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Join us at stand 350 at the Euronics CIH showcase for a first glimpse at our fantastic new range of Blomberg products, available exclusively to Euronics Agents. It’s going to be as impressive as it is interactive, so make sure you pay us a visit to let us show you why 2015 is going to be our biggest year ever. To find out more about Blomberg go to www.blomberguk.com or call 01264 320500
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A preview of what’s to come at this year’s event
Beko celebrates 25 years in the UK market
The inspiration behind the designs
Perfect pairing: ultra-thin screens and whopping big sound
Currys PC World: was the ASA’s UHD ruling fair?
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COMMENT PLUS ÇA CHANGE...
he idea of “change” – and the acknowledgement that it will keep on happening whether it makes us richer or poorer, more or less comfortable with the ethics and attitudes of the world we live and work in – is so ingrained in our thinking that we are sometimes guilty of sagely nodding and accepting the cliché without taking time to consider what’s actually happening, or what we can do about it. In our business, driven by new products and new technology, and subject to consumer tastes and economic circumstances, change has been especially rapid over the past decade or so, aided by a long, deep recession that accelerated changes that would have happened in any case. Some great and respected brand names have been humbled and forced to retrench as the status quo crumbled around them; long-established retailers toppled from the heights of High Street pre-eminence into the depths of administration; whole High Streets lost their attraction for shoppers and boarded-up shopfronts and “To Let” signs spread their blight across the country. At the same time other brands rose from the second or third division into premiership positions by producing and marketing the products consumers now want; other retailers seized massive chunks of consumers’ disposable income by understanding the shift in shopping habits and the new demands for convenience, choice and price; other shopping venues – some of them without any bricks-andmortar presence at all – filled the void created by the empty High Streets. If that’s not enough change for our industry, we now have the news that a venerable industry trade publication with more than a century of history behind it is going monthly – having relatively recently gone fortnightly and dropped the “Weekly” that had been a part of its title for many years. It’s another indication of how the dynamics and economics of our industry are changing, and of how the trade press has also to adapt to serve its supporters and its audience. 4
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“There are those for whom change is a problem; there are those for whom change brings benefits; and, importantly, there are those who actually drive change by anticipating or creating changing demand.”
What can we do about change – other than simply to recognise and, in some cases, regret it as it makes fresh demands in areas where we have not much experience or expertise and rejects skills and practices we’ve relied on to make us a living in the past? There are those for whom change is a problem; there are those for whom change brings benefits; and, importantly, there are those who actually drive change by anticipating or creating changing demand. And it is all about customer demand. Brands that satisfy it are winners; retailers that service it are winners; High Streets fail when the shoppers stop coming because they’ve found a better alternative. If all we can do is regret that change, outside our control, has made our particular skills and experience obsolete, it’s time to call it a day. If we can recognise, understand and rapidly adapt to changing customer needs that we haven’t necessarily driven ourselves but have opened up fresh opportunities for us, we have a chance to succeed. Very few of us can claim to be among the drivers of change – those who can make products or deliver services that consumers didn’t even know they wanted till they saw them (in fact, we’ve seen manufacturers in our industry come unstuck by creating new products because they can, then finding consumers are not enthusiastic) but if we get it right, it’s guaranteed Premiership. If you’re a driver – good for you. If you’re an adapter – good luck. If you’re a regretter – goodbye.
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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE NEARS 13-YEAR HIGH
onsumer confidence has risen to its highest level for almost 13 years as the Index evaluating public sentiment increased by three points in March, with all five measures rising. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index rose to +4 as households reported a
JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP CUTS STAFF BONUS AS PROFITS DECLINE
he John Lewis Partnership reported pretax profits down 9.0% for the 53 weeks ended 31 January, with increased profits in John Lewis offset by a decline in Waitrose. As a result, this year’s staff bonus has been cut to 11% from 15% in 2014. John Lewis increased gross sales by 9.2% to £4.43bn (7.5% on a 52 week basis) and operating profit grew by 10.8% to £250.5m (10.4% on a 52 week basis). Electricals & Home Technology increased 7.9% and performed well across the year, despite a challenging market, with large electrical at 12.5% and audio at 23.4%. Chairman of JLP Sir Charlie Mayfield said the outlook for John Lewis is “robust.” Gross sales at the department store chain for the first five weeks of the current year were 3.7% higher than last year (2.6% like-for-like).
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willingness to spend on major purchases and a more positive outlook for personal finances and the general economy. Interviewing for compilation of the statistics was carried out from 1st to 16th March, before the Government’s pre-election budget, but Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at
GfK, said reaction to the budget has thus far been “muted”, adding that if people warm to it over the next few weeks then we may well see a further increase in the Index next month. “A consistently rising Index in the run up to the election is likely to be good news for the Government,” he commented.
ARGOS REPORTS SALES RISE, DESPITE WEAKER FINISH TO THE YEAR Like-for-like sales at Argos declined 5% the final eight-week trading period of the financial year ended 28 February 2015, while total sales dropped 4% as demand for consumer electronics dipped. Despite the slowdown in CE sales, Argos reported full-year likefor-likes up 0.6% and total sales up 1.1% to £4,096m. Full-year internet sales represented 46% of sales, up from 44% last year. Within this, mobile commerce grew by 38% to represent 25% of sales. Full-year like-for-likes at sister company Homebase increased 2.3%, but total sales dropped 0.7% to £1,479m. John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said Group benchmark profit before tax for the FY15 financial year is expected to be “towards the top end of the current range of market expectations of £120m to £132m.”
AO CHAIRMAN DUMPS 5.58 MILLION SHARES
World chairman Richard Rose has sold 5.58 million shares in the company, bringing him a £10 million windfall. The move followed AO’s issuing of a profit warning on 25th February in which it said that profits for the financial year ending 31 March 2015 will be below expectations. In a statement to the press, AO chief executive John Roberts said: “The share sale by Richard Rose follows the expiry of the post-IPO lockup and will help to further increase liquidity and the number of shares in public hands. “Richard remains committed to the company, both as a shareholder and as its chairman.” AO World floated in February 2014 with a market value of £1.2 billion.
SHOP PRICES REGISTER NEW RECORD LOW Shop prices recorded their 23rd consecutive month of deflation in March, dropping 2.1% from 1.7% in February. According to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index (SPI), food registered deflation of 0.9% from a 0.4% fall in February, while non-food fell from 2.5% to 2.8%, driven by declining prices in clothing and electricals. Deflation is now at its deepest rate since the SPI records began in December 2006.
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EURONICS GEARS UP FOR 2015 CONFERENCE
NET LOSS OF SHOPS ALMOST TRIPLES IN 2014 N
early three times as many retail stores vacated Britain’s high streets last year as the advance of online sales and changing consumer demand continued to reshape shopping habits. According to research compiled by the Local Data Company for PwC, 5,839 outlets closed in 2014 compared to 4,852 openings. This equates to a net
reduction of 987 shops as significantly fewer stores opened despite similar numbers closing year on year. The net loss increased from 371 closures in 2013, the study of multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Great Britain found. In 2013, 5,662 stores opened and 6,033 stores closed, a rate of 16 stores shutting per day.
uying and marketing group Euronics has announced that its 2015 UK Conference will take place at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington, London on 19th June. The Conference will host presentations from the CI(H) management team and suppliers and will culminate in a gala dinner at the Natural History Museum. Stuart Cook, chief executive of Euronics, said: “The Conference will be an excellent opportunity for members to not only meet suppliers but also the CI(H) management team.”
CHANGE IN PLANNING LAWS ALLOWS ALL RETAILERS TO INSTALL CLICK & COLLECT FACILITIES
he Government has relaxed the planning laws to allow retailers to make the changes necessary to offer click & collect services, to ensure the rise of internet shopping supports local shops. The changes mean that, as of 15th April 2015, all retailers can install click & collect facilities, such as covered collection points or lockers, without making a planning application. Figures show that the UK is the biggest user of click & collect with 35% of online shoppers using the service. This figure is predicted to double within the next 3 years. Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Far from
threatening the high street, online shopping offers a new opportunity. How we shop is changing radically and I want to help our high streets thrive from online competition. “It’s just one of a range of measures we’re taking to boost the Great British high street, encourage shoppers to the town centre and get shops to grow and thrive.”
ALAN ROSER Founder and MD of multi-brand distributor Anthem AV Solutions Alan Roser has died, aged 53, following a short illness. In a tribute to the Surrey-born industry veteran, his wife and colleagues said: “With over 20-plus years in the industry he will be greatly missed for his warm sense of humour and his in-depth technical knowledge of the AV and Projector business. He was often referred to as ‘Mr Grand Cinema’. He loved nothing more than standing in front of an audience speaking about the latest developments in product and technology.” Anthem AV Solutions will continue to operate with a new management team, in accordance with Mr Roser’s wishes.
HUGHES ELECTRICAL OPENS NEW SWAFFHAM STORE
ughes Electrical has officially opened its new store in Swaffham following the acquisition of the electrical retail business and premises of TK Drake last year. The former TK Drake store in London Road has been completely revamped and extended to offer 2,000 sq ft of retail space, four times that of the previous Hughes outlet in Market Place, which is now closed. The £500,000 investment gives Hughes a large warehouse dedicated to the click & collect service available via its website, so customers can drive up to the back of the store and have their goods loaded. It also provides a much greater range of products as well as improved levels of comfort and service for customers. All retail members of staff at TK Drake’s have been taken on by Hughes. “This represents a significant investment for Hughes, but we are also confident it will be a real boost to Swaffham as a whole and means people can shop locally for all their electrical goods,” said Malcolm Tuff, Hughes Regional Manager (pictured left). The new store will be managed by Stuart Baker (right), who has been with Hughes for 14 years. He is supported by three full time members of staff: Kay Mason, Linda Jarvis and Stephen Smith.
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GOOGLE OPENS FIRST BRICKS & MORTAR STORE Google has entered into bricks & mortar retailing with its first ‘Google shop’, located on London’s Tottenham Court Road as a shop-in-shop in Currys PC World. The Google shop offers customers the chance to sample Google’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecasts and learn how the devices work together to make users’ lives as seamless as possible.
