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JULY 2013

www.gcmagazine.co.uk

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY

THE GREEN ROOM – DISHWASHERS

The perfect combination

The perception of the dishwasher as a ‘luxury’ item is fading and the appliance is becoming a recognised kitchen essential, but a weak housing market continues to hold back penetration

PORTABLE CE DEVICES The Portable CE device market is a fast-changing sector influenced by design, fashion, lifestyle trends and new technologies. GC looks at the major areas that have been reshaped by the rise of the smartphone

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED As TV manufacturers push Ultra High Definition TV sets that offer four times the resolution of 1080p HD televisions, when will consumers be able to watch content optimised for the new standard?

BACKCHAT A 2-minute interview with SquareTrade’s Kevin Gillan

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Contents

Contents 04 06 16 18

(p17) Smeg 500 refrigeration cellar

Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 marlinda@gcmagazine.co.uk

Creative Director: Will Dobson design@willdobson.co.uk

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Editorial Comment The Word

In and around the industry

The Product Gallery The Green Room

The economical, eco-friendly dishwasher is finally finding its place as a household essential

Growth from Knowledge

GfK provides an update on the trends that are driving growth in the dishwashers market

Portable CE Devices

A look at where this fast-changing market is heading

George Cole Gets Connected

When will we see Ultra High Definition discs?

From the Bench

Rogue Traders – Alan Bennett comments on a recent TV consumer programme

Backchat

A 2-minute interview with Kevin Gillan, European Managing Director of warranty provider SquareTrade

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Editorial Comment

Comment

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“The old order changeth, yielding place to new…” This may seem a slightly grandiose and fanciful way of acknowledging that nothing stays the same, and that, as painful as it might be for those who have built and prospered by it, the “old order” of retail trade in the UK is being forced to yield to new ways of buying and selling.

W

hat relevance can a (currently rather unfashionable) Victorian poet have to the intensely modern, intensely practical retail and economic crisis that has overtaken us at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century? Especially since Tennyson’s Morte D’Arthur is about the death of a legendary King who, however iconic his name has become, probably never existed? Point taken. But bear with me. Tennyson gives these words to King Arthur, mortally wounded in the great battle that destroyed the fellowship of the Round Table; its knights scattered or dead and the ordered, established Age of Chivalry that they must have thought would last for ever smashed and overwhelmed by the chaotic forces of the dark ages.

deal has changed since Victoria was on the throne, that “old order” has, in turn, yielded place to newer ideas and practices that have improved life for most people. The principles of successful retailing – providing something (not just products but service, knowledge and care) that consumers want, at a price that is reasonable for seller and buyer – have not changed. It’s just the method of presentation and delivery that has to be adjusted. We may have to suffer for a time from a chaotic transition period, but the “dark ages” will come to an end and those who have maintained the core principles and adapted their practices will be there to build a new – and possibly even better – retail environment. The kickers and screamers and foot-draggers and hankerers after the “old order” will

The principles of successful retailing – providing something (not just products but service, knowledge and care) that consumers want, at a price that is reasonable for seller and buyer – have not changed.” Not so very different (though admittedly a little more melodramatically put) from the way that UK retailers must be feeling right now. The old certainties, the carefully constructed and skilfully maintained paths to prosperity, being swept away by a tide of change. It must, for the “old order”, seem like the end of the world. But the point is that it isn’t, of course, the end of the world. Just the end of some old ways of doing business and the beginning of some new ones. Tennyson, writing some centuries after the Arthurian legend, is proof enough that the world did, indeed, survive, and may even have improved since Arthur ruled. We, reading Tennyson a century or so after he wrote the Morte D’Arthur, can also see from our perspective that, though a great 4

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

not be there to participate in the building process. We have to accept that High Streets that no longer fulfil a useful function in the new order cannot be saved. Those that do will survive and prosper. It is a view that does demand a certain acceptance that we have to think not just of today, but consider the long run. Lovers of the wisdom of economist J. M. Keynes can jump in here with one of his most-quoted lines: “In the long run, we’re all dead.” It may seem like an argument for short-termism. But remember, Mr. Keynes was also an advocate of the power of new ideas, and also said: “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” It’s a difficulty we shall have to overcome.

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Database independently audited by Firgrove Consultancy. Average net 10 issues: 5,927 Mar 2012 – Feb 2013


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The Word : Industry News

Industry News An “alternative” review of the High Street, “bloody mad” government and an aversion to yobs and drunks. Another month on the town…

F

ormer Wickes and Iceland boss Bill Grimsey has set up an alternative review of the High Street after becoming frustrated by the Government’s lack of progress, claiming that the ‘Portas Pilots’ scheme was giving false hope and trying to keep a failed model on a life support machine. Grimsey, the author of ‘Sold Out’, a book which reportedly offers “a practical and realistic vision for the future of the High Street, which can cater for the needs we really have today”, said that High Streets and

Town Centres need a “complete solution” encompassing health, education, housing and leisure... and has pulled together a team whose members include

expert in social and economic policy and Sid Vasilli, Chief Executive of Invapay. Grimsey also has the backing of Asda boss Andy Clarke.

...the Government has been “tinkering at the margins” with initiatives that are failing to deliver change.” Matthew Hopkinson, Director of the Local Data Company, Jackie Sadek, Chief Executive of UK Regeneration, Chris Shellard, an

Grimsey said the review “won’t be flashy, there won’t be a TV series at the end of it and we won’t be calling on Chas’n’Dave. But I can promise it will be serious and won’t duck the big issues. We will be reporting back this autumn with a list of recommendations.” He said that whilst the Portas review put the future of the high street onto the national agenda, the Government has been “tinkering at the margins” with initiatives that are failing to deliver change. Mary Portas responded that her review did cover the “complete solution”, but agreed that the Government had been slow to respond.

Don’t shop on an empty stomach… Ms Portas later demanded a meeting with David Cameron and Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, regarding the future of Britain’s High Streets, angered at a decision to allow Tesco to build an 82,000 sq ft superstore in Margate, one of her 12 Portas Pilot towns, and claiming that the Government is merely paying lip service to the idea of saving the High Streets. The selfstyled retail guru told The Daily Telegraph that she was left “utterly deflated” by the decision on the Tesco store. 6

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She criticised Eric Pickles for not even responding to her opposition to the Tesco plan and said the residents of Margate were “appalled” by his decision. She added that, as well as its failure on planning, it was “bloody mad” that the Government last year decided to delay a revaluation of business rates by two years until 2017. On the internet, amongst the public views on Mr Pickles’ decision, one commentator wrote: “You should never (give the go-ahead for a) shop when you’re hungry.”

Expensive parking, yobs, filthy streets… New research delivered by store fittings firm shopfitDIRECT.co.uk in June stated that High Streets across Britain are struggling to survive because customers hate the experience of town centre shopping. According to the study, shoppers dislike having to pay inflated prices for parking, with no guarantee that they’ll find the goods or services they require at the right price, and are also put off by the increasingly scruffy nature of many town centres, with boarded-up shops and gangs of youths cited as reasons why they would rather stay at home and join the online shopping revolution. “It’s become a vicious circle,” said Ian Ashworth of shopfitDIRECT.co.uk. “As more people abandon the high street, the more shops close, and the worse the shopping experience.” Consumers cited these ten factors as reasons why they avoid town centre shopping:

       

Parking too expensive

 

Difficulty returning items

Too many closed shops Loud in-store music Yobs and drunks hanging around Far easier to shop online Pushy sales assistants Having to queue Finding item offered cheaper the next day by the same store Dislike of using money-off vouchers

“As you can see, just as much of the problem lies with the shops’ attitude as it does with the state of the economy,” said Ashworth. “Often they don’t realise how big a turn-off loud music or bewildering returns policies can be. “People just want a decent, first-hand personalised shopping experience in pleasant shops. That’s not hard to deliver.”

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The Word : Industry News

Retail sales return to growth UK retail sales values bounced back in May as consumers took advantage of promotional activity by retailers. The BRC reported sales up 1.8% on a like-for-like basis from May 2012, when they had increased 1.3% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales rose 3.4% – well above the 3-month average of 2.3% and the long-term 12-month average of 2.5%. Online sales grew 11.0% compared with 12.4% May 2012. The BRC reported that Electricals performed strongly. Director General Helen Dickinson said retailers pulled off a good result in May despite contending with fluctuating temperatures and continued economic difficulties. It was the first month since February to be free of Easter timing distortions and produced positive total growth in every category. “May was a month of two halves for weather,” she said, “meaning

that retailers had to stay one step ahead when planning their promotional activity. The signs are that temporary discounts and offers worked well to tempt shoppers into stores and clear some of the stock that had been slow to sell during the preceding months. “The signs are that retailers read conditions well in May and adapted their offer accordingly. Customers are still priceconscious but responding well to good deals, especially for bigticket items. But volatile economic conditions mean that this will remain a delicate balancing act for some time to come.” Figures from the Office for National Statistics confirmed a 2.1% month-on-month upswing in retail sales during May, reversing the poor showing in April, when bad weather was a factor in a 1.1% decline. The retail resurgence, which was experienced across

most categories of stores, was, in part, attributed to discounting and summer offers. Online sales, according to the ONS, continued to show “strong growth”, rising 10.3% compared to May 2012. Chris Gates, director of retail at Hitachi Consulting, told Get Connected the results show that sales are rebounding, but largely due to the explosion of ecommerce. He commented: “Retailers need to take charge by conquering the digital channels and developing a unified multi-channel approach that fuses the online channels with a brand’s traditional bricks-and-mortar presence. By embracing an omni-channel strategy and developing innovative new ways to target customers across all the interactive channels, it is possible to take retailing far beyond the traditional high street and successfully engage customers, boost brand advocacy and increase sales.”

