelly Prestel of Manders Hi-Fi, Grimsby won a £200 hamper from Fortnum & Mason. The Dealer Day closed with a Casino evening.

FALLING SHOP PRICES MARK 16TH MONTH OF DEFLATION UK shop prices recorded deflation for the sixteenth consecutive month, decelerating to 1.6% in August from 1.9% in July. Food inflation remained at 0.3%, while non-food recorded deceleration of 2.9%, from 3.3% in July.

Richard Broderick

De Dietrich brand to be distributed via AB Distributors Ltd De Dietrich kitchen appliances are to be distributed in the UK by AB Distributors, a Northern Ireland-based business which is expanding into mainland UK following an agreement between its parent company KAL Group and De Dietrich parent Groupe Brandt France. The announcement, made mid August, had been awaited since De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances was placed into creditors’ voluntary liquidation earlier that month. KAL Group has appointed key members of staff from the former FagorBrandtowned subsidiary in Basingstoke. KAL Group Managing Director Richard Broderick commented: “Our first commitment is to honour all warranties and our second is to restore absolute confidence to retailers in this excellent and technologically advanced appliance brand, and we have the manpower, service and support structure to make that happen.” Dublin-based KAL Group is a significant player in the Irish white goods market. It is a member of the Gowan Group, a family-owned holding company directly controlling a number of successful trading companies as well as sizeable property holdings and financial investments.

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The Word : Industry News

Pure moves into new custom-designed HQ

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ustom-designed premises in Hertfordshire with state-of-the-art engineering and test facilities have become the new headquarters for Pure. The new building is phase two of a development located in Kings Langley, which is being constructed to house both Pure and its parent company Imagination. The move prepares Pure for a new phase as it focuses on new growth markets and develops its presence in international territories. Pure’s sales and marketing team has been

ELECTROLUX ACQUIRES GE APPLIANCES FOR $3.3 BILLION Electrolux has entered into an agreement to acquire GE Appliances, the appliance business of US manufacturer General Electric, for a cash consideration of $3.3 billion. The acquisition enhances Electrolux’s position as a global player in home appliances and includes a 48.4% shareholding in the Mexican appliance company Mabe, which GE Appliances has had a joint venture with for nearly 30 years. The acquisition is expected to close during 2015.

merged and restructured, with Nick Hucker, senior sales and marketing director (pictured right), taking on overall responsibility for both departments globally. He is joined by Chris Moseley (centre), Pure’s new head of marketing, who has over 10 years’ experience in the CE industry. Antony Chicken (left) takes on the position of head of UK sales and will apply the benefit of his 15 years’ experience at Pure to oversee the independent channel, grocers and multiple retailers. “This move and refined organisation is a key milestone in Pure’s history and readies us

to capitalise on new opportunities identified worldwide,” said Nick Hucker. “We will continue to build on our solid foundation within digital radio with a strong product roadmap in the buildup to the digital radio switchover, whilst growing our presence within the wireless and multiroom audio category, which is seeing huge growth globally.”

Samsung acquires SmartThings Samsung Electronics has acquired home automation company SmartThings, in a move to place itself at the centre of the Smart Home revolution. SmartThings’ open Smart Home platform allows users to synchronise their connected devices onto a

single smartphone app and hardware hub. Alex Hawkinson, SmartThings CEO & Founder, said it will operate as an independent company within Samsung’s Open Innovation Centre group. “We will continue to run SmartThings the way we always have, by embracing

our community of customers, developers and device makers and championing the creation of the leading open platform for the Smart Home. Our growing team will remain fully intact and will relocate to a new headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. In short: SmartThings will remain SmartThings.”

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Miele reported sales of €3.22 billion for

its financial year ended 30 June, up 2.2% on last year. Sales in the firm’s homeland of Germany reached €978 million, a rise of 2.4% on last year, representing 30.6% of total turnover. Outside Germany, turnover rose 1.9%.

Lenovo posted a 23% rise in Q1 earnings as laptop sales outpaced the market average. Net profits rose to $214 million, against $174 million in Q1 2013. Revenue grew 18% to £10.4 billion.

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Carphone Warehouse fell 6% due to a strong performance in the prior year and difficult market conditions in Spain.

John Lewis reported gross sales up 9.4% to £1.87 billion for the first half of the year, with like-for-likes rising 8.2%. Electricals & Home Technology delivered 11.7% growth. Operating profit increased by 62.2% to £56.3 million. Online sales grew 25.6% to £552 million and now represent over 30% of merchandise sales. Shop sales rose 3.6%.

Argos achieved its ninth consecutive

Dixons Carphone announced a

quarter of like-for-like sales growth, with an increase of 1.2% in the 13 weeks to 30 August. Total sales grew 1.4% to £901 million. Gross margin rose 25 basis points. Growth was driven by increased sales in electricals although the retailer said the category was still diluting margins.

“good start” to its £3.6 billion merger, which took place on 7 August this year. Dixons Retail reported Q1 like-for-like sales up 4% in the UK & Ireland, while the Nordics and Greece delivered growth of 1% and 6% respectively. But sales at

Legendary audio brand Technics makes a return Panasonic has announced the return of the iconic Technics audio brand to the European market, with the first new Hi-Fi products in six years being released from December 2014 onwards before progressively expanding into other global regions. Technics will initially launch two series of products: the Reference Class R1 Series and the Premium Class C700 Series.

Electrolux joins Jail for online trader after HMRC raid AllSeen Alliance A Manchester trader who pocketed almost £300,000 after failing to pay VAT and Income Tax from his online trading has been jailed for two years following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs. 52 year-old John Woolfenden from Radcliffe traded on Play.com, Playtrade and on eBay as ‘Globalworldentertainments’ selling DVDs, CDs and games, but never declared his self-employed status

or sales for tax purposes. The fraud, including unpaid taxes, interest and money laundering totalling £299,753.17, was discovered as part of HMRC’s e-Marketplaces campaign to tackle undeclared tax and income from online trading.

READ THE FULL STORY AT

Electrolux has joined the AllSeen Alliance, the open source consortium dedicated to driving the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support the ‘Internet of Everything’. Electrolux joins Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image, Technicolor and TP-Link as a Premier Member.

DYSON UNVEILS ITS FIRST ROBOTIC VACUUM CLEANER

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GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

intelligent robot that is finally capable of cleaning properly” and labelled most robotic vacuum cleaners “gimmicks.” The Dyson 360 Eye™ robot vacuum cleaner, which is

powered by the energy efficient V2 Dyson digital motor and uses Radial Root Cyclone™ technology, will go on sale in Japan in spring 2015, with global launches to follow later in the year.