Visitors can play with Google’s software tools and apps in a unique way, with installations including an immersive surround screen installation where users can “fly” through any part of the planet through Google Earth; a Doodle Wall where budding graffiti artists can use digital spray cans to paint their own take on Google’s logo, which they can then share on social media; a Chromecast Pod where customers can enjoy Google Play Movies, YouTube and more via a Chromecast dongle that converts any TV into a smart TV. Bruno Berthezene, UK Country Manager at Solocal Group, an international provider of multichannel marketing services, said: “This move by Google highlights that even in this hyper-connected digital age of retail, having a physical presence on the high street is still vital for helping brands to better engage with consumers and increase sales.”
Visit for the stories behind the news... Digital remedy for high street health National Minimum Wage to rise 3% Consumer campaigner Lynn Faulds www.amica-international.co.uk
Wood to lead review of product recall system
Video streaming records dynamic growth REPIC looks back on first year of recast WEEE Directive
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“Our system of business rates was created nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the worlds of commerce and industry have changed beyond recognition.”
A IN HALL 3
SHARPER GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES “WIDE-RANGING” BUSINESS RATES REVIEW The Government has launched the most wideranging review of national business rates in a generation, paving the way for changes in how businesses in England pay the tax.
he review, set to report back by Budget 2016, will examine the structure of the current system which is paid annually on 1.8 million properties in England. It will look at how businesses use property, what the UK can learn from other countries about local business taxes, and how the system could be modernised to better reflect changes in the value of property. Launching the review during a speech to local businesses in Cambridge, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “Our system of business rates was
created nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the worlds of commerce and industry have changed beyond recognition. I’ve been impressed by the representations made by the business community and I know that business rates are a considerable cost.” The announcement follows the Government’s commitment in December 2014 to conduct a review of business rates and implement a £1 billion package to reduce the cost of business rates in 2015-16, with particular support for the smallest businesses and the high street.
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EBAC RECOGNISED FOR INSPIRING BRITAIN
bac Holdings Limited, parent company of the Ebac Group, has been named in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2015’ report, a celebration of some of the fastest growing and most dynamic SMEs in the UK, as identified by the London Stock Exchange. Ebac will become the UK’s only manufacturer of washing machines in the next few months, having invested £7 million and many years of R&D into the products it will produce. The company is already an established manufacturer of dehumidifiers and water coolers and aims to double its 200-strong workforce as it expands its product range. It recently started producing Norfrost chest freezers at its premises in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Pamela Petty, managing director of Ebac, said: “As an innovative and forward-thinking business it is very satisfying to be recognised in this way. “Ebac has ambitious growth plans and the move into chest freezers and washing machines demonstrates our commitment to British manufacturing and the contribution it makes to both the regional and national economy.”
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HARMAN ACQUIRES B&O AUTOMOTIVE CAR AUDIO BUSINESS
arman International Industries has signed an agreement to acquire the Bang & Olufsen Automotive car audio business for €145,000,000 plus payments for an exclusive license to the Bang & Olufsen and B&O PLAY brands within the automotive industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Harman will assume all B&O Automotive customer programmes and all Automotive
development and production resources will be transferred to the Connecticut-headquartered firm. The agreement remains subject to certain customary closing conditions. The Bang & Olufsen and the B&O PLAY brands will join HARMAN's portfolio of car audio brands including Bowers & Wilkins®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®.
NEW CO-OWNER FOR ACOUSTIC ENERGY $20 billion Taiwanese corporation Wistron has acquired a 28% stake in Acoustic Energy’s parent company Formosa Prosonic Group (FPI). Wistron, a global ODM providing services in design and manufacturing for the IT and consumer electronics industries, operates 15 manufacturing and design centres worldwide,
employing 60,000 staff supplying a client base that includes some of the world’s largest CE brands. Wistron and FPI said they are now well placed to provide Acoustic Energy with the necessary resource to design and produce a new and unique portfolio of audio products roadmapped for launch later this year and throughout 2016.
SAMSUNG PREDICTS 30% FALL IN Q1 OPERATING PROFIT
amsung Electronics has forecast better-than-expected results for the first quarter of 2015. The company is predicting a quarterly operating profit in the region of KRW 5.9 trillion, down more than 30% on the same quarter last year but up from the KRW 25.03 trillion reported for the fourth quarter of 2014. Q1 2015 sales are expected to be in the region of KRW 47 trillion. Analysts have attributed the quarter-on-quarter recovery to high margin chip sales, which are said to have offset the downturn in sales of mobile phones.
LG HOLDS TOP SPOT IN GLOBAL WASHING MACHINE MARKET
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Electronics has been named the number one global washing machine brand for the seventh consecutive year, accounting for 12.4% of all washing machines sold in 2014, according to GfK. In front-loading models, LG held the top spot for the sixth consecutive year with 14.7% market share and was number one in the highly competitive US market for the eighth year running. “LG has been able to dominate the global market through constant development of innovative washing machine technology and design, especially our 6 Motion Direct Drive motor and TurboWash™ technologies,” said Seongjin Jo, president and CEO of the LG Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. “Innovative features, reliable performance and outstanding design continue to be key selling points for LG premium appliances, and customers seem to agree.”
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EXCLUSIVELY ELECTRICAL MOVES INTO FESTIVE MOOD
isitors to the first Exclusively Electrical trade show at the Business Design Centre in London are being encouraged to think about boosting Christmas trade, with the opportunity to see a variety of small appliances that will appeal to consumers during the festive season. Show director Simon Boyd said: “Exclusively Electrical will be the perfect place to find attractive Christmas gift ideas to help attract footfall, and whether the items ordered are a mainstream or complementary offer, they will add colour and impact to any retail environment. “These products are fashion-led, on trend and are often a key visual element in the kitchen. They also make great gifts. So whether you run a kitchen showroom, a department store, a cookshop, a general electrical or a specialist white goods store, a good SKA/SDA offer will help to create interest and deliver good profit margins. “June is a good time to place orders for delivery in October, ready for the busy Christmas sales period, so we’re asking all our exhibitors to think ahead and make sure they’ve got some good offers available.” Entry to Exclusively Electrical is free for trade buyers. All visitors will be offered free refreshments, including lunch. Buyers interested in visiting the new show can register online at www.exclusivelyelectrical.co.uk or by calling 0121 237 1130.
SHORTCUTS Gorenje has provided MTV with two of its Retro fridges for the Geordie Shore house. Geordie Shore, now on its 10th series, first launched in 2011. Series 9 was reported to have attracted an average 936,000 viewers. Baumatic has partnered with DreamWorks to promote the blockbuster animated cinema release HOME and is targeting families with an associated brand awareness campaign using print, bus sides, billboards and social media. Consumers have
the opportunity to win a family Water Park holiday in Verona, worth over £6,000. Baumatic has also launched a consumer promotion offering an 8-piece Berghoff knife set in a chef-style folding bag to support sales of its 90cm and 100cm premium range cookers. Miele is offering consumers £75 cash back and a free five-year warranty on its classic WDA 110 washing machine. The promotion runs until 31 May 2015. Britannia Living has introduced The Hotspot, an online scrapbook with a dedicated space to access the latest news, recipes, competitions and design trends from the culinary world. Smeg has introduced a new brochure with lifestyle photography showing its Victoria and 50s-style appliances. The 98-page,
full-colour publication incorporates the complete 50s-style range including the recently introduced SDA collection. It also features Smeg’s new retro Victoria built-in collection and Victoria range cookers. Gorenje has released a new full-colour brochure highlighting the selection of coloured appliances in its cooling and laundry ranges. Products presented in the publication are Gorenje’s Retro collection and Ion Generation fridge freezers and the Colour Edition washing machine and tumble dryer.
CAI ACHIEVES TRUSTMARK STATUS T
he Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) has achieved scheme operator status for TrustMark, the Governmentendorsed scheme for tradesmen working in UK homes, enabling members to apply for TrustMark status so they can be found by homeowners using the TrustMark post code search facility.
All CAI Members who qualify with certificated safe working practice will be able to carry the TrustMark. Tim Jenks, Senior Executive of CAI, said: “The TrustMark endorsement for our members will radically raise the profile of an industry that is fundamental to nearly every household in
the UK – the ability to distribute home entertainment around the home along with internetbased services. We firmly believe that TrustMark offers a point of differentiation in this competitive domestic market and provides homeowners with a platform to find reliable, safe and competent trades people.”
CEDIA URGES ELECTRICAL RETAILERS TO ATTEND TECH FORUMS
he Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) will be hosting Tech Forums in four locations this year and is encouraging electrical retailers to attend. The free one-day session combines education and networking and, according to
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CEDIA, it is a “must attend” event for those who are thinking about or have already ventured into the smart home industry. CEDIA has improved the format of its Tech Forums to now include eight 90-minute manufacturer product training sessions from CEDIA trade suppliers.
The confirmed locations for Tech Forums in 2015 are as follows: Bristol 29th April; London 27th May; Edinburgh 25th June; Manchester 30th September. For further information: www.cedia.co.uk/cedia-events or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Free 5 Year Warranty At LG we know that reliability and peace of mind matters to our customers, that’s why we’ve introduced a new exclusive 5 Year Warranty on selected Laundry products. To ﬁnd out more, visit www.lg.com/uk/5yearwarranty For full terms and conditions visit www.lg.com/uk/5yearwarranty For more information on LG’s 2014 Home Appliance Range, please email us on: email@example.com
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BERTAZZONI INTRODUCES NEW RANGE COOKER PLATFORMS TO UK MARKET
I NEFF ON TOUR WITH NEW MOBILE TRAINING ACADEMY
eff has followed in the footsteps of Bosch with a new Mobile Training Academy giving retailers hands-on product experience for the launch of the brand‘s new Premium and Classic built-in collections. Bosch unveiled its new Mobile Training Academy in February this year and announced that it will travel the UK for the next 12 months. The Neff Academy will also travel the UK for 12 months. It is fully equipped with a selection of the brand’s new built-in ovens and dishwashers, complemented by hoods and hobs. The highlight of the collection is Neff’s Slide&Hide® oven, which is
available with Pyrolytic selfcleaning for the first time. From May onwards the vehicle will be open to consumers and will stop at major shopping destinations. Neff is also opening a newly fitted showroom at Milton Keynes this spring. Jo Eyers, Group Marketing Manager for Neff, said: “This is the first time Neff has been on tour. The launch of our new built-in collections was enthusiastically received in November and we hope that retailers and dealers will have a similar reaction to the Mobile Training Academy. We also look forward to unveiling this to consumers from May this year.”