UK inflation up in May The Consumer Price Index measure of inflation increased to 2.7% in May, up from 2.4% in the previous month, according to figures issued by the Office for National Statistics. This was a higher increase than expected, and the Bank of England says it expects annual inflation in 2013 to rise beyond 3%. One of the main contributors to the upturn was a sharp increase in transport and fuel costs. Fuel prices have a broad impact on all businesses and the majority of household finances, and analysts are saying that the bigger-thanexpected rise in consumer prices will put even more downward pressure on the dwindling spending power of UK households as pay fails to keep pace with the cost of living. Household goods showed a 1.1% month-on-month increase in May.


The Word : Industry News

Shop Price Index records deflation for first time in 3.5 years Overall shop prices recorded annual deflation for the first time in over three and a half years, falling 0.1% in May after a 0.4% rise in April. Food inflation slowed to 2.4% from 2.9% while Non-food recorded annual deflation of 1.5%, accelerating from 1.0% in April. BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said the situation bears out her organisation’s sales figures, which showed that retailers used a range of promotions and offers to drive demand and shift seasonal stock that didn’t sell well during the prolonged cold snap earlier in spring. “Non-food deflation accelerated to its lowest level in almost four years, a reflection of the intense competition to capitalise on improving consumer confidence and the late onset of warmer weather,” she added.

Retail collapses cost creditors £2 billion The collapse of UK high street retailers has left unsecured creditors such as suppliers, landlords and customers being owed almost £2 billion, according to research by financial analysts Company Watch. The research was carried out on behalf of Bill Grimsey, the former boss of Wickes and Iceland, who is currently conducting a review of the high street (see page 6 of this issue). Company Watch found that £499 million was recovered in assets from the 19 biggest retail failures since 2012, including HMV and Comet, but only £14 million went to unsecured creditors. Banks and other secured lenders were reported to have received £365 million and around £123 million was spent on fees and other bills. Administrators, some of whom charge up to £950 per hour, earned £33 million. Report author Nick Hood, a business analyst at Company Watch, described the losses as “staggering”. “Times remain tough, but it seems that retailers are reading the market well and doing what they can to offer customers the best possible value on their shopping.”

“It seems that the only winners from the ongoing carnage in the high street are banks, the insolvency practitioners and their many advisers,” he said.


The Word : Industry News

Tax burden on major retailers increases 65% since 2005

Net lending falls by £300 million in Q1 T

he Bank of England has issued official figures showing that net lending fell by £300 million in Q1 2013, despite the Government’s cheap money scheme for banks. Although causing concern, the drop is much less sharp than the £2.4 billion fall in the last quarter of 2012. The continuing failure of UK banks as a whole (there are variations among individual banks) to finance business needs is set against the background of the Government

to the extent of borrowing an additional £2.6 billion in Q1 of 2013. This brings the total borrowed cheaply by banks under FLS to £16.5 billion. Clearly, they have not fulfilled their half of the bargain by making this available to SMEs who need finance for development and growth. The banks identified by the Bank of England as having reduced their net lending since June 2012 are: Santander (-£8.6 billion); Lloyds Banking Group (-£6.6 billion); RBS (-£3.9 billion).

It is a concern that lending continues to contract despite the Funding for Lending Scheme having been in place for nearly a year.” Funding for Lending Scheme, which was launched in August 2012 and has just been extended to January 2015. Under the scheme, the Bank of England is lending money to banks and building societies at cut-price interest rates, on the condition that the banks lend it on to individuals and businesses in the UK. Bank of England figures show that the banks took advantage of the cheap loans

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "It is a concern that lending continues to contract despite the Funding for Lending Scheme having been in place for nearly a year. The real test for Funding for Lending is whether it is able to get credit flowing to young and fast-growing businesses. Unfortunately many of these growth firms are still being left out in the cold."

New research has revealed that the tax burden on Britain’s largest retailers has increased 65% since 2005. A report from accountancy firm PwC on businesses in the Hundred Group shows retailers now have a total tax rate of 59%, compared with an average of 39% across all industries in the Group. Despite the Government reducing the corporation tax rate, payments of corporation tax by these retailers have increased 11% over the period while other business taxes including business rates and employers national insurance contributions have increased by almost 80% since 2005. The most recent data on business rate contributions shows these have increased by over 30% between 2008 and 2010. After a fall of 14% from 2007, retail corporation tax payments increased by over 6% from 2008 to 2012. Mary Monfries, head of tax policy at PwC, said: “Governments looking for stable tax revenues have rebalanced business taxes so there is less reliance on corporation tax, which is inevitably volatile as it is dependent on profits. For every £1 of corporation tax, the UK’s largest retailers now pay almost £2.40 in other taxes out of their profits. The rise in business rates in particular is felt by retailers, given their large property portfolios.” Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC, added: “Retail in the UK not only gives domestic employment, but also stimulates consumer confidence and makes a significant contribution to the public purse. However, high business rates represent a significant burden for those still trying to balance physical stores with online retail.” According to PwC’s study, the total value added to the economy by the largest UK retailers was £22.4 billion. Profits made by the retail companies account for 20% of this. These profits were either distributed to shareholders, including institutional investors such as pension funds, or retained by the companies for reinvestment. The larger proportion of the value distributed went to employees in wages (40%) and to Government in taxes (37%).

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The Word : Industry News

Dixons reports “a year of significant progress” Dixons Retail returned to growth in the financial year ended 30 April 2013, with Group underlying sales and like-forlikes up 4%.

The company said that good progress in UK & Ireland and Northern Europe, where profits rose 39% and 6% respectively, and a robust performance in Southern Europe were offset by a poor performance from its online business PiXmania. Dixons posted a pretax loss of £115.3 million, due to restructuring and impairment charges of £168.8 million, relating mainly to PIXmania and the main non-store UK B2B operations following the disposal of Equanet. After stripping out one-off costs, underlying pre-tax profits increased by 15% to £94.5 million. Like-for-like sales in the final quarter rose 13% in the UK & Ireland and 14% in Northern Europe, reflecting strong market share gains. Sebastian James, Group Chief Executive, said: “We have returned to growth for the Group as a whole, and also to a net cash position, marking an important milestone in our transition from survivor to winner.” Dixons estimates that the UK & Ireland business grew its market share to approximately 21% during the year, driven by the Group’s clear strategy and accelerated by the closure of a number of competitors, including its largest UK specialist electrical competitor Comet.

Argos first-quarter trading boosted by electricals Argos delivered a good start to the year driven by continued success in consumer electronics and electrical and supported by growing internet and mobile commerce sales. Parent company Home Retail Group reported total Argos sales up 1.2% to £828 million in the 13 weeks from 3 March to 1 June and like-for-like sales up 1.9%. Home Retail said that consumer electronics maintained its positive sales performance driven by growth in tablets and TVs, which together with continued growth in white goods and core electricals more than offset the marketdriven declines in the video gaming and audio categories as well as the weaker performance in seasonal products. Total internet sales grew in the quarter, resulting in internet penetration increasing to 42% of total sales, up from 41% a year ago. This was supported by

further strong growth in the mobile commerce channel, in which sales increased by 114%. The company said an approximate 75 basis point gross margin decline was mainly due to the sales mix impact from growth in consumer electronics.

Comet owners in talks to buy the collapsed retailer’s tax losses Hailey Acquisitions Ltd (HAL), the former owner of Comet, is said to be in talks to buy back the failed retailer’s tax losses to offset against its own profits. HAL, which was set up by private equity firm OpCapita to buy Comet from French retailer Darty, paid £2 for the chain and was

given a ‘dowry’ of £50 million to take the business off the Darty’s hands. Comet collapsed towards the end of 2012 at the cost of £50 million to UK tax payers and the loss of 6,000 jobs. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched an investigation into the purchase and

administration of the electrical chain, but the outcome would not be disclosed to the public, it said. HAL is reported to have walked away from the collapse with an estimated £60 million and now wants to use £27 million of Comet’s tax losses to offset against its own profits.


The Word : Industry News

“Bruised” consumers set to drive UK growth as spending gathers momentum With more cash in their pockets and a confidence boost from a strengthening economy, consumers are set to return to the UK high street, bringing spending to prerecession levels within the next two years. This is the view of the Ernst & Young ITEM Club, which says that consumer spending is set to grow by 1.2% this year before accelerating

to 1.9% in 2014 with further growth of 2.2% forecast for 2015, at which point the level of spending will have returned to its pre-financial crisis peak. Growth of 2.6% a year is expected in the period from 2016 to 2020. Following five harsh years, the ITEM Club expects consumers to loosen their belts and start spending again on TVs, tablets,

smartphones and package holidays. Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the ITEM Club, said the high street revival is gathering momentum. “The Treasury’s plan to move from an economy dependent on consumption to one led by exports and business investment has been put on hold. The UK has essentially returned to relying on the consumer to drive economic growth.”

But Spencer warned that despite the economy showing strong signs of life, consumers have been bruised by the experience of several tough years and will remain nervous and cautious in their spending habits. “Any hint of adverse economic developments is likely to provoke an immediate blip in spending and a retreat from the local restaurant back to meal deals and nights on the sofa,” he said.