FU L ON L S LI T O NE RY

The Dyson 360 Eye™, the product of a 16-year, £28 million R&D project was unveiled by James Dyson in Tokyo during September. Dyson said the machine is “an


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The Word : Industry News

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Siemens adds more iQ Centre+ showrooms

LG opens new Shop-in-Shops LG

has opened another two Shop-in-Shops, located in the new Purewell Electrical in Christchurch and HBH Woolacotts in St. Austell, bringing its portfolio of Shop-in-Shops to a total of nine.

The Purewell Electrical Shop-in-Shop boasts the largest LG Home Appliance retail space in the UK with

a showcase of 28 products in a 40m2 space and the first LG HE Shop-in-Shop area, housing a 5-metre long demonstration wall featuring the brand’s webOS Smart+ TV platform. HBH Woolacotts’ Shopin-Shop area offers a unique home kitchen design to showcase the best of LG’s Home Appliances in a natural setting for the first time. Andy Mackay, UK Commercial Director of Consumer Electronics at LG, said: “We’re excited to be opening two brand new Shop-in-Shops this month and are confident that both these new locations will deliver unique and engaging retail platforms for our latest home technologies.”

 SHORTCUTS Bolton-based PJH Group has been appointed sole national distributor of Samsung’s NEO range of built-in appliances. Neff has announced its headline sponsorship of the Cake & Bake Show taking place at Earls Court in London from 3-5 October.

Amazon has agreed to acquire video game live streaming website Twitch Interactive for $970 million. Beko is back on TV and online with a £3 million

investment in two major campaigns promoting its new range of American-style fridge freezers and supporting the return of its joint promotion with dishwashing tablet brand Finish.

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Siemens has extended the number of its iQ Centre+ showrooms, with the live demonstration concept now installed in eleven top independents across the UK. iQ Centre+ stores feature a fully working kitchen and eco zone which lets visitors experience the functionality of Siemens appliances before they buy, with experts offering specialist knowledge across product lines and live cookery demonstrations with tasting sessions. Siemens iQ Centre+ showrooms are now installed in Built-In Kitchen Appliances, Liverpool; C.O.D Electrical, Altrincham; Discount Appliance Centre, Newark;

Visit

Gillman’s, Gloucester; Hanson Electrical, Hull; Paul Davies Domestics, Bolton; Sparkworld, Martock; Stellisons, Ipswich; Supa Electrics, Croydon; The WashHouse, Hereford; Vaughans Radio, Haverfordwest.

for the stories behind the news

 BISSELL sales guy leaves commuters gobsmacked  Empty shops filling up faster in shopping centres than on high streets  Apple Watch overshadows launch of iPhone 6  Apple faces “toughest challenge” yet with iPhone 6 Plus  Second screening changes the nation’s engagement with advertising  Meridian and Imagination collaborate on multi-channel wireless audio systems  Mintel predicts £32 billion worth of offline Christmas sales

Asda is to stop selling electricals online as part of a strategy which involves the expansion of its Click & Collect operations and the merging of its three shopping websites into two. Products such as large electricals and DIY items won’t be available from asda.com but will continue to be sold in stores.

CE brand i-box has recruited X Factor star Danyl Johnson as brand ambassador.

Hoover has appointed Stephen Frost and

Liz Addinal as Trade Marketing Managers at its freestanding division.

VARTA DELIVERS IMPROVED PERFORMANCE WITH BATTERY RE-LAUNCH VARTA is to re-launch a new look, higher powered core range of products from October 2014 onwards. The company said the internal chemistry of all its batteries has been optimised, so the units perform better, particularly in power-hungry devices. The improvements mean that VARTA can now claim ‘10 Years Power in Storage’ for alkaline and ‘15 Years Power in Storage’ for Lithium batteries.


The Word : Industry News

BIG RED SALES CELEBRATES 5TH ANNIVERSARY

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ndependent sales force Big Red Sales marked its 5th successful year of trading at a celebratory lunch at Cliveden House in Berkshire. “We are delighted to have reached this major milestone in our career,” founder John Reddington told his six clients present at the event. “We have gone from strength to strength in our first five years and provided what has been deemed to be an invaluable service both to retailers and manufacturers alike.”

Celebratory promotion marks Portway’s first quarter of a Century A

ndover-based distributor Portway marked its 25th year with a range of promotions via a virtual trade show, which Commercial Director John Bainbridge said was “a genuine thank you” to the core retailers who have done business with the company for a very long time. “We’ve traded through boom times and two appalling

recessions. We’ve seen retailers, brands and people come and go and come back again. But thanks to the tenacity and loyalty of our retailer base, Portway has grown exponentially. “Today, retail margins have never been tighter with prices being driven down and down. To help our customers reduce

their costs our own stock holding has never been greater. Portway’s super-fast delivery service has never been more vital, again to allow retailers avoid unnecessary stock yet to be able to deliver promptly. I am sure it is because we recognise what is needed that we enjoy the business and we continue to flourish.”

Smeg partners with pop-up restaurant ‘London in the Sky’ Smeg has teamed up with open-air pop-up restaurant London in the Sky to supply a range of appliances for Michelin-starred chefs recreating their signature menus and dining experiences in the skies over the capital. Smeg has equipped London in the Sky with three FQ55FX fridge-freezers, two retro-style FAB fridge-freezers in black and an A1PYID-7 Opera range cooker with induction hob.

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The Product Gallery

The

Gallery Pure Pop Pure’s Pop Mini, Pop Midi and Pop Maxi are compact radios with controls centred on a large button on the top of each unit, which users ‘pop’ to turn the radio on. Pop Maxi, as the name suggests, is the biggest radio in the range. It is a stereo product with Bluetooth, giving users the ability to stream music direct from any smartphone. j

www.pure.com

Haier plays it wide… The 4-door 4DS100 fridge freezer from Haier boasts 685 litres of net storage capacity with two ‘MyZone’ convertible cooling compartments. The 1-metre wide appliance has a premium stainless steel finish and the luxury of two extra-wide drawers. The compressor incorporated in the unit holds an “industry first” lifetime warranty. j

0333 003 8122 | www.haier.com/uk

Fast, flexible cooking Whirlpool’s recently launched induction hobs, the 60cm ACM 828 BA and the 77cm ACM 812 BA, both benefit from four induction zones and booster functionality; the ACM 828 BA (pictured) incorporates double-Flexizone technology designed to accommodate pans up to 38cm in length.

AVF’s curved Bay AVF Group’s curved Bay TV stand is designed for TVs up to 70”. The unit has three height options, a removable back and remote-friendly, optional curved glass doors. It is available in Oak and Walnut real wood veneers or Gloss Black and Gloss White painted finishes. j

j

www.whirlpoolcorp.com

Readymade audio solution delivers style and performance The Devialet Ensemble comprises the new Devialet 120 amplifier/DAC/ streamer, a pair of special-edition GT1 speakers and a set of 3.5m Atohm speaker cables with connectors. Music can be streamed wirelessly from devices via built-in Devialet AIR HD wi-fi technology, or played on a high-quality CD player or turntable via one of the Devialet’s many cable inputs. The system is priced at £6,290.