GIMME THE MONEY, HONEY…
ig Red Sales agent Stuart Hoad, who covers Greater London and Essex, has been pronounced winner of the top prize in the company’s “Sales Agent of the Year 2014” competition. He is said to have “pipped the company’s other 10 sales agents at the post in a very hotly fought contest” to collect the reward of £5,000 for his efforts. Commenting on his achievement, Hoad said: “I am delighted to have won this super prize and would like to thank all my customers for their support. After all, without them I couldn’t have done it. “In addition, thanks are also due to our manufacturers who embraced this invitation to create the monthly competitions that make the incentive so exciting.”
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talian kitchen appliance brand Bertazzoni is to introduce new range cooker platforms to make models available to a broader section of the UK market. The new platforms will be introduced across Bertazzoni’s Professional, Master and Heritage Series between June and August 2015 and will extend the brand’s current range cooker offering to include 60cm, 90cm, 100cm and 120cm appliances.
SHORTCUTS Baumatic has appointed Leaker Direct as exclusive distributor in Scotland for all of the brand’s appliance ranges. The UK hi-fi industry’s trade body The Clarity Alliance has announced the membership of Kent-based manufacturer of high-end audio electronics Kleio Audio Limited. Fisher & Paykel has been awarded the Quiet Mark for its new range of SmartDrive™ washing machines. Haier has appointed Yannick Fierling as CEO of Haier Europe. He succeeds René Aubertin as the second European to be responsible for the overall management of the subsidiary.
additional business across its range of CI, home cinema, hi-fi and professional audio products. Sirius Buying Group has been appointed as an official UK supplier for Gorenje appliances, giving the Group’s membership access to the Slovenian brand’s entire portfolio of products. Andy Graham has joined Pure as senior director of sales. Premium Swiss appliance manufacturer Andy Graham V-ZUG has announced the appointment of Rhys Evans to the position of Sales Director for the UK and Ireland.
Kenwood has won Red Dot Product Design Awards for its CHEF Sense and MultiOne kitchen machines. The recognition follows just weeks after iF Design Awards were received for the brand’s MultiOne and Multipro Micro, and an iF Gold was received for the CHEF Sense. Parasound has appointed The Multi-Room Company as its exclusive UK distributor to provide enhanced service for existing customers and opportunities for
Ruark Audio has added two new members to its in-house team as the business expands into new territories. David Bannister has been appointed to the role of Sales and Marketing assistant, strengthening Ruark’s retail arm, and John Sanderson to the role of Development Engineer.
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STYLISH DESIGN EXCELLENT FUNCTION Did you know that induction hobs compared to gas or ceramic hobs are significantly more energy efficient and economical to use? The reason is that the induction technology is faster and has a far better energy utilization and thereby wastes less energy. Witt induction hobs give you state-of-the-art technology, Scandinavian design and a lifetime of cooking pleasure!
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48-litre (gross) main oven: maxi-grill and 5 cooking functions 4 cooking levels Crystal Clean enamel cavity 31-litre (gross) capacity lower oven: 3 cooking functions 4 cooking levels for top and bottom grills Telescopic tray guides and a turbo fan setting
01235 861916 | www.teka.co.uk
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PRESTIGIO RELEASES MULTIPAD CONSUL 7008 4G WITH 4G CONNECTIVITY Prestigio’s MultiPad Consul 7008 4G tablet is specially designed for business use. The 8-inch device is available in black or white with a softtouch textured back and unique metal detail, and comes complete with leather pouch. j j j j j j j
1280 x 800 pixels on a comfortable 8-inch IPS display Quad-core 64-bit capable Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 processor Quad core graphic card Qualcomm® Adreno™ 306 Comprehensive protection with McAfee® LiveSafe™ 8GB of internal storage and up to 32GB with an additional memory card Front video camera for video calls and 2.0MP rear camera GPS receiver | FM radio and Bluetooth | 4G Internet up to 75/50Mbps
SMEG WMI14C7 FULLY INTEGRATED WASHING MACHINE Smeg has added this 7kg fully integrated washing machine (WMI14C7) to its laundry range, offering 15 programmes including mixed fabrics and a 30-minute 30°C wash, which saves time and is suitable for woollens and sports clothes.
Rated A+ for energy efficiency; B for spin drying Variable temperature and spin speed (1400rpm max) Easy iron, intensive and prewash programmes 24-hour delay timer Noise levels: wash 56dB; spin 72dB 300mm door Electronic display panel and child lock
0844 557 0070 | www.smeguk.com
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LIMITED EDITION ASTELL&KERN AK240 SOUNDS AND LOOKS EVEN BETTER Astell&Kern has launched a limited edition Stainless Steel version of its AK240 flagship music player, giving the premium portable a new look and improving both performance and durability. The AK240 Stainless Steel edition – available now, priced £2499 – also comes with a bespoke leather case from the renowned Rémy Carriat Tannerie. j j j j
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Dual 24bit/192kHz DAC design Native DSD playback Balanced Output 256GB of internal memory, expandable to 384GB via 128GB microSD card
Wi-fi connectivity | Bluetooth support Carbon Fibre back| 3.31-inch AMOLED touchscreen
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
MIELE DGM 6800 STEAM OVEN WITH MICROWAVE This versatile 40-litre appliance from Miele uses the same MultiSteam technology as all other Miele steam ovens and has the same full range of functions. The appliance is available in Miele’s PureLine range in CleanSteel, Obsidian Black, Brilliant White and Havana Brown. It offers cooking on four levels and comes with four stainless steel cooking containers, a wire rack, glass drip tray, two de-scaling tablets and a steam cooking recipe book. j j
150+ automatic programmes M Touch high-resolution TFT display | Menu browsing using swiping or scrolling actions Microwave benefits from seven power levels (80-1000W) QuickStart, reheating, defrosting, keep warm and automatic popcorn programmes
Facility to create up to 20 unique programmes using microwave and steam modes in turn Available from May 2015
0845 330 2660 www.miele.co.uk
GLASS-FRONTED COOLING RANGE FROM AMICA
The new WC177 in-column wine cabinet from Caple has a back panel finished with an intricate wine bottle motif on stainless steel, which contrasts perfectly with the black cabinet interior and stainless steel door and handle. j
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The appliance incorporates eight telescopic stainless steel shelves with beech fronts for Bordeaux bottles and two double shelves for stacking larger bottles. Toughened UV-protected glass door 89 Bordeaux (750ml) bottle capacity Operating level 42dB 3 x temperature zones | Fan-circulated cool air | No-frost compressor cooling system
Amica has introduced a new glass-fronted cooling range in high gloss black and high gloss pure white finishes. The new fridge freezers have an LCD display on the fridge compartment door and come in two versions: a 60/40 split three-drawer freezer or 50/50 four-drawer freezer.
A+ rated | Intelligent electronic control Fresh Zone compartment Wine rack and in-door balconies SSP £500 2-year guarantee
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LED display | Touch controls UV/heat-free white LED lighting Door open alarm | High temperature alarm
0117 938 1900 | www.caple.co.uk
DE’LONGHI ADDS A SPLASH OF COLOUR TO BRILLANTE RANGE This striking red kettle and toaster are the latest additions to De’Longhi’s Brillante collection, which features a contemporary 3D multi-faceted surface that glistens in the light. Both appliances each have an RSP of £61.99. Brillante kettle: j j j j j j j j
3kW rapid boil with 3-level safety protection Cord storage Removable, washable scale filter Brillante toaster: Removable crumb tray Extra lift facility Reheat and defrost functions Electronic progressive browning control
www.delonghi.co.uk APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
EURONICS SHOWCASE 2015
he 2015 Euronics Showcase takes place in Hall 3a at the NEC Birmingham on April 26-27 and promises to be larger than last year’s show, with new market opportunities for members and a number of exclusive ranges launching for the independent retail sector. The event is one of the most important in the electrical industry’s calendar as it offers retailers the opportunity to see products from major suppliers under one roof and to take advantage of event-exclusive promotions and deals. CI(H) Chief Executive Stuart Cook said suppliers have made significant investments in their stands and are looking to bring real theatre to the 2015 show. “I look forward to welcoming members, suppliers and potential new members to the Euronics Showcase 2015, which is sure to be another unmissable event from the UK’s marketleading buying group.” And here is what retailers can expect to see from some of the major suppliers this year.
Amica is doubling its presence at the 2015 Showcase, with display highlights including a new double-cavity cooking range, new cooling, washing and built-in ranges. The brand, which is a growing favourite with independents due to its commitment to the sector, promises a “stunning” display on a stand twice the footprint of last year. Simon Freear, country manager for Amica in the UK and Ireland, said: “CI(H) is always an important show for us. This year perhaps more than any previous we have so much to say. We’ve worked incredibly hard to produce a stand that will be a mustsee for all CI(H) retailers.”
Retailers are invited to visit Beko on stand 460 to learn more about the brand’s extensive training programmes for retail staff and its new Premium Partnership with FC Barcelona. Training is an integral part of Beko’s support for Euronics. In 2014, the team completed 822 store visits and delivered 2,306 units of total category training to 1,069 people within the group. In September 2015, Beko will also begin its Training Roadshow throughout the UK for Euronics. This is an exciting year for Beko, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in the UK. The brand has entered into a 4-year global Premium Partnership with FC Barcelona which will be supported by a 360o campaign including TV advertising, PR, social media and digital. Guests visiting the Beko stand will be able to learn more about the sponsorship and will have the chance to win tickets to an FC Barcelona match during the 2015/16 season. Key products on display at the show will include a brand new 12kg washing machine (WY124854MW) and 8kg condenser dryer with sensor programmes. In cooling, visitors will be able to view the new CF6713W frost free combi fridge freezer with intuitive freezer guard technology, a selection of electric and gas cookers and freestanding and built-in dishwashers. The Beko stand will also provide visitors with the opportunity to ‘Feast at their Leisure’ and will showcase four range cookers from the Leisure brand.
