IFA 2013: Samsung Press Conference

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With all the interest surrounding the mobile technology that Samsung are putting into consumer hands in the very near future, such as the intriguing Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, many of the 200+ journalists in attendance for the second press conference must have wondered how Samsung could further show how they can push the innovation boundaries with Smart TV and home appliance sectors. The message at IFA was clear that Samsung want consumers to “Discover The World Of Possibilities”.

Following an introduction by Samsung’s European Communications Director, Greg Dawson, President and CEO BK Yoon took to the stage. He told the press delegation that Samsung is driven by three guiding principles, they are people, innovation and society. He believes it is this kind of thinking that has helped Samsung lead the European TV market for the last nine years. Mr Yoon also talked of the contemporary modern family and how Samsung’s innovation is designed to reduce chaos in a household and produce happier domestic lives. Mr Yoon emphasised the point that the consumer is paramount and that television viewing is once again becoming a family event.

“One of the secrets of our success is that we go to great lengths to understand how people use technology. These insights inform everything we create. That’s how we come up with products and services that make life at home just so much more comfortable and happier”, he added.

Talking statistics, Mr Yoon detailed that in the last 12 months Samsung opened Lifestyle Research Labs in five locations globally that analyse customer needs and wants. A further thirty three R&D locations and six design centres are also involved in the process of bringing the product range to life. Samsung attribute a quarter of those employed by the company being dedicated to innovation. Another statistic offered was that 15,000 people are employed by Samsung in Europe alone.

After Mr Yoon left the stage, Executive Vice President for Samsung Electronics GmbH, Hans Wienands, wasted no time by hitting the audience with another statistic that four in ten televisions sold are Samsung at an average of two sold every second, giving a market share of 41%. Following research in over 18 European countries, consumers indicated that picture quality, large screens and a user friendly interface are the most important factors when choosing a television. With Ultra HD and OLED technologies, as well as software such as S Recommendations, Multi-View and Smart Hub, Samsung believes it can deliver the “Ultimate Lean Back Experience”. Other important features to drive this message in UHD TVs includes gesture control, Twin Tuner which allows simultaneous viewing of different broadcasts on TV and one other compatible device, built-in camera for chat based apps like Skype, and One Connect Box, designed to reduce clutter that can occur in cabling set ups.

The main talking points for the Smart TV sector were the 55″ Curved OLED TV and the FP9000 UHD TV (both to be covered in more depth separately in Product News), introduced by Michael Zöller, Senior Director, European Sales & Marketing TV/AV. He told those in attendance that “the future is not flat” before highlighting the key selling points of this currently alternative design. Mr Zöller went on to promote the fact that with it’s evolution kit on board these televisions they are future proofing, which is an important consumer concern. These kits will be launched once 4K broadcast standards have been ascertained.

In another “world’s first”, it was also announced on stage that Samsung and Eutelsat are to bring consumers the world’s first 4K broadcast by satellite, such is the conviction that UHD will make its way into households.

Mr Zöller rounded off by telling us about the S9 UHD series for those who potentially could have the space. Speaking personally, I’d have to take the side of my house off to accommodate either of the 98″ or 110″ designs on show. 

It wouldn’t be a Samsung Press conference without a teaser amongst all this CE unveiling and today was no different. Since UHD was first put forward as a commercially viable reality, it was perceived generally that consumers would have to choose between OLED or UHD but at this press conference Samsung enticed the press with the promise to deliver a UHD OLED TV to the market in due course after successfully developing a 98″ prototype.

From the conviction witnessed, there seems to be little doubt that UHD OLED will play a big part in Samsung’s visual consumer electronic applications for many years to come.

Samsung Digital Appliances’ Vice President of Brand Marketing, Won Park-Costof, gave us a change of direction by discussing the factors behind the kind of DA innovations that drives their ambition to be number one in home appliances by 2015. She informed the audience that their vision is to deliver a home life well-lived, built on the foundation of deep local insight, listening to consumer passion points and overall design excellence.

At this year’s IFA, we were given an insight into the range of initiatives and products intended to enhance people’s lives at home. They include Club des Chefs, an initiative where three well-known chefs will have input into future cookery product design as well as offering cooking techniques for consumers to get the best out of their kitchen, and the FS9000 FoodShowcase refrigerator (Product News).

Finally, in floorcare, we were introduced to the Samsung Motion Sync vacuum cleaner (Product News) which boasts a sensor that can tell consumers if they’ve picked up enough dust off the required area of cleaning.

It was a lot of information to pack into an hour long session and after all said and done it was easy to see why Samsung needed two press conferences to cover all areas of their growing business, as it would seem their World of Possibilities is endless.

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