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Smart and versatile Smeg’s 90cm built-in pyrolytic oven (SFP3900X) has an advanced SmartSense automatic cooking system and 50 automatic programmes. The stainless steel and glass appliance has an 80-litre capacity and is part of the brand’s Classic range. RRP £1,399. j

0844 557 0070 | www.smeguk.com


Guest Column: Jamie Ko

Haier encounters new challenges Jamie Ko, Head of Consumer Appliances at Euromonitor International, the global leader in strategy research for consumer markets, says it has been two years since Haier Group enjoyed the status of top global manufacturer within major appliances, after acquiring Fisher & Paykel in 2012. In this opinion piece, she outlines the new challenges the Chinese manufacturer faces

T

hanks to the fast and continued growth of the Chinese economy, Haier, with its long-established position in its domestic market, has been able to gain share. However, the cessation of the subsidy programme in 2013 is likely to shrink Chinese consumer confidence and the demand for appliances in 2014, or for even longer. Additionally, the economic growth of China has resulted in wage and production cost increases, which will not be beneficial for Haier as a Chinese manufacturer. To add to its challenges, the recent acquisition announcement of Indesit Company SpA by Whirlpool Corporation indicates heightened competition, and Whirlpool is likely to win back the status of top manufacturer in major appliances. Should Haier start to press the panic button, and if so, what are its solution options?

DO PROSPERITY OPPORTUNITIES END IN CHINA?

Euromonitor International projects that sales of major appliances in China will experience slower growth during 20132018. This is due in part to the end of the subsidy programme which the Chinese Government originally implemented to drive domestic consumption. As a result of this programme, major appliances annual volume sales growth went from 0.3 % to 6.2% in 2013. As much as Chinese consumers clearly appreciated and benefitted from the programme, manufacturers will now have to face a slowdown in demand as consumers will not be inclined to upgrade their

appliances until the machines break down and need to be replaced. Though China’s economy is still booming, with one of the largest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in purchasing power parity terms globally, consumer spending is low. The other key concern for Haier is cost and price alignment. As the majority of its production is generated from within China, Haier for a long time has been able to compete effectively with affordable products not only in China, but also in other countries such as the US and Japan, given its lower labour costs. However, as wages within the manufacturing sector have been recording sharp increases in recent years, China will soon lose its competitive edge as a low-cost production site for appliance manufacturers. Some manufacturers, such as Whirlpool Corporation, BSH Bosch & Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and LG Corporation, are considering re-shoring manufacturing to their home countries – or have done so already – or moving to alternative cheap locations such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Given that outside of China, Haier’s low pricing has been its main selling point to consumers, the company’s long-term operational plan should be reviewed unless there is a drastic change in its product positioning, moving up the value curve.

Fisher & Paykel’s technology and knowledge to its mass products to move up the value chain. To date, its “Made in China” tag continues to undermine its attempts to break into the higher value markets, as consumers, especially in developed markets, are slightly sceptical of product durability. Whirlpool’s recent acquisition will hit Haier hard. Whirlpool will reclaim the top manufacturer spot and will also have expanded geographical coverage. Haier’s international presence is limited outside of its domestic market and Indesit’s considerable presence in Europe will definitely give more firepower to Whirlpool. Furthermore, both Whirlpool and Indesit have established brand portfolios cutting across the mass to premium platform.

...the economic growth of China has resulted in wage and production cost increases, which will not be beneficial for Haier as a Chinese manufacturer.”

EMERGING WARS OVER TOP RANK

With Whirlpool’s acquisition of Indesit in July 2014, the competitive landscape will see changes. Earlier in 2012, Haier’s acquisition of Fisher & Paykel led to leadership changes as the market share gap was marginal between Haier and Whirlpool until 2011. Specifically, Fisher & Paykel enjoyed a strong position in Australasia and Asia Pacific and also gave Haier a foothold in the premium segment. Following this acquisition, Haier is believed to have been on the lookout for more well-positioned acquisitions, while at the same time it looked to apply

HAIER’S NEXT STEP

Haier has been quick to acknowledge the market challenges it faces, and is seeking to downsize to save costs and be more efficient operationally. At a press conference in June 2014, Haier’s CEO Zhang Ruimin announced that the company is undergoing a major transition and there are plans to cut about 10,000 of its 55,000 employees by the end of 2014. At the same time, Haier appears fully committed to its research and development investments. With its focus on product innovation, the company needs to keep an eye on improving its product quality and marketing its improved brand positioning in order to appeal to consumers outside of China. Haier needs to recognise evolving consumer demand and its first key selling point needs to be centred on product quality, alongside affordable pricing, to gain share in international markets in the longer term. Meeting the demands or expectations of consumers outside of China will be the most important factor, given the company’s immediate need to reduce its overreliance on the Chinese market. SEPTEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED

13


The Green Room: Home Laundry & Garment Care

AEG ÖKOKombi Plus washer dryer

Laundry on demand The exigencies of modern day life mean that speed and convenience have become fundamental laundry requirements for time-poor households. GC reports

T

Thankfully, we have automated here is an easy way to get the laundry appliances that make the experience done. It’s an on-demand service faster, more convenient and less called Washio. Simply download the app, demanding than that of old, when the select the collection and delivery times washboard, mangle and flat iron and a “Washio ninja” equipped with sustainable bags will pick up were the only pieces of apparatus the washing and dry cleaning aiding the weary housewife from your home. Washio with one of the household’s Cycles designed for operates a 24-hour most fatiguing chores. Nowadays the turnaround service with different types of clothing a 30-minute window, washboard is more including gym wear, jeans likely to be celebrated seven days a week, so and shirts are also a key at jug (or skiffle) band no need to take time off revival gigs and the work to wait for pickup selling point as they allow the daunting spectacle of and drop off, and the consumer to take better care progress of your order the powerful cast-iron of their garments” mangle with its great can be tracked and paid cranking wheel and for via the app. What could Joan Fraser, dangerously exposed cogs be simpler? product training & development more likely to be observed in The only problem is that manager, Smeg UK museums; likewise, the equally Washio is available in just a few areas in the US (shame!), and unless perilous flat iron (also known as some budding entrepreneur, or perhaps a sad iron), a cumbersome cast-iron contraption that was heated on a fire or franchisee, replicates the service in the UK, range and spat on to test if it were hot life incorporating the humdrum activity of enough for the job. laundry DIY will carry on. 14

GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

AT YOUR SERVICE

According to a survey prepared for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, approximately 97% of UK households have a washing machine. Presumably, the remaining 3% must include those who live in Albert Square, that bustling East End community of oddities who seemingly prefer to have their washing done at Mr. Papadopolous’ launderette on Bridge Street. Perchance a launderette service-wash could be loosely compared to Washio’s on-demand offering, but with no amiable ninjas in the frame, you’d still have to take the laundry there and pick it up within opening hours, so the whole element of convenience is slightly flawed. Stuart Benson, National Sales Manager at Gorenje UK, observes a new “as and when” attitude to doing the laundry developing in the UK as consumers try to fit the task around their busy schedules. Modern lifestyles now demand quick turnarounds and flexibility, he believes. It is a view shared by many industry commentators. As people struggle with additional work hours, time-consuming commutes and the daily assault of technology that makes them “always accessible”, in or out of work, life becomes more hectic, and speed of consumption


AEG ÖKOMIX AEG has introduced its most efficient, high performance washing machine ever: AEG ÖKOMix with an A+++-50% energy rating and Woolmark Green Accreditation. The new AEG ÖKO laundry range is the most efficient high-performance laundry range ever to be launched into the residential UK market. The lineup includes the AEG ÖKOMix washing machine, featuring technological innovations such as pre-mixing technology and the ÖKO Inverter Permanent Magnet Motor. The brand new ÖKOMix range is 50% more energy efficient than the specified limit for Europe’s best energy efficiency rating. Not only do the washing machines in this range provide outstanding fabric care, they also consume half the amount of energy of an A+++ rated washing machine, saving your customers money on electricity and water bills.

Electrolux Trade Sales 08445 610561 www.electrolux.co.uk and delivery is of the essence, whether that be shopping online or watching two different TV programmes at the same time while texting, tweeting and posting to general social media sites.

EXPEDIENCY

This on-demand nature and pace of life simply doesn’t fit with wash cycles or wash & dry cycles that take hours on end to complete. And despite the washing machine market being driven by sales of large capacity appliances, evidence shows that smaller wash loads and a quick turnaround are widely required. Joan Fraser, product training and development manager at Smeg UK, says quick washes are top of the consumer’s priority list. BSH Home Appliances’ Ros Collins, Category Manager for Home Laundry, agrees that consumers are demanding speedy results. “We are seeing more wash cycles per annum as people wash according to their lifestyles. Whilst they may look for resource savings, the option to use quick washes such as BSH’s varioPerfect or rapid15 are

very useful tools for dealing with everyday living,” she comments. When Beko launched its first freestanding washer dryer, the WDA91440W, the company said it was “mindful” to provide the ability to wash and dry up to five shirts in 55 minutes. “The benefits of this are clear for consumers to see,” says product manager Laura Selten. “Whether they want to save time and energy by giving a small load a quick refresh, or need a speedy cycle when they realise that a garment they want to wear is still in the wash basket, the availability of a very quick load is something consumers value.” Selten also points out that the need for large capacity washes and quick washes are not exclusive of each other. “With the capability to wash a 9kg load in 39 minutes, having a larger capacity washing machine can save consumers time, energy and money.” She is referring to the Daily Quick programme on Beko’s A++ WMB91242L washing machine, which will handle five sets of double bed linen or 45 shirts in one wash cycle.


The Green Room: Home Laundry & Garment Care

DEGREES OF CONTROVERSY

Steve Macdonald, Trade Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division, quotes AMDEA figures showing that 8kg models now account for more than 28% of the market, while 9kg machines represent upwards of 13%. He asserts that the company “specialises” in large capacity laundry appliances, and highlights the Hoover All in One, which is available in capacities up to 11kg and has the capability to wash coloured fabrics together with whites without the risk of colours running. Macdonald says the machine has “highly intelligent, unique ‘Pulse’ technology” which means clothes can be washed at a low temperature of 20 degrees while delivering the performance of a 40-degree wash. Baumatic features an ECO 20° wash programme on all of its built-in laundry models and this too allows different fabrics and colours to be washed together at a low 20°C. Marketing Director Owain Harrison says consumption is around 40% of a conventional 40°C cotton wash, and the programme delivers an “excellent” cleaning performance. Caple Sales Director Danny Lay also comments on the demand for lower temperature washes. “30°C programmes have become high priority as more people use them on a regular basis,” he remarks. “Running costs are reduced greatly when you compare this to a 40°C programme with similar cleaning results, and even more so if using a 20°C eco wash.” Washing at low temperatures certainly does save money, but many “experts” claim that it is an unhealthy, unhygienic practice. Reportedly, washing at 30°C will not only leave germs in fabrics but will provide an ideal temperature for incubating bacteria. Cross contamination within the wash is also highlighted as potentially dangerous. For example: using low temperatures in a mixed wash could result in bacteria from underwear being transferred to face towels, and the buildup of bacteria inside the machine due to low temperature washing will contaminate subsequent wash loads. Manufacturers have taken steps to protect against bacteria thriving inside machines. Gorenje, for example, has a self-cleaning SterilTub programme that kills bacteria that may be lurking in the machine, while Haier uses gaskets specially made with its own Anti-bacterial treatment to prevent bacteria from forming. Certain models have dispensers equipped with the same technology. Steam hygiene antibacterial functions to eradicate bacteria in the wash are also now a common feature in use. Hotpoint’s Ultima S-Line adds an extra period of steam at the end of a full wash cycle for a deep, intensive clean, although the technology can also be used to quickly 16

GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

Miele WKR770WPS W1 washing machine and TKR350WP T1 tumble dryer Chrome Edition

refresh clothes, ridding them of smoke and food odours and saving dry cleaning bills on garments such as suits.

GARMENT CARE

Caple’s Danny Lay believes the “big story” in home laundry is garment care. “Technology has evolved so delicate washing is now possible and the results achieved are outstanding, so clothes won’t shrink or bobble,” he says. “Hand wash programmes will clean clothes more gently and thoroughly than actual hand washing and will save time; and allergy care, which uses a combination of water added at specific times and specific drum rotation cycles to perfectly dissolve all the detergent and remove all traces from fibres, is becoming more popular to cater for those with delicate and sensitive skin.” Miele laundry category manager Sian Bailey agrees that consumers are now more conscious of taking better care of their clothes and she maintains that many are using more specific programmes to care for delicate items and fabrics. Miele’s latest laundry collection, the W1 washing machine and T1 tumble dryer, took five years and an investment of €100 million to develop. Bailey says the collection sets new standards in terms of performance and gentle fabric care. The A+++ energy rated W1 offers a QuickPowerWash, which Bailey describes as “a fully-fledged fast, thorough and efficient wash programme lasting less than an hour.” It also cuts detergent consumption by up to 30%. Miele’s T1 heat pump tumble dryer, with its redeveloped Honeycomb drum also provides even greater care for delicate garments, according to Bailey.

