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Three experience design trends from tech show IFA Berlin

Expert Opinion
Three experience design trends from tech show IFA Berlin

Matt Grey, Director of Business Development, EMEA, INVNT, breaks down some emerging trends from tech show IFA Berlin.

 

IFA Berlin is considered one of the world’s top tech shows.

A large number of brands choose to activate there, as they recognise the importance of engaging their customers in real, live environments.

This year we saw among many others Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Lenovo, Philips, Siemens, Miele, Microsoft, ASUS and Acer all showcasing a broad spectrum of products, from smart kitchen devices and the latest televisions to vacuums and smartphones.

 

Customising for multiple audiences, all at once

I made a conscious effort to speak to brands about their approach and why they chose to participate at the event. Almost all liked the fact that they can speak to more than one audience in the one place. At IFA Berlin there’s press launches galore, a focus on trade, dedicated days for consumers, and a youth and school program. A number of brands even target early Christmas shoppers! We all know a one-size fits all mindset just doesn’t cut it anymore, so how did they manage to speak to these different groups simultaneously?

The approach was varied, however one that stood out for me was drone manufacturer DJI. Their consumer-focused drone cage experience invited attendees to fly a drone within a purpose-built space – here the focus was on the leisurely application of the tech – and on the other side trade visitors could get up close and personal with the new features of their latest models. You could tell they had made a conscious effort to cater to both groups in the design of the space. There was a distinct differentiation for audiences, yet the transition felt seamless at the same time.

 

Bridging the gap between product and lifestyle

From the carefully curated design of their spaces to the products they chose to showcase, this year, there was a dominant lifestyle theme at play. Philips for example, chose to re-create each room in the home, complete with air purifiers, baby monitors and brand representatives ironing in a higher-than-expected-energy fashion, meanwhile Miele opted for a completely functional kitchen where you could stop off to grab a bite to eat, and Siemens showed us their voice-activated opening oven-door (who knew we needed that?!).

Brands such as Nokia and Liebherr chose to bring the outside in, by designing outdoor environments and showcasing real fruit and vegetables – perhaps a nod to their eco-friendly status, too. Across the board, instead of simple product displays, almost all brands were keen on replicating real-world environments so that consumers could see how these products can seamlessly fit into their lives – with the ‘we’re ultimately making your life easier’ messaging clearly apparent.

 

Purposeful tech applications

Instead of taking a ‘tech for techs sake’ approach, there were, refreshingly, a number of examples of purposeful tech-focused activations at play. Samsung’s Lifestyle Gallery – one feature of its wider Samsung Town experience – showcased how its Serif TV can complement any space by enabling attendees to ‘flip the page’ as they would a book to visualise the products against different backdrops. As in previous years, LG opted for an immersive tunnel activation. Designed to showcase its OLED TV, the screen covered a floor to ceiling space that completely immersed and engaged, as it shifted from bright hues to a night sky with twinkling stars.

Segway – the company we’re all familiar with for their commercial-grade people movers (ref. large groups of tourists zooming around any major city) have merged with Ninebot, which means their customer base has diversified to include consumers too. The partnership was brought to life through a participatory experience where attendees could test their products out on a racetrack, with tech being used to monitor speeds. A great gamification experience, this proved to be good fun while also highlighting that the company’s products now have commercial and non-commercial applications.

Bright lights and large-scale activations aside, IFA Berlin remains a refreshing show in that it highlights how brands are going above and beyond to connect with their audiences – us. They know great tech just isn’t enough – that they need to tell the product’s story in meaningful, relatable ways, and that it’s key they provide customers with opportunities to get hands on.

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.