Sharp forms $2.9 billion alliance with CEC

Indesit Company to lose 1,425 jobs Indesit Company has consulted unions regarding reorganisation plans that will result in the loss of 1,425 Italian workers’ jobs. The company said the restructuring is a necessary response to current competitive conditions in Europe, where the market is still below the volumes recorded in 2007 (Western Europe -10%, Italy -25%) and new producers from lower cost countries continue to expand with aggressive pricing pushing down prices and margins. The reorganisation of the Group’s Italian operations, which currently employ around 4,300 people, will affect 25 executives, 150 central office staff and 1,250 blue- and white-collar workers in factories. Implementation of plans for the Group’s three Italian industrial centres will be carried out over the period 2013-2016. Production operations no longer sustainable in Italy (mainly those exporting to Eastern European countries) will be moved to countries with more favourable costs, leading to saturation of Indesit’s production capacity in Poland and new capacity in Turkey, which will also allow the company to exploit opportunities in rapidly expanding markets in the Middle East and North Africa. An investment of €70m is planned for Italy over the period 2014-2016.

Pure partners with Universal Music Pure has entered into an e-commerce partnership with global music leader Universal Music UK to bring the Jongo multiroom music system and Pure’s on-demand music service to a wider market. Pure’s complete product range will be available through a new webstore powered by Universal Music. Pure marketing director Nick Hucker said the two companies will be working together on a range of bespoke products and offers to bring Jongo and Pure Connect to a much broader audience. 12

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

Sharp Corporation has announced it is to enter into a US$2.9 billion business alliance with China Electronics Corporation to operate a plant for 8.5th generation LCD panels and modules, utilising the technology as a joint venture. The arrangement follows an agreement made in 2009 between Nanjing CEC-PANDA LCD Technology Co for 6th generation LCD panel production. Production commenced in May 2011 and input capacity was steadily expanded, establishing a mass-production system by the end of 2012. Under the new agreement, Sharp will license its IGZO and other panel

technology and a new factory will be built in the city of Nanjing in China. Commencement of mass production is scheduled for 2015. The main applications will be for television sets, notebook PCs and tablets. The new venture will be 92% owned by CEC. The alliance comes six months after Qualcomm agreed a $120 million investment in Sharp’s display manufacturing unit, allowing the two companies to continue their partnership to mass produce low-power, highperformance next-generation displays for mobile devices.

BBG partners with Roth AV to supply independent channel BBG has announced a distribution agreement with Roth AV to supply the brand’s products to the UK independent retail sector, a channel in which BBG has many years of experience and expertise. Roth AV’s Director James Roth said the partnership is a “perfect fit” and enables his company to focus on its large UK-based multiple accounts, as well as to further develop its successful international business which is expected to add nine new countries before July is out.


The Word : Industry News

Strong sales growth gains Lec 5% share of refrigeration market Refrigeration specialist Lec has reported significant sales growth in a flat market with its share rising to around 5%, making it the fifth largest brand in the cooling sector. Between 2011 and 2013 the company grew its sales by 20% with growth across all channels. Part of the success is attributed to strong sales in the chest freezers division and a strong presence in the under counter sector. David Garden, Sales & Marketing Director, commented: “To see sales grow by 20% in this climate is fantastic. To increase our market share and be the fifth biggest player in our industry is also great news and a real boost to the team. “We plan to build on this success in the forthcoming twelve months and really fortify our position.”

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InSinkErator® has unveiled a consumer advertising campaign running on TV, in consumer magazines and online. It focuses on the speed, convenience and technology of the brand’s food waste disposer and steaming hot water tap.

The start of upgrading 53 million households’ meters to new ‘smart’ energy meters has been delayed from 2014 to 2015 on the request of the six largest energy companies in the UK who have been charged with carrying out the task.

Repic, the UK’s largest WEEE producer compliance scheme, has achieved ISO 14001 Environmental Management accreditation.

Gorenje has won a Plus X Award for its IQcook induction hob. The appliance was also awarded the best Product of the Year 2013 in the Home Appliances category.

LG Electronics was announced Best Audio-Visual brand at the 2013 Which? Awards. The accolade follows a particularly impressive audio-visual offering from the brand and is the first time it has received the title. Bosch was voted Best Home Appliance Brand at the annual Which? Awards for the third consecutive year. This year’s award brings the brand’s total to four wins since the launch of the annual awards in 2007.

Panasonic has been ranked in 4th place in the Interbrand 2013 Best Global Green Brands report, moving up two positions from last year to become the leading technology company. The Neff online baking community ‘Bake It Yourself’ hit an all-time high during June, rising to 428,270 fans to become the biggest online community in the world ahead of leading brands such as Amazon UK and Cadbury UK.

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The Word : Industry News

Moves Leisure has appointed Amanda Selby to the role of Brand Manager, responsible for driving brand and business growth in the UK and Ireland. Hoover Candy has expanded its sales and marketing team with the appointment of Luke Jeffries, who joins as Assistant Trade Marketing Manager for the Freestanding Division, and Rachel Sinclair, who takes on the role of Product Manager, Freestanding Division. Stuart Benson has joined Gorenje as National Sales Manager, responsible for driving sales activity for the Gorenje and ATAG brands within the UK and Ireland. He will look after a team of six Regional Sales Managers. Assurant Solutions has announced the appointment of Cassio Stavale as chief marketing officer for its European operations. John Lewis has announced that Robert Garnish will become branch manager of its York department store, which is due to open in spring 2014 on the Monks Cross 2 development.

Dyson calls for rethink on EU energy label Dyson is calling for a rethink on the proposed energy label for vacuum cleaners, stating that, as it stands, it will incentivise manufacturers to develop machines that perform well in laboratories but not in the home. Draft legislation going through the European Parliament stipulates that from September 2014 new vacuum cleaners must have motors of less than 1,600 Watts and by 2017, just 900 Watts. Appliances will be rated from A-G on their performance and energy efficiency. Dyson says that well considered legislation will put an end to the antiquated idea that greater motor power equals higher performance in vacuum cleaners, spurring engineers to develop more efficient, high performing technology, but contends that there are three major flaws with the proposed label: Firstly, the performance of appliances is tested in laboratory conditions; empty and with no dust. But performance in the home is very different to that in the lab – bags and filters clog with dust as a machine is used, leading to a loss of suction. To reflect consumers’ real experience, dust removal must be measured in real conditions, using a dust loaded machine.

Dyson engineers tested a number of manufacturers’ vacuum cleaners, empty and with dust loaded. In a small sample of the results, tests on three machines from well-known brands showed a drop of two ratings when the machines were loaded with dust. Secondly, the energy label must communicate the number of bags or filters required each year and the cost. This, according to Dyson, will enable consumers to make an informed decision about the environmental impact and longterm cost of the machine. Thirdly, the legislation does not limit the force required to push a vacuum cleaner. Many machines may technically achieve the higher energy label grades but are too hard to push and pull around the home. Dyson is proposing a 21 Newton maximum push force limit, a limit derived from feedback from consumers in a practical test. “We’ve been here before,” said Dyson. “Light bulb regulation phased out incandescent bulbs. Neither the legislation nor the new bulbs were quick or bright enough. Performance was relegated to second place, to the detriment of the regulation and its public acceptance.”

De Dietrich appoints sole distributor for Northern Ireland The appointment of Belfast-based Ness Ltd as the sole distributor of the De Dietrich and Fagor brands in Northern Ireland was celebrated with an Open Day for kitchen specialists at Ness’s newly refurbished showroom and dealer training centre. De Dietrich sales and marketing director Richard Walker and his team demonstrated the appliances and visitors were treated to food cooked by guest chef Paul Stewart from Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast, who used the award-winning De Dietrich Piano Induction Hob together with a De Dietrich modular Induction Wok and Teppan Yaki Grill to highlight the versatility of the appliances. “We took a number of display orders on the day itself and we are still receiving requests days after the event,” said Ness MD Colleen McStravick. “I feel very excited about our future together and I look forward to a long and happy partnership.” De Dietrich has also improved its after sales service offer for Northern Ireland, providing the statutory 12 month warranty along with a free 5-year parts and labour upgrade, which is available on selected appliances from De Dietrich and Fagor subject to registration. 14

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

Image courtesy of Ulster Tatler. Pictured (left to right): Deborah Loader, national business development and training manager for De Dietrich; Richard Walker, De Dietrich sales and marketing director; Mike Kinder, national business manager UK and ROI, De Dietrich; Colleen McStravick, managing director, Ness Ltd.


The Word : Industry News

Meridian Audio entertains Neil Young Canadian singer and song writer Neil Young (pictured right) paid a visit to Meridian’s Cambridgeshire headquarters following a performance at the Birmingham LG Arena, part of his Neil Young and Crazy Horses Alchemy tour. He met with Meridian’s Bob Stuart (left) and throughout the day experienced various demonstrations and tours. Towards the end of his visit, Young dedicated some time to signing memorabilia for the Meridian team. He signed an 808v5 Signature Reference CD Player which Meridian donated to his chosen charity Bridge School Benefit.