ROUGH AND TUMBLE

Tumble dryers have received a lot of bad press in the past, labelled with being energy hungry and for ruining laundry through excessive damage to fibres.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY:

NEW WASHER DRYER FROM AMICA Amica’s AAB-rated AWDS914DJ washer dryer will wash a hefty 9kg load and dry 6kg. The machine has a top spin speed of 1400 rpm (variable) and a choice of wash temperatures starting at 20°C. The appliance provides a choice of 15 programmes, including settings for cotton, delicate and synthetic items, and a number of special features such as an anti-allergy rinse, Easy Iron to minimise creasing and a pre-wash setting for heavily soiled clothes. The 29 min/60 min Wash & Dry programme is the shortest on the market. The AWDS914DJ also has a drum-cleaning setting and a choice of drying functions including iron dry and cupboard dry.

01425 461600 amica-international.co.uk


New Beko American Style fridge freezers, large capacity washing machines and built-in ovens have received an average 9 out of 10 score,* based on thousands of impartial owner reviews.

With a heavyweight TV campaign running from September 15th to October 12th reaching 36 million people, digital advertising on YouTube and a nationwide training programme throughout Q4, you’re set to score record sales. Just search online to find out why we’re the UK’s best selling large home appliance brand.**

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29/08/2014 17:52


The Green Room: Home Laundry & Garment Care

GfK’s Seema Boyd provides an overview of the laundry market

D

uring the recent tough economic period, washing machines have consistently outperformed other key durables markets and it is one of the top performing home appliance categories. The washing machine market is currently worth £946 million (Jul13-Jun14), which is a slight uplift on the same period last year. Fully automatic machines remain the dominant type, accounting for 86% of value sales, although washer dryers have seen a 5% uplift in sales over the past twelve months and generate almost £134 million. Despite retailing on average at £150 more than a fully automatic machine, they are a popular choice for consumers with limited space

opting for a larger drum size is becoming a relatively easy tradeup as the average price gap has narrowed. The average cost of a 9kg washer is only £17 more expensive than an 8kg so it is easy to see why these bigger products have been doing so well. Aside from capacity, online sales were the other significant factor behind the success of washing machines, as well as other major appliances. Value increased by 13% online over the past year and internet purchases now account for just over a third of all washing machine sales. As consumers become more comfortable making big ticket purchases online, many see the web as the best place to find a

Aside from capacity, online sales were the other significant factor behind the success of washing machines, as well as other major appliances.” in their homes as they eliminate the need for a tumble dryer. Despite the fact that total market volume sales have started to dip into negative territory, the growing popularity of large capacity machines (7kg and above) has been the driving force behind value growth for the overall category. Over three quarters of the washing machine market value is now generated by high capacity (7kg+) products, and in the past year even larger load sizes of 8kg and above have shown strong growth, making up 45% of total sales. Larger drum sizes for washer dryers also help improve the drying function of these products. From a consumer’s perspective,

bargain. The physical size of major appliances also lends itself well to this type of purchase as the delivery and installation of new products and the removal of old can be arranged at the point of purchase. These time-saving and convenience factors are helping to drive online purchases for today’s time-poor society, particularly when you consider that the majority of washing machines being bought are to replace ones that have broken down. Whilst the market is underpinned by this replacement cycle, the recent pickup in the housing market is also starting to stimulate initial purchases by first time buyers, which should support the market going forwards.

GfK Panelmarket Data

Great Britain (Data based on MAT value sales Jul13-Jun14)

Big capacity continues to fuel growth for Washing Machines

WASHING MACHINES Market Share by Drum Size

MAT Value Growth

Online Share 13%

16% 5% 1.5% Total Washing Machines

18

34%

29%

1% Full Auto Washers

22%

33%

Washer Dryers <=6KG

GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

7KG

8KG

>=9KG

-4%

In-store

Ebac’s vision for its UK manufactured washing machine

But the introduction of heat pump technology has silenced all but the most carping critics. Blanca Castro De Liñán, Junior Category Manager UK & Ireland at Maytag, quotes AMDEA figures that show market penetration in tumble dryers has risen to just over half of UK households. “This has encouraged the great strides taken by manufacturers to increase the energy efficiency of the tumble dryer through exceptional innovation and design,” she asserts. “What’s more, as washing machines and tumble dryers incorporate increasingly intelligent design, between them they are taking on all aspects of a wash to ensure as little as possible preparation is required beforehand, with minimal creasing caused during a cycle to also reduce ironing loads after. Built-in intelligence and ease of programming enables consumers to tailor lifestyle programmes that work for them, and Maytag appliances offer a range of options to suit the individual as well as favourite options that allow the user to save their most frequently used programmes.” Electrolux’s Joe Oram, Head of Product Line, Laundry & Home Comfort, points out that, like the tumble dryer, washer dryers have also been subject to criticism. “Consumers think of them as less energy efficient and lower in performance than two separate appliances, but owning a washer dryer is no longer a compromise. The AEG ÖKOKombi Plus is the first washer dryer in the world to feature heat pump technology, meaning you can save around £70

per year in energy running-costs when compared to a traditional condenser washer dryer. You can also dry clothes with the utmost care and attention at around 50°C lower than in a standard washer dryer. This means that fabrics stay looking newer for longer.” The AEG ÖKOKombi Plus has Woolmark Blue accreditation.

CONSUMER APPROACH

County Durham-based Ebac, which is set to become the UK’s only manufacturer of washing machines, believes that the new approach to doing the laundry more often will drive a change towards a practical, flexible and smart way of washing. “As lifestyles become more hectic and busier we are seeing a change in the way people use washing machines,” says Darren Feasey, Senior Appliance Product Manager. “The traditional ‘wash day’ is becoming a thing of the past as washing more often is preferred to maximise the best use of time and money to suit the user’s lifestyle. Washing machines will become more intelligent, offering features such as touch screens and app-control and built-in diagnostics.” Feasey says the above features were high on the wish lists of consumers that Ebac consulted as part of its research to ensure it enters the market later this year with products that give consumers what they really want in an appliance that is not complicated to use. “All of the input provided has contributed in the development of our next generation washing machine, which really will be designed ‘by consumers, for consumers’.”


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29/08/2014 17:28


The Green Room: Home Laundry & Garment Care

Tefal’s Freemove iron with 2-in-1 Autosteam Control

LAST LEG OF THE LAUNDRY ASSIGNMENT

The move to on-demand laundry is also evidenced in the ironing category, as confirmed by Penny Jones, Trade Marketing and Product Manager for Braun. Jones says that more and more people are becoming daily ironers, quickly passing an iron over items that are needed on that particular day, and due to time-saving technology, ironing is becoming much faster and easier. “The key new features on our latest models reflect that,” she adds. Jones quotes GfK figures to June 2014 showing that the ironing category is increasing in value year on year as consumers choose to spend more on products from reliable brands. Steam irons in particular remain popular, with the sector up by nearly £2 million a year and making up the largest part of the ironing market, with over 68% share. Groupe SEB reports steady growth in both steam irons and steam generators since the beginning of the year. Emmanuel Couppey, Marketing Manager for Linencare, says the introduction of consumer friendly innovations such as cordless steam irons and automatic settings steam generators have contributed to that growth. But he also remarks that retailers are clearly showing a will to try new things to attract new customers. “This is partly because, since the demise of Comet, there is now a decent share of sales to gain. Also, we believe that the industry realises this category has the potential to grow rapidly.”