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EURONICS SHOWCASE 2015
Britannia Living, which will exhibit at Stand 400 as part of GDHA, will show the latest hero products from its portfolio of brands including Britannia and Bertazzoni. Britannia will display its bestselling Delphi and Q Line range cooker models and a number of additional appliances from its collection, while Bertazzoni will showcase the very latest innovations from its Master Series and Professional Series for the first time.
Retailers are invited to join Domestic Appliance Distributors on stand 310 for a demonstration of products and “unbeatable” offers, with a team of appliance experts in waiting.
Blomberg, the appliance brand exclusive to Euronics, will unveil its most interactive and impressive stand to date. A new range of products including laundry, dishwashing, refrigeration and a selection of built-in appliances will debut at the show, and guests to stand number 350 will experience an exclusive showing of the new kitchen specialist appliances during their unveiling in the VIP room, which will be accessible to all Euronics members. Members will also have the chance to learn more about the extensive training programme that Blomberg offers and how it can benefit staff. Amanda Selby, Brand Manager for Blomberg, said: “This is an exciting year for Blomberg and we’re looking forward to exclusively sharing our new range and exciting brand plans with Euronics agents. “We recognise that it is only with the wholehearted support of the Euronics agents that we can provide such good service to our consumers, so it is vital we continue to build these important relationships year on year and offer premium products with the latest technologies and features. The CI(H) Euronics Showcase is the ideal platform to do just that and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our stand.” Blomberg’s offering of 3-year warranty as standard on its entire range will continue to be a key benefit for agents this year.
Baumatic will be unveiling its topof-the-range BDIF616 16 place setting integrated dishwasher to independents visiting its stand. The 10-litre A+AA rated model is part of the new Baumatic collection of integrated, semi integrated and freestanding dishwashers and is claimed to have a “revolutionary” internal design to provide a range of loading possibilities.
DAD will present some of its biggest brands, including Beko, Montpellier, Whirlpool, Iceking and Royale, and also promises the launch of exciting new ranges and exclusive lines from some of the nation’s favourite brands. Montpellier, DAD’s home brand, will introduce a new collection of affordable 90cm range cookers, with two styles to choose from in a variety of colours and at “the lowest prices on the market.” Retailers will also see a selection of bestselling lines in cooking, refrigeration, laundry and dishwashing from the Beko and Whirlpool brands, including Whirlpool’s ADP900IX 6th Sense Dishwasher with PowerDry technology, which offers complete drying in just an hour. Iceking will display its new range of cooling products, now complete with a fully comprehensive 2-year guarantee, offering an extra selling point for retailers.
British TV furniture manufacturer Off The Wall was the first to market with a stand for curved TVs (the Curve) at last year’s Euronics Show. This year the company will be unveiling an expanded portfolio of ranges for both flat and curved screens, at various price points ranging from £199 to £499. All stands will include Off The Wall’s patented ‘No More Wires’ feature and most have been designed to cater for the very latest Soundbase and Soundbar audio systems. In line with Off The Wall’s controlled distribution model and continued support for Euronics, members will also be able to benefit from attractive event-offers and good profit margins.
Baumatic will also be displaying ovens from its MegaChef collection, hobs from its Slim Line range and a colourful selection of 90cm freestanding range cookers alongside bright appliances from its Retro and Rustic ranges. Retailers will also see a selection of cooling and wine storage ranges. Examples of the latest Baumatic mobile displays will be available to view at the show. These lightweight, easily assembled displays can accommodate a range of built-in appliances from the current appliance collections.
Representatives will be on hand at the show to discuss the opportunities for displaying Baumatic appliances within CI(H) partner showrooms. “The CIH Euronics Showcase is one of the most important dates in the independent electrical retail industry calendar and a great opportunity to network with customers. We always look forward to the show,” said Baumatic marketing director Owain Harrison. Baumatic’s stand will be located next to the Hoover and Candy stands.
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EURONICS SHOWCASE 2015
Electrolux is keeping much of its activity at this year’s show under its hat, other than to reveal that it has a new and exclusive brand for CI(H) members. Charlotte Caton, Trade Marketing Manager – Independents & Ireland, said: “This is an exciting year for Electrolux and we have big plans to support our retailers. Our stand will be bigger and better than ever, with business propositions that are guaranteed to delight our customers. “There will be significant presence from AEG and Zanussi as well as the unveiling of a new brand which will be exclusive to Euronics in the UK. “The Euronics Showcase is one of the biggest events in the independent retailing calendar and is a key vehicle for us to present our brands and to launch new products to the independent channel.”
Glen Dimplex Home Appliances is to create an Agency Shop at this year’s Showcase to highlight its extensive range of exclusive Agency products from the Belling, Valor, New World and Lec brands. GDHA’s retail-style section of the stand will pull together its wide range of Agency products, including many exclusive CI(H) models in a separate area, and highlight member benefits such as the 3-year parts and labour warranty. Members of the GDHA team will be on hand to talk through the variety of exclusive promotions and initiatives the company offers to trade members and to promote new and existing products. The stand will
also have a café area and customers are invited to drop by for a coffee and chat. Retailers will also see the award-winning Belling Design • Sebastian Conran collection of ovens, hobs and hoods; the Belling 60cm built-in Pyrolytic oven; a large selection of range cookers; Stoves double ovens, which include an “industry first” electronicallycontrolled multifunction gas model, and the Lec TS55174WTD, a 1.7m static fridge freezer with water-through-door dispenser. GDHA said the team would be delighted to welcome members at the exclusive on-stand café throughout the show. The company will be exhibiting on the Glen Dimplex stand, which will include displays from Roberts Radio, Glen Dimplex Commercial, Britannia and Morphy Richards.
Goodmans, whose mission it is “to bring innovative products within everyone’s reach”, will be displaying a wide range of its new soundbars and DAB radios and demonstrating its connected audio products, with a mini home setup showing hi-res audio-capable multiroom solutions. Retailers are invited to come along and see how Goodmans is combining fresh design with faithfulness to the brand’s core values.
Siemens Home Appliances will introduce its premium freestanding ‘extraKlasse’ range to the UK market at this year’s Showcase. The range has previously only been available in Germany, but will soon be launched to UK consumers through an exclusive partnership with Euronics. extraKlasse comprises freestanding laundry, cooling and dishwashing appliances with the intelligent features one would expect from the Siemens brand. The entire collection comes with a 5-year warranty. Siemens will be showcasing the new products within a dedicated extraKlasse zone and is inviting retailers to come and explore the range. Paul Tyler, BSH Retail Channel Director, said: “The Siemens name has long been associated with bringing the very latest innovations and technology to the market. Euronics has been a key trading partner for many years, so I am delighted to mark their 25th anniversary with the timely launch of extraKlasse, a range that was also launched 25 years ago to the German market and remains in high demand to this day. “I am confident that UK consumers will be similarly impressed by the technology presented by extraKlasse and look forward to launching the range at the CI(H) Showcase in partnership with Euronics.”
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EURONICS SHOWCASE 2015
Hoover will be offering showgoers an exclusive preview of its WiFi-enabled range of appliances. The company will showcase its latest innovations in a dedicated demo area and offer one attendee the opportunity to win “spectacular” prizes. Steve Macdonald, trade marketing director of Hoover freestanding division, said: “We are really looking forward to Euronics 2015. We have been working hard behind the scenes developing some fantastic new products and this is the perfect opportunity to showcase them properly for the first time. “We are particularly excited to show our Hoover WiFi range, which is the first of its kind as it enables users to control multiple freestanding and built-in appliances simultaneously for a fully connected kitchen. This means
consumers can put a wash on and preheat the oven when they’re out and about, or even at their desk.” Visitors to the stand can also expect to see a full line-up of Hoover cooking, cooling, laundry and dishwasher products. This will include models from Hoover’s recently launched Premier Collection – a line of freestanding appliances assigned to independent retailers – a 78-litre oven and a 13 + 8 kg washer dryer. Candy will be exhibiting a range of built-in and freestanding appliances, including a selection of the recently launched Grando Vita laundry products that use a patented Mix Power System to deliver what is claimed to be the most effective rapid wash on the market. “We will be exhibiting at stand 560, Hall 3A so if you are attending the event then please do come and pay us a visit,” said Macdonald.
Retracare will again be exhibiting at the Euronics Showcase, demonstrating why it is has become the electrical retailer’s warranty provider of choice. With a product offering and booking system designed with independents in mind, it will be demonstrating the new web portal that makes offering, selling and booking a warranty plan straightforward for all staff. “If you are looking for a warranty service that is designed for your needs, pop along to see us at the Euronics Showcase and find out why Retracare is the UK’s fastest growing retail warranty provider,” the company said.
Premium cooling products will be at the fore of Haier’s stand this year. The company is promising an “exclusive introduction” of its 70 Series fridge freezers – a range of 3-door and 4-door combis due for launch in the coming months. The brand will also show its newly-launched American refrigerators from the 100 Series. The SBS S100 (side-by-side) and 4D S100 (4-door) are both a metre wide with large net capacities and come with the “world’s first” lifetime refrigerator compressor warranty. Haier representatives will be available on the stand throughout the show and the company is urging retailers to “make sure to take in the latest Intelius washing machines, packed with innovative features.”
SEBO will be showcasing the latest addition to its Felix range: the new ecofriendly Felix Kudos vacuum cleaner, which is exclusive to Euronics. The lightweight A-rated machine has a 700W motor, but offers powerful performance. It comes complete with a 5-year parts guarantee.
Smeg is returning to the show this year with a large 50m2 stand located at the very centre of the hall. It will display a selection of new built-in and freestanding cookers and its complete SDA range. Products on show will also include Euronics Agency exclusives and a wide selection of Smeg’s selective distribution products. Visitors to the stand will be in for a treat as Smeg will be wowing guests with a “special” magician.