Sharp to introduce biggestever LED TV to Europe Sharp is bringing the 90-inch LED Aquos TV, which was launched in the US last June, to Europe, saying that it believes there is a definite and growing demand for ultra-large screen sizes in the UK and across the Continent. The Aquos model tops the previously biggest available LED display size in Europe, the 84-inch screen from LG, but, significantly, Sharp’s offering is 1080p HD, not the Ultra HD favoured by LG. With “normal” High Definition 1080p video, rather than the Ultra High Definition 4K format, the viewing distance for the 90-inch is recommended by Sharp as “at least” 3.5 metres (11.5 ft.). Sharp says the choice not to go 4K is partly because there is a shortage of 4K broadcast content, and also to keep costs down. The Aquos is expected to retail at around £12,000 intitially, compared to the £17,000 price tag on LG’s 84-inch Ultra HD LED model. In the UK, there is a clear trend towards bigger screen sizes, which

command premium prices. Some 8% of TVs sold in the UK are currently of 50 inches or more, but this largescreen sector represents more than 16% of total value. Nigel Catlow of GfK, talking to the BBC, commented on the UK prospects of this big-screen market: “You won’t get serious sales volume until you get below around £2,000 to £3000. However, it will open up a bigger market because there have been some 70-inch and 84-inch sets out there that were recently selling for £20,000.”

Digital Radio switchover pilot a success The BBC and leading commercial radio broadcasters have welcomed the results of a Government trial into the impact of converting homes to digital radio. The controlled digital radio switchover pilot was overseen by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and run by independent research company Ipsos/MORI. It involved the full conversion of 237 households in Bath to digital radio and documented their experience

over a 6-week period. The pilot took place in Bath in February and March this year, with independent electrical retailer Moss of Bath acting as a distribution point for the digital radios, and was similar to a digital TV household research pilot conducted 10 years ago in Bolton, prior to digital TV switchover. The Go Digital Trial report published by DCMS showed that 92% of the listeners in the pilot were highly satisfied with their digital

radios, 80% preferred it to analogue and would strongly recommend digital radio to other people. Listeners also found the DAB digital radios easy to use. Older and disabled people also had a good experience, but some required help from friends and family to set them up. A small sample also had their cars converted; nearly all were confident with using their digital radios but a few cited reception issues when driving.

In the event of a radio switchover, respondents recommended that Government should provide information about digital radio and the switchover, similar to communications on the digital TV switchover, as well as providing assistance for vulnerable groups. Tim Moss, owner of Moss of Bath, said: “We know that some listeners need more help and this reinforces the role of the trusted independent electrical retailer.”


The Product Gallery

The

Gallery Philip Fidelio in-ear headphones Philips is extending its Fidelio audio range with in-ear headphones offering balanced sound based around a natural mid range with rich bass and detailed high end. The two models, S1 and S2, both feature metal enclosures with angled sound tubes to direct sound in the ear channel, large 13.5mm premium quality drivers and a semi-open architecture to increase bass extension while minimising sound leakage. The S1 (pictured) features:

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Soft silicone tips in 3 sizes / Comply™ foam tips for custom fit and noise isolation / Elasticised ring for in-ear stability Lightweight aluminum housing with brushed finish In-line control and microphone Protective pouch Tangle-resistant flat cable

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0844 338 04 89 www.philips.co.uk

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Audio Research VSi75 vacuum tube integrated amplifier

Bosch Home Professional food mixer (MUM57830GB)

Building on the success of the its VSi60 amp – a winner of Amplifier of the Year awards in four countries – Audio Research has introduced an open-chassis vacuum tube integrated amplifier that takes power, performance and aesthetics to a much higher level. The VSi75 doesn’t replace the VSi60; it offers a significant step up, including 50% more power and enhanced sound quality.

The Home Professional food mixer from Bosch is ideal for those that regularly bake in large quantities. The appliance has a 900W motor and 3.9 litre bowl capacity and a patented 3D multi-motion drive that scrapes the side of the bowl while mixing. It comes complete with a booklet of gourmet recipes and a professional patisserie set including a flexi stirring whisk with silicon edge, a height adjustable metal beating whisk and a kneading hook with gear protector. SRP £399.99. j j j j

High quality metal side panel / Suction feet for extra stability Continuous shredder with 3 disks (5 functions) / Citrus press Multifunction arm with special gearing and 3 drive positions 7 switch settings plus burst setting / Automatic standby setting

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Automatic cable rewind / Electronic safety shut-off and overheating protection / LED display for operating and failure modes Dishwasher-safe accessories / Styline extra: dark grey accessory bag / Extensive range of optional accessories

0844 892 8979 www.bosch-home.co.uk

LG 2013 TrueSteam™ dishwasher range j

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New-look casework with natural anodised top plate / Silver perforated cover over transformers and filter caps with optional cover for valves Clear LCD display showing input selection, volume, individual valve bias…. Delivers 75W per channel continuous from 2Hz to 20kHz Four KT120 output valves and two 6H30 driver valves / Double the bulk power supply caps compared to VSi60 / New power transformer designed around KT120 valve Wide bandwidth output transformers and proprietary coupling caps Available in the UK from July, priced at £7,498

020 8971 3909 www.absolutesounds.com

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

LG has developed a super-quiet 38dB(A) dishwasher range incorporating its TrueSteam™ technology and Direct Drive Motor, which comes with a 10-year warranty. LG’s Smart Rack™ provides easy loading, with adjustable fold-down dividers for full flexibility and up to 10 litres of extra space compared to conventional dishwashers. The range is available in stainless steel, black or white. A+++AA rated model D1484CF features: j j j j

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14 place settings / 9 litres of water per cycle Soil sensor / Water softener / Triple filter system Vario washing system Programmes: Steam Power, Steam Dual, Steam Care, Auto, Eco, Quick, Quick & Dry Extra options: Spray, Extra Hot, Rinse +, Half Load Child lock / Delay start

01753 491500 www.lg.com/uk


The Product Gallery

De’Longhi Motivo coffee machine

Smeg 500 refrigeration cellar Smeg and Italian motor manufacturer Fiat have collaborated to produce the Smeg 500, an A+ rated refrigerator created from the front end of vintage Fiat 500 cars. The fully functional appliance comes in a choice of white, green or red and has an interior control panel in the style of the Fiat 500 dashboard. Available to order now at a price of £5,000. Production time: 2 months minimum from date of order. j j j j j j

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Net capacity 100 litres 2 sliding interior doors Adjustable thermostat / Automatic defrost 3 x removable bottle holders / 1 x removable shelf for canned drinks Noise level: 42 dB Dimensions: H 83 x W 125 x D 80 cm / Maximum height with bonnet open at 80°: 150 cm

De’Longhi is launching a colourful new range of pump espresso coffee machines aimed at young consumers looking for a quality coffee-shop experience at home at an accessible price (RRP £129.99). Available to order from July, the new Motivo models come in a choice of yellow, red, white and black, each with a stylish chrome trim. The products will include a selection of Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods at purchase.

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2 in 1 filter holder suitable for ground coffee or ESE pods Traditional milk frother / integral crema device High performance 15-bar pump pressure Single dial operation Removable 1-litre water tank Removable drip tray with anti-splash feature

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0845 600 6845 www.delonghi.co.uk

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www.smeg.com

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Pure Evoke F4 Pure’s new Evoke F4 digital, FM and internet radio with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi offers the facility to stream multiroom audio entertainment. The unit is compatible with the company’s Jongo multiroom music system and provides streaming of over 15 million music tracks from the Pure Music subscription service, with the benefit of tagging technology giving the track and artist name and the opportunity to purchase tracks direct. Tracks can also be purchased at a later date from the Pure Connect website or added to a Pure Music playlist.

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0845 1489001 www.pure.com

Recording of live internet and digital radio to USB memory stick / Instant and timed recordings Touch-sensitive controls / Large graphical OLED display Multiple alarms / Sleep and kitchen timer Input for iPod or MP3 player / Headphone socket Support for optional matching stereo speaker Rechargeable F1 battery pack (SRP £34.99) provides 12 hours of portable listening per charge

Britannia Montana fridge freezer The Montana American-style fridge freezer from premium kitchen appliance specialist Britannia Living is available in four finishes – stainless steel, gloss black, gloss red and gloss cream – and co-ordinates with the brand’s Delphi and Q Line range cookers launched earlier this year. The A+ rated model has 23 cubic feet of capacity and comes with fully clad sides.

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Integrated ice maker / Electronic ice and water dispenser with child lock Built-in water filter and door alarm Humidity crisper Frost guard technology minimises risk of freezer burn Sweetspot shelf keeps ice cream at ready-to-eat temperature ClimateKeeper Air Tower ensures constant temperature in fridge

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01253 471001 www.britannialiving.co.uk

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17


The Green Room – Dishwashers

THE GREEN ROOM

A

ECO AGENTS Perhaps we should enlist the support of estate agents to help drive dishwasher sales. Overwhelming evidence that the dishwasher is both economical and eco-friendly exists, yet a year on from GC’s last dedicated dishwashers feature, penetration remains stubbornly fixed at around 40%. We know that those who already own a dishwasher will not want to live without one; therefore, houses on the market that don’t have the facility may, in theory, be eliminating 40% of prospective purchasers at the outset….