Couppey notes a clear market demand towards innovations that make the iron or steam generator easy to use but without compromising on the quality of the ironing result. “Our User & Attitude survey, which we carried on in the UK in 2013, clearly showed different needs amongst consumers. For example, we found out that almost 20% of the population in the UK would like to buy a cordless iron: this is why we developed the Tefal Freemove iron. We also found out that 47% of the UK population wants a product that doesn’t discharge limescale on clothing; again, as a direct result of this view, we brought Ultimate Anti-Calc to the market, which is a steam iron that has a Emmanuel Couppey, unique removable antiscale collector.” Marketing Manager for

Only 58% of the British population knows what a steam generator is and the benefits it brings”

20

GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

Linencare, Groupe SEB

EFFORTLESS IRONING

Braun has been focusing its efforts on ease of use, safety and convenience. Its TexStyle 7 irons TS765A and TS755 feature an extra-hard Saphir soleplate which is up to four times harder than stainless steel. Penny Jones says this provides excellent scratch resistance and durability, and guarantees perfect gliding results. These models also feature auto-shutoff, a safety and eco-friendly function, and all four models in the Braun TexStyle 7 range include a powerful ‘steam and precision’ tip, which releases steam where garments need it most, ensuring fast and effective crease removal and making tricky areas such as buttons, collars and pleats much easier to iron. TexStyle irons can also be used

vertically for removing creases in curtains and hanging garments, and the latest models have a larger water tank, enabling longer, continuous ironing sessions. Morphy Richards says one of the key, recurring factors highlighted by its research is convenience. “We continue to see this through growth in areas that will help make consumers’ lives easier,” remarks Annaliese Curtis, Category Consumer Manager for garment care. “For example, a choice of easy-glide soleplates, high steam output and increased wattage to reduce time.” Curtis says the brand introduced the Perfect Temp iron in response to these findings. “This product features the highest wattage in the market, which ensures a quick heat up; iron settings that correspond with clothes labels to ensure that ironing is quick and simple; and our Trizone technology to prevent clothes from re-creasing. “Consumers have increasingly limited time and, as such, addressing issues of speed and convenience, both in this product and across the rest of our range, is key in helping make their ironing less of a chore.” But it is Tefal that leaves us mildly curious as to the lines it is thinking along for the future. Couppey maintains that there is a proportion of the population that will never iron, but such consumers still need a shirt to go to work, a school uniform or a dress that is unwrinkled. “We can do more for these people than just let them hang their clothes above the bath,” he asserts. “We need to propose different tools that are not as daunting as an iron but can achieve satisfying ironing results. This kind of innovative thinking is an integral part of our long-term strategic philosophy.”


New Braunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most scratch resistant soleplate for longer durability and perfect gliding. The new TexStyle Iron range. Extra hard Saphir soleplate* for perfect gliding up to 4 times harder than stainless steel, guaranteeing a smooth glide for years to come. Perfect results with the power of 3D steam. Find out more at braunhousehold.co.uk Tel: +44 2392 392 392 New Lane, Havant, Hampshire PO9 2NH

New Braun TexStyle Iron range with Saphir Soleplate. Designed to make a difference. * TS765A and TS755

Model shown TS765A


Digital radio

(51.4% or 27.5 million) now listen to a digital platform each week, and 26 million adults (48.5% of the population) have access to a digital radio.

DIGITAL TICK

A handbag? Trendy Bardot radio from View Quest

Digital radio update Cars, coverage and communication: George Cole reports on the barriers to digital radio switchover

L

ast year, the Government dropped a bombshell on the radio industry. Many expected a date to be announced for the start of the digital radio switchover at the Go Digital conference in December 2013. But no date was given, with the result that digital radio remains in limbo – hailed as the future for radio but with no sign of when this might happen. Owen Watters, chief executive of Roberts Radio, says the lack of clarity from Government has had an effect on the market. “The consumer appears to have lost confidence and has even suggested that digital switchover may not happen, and they have continued to purchase analogue products as well as DAB within certain areas of the country. The industry needs to provide a simple and clear message for the consumer.” Nick Hucker, senior sales and marketing director at Pure, says he understands the Government’s strategy: “Digital switchover needs to be consumer led and not forced upon the radio listener, so waiting until the Government’s set criteria are met before the date is announced is a good thing for clarity.” 22

GET CONNECTED SEPTEMBER 2014

WHERE IS DIGITAL RADIO TODAY? Figures from Rajar for Q2 2014 reveal that analogue radio listening has declined to 56.6%, down from 58.6% in Q2 2013. Digital listening, however, remains flat at 36.8%; still some way from the 50% threshold needed to trigger a switchover to digital. Jonathan Merricks, CEO and creative director at View Quest, says: “Some within the industry are anxious about setting a date for switchover. As an industry, we need to be focusing on the consumer’s natural desire for more choice and a better quality audio experience from their household radios. With DAB providing this, it is inevitable that many will migrate. We fully support the digital switchover, but we’re not concerned about forcing people to switch before they’re ready.” On a brighter note, more than half the population

Last summer, Digital Radio UK launched the Digital Radio Certification Mark scheme, better known as the digital tick. Digital radios that conform to a minimum set of specifications (including compatibility with future DAB+ transmissions) can display the tick logo. Pure launched the first digital tick product in June, and the company is positive about the scheme: “The digital radio tick mark is sure to both boost digital radio sales as well as give customers assurance that they are purchasing a product that is future-proof and ready for switchover,” says Hucker. “The implementation of the digital radio tick scheme is a key milestone in the switchover journey.” But Roberts’ Watters is less enthusiastic: “We are strongly in favour of the digital tick when all the criteria have been met, to ensure a positive message for the consumer.” he says. “We believe that launching the tick too early will lead to consumer complaints and potentially many unhappy consumers. We run a real danger of undermining and undervaluing the digital radio tick by launching it too early.” One of Watters’ objections to the launch of the digital tick is the lack of necessary coverage as defined by the original criteria for switchover, and some areas cannot receive DAB. “Our strong belief is that the digital tick should be implemented when all the criteria have been met by the radio industry.” “The digital tick is there to reassure consumers that products are high quality and future-proof,” states View Quest’s Merricks. “The radio industry should be actively supporting anything that helps consumers and protects brands like ourselves. Our full product range will soon carry the digital tick.”