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: BEKO
BEKO UK CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY BEKO CHOSE WEMBLEY STADIUM TO HOST A TWO-DAY EVENT CELEBRATING ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY IN THE UK DURING MARCH, PROVIDING AN INTERNATIONALLY FAMED VENUE FOR THE GLOBALLY RECOGNISED BRAND TO REVEAL ITS LATEST INNOVATIONS AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE, WITH STAFF, PARTNERS, CUSTOMERS AND THE MEDIA IN ATTENDANCE.
eko has sold more than 25 million appliances in the UK and Ireland since 1990, and Teresa Arbuckle, Managing Director of Beko plc UK and Ireland, expressed gratitude for the support that has placed the company in such a strong position. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us achieve so much over the past 25 years, and the event provides the perfect opportunity for us to show that appreciation,” she said. “We want to share our vision of the future to ensure that everyone knows how seriously we take our position as industry leaders.
Smiles all round as Team Hague vs Team Balcıoğlu
“The world is changing, and we are evolving with it.” It was a mark of support for Beko’s achievements in the UK that the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons, attended the event. Mr Hague, who was British Foreign Secretary from 2010 to 2014, was joined by Turkey’s Consul General to the UK Emirhan Yorulmazlar and Beko’s constituency MP Richard Harrington for a tour of the exhibition, which included the Beko ‘Kitchen of the Future’ – a demonstration of how the company is designing technology to meet both consumer and sustainability demands. The special guests were welcomed by Teresa Arbuckle and her predecessor Ragip Balcıoğlu, now international sales director of Beko’s parent company Arçelik A.S. Speaking at the event, Mr Hague said: “It is a huge pleasure to be at Beko’s 25th anniversary and to see the exciting and forward-looking things the business is doing, as well as the great things it has already achieved. “Beko is a great company: it is investing in R&D to always stay ahead of the game, it is making the most of the talent of its employees, supporting local communities and helping to protect the environment. “It is a great time to be investing in Britain and I congratulate Beko on behalf of the British Government.” Mr Hague developed a longstanding friendship with Beko and its parent companies based in Turkey through his support for UK-Turkish trade during his tenure as Foreign Secretary. He visited Turkey several times on diplomatic visits and last year presented Rahmi Koç, chairman of Beko plc, with a Responsible Capitalism Lifetime Achievement Award. Celebrating Beko’s 4-year partnership with FC Barcelona
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: BEKO
Welcoming Mr Hague to the event, Mrs Arbuckle said: “We are extremely proud that Mr Hague has helped Beko celebrate its silver anniversary in the UK by joining us today at Wembley Stadium. “Beko has become a well known brand on the UK high street through its innovative, stylish and environmentally friendly ranges of appliances and is committed to its role as an industry leader. “Our silver anniversary celebrations are an opportunity for us to show our appreciation to everyone who has helped us over the past 25 years and as we look forward to the next quarter century.” Each of the four key brands in Beko plc’s portfolio – Beko, Grundig, Leisure and Blomberg – were represented at the home of English football in individual, specialist zones in which the products’ advanced technical attributes, style and energy efficiency were placed in the spotlight, giving guests the opportunity to appreciate each brand’s distinct identity and the new features and benefits the appliance collections for 2015 offer. And those present took the opportunity to explore the specialist zones and to take in the vision of the ‘Kitchen of the Future’ filled with concept products for the home, including the Beko Luminist Hob, which features a Smart LED Indicator System, audio and optic signals and can be customised with different colours and designs. Guests also viewed Grundig’s app operated range of Smart Connected Appliances and the brand’s Virtual User Experience (VUX) technology, which allows users to control all of their appliances from one central hub. The Beko 25+ celebration also officially introduced the company’s new logo and the UK launch of its worldwide sponsorship of FC Barcelona, one of the world’s biggest
In the Beko zone…
football clubs, which Beko has launched a multi-platform media partnership with Sky Sports to support. The move will provide Beko with the means to reach a vast consumer audience on an international scale.
Grundig appcontrolled Smart appliances in the Kitchen of the Future
Teresa Arbuckle and Ragip Balcıoğlu welcome William Hague MP (centre) to the Beko 25+ celebration
“Our silver anniversary celebrations are an opportunity for us to show our appreciation to everyone who has helped us over the past 25 years and as we look forward to the next quarter century.”
The sponsorship takes a four-pronged approach comprising TV advertising, digital advertising, competitions and a dedicated Beko hub on Sky Sports that will reach millions of fans. “Football has been a core part of Beko’s marketing strategy and this new partnership with Sky Sports is sure to build awareness of our Premium partnership with FC Barcelona,” said Mrs Arbuckle. The FC Barcelona sponsorship is also being supported by an advertising campaign celebrating team spirit, which premiered on the day of the El Clasico football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid on Sunday 22nd March. The new TV ad features some of FC Barcelona’s best known football players including Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Gerard Piqué, Luis Suárez and Andrés Iniesta working together, both on the pitch and at home, showing how they inspire and support each other as a team to demonstrate how team spirit can implement change for the better. The 360˚ campaign, which includes TV advertising, print, outdoor, digital and social media, is expected to reach a global audience. Retailers attending the Euronics Showcase at Birmingham’s NEC on 26th and 27th April (see pages 18 – 21 of this issue) are invited to visit Beko on stand 460 to learn more about the new Premium Partnership with FC Barcelona. APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
GOOD DESIGN IS GOOD BUSINESS
The radio that rocks: Pure’s Marshall-styled Evoke
DESIGN-LED PRODUCTS ARE AN ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT FOR CONSUMERS. WHETHER THE DESIRE IS TO EXPRESS THEIR PERSONALITY, IMPRESS FRIENDS OR TO CREATE A LIFESTYLE OF COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE, THE APPETITE FOR LABELS, LOOKS AND LUXURY JUST KEEPS BUILDING. GC REPORTS
uxury goods retailing in Europe is forecast to reach £96bn by 2018 and retail research agency Conlumino has predicted that the UK is set to overtake France and Italy to become the leading luxury shopping market in Europe. The top five luxury markets in 2013 were Italy, France, the UK, Germany and Russia, but the UK is forecast to take the top spot by 2018 with a 19.6% share. And it’s not just cars, apparel and opulent accessories that are enticing consumers to part with their cash, electronic products are also in the league of desirables, and the trend for designer and luxury items in this department is predicted to grow as
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the unification of technology and designer goods proliferates The electrical industry boasts a raft of successful designer collaborations and aspirational creations from talented inhouse designers aiming to feed consumers’ desire for luxury, individuality and in some cases, fun.
THE FUN, THE FUNKY AND THE COOL When digital radio brand Pure initiated its alliance with famous names it first teamed up with British designer Wayne Hemmingway on the creation of the Bug, a quirky “creature” with shoulder pad-like speakers and a flexible neck supporting a
head-like pod complete with pleading eyes. While consumers either loved or loathed the alien form, it was certainly conspicuous, distinctive and fun. Pure followed its Hemmingway partnership with another British collaboration, the result of which spawned “the radio that rocks”, the Evoke-1XT Marshall Edition, which adopted the legendary style and black vinyl-wrapped finish of the world’s leading guitar amplifiers to deliver an iconic piece of equipment that rock fans would be proud to own. The dial on the radio even went up to eleven, as does that on the latest version, the Marshall Evoke 1S. Pure has since continued with designer collaborations, embarking on a successful relationship with Irish-born fashion designer Orla Kiely, whose famous print designs were applied to the Evoke Mio radio, and British visual artist Rob Ryan, who specialises in paper cutting and screen-printing. Ryan created a poem
which features alongside his work on the casing of the Evoke D2 DAB/FM radio. Pure’s senior PR manager Vicki Hewlett promises we’ll definitely see more interesting partnerships from the brand this year as its designer collaborations are so successful.
BEST OF BRITISH…
Legendary global brand Ted Baker recently entered the audio market with a collection representing the “perfect crossover” between fashion, design and technology, which the company says has been designed from the ground up in terms of aesthetics and electronics. It took almost four years to create the Ted Baker audio range. The brand’s founder, Ray Kelvin, recalls spending his childhood with his family huddled around the family radio, and the collection is said to have been a long-held dream. It is inspired by the best of 20th century British design, with appreciation extending from 1930s modernist architecture to the form of the controls on the Supermarine Spitfire and influences shaped by BBC Radio’s Shipping Forecast. Products are crafted in quality materials including brushed aluminium and genuine leather and are claimed to offer “the sharpest mix of design originality, uncompromising engineering and superior sound.”
Ted Baker Fastnet Bluetooth speakers
CREATING AN ICON
The electrical goods industry takes its inspiration from a broad range of sources including architecture, cars, the fashion catwalks and sport. Italian brand Smeg has teamed up over the years with Mini cars, Fiat and FC Barcelona, to name but a few, to create a number of limited edition products. It has wrapped its FAB fridges in various flags, cladded them in denim and even produced a red velvet model to celebrate Valentine’s Day. “Whether you’re in the Hollywood hills or Albert Square, a retro curved Smeg fridge is a covetable must-have item for many and is, without doubt, a modern design classic. FAB fridges are still perhaps the most iconic product in our range but Smeg continues to push the boundaries of design and technology,” says product development manager Joan Fraser. “Whether collaborating with designers and architects such as Renzo Piano or Guido Canali, or being inspired by a bygone era, Smeg offers design-led products that quickly become style icons and a design feature in the home. Care, attention to detail and aesthetics, many of the values carried through the generations of Smeg’s family-run business, are of real importance. “Collaborations with top-of-their-game architects and designers keep things fresh,” Fraser asserts.
When Beko partnered with designer Patricia Urquiola the alliance created a unique collection of products – CAST Line by Patricia Urquiola – comprising ovens, hobs and a hood of minimalist design that would offer the highest level of functionality and technical performance. The Spanish-born designer engaged with the concept of developing a line of appliances which was contemporary, but not over designed, and would move on from current products available in the MDA market. “The products needed to be flexible enough for multiple markets with a strong technical innovation and performance,” she says. “My particular design philosophy for Beko was to work on innovation, technology and performance with a comfortable ‘dress’ that fits well and can be used in different ways.”
FORM MEETS FASHION
Servis’s Rita Balestrazzi believes the designer white goods sector is going through an exciting phase of evolution, transitioning from an exclusively high-end and predominantly built-in niche industry to a much more inclusive, mass-market proposition.