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(Pictured above:) De Dietrich’s DVH1140J Espace upper basket provides 20% more room than an average basket

recent US newspaper article stated that a real estate agent when valuing a property advised the vendors to install a dishwasher before placing the dwelling on the market. “You are going to lose 50% of the people looking straight away,” he said. It was an investment of less than $500, but would have a much greater return, they were told. Maytag Brand Marketing Manager Juliana Sado maintains that, in the UK, particularly at the top end of the market, the consumer will see a dishwasher as a necessity and will not be prepared to even consider a home that does not either come with one already installed or with space to put in their own. Her opinion is echoed by Whirlpool’s Dalia Haddad, Product Marketing Manager for Freestanding, who says: “For those that own a dishwasher, room to install one in a new house is an essential, and a kitchen that will not be able to have one may be rejected.” Gorenje Marketing Manager Lauren Abbott says that those who currently own a dishwasher will not want to go back to washing by hand, so if looking for a new home they will certainly check to make sure there is room for one, if it is not already there, and Miele Dishwashing Category Manager Sian Rees points out that a white goods package, including a dishwasher, is now expected as standard when consumers invest in a newly built property. Rees’ statement not only highlights the development of the dishwasher from a perceived ‘luxury’ item to an important kitchen essential, it also hits the nail on the head when it comes to explaining much of the reason for stagnant penetration. The UK’s floundering economy has severely impaired the house building market, leaving sectors of the white goods industry to subsist mostly on replacement products. Many of those that would have experienced their first dishwasher through moving to a newbuild at the start of the recession may well have been on their second appliance by now, and an upgraded model at that, especially if having moved again since. As Whirlpool’s Haddad remarks, “moving house has always been a trigger for purchasing new appliances.”


The Green Room – Dishwashers

FIRST-TIME OWNERS

While the recession may have impeded movement in the housing market, it has also encouraged many householders forced to stay put to improve their properties. And as Sophie Davidson, Electrolux Head of Kitchen Product for the UK & Ireland, suggests, it is not uncommon for first-time dishwasher users to acquire an appliance in deals such as those offering a free dishwasher with a new fitted kitchen. Lifestyle trends have also encouraged first-time owners. According to Gorenje’s Lauren Abbott, the rise in the number of people choosing to entertain at home has helped make the dishwasher a more attractive proposition. “Furthermore,” she adds, “as the difficult economic climate continues, consumers are looking for more ways to save money. Many of them now realise that while a dishwasher is an investment at the outset, long term it will cut their water and energy use and so can help to decrease bills. This certainly makes the dishwasher a very attractive proposition, as does the increased level of hygiene it offers over washing by hand.”

BUG BUSTERS

Hygiene is one of the principal standout features of dishwashers, as evidenced in a Bonn University study which referred to a potentially dangerous “bacterial soup” lurking in washing-up bowls and around the sink. The findings showed that the water used by people for washing up isn’t hot enough to kill bacteria, but just right to encourage bacteria to grow instead; 40% of washing up bowls tested in the study were contaminated with bacteria; almost all dishcloths failed the hygiene test (95%) and E-Coli was detected on tea towels and tap handles. This, along with the following research from the Intertek washing up study 2010, provides strong grounds for dishwasher ownership. Washing by hand: 60 minutes for a full load; 49 litres of water used; 1.7 kwH of energy used to heat the water.

By comparison, using a dishwasher took: 9 minutes to load/unload the machine; 13 litres of water; 1.3 kwH of energy to heat the water. If the same survey were carried out today, the dishwasher performance could be even more efficient. Maytag’s MDW 0713 AGW, for example, uses just 6 litres of water in a standard wash. Juliana Sado comments that “consumers have previously seen dishwashers as waterguzzling monsters, but this just isn’t the case anymore and the retailer needs to ensure they demonstrate this clearly to customers.” Beko also has a 6-litre machine in its range. Launched at this year’s CI(H) Show during April, the built-in appliance (DSFN6839W) with ‘Auto Sense’ technology offers full basket flexibility including height adjustable shelves and folding plate supports to suit various types of crockery. It has a third drawer for cutlery, which can be removed to free up

“The latest developments reflect what consumers are most concerned about, which is water and energy efficiency.” Raff Rochira, Indesit freestanding laundry and dishwashing category manager

space for large pots and pans in the main basket, and the range of programmes available includes a hygiene option that kills 99.9% of bacteria. Commenting on the hygiene aspects of dishwashers, Baumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi observes the thoroughness of steam-assisted models, remarking that steam, especially when pressurised, can offer a greater level

CAPLE DI628 BUILT-IN DISHWASHER Multi award-winning appliance specialist Caple has a stylish new dishwasher collection which promises sparklingly clean dishes and glassware. Seven models demonstrate how Caple has achieved low levels of water consumption through its washing and drying cycles. Energy efficiency, washing and drying performance have also been improved. The new built-in Di628 dishwasher has an impressive A+++ energy rating and an A for washing and drying performance. There are 8 programmes, 14 place settings, a cutlery tray, and sound levels are low, at 45dB. The Di628 also features incredibly low water consumption, from 8.4 litres on the Auto programme.

Caple 0117 938 1900 www.caple.co.uk


The Green Room – Dishwashers

of cleaning power. “Although steamassisted programmes run for longer and consume more energy, they require very little water to generate enough steam for a single wash,” she adds. LG Home Appliances Marketing Communications Manager Dawn Stockell explains that LG’s TrueSteamTM Dishwasher, which uses the company’s Steam Generator technology, offers the option to use high temperature steam (95°C) to remove stubborn dried-on food and stains such as lipstick and gravy. It also eliminates the need to pre-

rinse dishes before placing them in the appliance. “Steam is powerful enough to remove the worst stains and dried-on food debris from tableware and glasses but is gentle enough to not leave streaks, scratches or cracks, even on the most delicate items.”

HOUSEHOLD TRENDS

Stockell also draws our attention to LG’s Silence On™ technology and Direct Drive motor, stating that: “With the trend towards open-plan living, the sound of kettles boiling, dishwashers whirring

AEG PROCLEAN DISHWASHER

Outstanding interior design and performance for today’s dishwashing The interior of the AEG F99000MOP ProClean dishwasher provides 10 litres of more loadable space to fit larger pans and dishes.

I’LL WASH, YOU DRY…

Dishes are stacked at an angle in the specially engineered baskets for maximum coverage from the double rotation ‘Satellite Sprayarm’. This action ensures outstanding performance, whatever is being cleaned. With more people living, eating and entertaining in the kitchen, noise levels are important. The AEG F99000MOP operates at just 39dB. Running costs are much lower, too, using just 0.99kWh of energy, and water consumption on the auto programmes is only 7 litres. 20

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

Zanussi’s fully integrated Quadro dishwasher

and refrigeration humming are more of a bugbear than ever before.” Operating at 38dB(A), LG’s dishwashers are, she says, “as quiet as an average library.” According to Whirlpool, reduced operational noise levels are helping to increase consumer interest. Dalia Haddad says this is especially because of the trend for open-plan living, as appliances must work silently in the background without interrupting conversation. Whirlpool’s ADP 8693 dishwasher has a 42dB(A) daily use programme and a 39dB(A) overnight programme. This same model also incorporates the brand’s Sense® technology, which measures the level of soiling in each load and adjusts resources accordingly, and PowerClean™ technology that removes burnt-on food from pots, pans and oven dishes to achieve 35% better cleaning results. Miele’s Sian Rees observes more consumers moving towards built-in dishwashers. Though more expensive, built-in products offer “really beneficial features” such as in-door salt and autoopen drying, she remarks. Miele’s G 5935 SCi XXL model incorporates these benefits, along with automatic load recognition and Perfect GlassCare System – a sensorcontrolled water softener that controls the hardness level of water entering the cabinet, to take extra-special care of delicate glasses. A major factor in any dishwasher’s performance is the drying of dishes, yet De Dietrich Sales & Marketing Director Richard Walker contends that sales points usually focus on washing while drying is rarely spoken about. “De Dietrich is one manufacturer that believes that the drying aspect is as important as the wash process and has developed the best possible drying performance in its dishwashers,” he comments. “Borrowing technology from the Motor and Watersports industries, each of our machines features an internal plasma coating at the roof of the appliance to ensure unequalled drying time. Furthermore, an Eolyse ventilation system circulates air for five minutes every hour to ensure dishes smell fresh whenever they are removed.”

AEG Trade Sales 08445 610 561 www.aeg.co.uk

While who does the washing and drying up is widely acknowledged to be the cause of household rows, how to stack the dishwasher has also been known to trigger bouts of marital discord. We know of the female who, after her partner has stacked the appliance, restacks it when his back is turned, and of the male who claims to have an obsession with stacking the dishwasher, with the compulsion that everything must go in, and has been known to unload and start all over again if something doesn’t fit. His reasoning is


The Green Room – Dishwashers

that men hate spending money on items that aren’t directly required for their obvious enjoyment, and as the price of dishwasher tablets is equal to around that of 4 pints of lager it is enough to motivate men to increase their stacking efficiency so that they get the maximum dishwashing for their money, especially if they are sacrificing 4 pints for the pleasure. Loading the dishwasher is a logistical challenge, which some people avidly embrace, but for those not so keen the psychological pain has been considerably eased, as manufacturers have improved capacities and enhanced basket layouts, making them a great deal more flexible and able to accommodate larger pieces of crockery and ovenware. De Dietrich this year launched three new models into its Core Collection of appliances, one of which, the DVH1140J, has an Espace upper

Hotpoint demonstrates just how little kitchen space is needed for a dishwasher

basket with a unique pyramid design that was developed to provide more space for awkward sized or unusually shaped dishes. Anti-sliding bands provide extra stability for delicate tableware and special racks cater for long-stemmed glasses. According to Richard Walker, the Espace provides 20% more room than an average basket. Hotpoint’s new 60cm range of dishwashers features a ‘Flexiload’ layout claimed to be the most flexible dishwasher interior on the market today. Senior Category Manager Giovanni Demuru explains that the brand’s Ultima FDUD51110 has an innovative third upper basket – a flat cutlery tray in three sections that can be pushed together to 70% of its width, leaving space at the edges for taller items in the basket below. “Using a special basket for cutlery frees up space elsewhere so the dishwashers can easily take 15 place settings,” he comments. The lower two baskets have six movable flaps for glasses, and racks that fold flat to make way for large pots and pans. Miele’s aforementioned G 5935 SCi XXL also has a third basket in the form

of a cutlery tray. This can be lowered in the centre to hold large utensils such as ladles, while the side trays can be pushed together to give more headroom either side for long-stemmed glasses.