EXPANSION

Ofcom has advertised a second national DAB multiplex for commercial radio, known as Digital Two, which could add a further 15 national radio stations. The move has been warmly welcomed by the industry. “It will provide greater listening choice to the consumer and more reason for a consumer to purchase a digital radio,” says Roberts’ Watters. “We believe this is a positive move, as it once again supports what consumers want: choice,” remarks Merricks. “Expanding people’s access to their favourite stations onto digital platforms is going to be a key driver in making people want


Digital radio

to switch over to digital.” Pure’s Hucker agrees: “Digital Two will deliver a whole host of new content. The new national multiplex will also provide provision for some DAB+ services, which is another key reason why the digital radio tick mark scheme is so important.”

IN-CAR CHALLENGE

One of the biggest challenges facing digital radio is in-car but recent developments have been promising. Digital Radio UK (DRUK) reports that 55% of new cars now have digital radio as standard, compared with 3.6% in 2010. Rajar says that 11.7% of in-car listening is now digital, with 6.7 million people listening to digital radio in the car each week. “We all know that the automotive conversion to DAB is crucial and an increasing number of new cars have DAB already fitted,” says Merricks. “However, the real challenge is always going to be the legacy of millions of cars, vans and lorries which are going to need conversion. We believe that the retro-fit is a huge market which is not yet being

catered for. This is why we’re currently working on our own solution, which should be on the market in 2015.” “The rate of adoption of digital radio into new cars is very encouraging,” notes Hucker. “The aftermarket is more of a challenge, and to meet that we have a range of products to upgrade cars to receive digital radio and are working with key partners, from Halfords to dealerships, to make them available to drivers.” Owen Watters adds: “There has been some great work achieved by the motor industry and DRUK and we are very encouraged by the number of new cars that are coming with factory-fit DAB radios. However, we are still looking at 86% of cars which do not currently have access to DAB and this still remains one of the biggest challenges of the industry.”

The 50s styled View Quest Hepburn

Sony’s compact XDR-S40DBP DAB digital radio

”The real challenge is always going to be the legacy of millions of cars, vans and lorries which are going to need conversion”

TRENDS

Watters says that cars, coverage and communication with consumers remain the biggest challenges for digital radio, while Pure’s Hucker thinks “a big challenge is to continue innovating with new models that consumers want to buy.” For View Quest’s Merricks, it’s coverage: “There is nothing worse than an enthusiastic consumer buying into digital radio, only to be let down by coverage. It reflects poorly on the broadcast medium and us as manufacturers – so coverage is king.” When it comes to the biggest trends, Pure’s Hucker says designer versions and a wide range of colours remain popular, as consumers like their radios to look beautiful and match their interior décor. “Convergence continues to be a growing trend,” he adds, “with more and more digital radios now including Bluetooth as people get used to the convenience of streaming their music wirelessly from smartphones and tablets.” For View Quest the biggest area of focus in its product range is connectivity, whether that’s cable connections, Bluetooth, NFC or looking at even more exciting developments around the “connected home”. “Consumers are demanding multi-function and are used to getting it,” says Merricks. The good news for retailers and consumers is that many new products and features have been launched. Roberts has introduced two new radios with internet capability, the Stream 93i and Istream 2. The former offers three speakers for improved sound quality as well as DAB+, WiFi internet radio and Spotify Connect. The Istream2 includes WI-FI plus Spotify Connect. Watters notes that Roberts has seen good growth yearon-year on DAB and WiFi products. “The smartphone market has opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of listening to music in very different ways. We have always championed streaming capability with our range of WiFi/Internet radios.” Pure says it is focusing strongly on its Jongo multiroom speaker system, with selected models such as the One Flow, Evoke F4 and Sensia 200D Connect compatible with the Jongo system. View Quest has launched the Retro Mini and Christie, both offering DAB/DAB+ and Bluetooth/NFC connectivity. The models are available in eleven different colours. SEPTEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED

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George Cole

GEORGE COLE G E T S

George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics

C O N N E C T E D

YOUVIEW – A MIXED PICTURE Even the biggest fan of YouView – the platform that combines Freeview HD with on-demand TV – would admit that the service had a rocky start. Technical delays meant that YouView arrived much later than anticipated (late 2012), and by that time, every major TV manufacturer had their own Smart TV platform. As a result, there are no YouView TV sets, and only Humax makes YouView PVRs.

B

ut despite this, YouView is now in more than a million homes, although mostly through broadband bundles and packages from BT and Talk Talk, two of YouView’s shareholders (others include the BBC, ITV and Channel 4). I recently got my hands on Humax’s latest YouView PVR, the DTR-T2000. It’s a sub-£200 box with a 500GB hard disk that can store up to 300 hours of standard definition content, or 125 hours of HD programmes. It offers all the major terrestrial broadcast catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and 4OD, plus some extra ondemand content, such as Sky’s NOW TV. I have to say, I was very impressed with the DTR-T2000. It’s sleek, stylish, and very easy to set up. It’s also very simple to use, with a well designed menu system. To use the catch-up services, the DTR-T2000 needs a broadband connection, but the PVR doesn’t include Wi-FI, just a wired Ethernet connection. I initially thought this would be a pain, but I purchased two PowerLine adapters (cost: £25), connected one to my router and the other to the DTR-T2000. The PVR automatically connected to my broadband service – no need to enter passwords or configure encryption keys. It’s a shame that a product like the DTR-T2000 didn’t appear on the market when YouView was launched (the first YouView products cost £300) as I’m sure it would have helped the platform take off in the retail sector. As it is, very few YouView PVRs are sold through retailers, and this is partly because Talk Talk and BT have effectively hijacked the platform, changing it from a

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free TV service to a largely subscription service. This led the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to reduce their investment in YouView and put up £100 million of new funding for a rival platform, FreeView Connect. This will offer similar features to YouView, but with no subscription element. Meanwhile, YouView’s shareholders are investing a further £100 million in the platform over the next five years, taking on more staff and promising more services. It will be interesting to see how these two platforms fare over the coming years.

 “The one thing that disappointed me about the Humax DTR-T2000 is that you cannot archive any hard disk recordings onto a blank DVD, Blu-ray disc, USB stick or external hard drive.”

COPY CONUNDRUM

The one thing that disappointed me about the Humax DTR-T2000 is that you cannot archive any hard disk recordings onto a blank DVD, Blu-ray disc, USB stick or external hard drive. Now, I know some people question whether anyone needs to copy video recordings these days, citing the fact that there are catch-up services, numerous repeat channels, plus

many programmes uploaded to YouTube. But I can think of many good reasons.