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
She observes the ongoing trend for affordable appliance “fashion” adding some much-needed value to the freestanding replacement domestic appliance market. “Although born of necessity, the search for replacement appliances now offers with it the opportunity to trade up and invest in a model that can instantly revamp and update the look of any style of kitchen, permitting an impromptu makeover that requires no complicated design overhaul. “Collaborations with designers might still be helping to push appliance sales at APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
“Colour does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it” Pierre Bonnard
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the luxury end of the market, but across the rest of the sector there is now a new demand for up-to-the-minute style as well as tangible innovation. “Thanks to the success of high street fashion, appliance chic now encompasses products that can emulate and build upon the latest looks from the ‘kitchen catwalk’.” Baumatic marketing director Owain Harrison maintains that delivering highly fashionable yet functional design at affordable price levels has been Baumatic’s raison d’etre for over 20 years. “This brand, with its Italian heritage, now has its own team of designers working on design and product development at Baumatic in the UK and at Hoover Candy’s global headquarters near Monza, Italy. Baumatic features three separately designed cooking collections: Slim Line, Mega Chef and Premium Line, the latter now only available to kitchen studios.” The concept behind the Premium Line range is to combine advanced touch-control technology with modestly minimalist external aesthetics offering premium touches such as titanium handles on the ovens. Harrison says the collection has been developed to suit key trends in European
contemporary kitchen furniture design; the cooking range includes ovens, compacts and warming drawers that are ideally combined in an appliance bank within tall housing. In hobs, the Premium Line offers standard widths but a focus is placed on linear versions – ideal for long kitchen islands or peninsulas – and touch-control flush mounted domino models designed to make a statement in the kitchen.
This focus on delivering products that add to the kitchen’s structure and form to enhance the character and bring it to life is evidenced in Miele’s Generation 6000 collection of appliances, at the centre of which sits two elegant design lines, PureLine and ContourLine, each created to complement different kitchen styles. PureLine is designed to harmonise with architectural styles and contemporary settings, with the extensive use of glass in the appliance fascia and a handle that appears to float above the glass front. ContourLine is a distinctly different, bold design with stainless steel-framed glass doors and integrated handles. Each design line comprises a complete range of appliances with a choice of user interfaces that can be mixed and matched
A FABulous kitchen, courtesy of Smeg
to create a co-ordinated look. Miele says its â€˜M Touchâ€™ controls are the highlight of this interface. The menu can be browsed by swiping or scrolling with the tip of a finger, similar to the use of smartphones or tablet PCs.
Elipson Audioâ€™s Music Centre is the result of collaboration with respected French designer Jean-Yves Le Porcher
Hungarian-born artist Victor Vasarely, known for his creation of optical illusions, once said: â€œEvery form is a base for colour; every colour is the attribute of a form.â€? But one doesnâ€™t need to be into op art to appreciate the emotive effect colour produces on the psyche. Colour has the ability to arouse or to soothe the senses. It allows us to express our individuality and create the ambience desired for our homes. And the colour movement is on the march: Britannia, whose bespoke Colourange service allows consumers to specify the exact hue desired when purchasing a Britannia range cooker, fridge freezer or extractor hood, says it has seen a 20% rise in take-up of the service during the last 12 months. Michael Haigh, marketing manager at Britannia Living, says: â€œColourange has always been really popular with people buying our ranges. However, more recently we are seeing customers opt for the service on our Montana fridge freezer as they look to colour-match their cooker or make a statement in the kitchen. The possibilities really are endless with this service as consumers can get their new appliance in a colour to match their walls, curtains or even their kettle.â€? Jonathan Fish, Breakfast Category Consumer Manager at Morphy Richards, says his brand has long recognised the role
TAP INTO ITALIAN DESIGN The InSinkEratorÂŽ 3N1 steaming hot water tap extends the finest in function and fashion to the broader market, dispensing water at a full range of temperatures up to 98Â°C from a single source. On top of saving valuable worktop space, the immediate availability of steaming hot water eliminates water waste and the time and energy lost waiting for the kettle to boil. The versatility to switch from steaming hot water to hot and cold contributes to countless other tasks, from cooking to cleaning. Encased within a refined one-piece Italian design, the InSinkEratorÂŽ 3N1 tap is available in a choice of steel finishes and statement colours, with more shades to come, creating a stylish and practical focal point in any kitchen.
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www.insinkerator.co.uk that colour plays in bringing kitchens to life. It has invested heavily in its Accents range, which features products in an impressive breadth of colour choices, and is now looking to add texture to its SKA offering. The Prism range of toasters and kettles, launching in May this year, will feature an innovative raised pattern, â€œthe likes of which is currently not available on the market,â€? according to Fish. Deâ€™Longhi, which is highly regarded for its heritage Italian design and use of colour, recently added a vibrant red kettle and toaster to its Brillante collection (see The Product Gallery, pages 16 & 17 of this issue). The luxurious Brillante range, first launched both in black and white in 2012, is based on renowned Italian artist Variscoâ€™s glass sculpture â€˜Chimeraâ€™. It has a contemporary three-dimensional, multi-faceted surface that glistens in the light to leave the impression of a radiant, shimmering jewel. Deâ€™Longhi has also created a designer look in its matte metallic Distinta breakfast collection, which Maximillian Smith, Trade APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
Deâ€™Longhiâ€™s Distinta collection is inspired by the Italian industrial triangle of the 1960s and 1970s
Marketing Manager for the brand, says is ideal for traditional or modern kitchens. The collection is inspired by the Italian industrial triangle of the 1960s and 1970s (Genoa, Turin and Milan) and its cradle of revolutionary designers and offers consumers products with a distinctive, premium feel in four metallic shades: white, black, bronze and copper. If Vasarelyâ€™s reference to form and colour were ever to be embraced, it could be witnessed at this yearâ€™s LivingKitchen exhibition in Cologne, which took place during January. InSinkEratorÂŽ greeted the colour revolution with fervour as it unveiled fresh concept ranges of its food waste disposers and 3N1 steaming hot water tap with a â€˜colour wallâ€™ showing contemporary design trends of bright, focal shades
and colour co-ordination in the kitchen, alongside the genuine lifestyle benefits these appliances offer. The new Italian-designed InSinkEratorÂŽ 3N1 model is available in Pearl White, Natural Stone and Orange spring shades and, according to Linda Phoutthasak, Marketing Manager for InSinkEratorÂŽ Europe, a range of on-trend colours is to be released throughout the coming year.
THE ESSENCE OF DESIGN
Appleâ€™s Steve Jobs is reported to have said: â€œDesign is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, itâ€™s really how it works.â€? It is a view that chimes with Whirlpool Corporationâ€™s Vice President of Integrated Business Units, Brett Dibkey, who
maintains that consumers want technology that is both seamless and substantive. â€œAnd that means applying smart, thoughtful design to our home appliances from the inside out,â€? he asserts. â€œWeâ€™re at an exciting intersection in home appliance design. Advanced sensor technology and connectivity allow consumers to perform daily tasks like laundry and washing dishes more efficiently. Smart product design allows them to do so at the touch of a button. Itâ€™s really about creating appliances that will allow consumers to get back to doing what matters most â€“ spending time with family and friends. â€œToday, consumers are willing to invest in products that feature excellent design and functionality that will provide ease of use and ergonomics, making life easier.â€?
We are sole distributors of the Team International, VisiCook and efbe-schott brands â€“ kitchen, floorcare, cleaning appliances â€“ and upsell books from TUKI Publishing. Visit our websites or contact us to find out more. A UK company with a pan-European infrastructure, we have been specialists in these small domestic appliances for over 20 years from our offices and NDC in Birmingham. We bring value, design expertise, orderly marketing and upsell opportunities from our range of cookbooks to your business. Hot products for this year include the VisiCook AirChef, SteamPro Spray 3000W â€“ the Worldâ€™s Most Powerful Steam Station â€“ and SteamEasy Steam Cleaner.
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TV & SOUND PROJECTION
Clean minimalism from Panasonic
evelopments in flat screen TV technology have not only made sets thinner, brighter, sharper and lighter, but they have also transformed screen design. Older flat TVs had large bezels surrounding the display screen, but now, many sets have almost eliminated the bezel. Today, the bezel is typically around 5mm in size, or roughly ten times smaller than those found on sets barely a decade old. The bezel used to house electronics, wires and speakers, but most of these components have been integrated elsewhere. The result is a bigger screen and a more immersive viewing experience for the consumer.
SHOWING TO ADVANTAGE
Ultra-thin bezel sets are especially appealing to home cinema fans, who can get a bigger screen on a set that has the same footprint as older models with much bigger bezels. Neil King, head of home entertainment at Sony UK and Ireland, says: “It’s important retailers are able to effectively display products in store, so that consumers can see how products would fit into their living room. Not all retailers have separate demonstration rooms in store, so making the best use of available space is important.” He adds that ultra-thin bezel TVs should, where possible, be wall mounted, as this is a design feature as well as a space saver. The new Sony X90C is being marketed as the world’s slimmest LCD 4K model, at just 4.9mm thin, with a new ‘Floating Style’ design,.
SOUNDS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS THE CONTINUING REVOLUTION IN TV TECHNOLOGY AND SCREEN DESIGN HAS BROUGHT ENORMOUS BENEFITS TO DOMESTIC VIEWERS IN TERMS OF PICTURE QUALITY AND AESTHETICS, ALONG WITH THE OCCASIONAL DOWNSIDE – SUCH AS THE DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING HIGH QUALITY SOUND FROM SPEAKERS BUILT INTO ULTRA-THIN BEZEL SCREENS. GEORGE COLE TALKS TO SOME INDUSTRY EXPERTS ABOUT HOW RETAILERS CAN MAXIMISE THE ELEGANCE OF MODERN DESIGN WITHOUT COMPROMISING QUALITY. DEMONSTRATION IS VITAL
Philips agrees that demonstration is everything with ultra- thin or zero-bezel TVs. “A side-by-side comparison with a regular thin-bezel set is the perfect way to show the benefits of this,” says the company. “The same content should be used on both TVs in the demonstration, and as the impact of zero-bezel is greater on larger screen sizes, sets of 50-inches and above should be used. For Philips TVs, this is also a good way to demonstrate Ambilight. In addition to reducing eye strain, Ambilight has been designed to take the impact of the screen beyond the edges of the set. Zero-bezel means that Ambilight can now connect directly to the onscreen content for a more connected and immersive experience.” Neil King says that “it’s also important that features such as picture quality and sound are demonstrated to their full advantage. Shop floors can be crowded and noisy so it’s important that consumers
really understand the benefits, and see them for themselves. Having engaging content is key for this.”