NEW REQUIREMENTS

Electrolux’s Sophie Davidson points out that the industry standard for dishwasher place settings was created back in the 70s and until now has remained the same, “even though we demand so much more from our dishwasher today.” The standard doesn’t include pots and pans, salad bowls or serving dishes and only allows for plate sizes up to 26cm in diameter, so it’s understandable that manufacturers have taken the lead in developing the flexible interiors needed to accommodate 21st Century wash loads. Davidson says that AEG redesigned the interior of its ProClean dishwasher to provide 10 litres more load volume to comfortably fit big dishes, pots and larger plates up to 34cm in diameter and advises that models from both AEG and Electrolux feature an XXL tub large enough for modern-day oven and tableware.

“Existing dishwasher owners are more ‘feature aware’ and are willing to pay more for a more highly specified model, particularly if their previous dishwasher had its drawbacks” Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager, Smeg Smeg’s new 2013 range of dishwashers feature a 3rd level FlexiDuo cutlery basket


The Green Room – Dishwashers

Coming later this year from Hoover Candy is a 15 place setting dishwasher accommodating large plates up to 34.5cm diameter. Steve Macdonald of the company’s Freestanding Division says this is just one of the firm’s latest innovations, but he adds that Hoover’s existing A+AA rated 3D dishwasher, available in freestanding and integrated models, will take 35% more items than a standard 12 place setting appliance.

BUILT TO FIT

Caple Sales Director Danny Lay remarks that dishwasher models with more place settings mean more dishes will be washed using the same amount of water. But the range of place settings available now varies greatly, he notes; from a large number suitable for those with big families or who entertain regularly, to space-saving machines with fewer place settings suitable for households in which kitchen space is at a premium. According to Hotpoint’s Demuru, sales of such space-saving appliances are on the up due to more people living in apartments and smaller houses. “But even so,” he says, “a lot of people think they don’t have space for a dishwasher in their kitchen.” Hotpoint recently undertook to change this common perception with a TV ad showing viewers that if they have room to spread out a teatowel in a space in their kitchen then they have room for a slimline dishwasher. It’s a rarity for manufacturers to advertise dishwashers on TV. Most ads involving these products tend to focus on detergents, which provides no motivation for consumers to consider purchasing an appliance. Hotpoint’s ad clearly demonstrated the amount of space required to install a slimline model and

MONOCHROME DISHWASHING IN BLACK OR WHITE Amica has added two new dishwashers to its freestanding line up. Rated A++ for energy use, the new 14 place setting models offer 5 wash temperatures and 6 wash programmes. Available in black or white, the stylish appliances provide quiet, efficient operation, along with helpful features such as LED lighting inside and on the control panel, start delay and height adjustable racks.

For further information: 01425 461600 www.amica-international.co.uk

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GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

the voiceover prompted: “The dishwasher will change your life. So what are you waiting for?” Haier is also doing its bit to entice dishwasher purchasers by adding its new DW14-GFE9 glass design series to the Haier Expectations Guarantee. The brand’s commitment to product quality is demonstrated in the promise to provide a full refund to any customer unsatisfied with the product in the first 90 days after purchase. The A++ DW14-GFE9 is at the forefront of the Haier 2013 dishwasher range and comes in red and black glass finishes.

READY TO DAZZLE

It may appear that the dishwasher market is destined to rely upon the diehard converts that will trade up when the time comes to renew, but there is a new generation of potential owners ready to come through. As Maytag’s Sado points out, “current lifestyle trends provide the perfect sales environment for pushing the latest, most technologically advanced models. Today’s consumer is all about maximising their free time while minimising costs and removing as much hassle from the daily chores as possible. This makes a dishwasher an invaluable appliance.” Whirlpool’s Haddad believes that the future is bright for the dishwasher market and a boost will come from the new-build sector once housing construction again gets underway. “Building regulations make it necessary for newly built homes to meet a minimum water efficiency standard of 125 litres per person per day, which means that the dishwasher will play a major role in reducing water consumption in homes in the future.”

DESIGNED TO MATCH ALL KITCHEN STYLES The ingenious Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer™ can be placed anywhere within the kitchen, seamlessly fitting into cabinetry. Powered by SmartDrive™ intelligent technology with load sensing and 9 wash programmes, the DishDrawer™ dishwasher provides up to 12 place settings, with flexible racking system, adjustable cup racks and folding tines that can accommodate longstemmed wine glasses. The DishDrawer™ also comes with a 5-year parts and labour warranty for your customers’ total peace of mind.

For further information: 0845 6001934 www.fisherpaykel.com

Haddad also maintains that attitudes towards dishwashers are “definitely becoming more positive.” She says this will lead to the greater household penetration levels enjoyed by our European neighbours – Germany at 77% and France at 52%. Smeg’s Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager, believes that it is because of the current low penetration in the UK market that dishwashers, particularly freestanding models, represent one of the few categories with the potential for growth. According to Baumatic’s Balestrazzi, the dishwashing sector is predicted to grow by as much as 50% in the next 5 years. Although this may seem excessive, given the current difficulty of the market, she says “there are signs that, with the right incentives, consumers can and will part with their money and invest in a time- and energy-saving dishwasher that they can integrate easily into the home.”


Growth from Knowledge

Coming clean on dishwashers GfK’s Seema Boyd, Senior Account Manager, MDA, provides an update on the trends that are driving growth in the dishwashers market

T

CAPACITY

he dishwasher market has recorded a stable performance over the past year with value sales up slightly to just shy of £257 million for the twelve months to April. Freestanding appliances remain the most popular segment of the market, accounting for 58% of value sales. However, sales in this sector have fallen 2% year on year. Market growth has in fact been driven by the more premium built-in sector, which is up 8% with sales surpassing £108 million for the latest twelve month period (May 2012- April 2013). The built-in dishwasher is on average almost £60 more expensive than the freestanding equivalent, so the growth of this sector has helped lift overall market value by 2%.

INTERNET SALES

Full size dishwashers remain the main driver of value sales, growing by 3% to £210 million, which equates to 82% of the total category. The slim-line segment has remained flat year on year, with sales just under £42 million. If kitchen space isn’t an issue, it appears consumers would rather trade up to a full size model and pay an additional £50 on average for the extra capacity. This is a key theme in other major appliance markets such as refrigeration and laundry, where the premium big-capacity segments such as side-by-side cooling and larger drum sizes in laundry are performing well. For dishwashers, products that offer more place settings are proving popular. The

Apart from capacity, internet sales were the other significant factor behind the success of the dishwasher market, as well as other major appliance categories. Value sales increased by 8% online over the past year and internet purchases now account for 28% of all dishwasher sales. As consumers become more comfortable making big-ticket purchases online, many have turned to the internet in order to seek out the best deals available. The physical size of a major appliance also lends itself well to this type of purchase, as the removal of old appliances and the installation of new products can often be troublesome and time consuming. These benefits, coupled with the speed and convenience factors, especially when ordering a replacement product, have boosted the popularity of buying dishwashers online.

Energy efficiency and low water consumption gaining importance DISHWASHERS Jan 10-Dec 10

Jan 11-Dec 11

4

Sales Units % Jan 12-Dec 12 May 12-Apr 13

7

7

>8 <=10 litres

A+ A

94

D

65

>16 litres

Others

797,1

826,2

790,1

812,3

14

18

Sales Ths. Units

25

17

42 35

4

Sales Ths. Units

13

24

>14 <=16 litres 68

12

25

>12 <=14 litres

83

C

10

9

26

>10 <=12 litres

B

Jan 12-Dec 12 May 12-Apr 13

21 <=8 litres

A++

6

15

26

A+++

Jan 11-Dec 11

3

5

11 24

Jan 10-Dec 10

full size segment has seen growth for products that have 14 place settings, and over half of the slim-line segment is products with 10 place settings.

32

9

4

3

797,1

826,2

790,1

30

812,3

RESOURCE EFFICIENCIES

Another feature trend on the rise is low water consumption. Models that use an average of 12 litres or less for each cycle now account for just over 50% of volume sales and 12% of these products use no more than 8 litres of water per cycle. Water usage and energy efficiency is becoming an increasingly important topic for consumers as they look for ways to cut back on their rising household bills. This energy-saving trend has picked up considerable momentum over the past twelve months and appears to be more of a key feature for the dishwasher market. Hopefully, the energy- and watersaving message can help convert those that still prefer the rubber glove option, as household penetration for this market remains much lower than for other major appliances.