1) You want to create a home video library. 2) A friend or relative missed a programme you recorded. 3) You want to protect valued recordings from hard disk failure (it happens). 4) You want to watch some recordings in another room. 5) You want to upgrade or replace your PVR, but have some programmes you want to keep on the PVR’s hard disk. 6) You want to watch a good quality recording (not always the case with online content). I checked with Humax technical support and they confirmed that the YouView specification is for all recordings (including free-to-air) to be copy protected. This is ludicrous, especially when you consider that you can copy programmes from a Sky box (the exception being pay-per-view content) and there’s even a copy facility. I once tested a Panasonic Freeview HD PVR with a built-in Blu-ray recorder, which allowed users to make superb HD recordings from the hard disk onto a Blu-ray disc. I know from reading forum message boards that quite a few YouView users are frustrated by this stance. I also gather that YouView initially allowed users to make recordings, but that this was later stopped with a software update. YouView ought to reverse this ridiculous position with a new software update.

 georgecole@gcmagazine.co.uk


From The Bench

The end of terrestrial TV? Alan Bennett looks at the gloomy future for ground-based TV

T

he UHF broadcasting band has been in use for TV transmissions for fifty years, since 1964 when BBC2 came on air in black and white. Recently the top end, above 800MHz, was sliced off – removing nine channels – to make way for G4 mobile communications, primarily smartphones, and now another chunk of the spectrum is under threat: the 700MHz band, embracing channels 49 to 59. If that happens, over a third of the original spectrum will have been lost from free-to-view TV.

PROPOSALS

The UK’s TV regulator Ofcom is giving serious consideration to slicing off the 700Mhz band between years 2018 and 2022, giving it over to mobile comms and possibly direct-to-home broadband services. The existing Freeview transmissions would have to be squeezed into what remained of the band, probably involving changeover to exclusive use of the DVB-T standard (67% more spectrumefficient than the current DVB coding), for which current and recent Freeview tuners are already equipped. In the longer term the even more efficient HEVC standard could be used (that might even afford UHD TV) but this would require new and complex/expensive boxes. Meanwhile, the recently-introduced Freeview HD channels would have to go. The House of Lords produced a report in 2012 recommending that the whole DTT band be used for broadband internet communications, following on from a World Radiocommunication Conference which sanctioned the use of the 700Mhz band for use with mobile comms in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe as from next year. Next year, too, the WRC will deliberate further on the use of 700Mhz. Meanwhile it’s already carrying mobile comms in parts of the Asia-Pacific region. Elsewhere, Sweden has resolved to re-allocate 700Mhz from next year, and it’s significant that Finnish terrestrial broadcast licences mostly expire in 2017. Germany is wavering, not on the principle but on the timescale (some of the most popular German channels have already decided to abandon DTT this year in the absence of a medium-term guarantee

to safeguard present maintenance and future investment) but the change in Europe needs to be co-ordinated to avoid cross-border interference. France, Italy and Spain still have a high proportion of DTT viewers, while Europe-wide there are some 200 million receivers with about 275 million viewers relying on them. DTT is to be whittled away gradually in Europe, there’s no doubt of that. In the UK about 11 million homes use Freeview as their main TV source at present. If the 700MHz band is sliced off, 80-90 thousand homes would need new aerials at an estimated cost of £2-4 million. Certainly Freeview itself and Digital UK are not keen on the proposed changes!

UHF TV going downhill

with a proposal by the BBC to take BBC3 off broadcast altogether next year and confine it to IPTV (Internet Protocol TV). Maybe BBC4 would follow?

SUBSTITUTES

So what would replace Freeview for those who want to confine their subscription outlay to the TV licence fee? While Sky offers a limited free bouquet of basic programmes, for the majority it would be freesat and IPTV SHUTDOWN Recent figures give the share for computers, laptops and smartphones. 17% of the of viewing as about even UK has no broadband between Sky and Freeview, I am concerned that with the balance made up access, we’re told, and over-the-air broadcasting it’s ironic that the future of cable and freesat use. occupants of the UHF It seems that terrestrial could become confined to spectrum will afford, via TV in the UK is gradually a single platform in a fixed G4 and the forthcoming being strangled, almost location – could that be G5 (2018 perhaps) by stealth, and such is systems, TV viewing! I am the demand for mobile vulnerable to terrorist concerned that over-the-air communications that within or military action? broadcasting could become ten or fifteen years it could confined to a single platform disappear altogether, making all in a fixed location – could that be those home TV aerials, along with the 1000 or so TV transmitting masts, vulnerable to terrorist or military action? redundant. That would save a lot of money on transmission costs, and make a VALUES fortune for the government, ever looking Digital UK commissioned a report from the for ways to increase revenue without Communications Chambers consultancy alienating the public too much; gradual on the relative values of the uses of the TDTV shutdown would cause less furore UHF band. Freeview, they decided, is than other ways of raising the money. ‘worth £80 billion’ to the economy in terms It took 16 years to migrate from of investment and support of thousands 405 to 625 lines in the UK, and there of jobs, 50% higher than mobile comms. was a 5-year transition from analogue This figure, higher than previously thought, to digital TV. The cost of migrating all does not of course take into account the Freeview viewers to freesat is likely benefit to the public of each of these to be about £1.7 billion according to a services, or the fact that the existing year-old estimate: how much of this Freeview services can, without too much would have to be subsidised is a subject inconvenience to viewers, squeeze into for speculation. Certainly the public and its reduced spectrum allocation, reducing broadcasters would need a lot of notice disruption in the medium term at least. of the changeover, and there would be Everything has to evolve and develop, the need for many retunes along the way. and whatever happens the UHF band will Perhaps the writing is already on the wall continue to serve us well. SEPTEMBER 2014 GET CONNECTED

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Backchat

Who makes you laugh? Lee Evans

What (or who) would you put into Room 101? Depends if it’s George Orwell’s or the BBC version

What was the greatest turning point in your life? Living in Egypt

What’s your greatest achievement? Becoming a Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Hobbies? Scuba Diving, Squash and Mountain Biking

What sort of music do you like? All but Opera

What’s your greatest regret? Not believing in myself enough What historic figure do you most admire? Alexander the Great. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful military commanders

2-minute

military people and military ways, and could fan he also

How would you describe yourself? Hardworking, enthusiastic, fun and cheeky

Pet hate? Backchat Any bad habits? My facial expressions If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? I am already a Scuba Diving Instructor in my spare time, so I would probably do that in a sunny country somewhere! Favourite TV programme? House What surprises you? People jumping out around corners

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Name your poison Every Rose Has Its Thorn (By Poison) What do you daydream about? Having more hours in the day

Favourite holiday destination? Mexico

How do you think others see you? Hopefully as a nice person

Favourite cuisine? Italian

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents

Interview

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? Being surrounded by 5 circling Bull Sharks! You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play? Spartan in Gladiator You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? Reintroduce National Service Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Not really Any hidden talents? Not that I know of Do you have any particular fetishes? I love Peanut M&M’s!

What’s the best kind of punishment…. Comeuppance/Revenge …and who deserves it? Wrongdoers! What’s your greatest fear? Drowning Whom do you most admire? Hugh Laurie What’s your favourite piece of kit? My pen What motto do you live by? Life is what you make it Life is… …full of excitement


webOS SMART TV MADE SIMPLE

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Get Connected Magazine - September 2014  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry... 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 12 The Produ...