THINNER SCREEN, NOT THINNER SOUND
But as TV sets get slimmer and bezels become narrower, finding the physical space for fitting speakers large enough to provide good quality TV sound is getting harder. This is particularly so for bass sound, which requires large woofers or a sub-woofer to provide a good low frequency response. Some manufacturers have tried getting around this problem by installing rear-mounted speakers that fire sound out from the back of the set. The audio is then reflected off the walls and ceiling towards the viewer. Other manufacturers have used speakers that fire down at the floor, with the sound bouncing up towards the viewer’s ears. But it is fair to say that the results of these speaker configurations can be mixed. APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
TV & SOUND PROJECTION
In the past, home cinema fans wanting to improve TV sound quality or hear surround sound effects only had one option – a surround sound system connected to the set. But not every consumer wants to install six or eight speakers (depending on whether it is a 5.1- or 7.1-channel system). Others simply don’t have the space in the listening room to accommodate so many speakers. The good news for consumers and retailers is that there are a number of sound alternatives between settling for the standard TV’s audio system or purchasing a full-blown surround-sound system. As James McConnell, Managing Director of Loewe UK, remarks: “If you’re investing in a beautifully designed premium-level TV, the last thing you want is to spoil its svelte looks with additional clutter.” Loewe’s solution is an “integrated design approach... for TV buyers who value style and performance in equal measure. Whereas most TVs need, at the very least, an external soundbar to improve their flat, weedy audio performance, Loewe’s new Art and Connect TVs come with a high-performance soundbar built into their elegant chassis.” These integrated soundbars, developed in partnership with compact audio specialist SOEN, “feature
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If a customer wants the ultimate sound experience, then the latter will always provide the better performance, but today’s soundbars offer remarkably good sound. They also come in various shapes, types and sizes. Some soundbars are designed to sit in front of the TV or on a shelf. Many can be wall-mounted, while others are designed to be placed under a TV set (sometimes called soundbases, speakerboards, soundstages or soundplates) and can also include an integrated DVD player or Blu-ray player). Soundbars connect to a TV via HDMI or digital audio sockets, although some models can offer Bluetooth wireless connectivity with suitably-compatible sets. A growing number of soundbars have modular designs, allowing users for example, to split the soundbar into two vertical speakers, which can be placed at either side of the TV Panasonic ALL up to 80 watts of amplification driving four for improved stereo effect. Connect downforward-facing speakers, high-excursion Soundbars can have an integrated subfiring subwoofers Smart Suspension, advanced FluxForce woofer to provide extra punch to the bass give depth to the Motors and Momentum Ports to augment frequencies, while others have a separate soundstage the bass.” sub-woofer that wirelessly connects to the soundbar (although it will need its own GOING SEPARATE separate power supply). Most soundbars Philips contends that, should customers offer 2.1 sound (stereo plus subwoofer), wish to upgrade from TV sound, a although some include 3.1-channel separate product will be required, audio. Philips offers “Surround on Demand” technology on and there are now several its Fidelio E5 and Fidelio B5 solutions such as soundbars home cinema products. and soundstages. These “Many soundbars also offer cinema-style sound These have removable, from a compact, easybattery powered rear offer wireless streaming, to-install audio product. channels and can either via Bluetooth or WiFI, “This is one of the largest be automatically growth areas in the AV switched from a allowing users to send music market and we’ve had simple 2.1 system to from a smartphone or a great deal of success a 5.1 surround sound with a range of home system by removing tablet to the soundbar.” the rear channels and cinema products such as placing them in the desired the HTL5140 and Fidelio position. This feature is a HTL9100 soundbars,” says real selling point as it offers Philips. consumers the best of both worlds Soundbars are ideal for customers – the convenience of a soundbar, with who want better TV sound but without the hassle of installing a surroundthe surround-sound performance of a 5.1 sound system with multiple speakers. home cinema audio setup. Panasonic’s advice to consumers wanting to improve TV sound quality is straightforward, “For flat screens, we simply recommend soundbars” No surprise that Panasonic offers a range of soundbars. The company’s new ALLConnected speaker systems include four new Sound Bars and two Speakerboards. The new Sound Bars include a wireless, down-firing subwoofer, which provides a more powerful bass sound. “For those seeking full-on home cinema surround sound,” adds Loewe’s James McConnell, “our Connect models are the only TVs you can buy with a built-in, fully featured 5.1-channel audio decoder, thus negating the need for an external receiver. Philips XS1 – an elegant As well as reducing clutter and additional soundbase solution
TV & SOUND PROJECTION
The Sony X90 marketed as “the world’s slimmest LCD 4K model”
expense, this adds the convenience of controlling everything from a single remote and automatically powering the sound system up/down with the TV. The Connect TVs’ integrated soundbar can even act as the centre speaker in a 5.1 set up, whether the other speakers are derived from the Loewe range or an alternative brand.”
PROVING THE POINT IN-STORE
Philips says the best way to demonstrate soundbar products is to focus on their ease of installation and operation whilst playing 5.1 audio from a movie. Many TVs and soundbards conform to the HDMI specification known as Audio Return Channel (ARC) and if both set and soundbar have this feature, it is well worth demonstrating. ARC allows consumers to connect different devices up to a TV set (such as a Blu-ray player or DVD player) and send down-mixed multi-channel audio directly to the soundbar via the HDMI link.
Philips’ Fidelio surrounds with sound
It means fewer cables and less clutter when setting up a home cinema system. It’s also possible to control the soundbar volume level using the TV remote control. This added convenience is a powerful demonstration tool and a reminder that soundbars are not just about providing better TV sound. Neil King says that new sound bar products offer a surround sound proposition, with a cost effective, easy to install option for consumers. “It’s important that retailers are able to demonstrate the ease of use, by having demonstration units connected, and interesting content to show,” he adds. Philips says a simple comparison between the audio performance of a TV set and the significant improvement of adding a soundbar or soundstage product clearly shows the benefits, especially when it comes to voices and bass performance in TV and movies.
SERIOUS ABOUT SOUND AND VISION Loewe’s new Connect is a truly ‘smart’ TV. Smart, premium design with an impeccably engineered chassis, precision manufactured in Germany with a choice of four trim colours. Smart performance, with an Ultra HD 4K picture that’s crisp and vibrant yet easy on the eye, and unbeatable sound straight from the box thanks to a built-in soundbar driven by 80 watts of amplification. Smart integration, with an onboard 1TB hard drive for storing and sharing content, plus 5.1 audio processing for clutter-free surround sound. And smart connectivity, including 4x HDMI, 3x USB, RS232 and Cat 6 to suit every installation, from a chic townhouse to a luxurious country pile. If only everything in life was really this ‘smart’… The new Loewe Connect TV is available now in 40in and 55in screen sizes, with RRPs of £1,999 and £2,799 respectively. An additional 48in model arrives in May. For more information, visit www.loewe.tv, call 0333 123 0220 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
VERSATILITY WITH QUALITY
Many soundbars also offer wireless streaming, either via Bluetooth or WiFI, allowing users to send music from a smartphone or tablet to the soundbar. The key is to find out whether your customer will find such features useful. So it’s worth asking customers whether they store music on their smartphone and if they like playing the music at home. Ultra-thin bezel televisions look stunning and are a great sales driver. But their sleek design and excellent picture quality are just part of the sales equation. By connecting an ultra-thin bezel set to a soundbar or soundplate, consumers can achieve an even better home cinema experience, and retailers can generate an additional revenue stream. The result is a win-win for both consumer and retailer, and that is always the best result for any sales transaction. APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
WAS THE ASA’S UHD RULING FAIR? Y
ou’ve probably seen that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints against a DSG Retail (Currys/PC World) TV advert for LG 4K UHD TVs. The advert said: “At Currys PC World, we’ll help you get it right this Christmas. These smart LG TVs start at £849, and because they’re 4K Ultra HD, you can watch your favourite Christmas movies in greater detail.” Three viewers complained to the ASA that the advert was misleading, because there was so little 4K content available, it was unlikely that people would be able to watch their Christmas movies in greater detail. DSG Retail pointed out that the adverts never said that viewers would be able to watch their movies in 4K, but in their defence pointed out that the TVs’ built-in upscaling would improve picture quality of films broadcast in HD; DVDs and Blu-ray discs (I didn’t see the advert so I can’t confirm whether upscaling was mentioned). The ASA ruling looks odd to me because it seems to suggest that DSG had claimed that the TVs would offer 4K-quality images with upscaling, rather than “greater detail.” You can read the full adjudication here: http://tinyurl.com/q5haqgz The industry body Digital TV Group (DTG), seems to agree with the ASA, and DTG CEO Richard Lindsay-Davies said after the ruling: “Ultra HD represents an enormous opportunity for the industry... but exaggerating the offering at an early stage could damage confidence before the true benefits come to fruition.” He’s right of course, but is what DSG Retail did any different from what 4K
Ultra HD TV manufacturers are doing today? Native 4K content is scarce and is likely to be for a while yet, so in order to entice consumers to invest in a 4K UHD set today, manufacturers are rightly pushing the upscaling functionality of the sets. LG’s UK website on UHD TV ( www.lg.com/uk/ultra-hd-4k-tvs ) says: “All your favourite content in Ultra HD resolution. Enjoy the benefits of Ultra HD TV with 4 stages of sophisticated upscaling to make all your favourite TV, movies, sports and games even better.” It adds: “When ordinary resolution pictures are enhanced, the sophisticated Tru-Ultra HD engine brings images even closer to Ultra HD quality.” An LG advert on YouTube, ( http://goo.gl/YV8NBf ) which is admittedly for the US market, says: “You might have heard some people lament the limited availability of native 4K content to watch on Ultra HD televisions. Not a problem! All LG Ultra HD 4K TVs contain either the LG Tru-4K Engine or the LG Tru-4K Engine Pro, our best-ever processors with one important job: to upscale lower-resolution video signals to near-4K quality. So the same type of content you’re enjoying today will look better than ever on a large-screen LG Ultra HD 4K TV, even when viewed from up-close.” LG isn’t the only company making these claims – I’m simply using them as their sets were in the DSG advert. I see nothing wrong with these claims, so I’m puzzled why the ASA came out against DSG Retail.