For further information, contact Seema Boyd, Senior Account Manager, MDA: seema.boyd@gfk.com +44 870 603 8114 www.gfk.com/uk www.twitter.com/gfk_en JULY 2013 GET CONNECTED

23


Portable CE Devices & Headphones

ALL CHANGE HERE... The Portable CE device market is a fast-changing sector influenced by design, fashion, lifestyle trends and new technologies. The result is that while some portable products are in decline, others are on the rise. The challenge for retailers is in knowing which portable devices and accessories to stock, and where the market is heading. George Cole focuses on two major areas of this shifting sector, both of which have been reshaped by the rise of the smartphone

J

ens Henriksen, global director of sales at Zound Industries, points out that the CE business in general is under a lot of pressure, with segments such as TV and Audio declining. But on the other hand he notes that smartphones and tablets are gaining more value share, which he says is especially interesting for the headphone market. “Headphones have been increasing in both value and units sold, which means that the market is growing and that there is a genuine interest from the consumer to invest more in products.”

SMART ACCESSORY

Volume in the Headphones market declined by 2% in the 12 months to April 2013, but value grew at a respectable rate of 5%, according to GfK. Commenting on trends in the sector, Lucy Twist, Account Manager for Consumer Electronics, said: “With smartphone compatibility increasingly becoming a major factor in purchasing decisions, there has been a shift towards headphones with in-line microphones (mobile stereo headsets). This segment saw 49% volume growth in the latest 12 months. However, as headphones without microphones still represented 87% of volume sales, a decline in this area of 7% has started to bring 24

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

down total volume sales for the year.” Zound Industries’ Henriksen adds that headphones is a segment that attracts all channels, since ARP is relatively high, and margin, at 40-50%, is extremely high for retailers. And Matt Coupe, Sony UK audio product manager, notes that the £100plus market in particular is experiencing healthy growth. Helen Dixon, product marketing manager, Panasonic UK, agrees that smartphones and tablets are partly driving headphone sales. Higher demand has been created as users purchase sets to listen discretely to music, television and video clips and talk on the move. “The market has also become more style focused, with consumers viewing headphones as a fashion accessory, again providing opportunities to increase market growth,” she adds. Sony’s Coupe also comments that headphones are considered a fashion accessory and says all independent retailers should take advantage of this trend, whether they place some colourful in-ears at till points or have staff demonstrating high-end ranges. Panasonic’s Dixon adds that there are different headphones for different needs and so retailers need to offer consumers a good choice, such as sports clip models

Smartphones and tablets are helping to drive headphone sales

and noise cancelling sets. Nick Wright, product manager of global distributor Westcon Converge, believes retailers should consider stocking Headsets. “With a Headset, someone can be having a business conversation one minute and listen to music the next. A Headset makes it easy to alternate between the two.” Wright also suggests that there is a need to educate the retail channel on the merits of Headsets “so they can be offered to consumers as a possible solution.”

DIGITAL IMAGING

There is a general perception that the imaging market is in decline. But Frederik Lange, category head for digital imaging at Sony UK, says: “Actually, more and more people are taking pictures and using photo devices in their everyday life. What has changed,” he asserts, “is the type of device used for each occasion.” Barney Sykes, Panasonic UK’s Lumix G camera product and marketing manager, backs this up with his observation of a shift towards mid/high-end compact cameras as consumers look for quality and innovation. He adds that the system camera market is growing, particularly in the top end, and “we expect to see this trend continuing, as consumers are


Portable CE Devices & Headphones

capturing short, spontaneous moments but a camcorder is far superior in terms of sound quality, zooming functionality and long recording times.”

MARKET POLARISATION

The smartphone has cannibalised some portable CE product sectors, although less so than is generally believed

appreciating the advanced features and benefits. Cameras like the LF1 with built-in electronic viewfinder offer new ways of capturing high quality photos.” Commenting on camcorders, Panasonic UK product marketing manager Lee Wootton notes that the High Definition camcorder market is stable, while the standard definition market is in decline as HD has become the de facto standard. “There is still a market for traditional camcorders,” he says, adding that one of the key drivers is for recording special events such as weddings, parties and christenings. “Smartphones are perfect for

According to Ofcom, 58% of the UK population owned a smartphone in 2012 and this figure is bound to exceed 60% before the end of the year. Juergen Boyny, global director of GfK Retail and Technology, says consumers like the versatility of the smartphone, with the combination of multiple devices (including a digital camera, photo album, music player and media player) in a single handset. The smartphone has inevitably cannibalised some portable CE product sectors, although less so than is generally believed. Panasonic’s Sykes says the market is polarising into consumers with an interest in photography and those looking for the best picture quality, and although it is moving away from sub-£100 products, the premium sector continues to show growth, as larger zoom and better sensors come to market. Many of Panasonic’s cameras are compatible with tablets and smartphones, thanks to wireless technologies such

as NFC (Near Field Communication) and Wi-Fi. “The desire to share images socially makes people more interested in taking pictures, and thus more interested in purchasing a camera,” says Sykes. “While tablets and smartphones are great for capturing those spur-of-the-moment shots, cameras can capture the image in superb quality and still make sharing the shot with friends and family effortless.” Panasonic’s new DMC-G6 and DMCLF1 cameras both have integrated Wi-Fi and NFC for remote control and wireless sharing of images. These features allow people to use a smartphone or tablet as a remote shutter with a monitor. An Instant Transfer function enables photos to be sent automatically after shooting. “With features such as these, it’s easy to see how smartphones and tablets are compatible with a dedicated camera, and how they are having a positive effect on the digital imaging market by increasing interest in photography,” adds Sykes.

DEVICES FOR ALL OCCASIONS

Sony’s Lange agrees that smartphones are having an effect on the low-end camera market but he says it is no longer a case of ‘the mobile phone user’, ‘the compact user’


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Portable CE Devices & Headphones

or ‘the DSLR user’. “Successful imaging brands need to adapt to this trend and focus on the actual consumer occasion of usage. Each dedicated imaging device offers a unique strength and benefit.” Lange adds that, even if you are a photography enthusiast, there may be occasions (such as a party) when you would use your mobile phone to take a quick picture for sharing on social networks. However, if you were photographing a landscape, you would favour a professional quality camera. If you wanted quality shots, but didn’t want to carry a DLSR around, then you might opt for a compact camera. “There is a trend for having a camera with premium features but in the most compact size possible,” he comments. “Our response has been through the launch of the Sony RX1, the world’s first full-frame compact camera, and the HX50, the world’s smallest 30x optical zoom compact camera.” When it comes to stocking advice for imaging equipment, Panasonic’s Sykes says retailers need to hold a good range of products and allow customers to touch and feel them. “Products should be powered so customers can try them effectively. This is particularly important for demonstrating features such as the zoom capability.”

POWERING UP

Portable devices run on batteries and stocking products such as Duracell’s Ultrapower line, which has a Powercheck feature that lets users see how much power is left and is designed for high drain devices such as cameras and portable speakers, is a handy way of generating extra revenue. However, with newer devices relying heavily on non-replacement batteries, GfK points out that the battery market has hit an all-time low (from 2005) moving into the year to April 2013, with pack sales dropping around 8% on the previous year. Max Templeman, Senior Account Manager for Consumer Electronics at GfK,

Sony’s SRS-BTX300 portable wireless speaker with NFC

This year is going to be more and more about the Bluetooth and NFC capabilities within headphones and portable speakers” comments: “AA has dropped to below half the market, with the share being picked up by AAA and specialist batteries. 8-packs are gaining momentum in the AA nonrechargeable segment, increasing their share to over a fifth of that market. An AA own label 8-Pack of non-rechargeable has also dropped around £1 in price over the last 2 years, making it a basketfriendly purchase.”

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

Looking to the future of the portable CE market, Zound Industries’ Henriksen says: “People expect to have everything in one package to take on the go. Connectivity is a part of daily life now. We expect to see competition increase in this crowded market, with more intelligent devices, excellent design and, most importantly, lower prices.” Sony’s Lange believes that sharing content from cameras with others on social networks will continue to be a sales driver, while Coupe says: “This year is going to be more and more about the Bluetooth and NFC capabilities within

headphones and portable speakers. This technology will appear in more mid-range product lines.” Coupe also observes that the popularity of fitness products is growing as healthy lifestyles become increasingly fashionable. “Consumers are seeking durable products that can sustain tough workouts and active regimes. The waterproof Walkman W273 MP3 player, which is designed for swimming, is proving very popular with customers.” Panasonic’s Sykes says the camera market is undoubtedly moving towards wireless and he expects to see a growing number of Wi-Fi and NFC devices that allow images to be easily shared without the need for a hardwire connection. The key driver for camcorder purchases will continue to be for recording special events, says colleague Lee Wootton, while Helen Dixon thinks that the headphone market will continue to grow and product designs will refresh and update in line with trends. The message is clear: portable devices look set to continue generating sizeable profits.

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JULY 2013 GET CONNECTED

27


George Cole

George Cole Gets Connected George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics

georgecole@gcmagazine.co.uk

When will we see Ultra High Definition discs? As

TV manufacturers push Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV aka 4K) sets that offer four times the resolution of 1080p HD televisions, the question is: when will consumers be able to watch content optimised for the new standard? The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has set up a task force to investigate the viability of putting UHD content onto a Blu-ray disc. It hopes to report by the end of this year. Even with improved compression algorithms, it’s going to be a tall order. One suspects that the BDA would like a solution which produced a single disc, compatible with both a new generation of Blu-ray UHD players and existing BD hardware. Ideally, the disc would contain a digital flag, so that when it was played on a normal BD player the content would automatically be down-converted to standard Blu-ray resolution, whereas a Blu-ray player equipped for UHD would generate a higher resolution image.

Meanwhile, Sony has launched a catalogue of ‘Mastered from 4K’ titles including Spiderman, Ghostbusters and Total Recall. Many movies are now shot in 4K resolution, so there is a good source of 4K material. But these new titles are not 4K discs – they are down-converted to 1080p resolution and play on standard Blu-ray hardware. Sony says its ‘Mastered from 4K’ titles offer several benefits. First, they use a faster bit rate than standard Blu-ray titles (around 35Mbps compared with 16-24Mbps for most Blu-rays); they offer improved colour performance, and they can use a special algorithm for optimised upscaling when a Bluray player is linked to a Sony 4K set. Some worry that Sony’s initiative will cause confusion. There’s also an argument that much of the improved picture quality comes from the faster bit rate rather than from the 4K mastering. And we have been here before: remember the Superbit DVD titles? Launched

before the arrival of Blu-ray, they too used a faster than normal bit rate to offer improved image quality. But no doubt Sony would argue that, as well as offering better picture quality, ‘Mastered from 4K’ helps raise the profile of the next big leap in television.

From camera to cloud There was a time when our photographs went from a camera to a photo album, but the advent of digital photography meant that many images ended up on a computer hard drive. Now, more and more people store their digital images in the cloud, using websites like Flickr, Facebook and Instagram. For many digital camera users, the scenario goes like this: you shoot your pictures, transfer them to your PC (usually by connecting the camera to the PC with a USB cable) and then upload them to the internet. Now the US company Eye-Fi has just launched a new memory card that aims to cut out the computer when it comes to putting images online.

28

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

Mobi is an SD card with built-in Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi memory cards have been around for years, but the older types require the digital camera and the device (usually a PC) to share the same wireless network. That’s fine if you’re at home, but not so great if you are outdoors. And even when you’re at home, you have to configure the Wi-Fi card to connect

to your home network. But the Mobi card is a Wi-Fi hotspot, which means there’s no configuration and the camera and device don’t have to be on the same network. Images and videos can be transferred wirelessly from a camera to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet and then uploaded to the internet, bypassing a PC.

So how does it work? There are four components in the chain. The first is having a suitably compatible digital camera, which means having at least an SDHC card slot. You also need a compatible device in the form of an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, which uses a free Eye-Fi app. Finally, a ten-digit code is used to link the Mobi card to the mobile device. Once images or videos have been transferred from camera to device they can be edited before being uploaded. It’s a neat, simple solution, although convenience comes at a price: an 8GB Mobi card costs around £30, while a Pro version (suitable for RAW image files) costs about £65.


From The Bench

Rogue traders Alan Bennett comments on a recent TV consumer programme

A

few weeks ago there was a Watchdog programme on BBC1 TV exposing a rogue TV repair business in Birmingham. It exposed the most diabolical cheating and fraud.

SETTING TRAPS

Three different LCD TVs were nobbled by the BBC’s technical expert. In the first, a couple of soldered joints were sucked dry on the PSU panel, resulting in no sound or vision, just a flashing standby lamp. The TV was taken away by the repair shop and returned with a £165 bill; it was falsely claimed that the power module had been replaced. In the second case a TV’s internal mains fuse had been made open circuit before calling in the same company. The set came back with a similar bill and another claim that a new PSU panel had been fitted – again the old one (previously marked with a UV pen) was still in there. In the third TV a multi-way flexiconnector had simply been withdrawn. After many weeks the rogue repair man suggested that the screen assembly itself was faulty and that the set was beyond repair as a result. What a catalogue of deception, fraud and incompetence! The danger is that all repair shops may be tarred by a gullible public with the same brush. How can a punter tell a genuine and honest dealer from people like these? Not necessarily by a manufacturer’s service agency, it seems...

CHARGES UP FRONT

It was interesting to see that this outfit made no up-front charge on collection of these TVs. We’ve found that when repair is not possible or viable (all too frequently, for a variety of reasons) it’s very often

impossible to collect any money from the customer, so we make an initial charge – its amount depending on whether the gear is brought into the shop or picked up from home – which reflects, though not always adequately, the cost to us of fault diagnosis, estimate preparation, possible disposal and where relevant a home call and collection/transportation to the repair bench. Often (and especially in cases like these three) this will be most or all of the repair bill, with any balance payable on delivery or collection from the shop. You would have thought that the repair shop involved here, steeped in cheating and fraud, would have made a charge at the time of collection!

compass of normal faults. Certainly they can give contact trouble (especially the LVDS link carrying data signals to the display panel) but I have never known one to spontaneously pull itself apart or fall off, and would be much puzzled if I encountered that in a set previously working in someone’s lounge. It was very odd, too, that the so-called technician missed this, and claimed that the TV was beyond repair. You would have thought that he’d have popped it back on, told porkies and made out a big lie for the bill as he did in the other two cases: he must have been utterly incompetent. Or did he have some other motive like restoring the link and selling the set on, second hand?

After many weeks the rogue repair man suggested that the screen assembly itself was faulty and that the set was beyond repair as a result. What a catalogue of deception, fraud and incompetence!” QUEER FAULTS

The first fault Watchdog’s expert introduced – two sucked-dry soldered joints in the midst of a panel containing otherwise perfect joints throughout – would, I believe, lead an experienced service engineer to smell a rat. In the position they had been put they looked to me odd and unusual. The second baited set had a blown mains fuse. BBC programmes like Watchdog have done this several times before over the years, seeing a blown fuse as an open-and-shut fault cause in itself. A good technician, however, never dreaming that he’s been set up, would regard the unexplained opening of the fuse as possibly symptomatic of another fault: while a fuse, without being overloaded, can fail for internal reasons like metal fatigue or set-external ones like a surge or spike on the mains supply, there can be other very good reasons for its failure. We would look for signs of liquid ingress, flashover etc. and check known-fault databases, perhaps talk to the set maker’s technical department, then at the very least replace the mains filter capacitors. Again, the parted flexi-connector (to a PC board) is somewhat out of the

When I taught at technical college, practical fault diagnosis tests often involved putting faults into electronic equipment, and ones like these would have been spotted in minutes (maybe seconds!) by our students. We had ways of inducing much more subtle and realistic breakdowns...

COMPULSORY REGISTRATION?

All this leads me to wonder whether it is time to introduce some form of enforced competence testing and registration for brown goods and white goods service engineers, along the lines of existing Gas Safe and electricians’ Part P legislation, in other spheres of the service and repair industry. Apart from ensuring that repaired electronic and electrical equipment is safe to use in terms of fire risk and shock hazard, it would (hopefully) go a long way towards eliminating incompetence and fraud. It would not be easy to introduce or regulate, however, and would push up costs to the end user of these services. Do any readers have opinions or comments on this? Please let us have them. JULY 2013 GET CONNECTED

29


Backchat

2-minute Interview “T

o be or not to be...” Is our interviewee pondering whether it would be better to live or die, or is he practising for his entry into the hall of fame of classical actors that have played the role of the complex Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, in Shakespeare’s captivating play? Meet Kevin Gillan, the beach-loving European Managing Director of warranty provider SquareTrade, who likes to work hard and play hard...

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry? Because of the opportunity to change a very dated and backward warranty industry Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Sir Charles Dunstone – always has great ideas and a sensible pragmatic approach How would you describe yourself? Someone who works hard, tries to make a difference and cares about my customers and team How do you think others see you? Probably the opposite of the above! What makes you laugh? My children… some of the time! Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents and my family What was the greatest turning point in your life? Not doing very well at my A levels first time round. Failure is a great teacher What’s your greatest regret? Honestly have no regrets – sorry! Pet hate? People not willing to make a difference and change things for the better Hobbies? Gardening, rugby and sailing Do you have any bad habits? Yes. But not telling – sorry! What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? I can’t honestly answer this without lying What historic figure do you identify with most? Captain Cook – adventurer, explorer and risk taker If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do? I’d like to be a chef or a gardener 30

GET CONNECTED JULY 2013

Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? Plenty – but I’m in my mid 40s so it’s probably far too late!

Do you have any particular fetishes? Are you joking?

Name your poison. Red wine

Greatest achievement? My family

What would you put into Room 101? The ‘stars’ from TOWIE!

What do you daydream about? Lying on a beach

What sort of music do you like? U2 – and then everything else

Favourite holiday destination? Lying on the beach I daydream about in Barbados

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? I got run over by a car when I was five and spent a few months in hospital

Favourite cuisine? I absolutely love food of all kinds – I do particularly enjoy an Indian takeaway on a Friday night though

Who do you most admire? Probably our doctors and nurses, especially those that look after children

I absolutely love food of all kinds – I do particularly enjoy an Indian takeaway on a Friday night though” Favourite TV programme? My wife loves Downton Abbey and I have to admit, so do I

Greatest fear? Something happening to my family and being in a plane crash

Favourite quote? To be or not to be...

What’s the best kind of punishment? Taking a bone away until the culprit learns not to chew our shoes

What surprises you? The wonders of life… You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play? Hamlet – always been fascinated by the play and the character Do you have any hidden talents? My green fingers, which only became apparent in the last few years. I’d also love to have the patience, and the time, to write a book You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day, what would be the first change you would make? Remove guns and weapons from absolutely everyone

Who deserves it? Our dog, of course! Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Hopefully still running SquareTrade, which by then will be a major force across Europe What’s your favourite piece of kit? My Mac pro What motto do you live by? Work hard, play hard Life is… ...wonderful. But at times it can be a real challenge


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Get Connected Magazine - July 2013  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry

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