“Ultra HD represents an enormous opportunity for the industry... but exaggerating the offering at an early stage could damage confidence before the true benefits come to fruition.”
STREAMING INTO CONFUSION
GET CONNECTED APRIL 2015
ast February, thousands of internet radio owners woke up to find that their devices no longer received radio programmes. Others found that their internet radios or streaming devices no longer received the full range of radio programmes and services, such as sport or Radio 3 HD broadcasts. One group hit particularly hard were visually impaired listeners using the Logitech Squeezebox. The reason for the disruption was that the BBC had changed its streaming formats for internet radio. The BBC argued that it needed to rationalise the service, pointing out, for example, that only 5% of listeners used the Windows Media Audio format, which was
expensive to provide. Fair enough, but the BBC didn’t handle the switchover at all well. Information about the changes was buried on a website, so few listeners knew about it, and many manufacturers were also caught on the hop. As a result, they had to scramble to update their radios’ firmware to accommodate the new streaming formats. The BBC says it told manufacturers about the proposed changes a year ago, but clearly something went wrong in the consultation. Everyone knows that technology cannot stand still, but incidents like this can shake the confidence of consumers in products like internet radios.
FROM THE BENCH WI-FI PROBLEMS ARE BECOMING VERY COMMON, AND THEIR SYMPTOMS CAN BE MISLEADING. ALAN BENNETT EXPLAINS, OFFERING ADVICE FOR DIAGNOSIS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR CURES
he growth of wireless technology in recent years has been phenomenal, with almost all UK households now using it. Especially in urban areas problems arising from interference between wireless devices are becoming rife, and dealers are often asked to help – sometimes ‘under guarantee’!
In the UK there are two frequency bands in use for Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band contains 13 channels, each 5kHz wide, all except 1, 6 and 11 overlapping and thus vulnerable to adjacent-channel interference. The later-established 5GHz band offers nineteen 20MHz-wide channels without any overlap, and is capable of faster data throughput, though 2.4GHz may provide a greater transmission range due to its better penetration of signal obstructions. Also operating on 2.4GHz are a host of other devices, ranging from microwave ovens through Bluetooth devices, baby monitors and cordless speakers and headphones to video senders and wireless telephones. Zigbee transmissions, typically used for smart meter coupling, can also add to – and suffer from – the chaos, though its power is much less than Wi-Fi. All these jangle together in the home, and the situation is further exacerbated by neighbours’ equipment, especially in highdensity housing and business districts.
The effects of interference to Wi-Fi are not as obvious as was the case with analogue sound and vision signals. Typically there may be low rates of data transmission, repeated pausing to update, intermittent freezing of images, dropout and, on sound, a stuttering effect. The transmission range shortens, and it may be difficult to establish or maintain contact. In worst case the link may completely fail to work. To get the strongest possible Wi-Fi reception positioning is important. Try to place as much of the equipment as possible in the middle or upper part of the house and be aware of the screening/barrier effect of building materials and furniture: metal (including metallic layers in wall/loft insulation) has a very strong shadowing effect; concrete and bricks and then glass also weaken the signal, by 18 dB and 11dB respectively. Reflections, e.g. from tiles and mirrors, are detrimental. Sending
A spectrum analyser can identify Wi-Fi interference problems
and receiving gear – and Wi-Fi aerials where fitted – are best sited apart from other electronic equipment and from filing cabinets and the like.
Wi-Fi and other wireless equipment manufacturers are well aware of the problems of interference, and provide several means of overcoming it. The first (and usually rewarding) port of call is the instruction book for guidance on manually resetting the operating channel: most users leave their equipment on the default, out-of-the-box channel, which thus becomes overcrowded. Bear in mind that 2.4GHz channels 1, 6 and 11 do not overlap each other, so may be ‘cleaner’. Some equipment, for instance the BT Home Hub, automatically scans the band and self-selects the clearest channel; with some such boxes it’s necessary from time to time to reset by interrupting the power briefly, after which they will auto-scan and select again, perhaps finding a clearer transmission slot. Some late equipment has dual 2.4/5GHz capability, and can even ‘hop’ or auto-switch between them, but no matter how new the router some older Wi-Fi equipment will revert to 2.4GHz regardless. In some cases manual channel optimisation can work better than auto selection. Because of its relative newness, greater channel accommodation and wider spectrum the 5GHz band is less vulnerable to interference than 2.4GHz – and free of microwave oven radiation, baby monitors, old cordless phones and the like. It can also provide faster data rates, important for higher definition TV and vital for use with fibre-optic communications links. In the latter case and in the face of interference the Wi-Fi coupling can become the weakest link in the chain…
To examine a transmission band of any type a spectrum analyser is required, consisting of a band-sweeping receiver which repeatedly scans all available frequencies and shows their occupation graphically on the screen: the channels/ frequencies are displayed on the horizontal axis and the signal amplitudes and their spreads on the vertical. This revealing tool is not expensive, indeed the simpler ones can be downloaded free from the internet. For Windows there are many scanning apps, amongst which are two very good ones, inSSIDer Home and Wi-Fi Channel Scanner. Also available are the Android Wi-Fi Analyzer and Mac OS-X Wi-Fi Explorer. For laptop applications NetStumbler and Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector are good. Find these with a search engine. Much more sophisticated scanners and other tools are available to buy: for instance the VisiWave, integrated with Google Earth, can produce maps, coverage predictions and much else. These are primarily intended for business, office and corporate applications.
Manually resetting the operating channel often provides a cure. Sometimes it’s necessary to migrate from the 2.4 to the 5GHz band, which may involve new Wi-Fi and router equipment: the older the gear the greater the likelihood of trouble. If necessary, check with the manufacturer for a software or firmware update. Often there’s no need to replace 2.4GHz PCs or laptops: USB Wi-Fi adaptors with 5GHz capability can be used; e.g. the Asus USB-N53 wireless dongle. Ofcom is considering auctioning the 2.3GHz band for mobile LTE (Long Term Evolution) use, and that may cause trouble with 2.4GHz gear near base stations... APRIL 2015 GET CONNECTED
RETRA CONFERENCE 2015
THE 2015 RETRA INDUSTRY CONFERENCE, SPONSORED BY SKY, TAKES PLACE 12TH MAY AT THE LONDON LANCASTER HOTEL AND IS PROMISED TO BE “ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND BRIGHTEST IN THE EVENT’S 65 YEAR HISTORY.”
he one-day Conference, themed “Together towards tomorrow…” and hosted by journalist and presenter Declan Curry, a former business correspondent for BBC Breakfast, looks at how the industry can co-operate to prosper in a retail environment of change. retra has pulled together an impressive line-up of speakers for the occasion and is urging supporters to book delegate places, sponsorships and tables for what promises to be industry’s most valuable business event of 2015. Bookings are open online at the Conference microsite, part of www.retra.co.uk. retra said delegates can expect first-class AV and presentation, interactive electronic audience voting and its much-regarded manufacturer and retailer Q&A panels. The event will also incorporate retra’s partnering associate member tradeshow and will conclude with a “star-studded” evening Gala Dinner hosted by impersonator and comedian Jon Culshaw. retra will be raising money for Cancer Research UK and McMillan nurses, its chosen charities for this year, during the evening of dining and entertainment.
And this is how the Conference will shape up:
Internationally renowned business speaker Geoff Burch will be leading with the keynote address. His witty and engaging style has delivered powerful business principles and key ideas to many global blue chip and FTSE 100 companies. Burch will challenge the way the industry does business and offer “real-world” solutions that can be immediately implemented.
…compliance and legislation Understanding relevant legislation is critical to those that sell warranty or finance products. John Stocker, Consumer Credit Permission Manager at the Financial Conduct Authority, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s event. Given the changes to credit legislation in the retail environment, retra management has worked hard to secure this rare opportunity to listen to and interact with a senior figure from the FCA.
Air your questions –
win a FREE delegate place This year’s retailer and manufacturer panels will host questions from retra members. To get the panels buzzing, retra is giving away 50 FREE delegate places, including attendance at the Gala Dinner, to members sending in their questions in advance. Simply send your questions to email@example.com and your name will be entered into the prize draw for one of the 50 free tickets. The best questions will be put to the relevant panel at Conference and flagged up on screen anonymously. retra said this is to encourage the most “awkward and thorny” queries.
GET CONNECTED APRIL 2015
GfK’s Nigel Catlow will reveal the highs and lows of the last trading year in the UK electrical goods market along with key trends for the season ahead. This is promised to be an invaluable insight for retailers planning the year ahead and the information is not available in such a succinct and UK retail-focused format elsewhere.
Google’s CE channel specialist Richard Hartigan will deliver a keynote address on the power of internet marketing, search engine optimisation and how small
retailers can carve out a great business amid pure-play internet giants. This targeted address with be packed full of tips and information for electrical retailers.
Online marketing is definitely the most effective method of spreading the word quickly and Vision Odyssey has years of experience of doing just that. Focusing on the power of social media to gain and engage retail customers and keep them coming back time and again, the presentation will look at how retailers can set up and maximise networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
…manufacturer and retailer Q&A panels Following the success of manufacturer and retail panels at previous retra Conferences, the organisation has again scheduled these important sessions into the event. It will put a number of tough, current and searching questions to the panels for open discussion and opinion, with questions supplied by retra members (see box far left).
…the associate tradeshow
The associate member tradeshow will run alongside the main Conference, allowing delegates to interact with manufacturers during breaks and over lunch. This year, the tradeshow times have been extended right up until the opening of the Gala Dinner to allow more time for delegates to attend all the Conference sessions and meet with exhibiting brands.
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Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade...
Published on Apr 9, 2015
Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Goods Industry. The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade...