For the first time the Independent Business Award were accompanied by a Product Show during which thirty leading brands demonstrated their latest offers to the independent sector. Some of the product developments, exhibited at the IBA Show, were showcased for the first time in the UK. Anna Ryland reports.
iRobot Roomba – Intelligent floorcare
“The unique feature of iRobot’s Roomba, robotic vacuum cleaner, is iAdapt, the navigation system that lets the appliance adapt itself to the environment in which it works, making more than 50 decisions every second,” explained Bo Simonsen, market manager, UK & Ireland, Witt. “US-based, iRobot, started building robots 25 years ago for space and under sea explorations. It is equipped with Dirt Detect, optical and audio sensors that detect dirty areas. Roomba cleans all surfaces equally effectively due to the ‘floating’ cleaning head that assesses the surface and adjusts its operations. It is equipped in soft-touch bumpers to protect delicate and valuable items. Roomba slows down as it approaches any object, cleans right to it and then backs away. When running low on juice (in approximately 90mins) Roomba automatically returns to base to recharge. Stairs are not a problem since Roomba senses when it approaches stairs and other drop-down areas.
“The cleaner can be operated using a remote control, however, most commonly it’s preprogrammed at the beginning of the day – before the owner departs for work.”
Samsung voice and gesture control TV and smart domestic appliances
“Latest Samsung TVs are equipped with smart, on-demand content, smart interaction – through voice and gesture control – and smart evolution – they are future proofed with the Smart Evolution Box which allows users to add future applications to their current sets,” commented Robert Whittaker, Samsung channel manager, Field Sales.
“We are using here the Store Mode to show how retailers without an internet connection can demonstrate the smart interaction to their customers. It’s the best way to demonstrate the potential of this technology and engage customers in it. They are usually bowed over with its potential – as it is a definite first on the market.”
On the Samsung stand there were also flagship models of Samsung’s G-refrigeration series and Dual Cook ovens.
Roberts Radio – the Jubilee Collection
Roberts Radio showcased the company’s Jubilee edition of the Roberts’ iconic Revival model which now boasts 120 hours of battery life.
“This will be a limited edition retailing at £200,” explained Gerry Kehoe, Roberts Radio field sales manager. “They are in the royal blue, red and white, with high gloss finish. They will be on the market at the end of July.”
On display was also Robert Sports DAB decorated with Union Jack. “It is truly international since it was designed with the thousands of international travelers coming to Britain in mind, and, it not only features DAB and FM, but also DAB Plus for anyone who wishes to take back a bit of England with them.”
Calculus retail solutions
At the Calculus stand, the retailers were able to discuss the range of offers the company designed for the electrical sector. “Calculus is the industry-leading software provider for electrical retailers and we have more retailers using our system than anyone else,” says Calculus’ Rupert Woolger.
“We provide a variety of systems – from one catering for the needs of smallest retailers to large multi-million pounds businesses, covering broad range of areas, such as sales, purchasing systems, delivery management together with customers interface, e-commerce website integration, order traking or invoicing.” Retailers wishing to explore Calculus’ services should contact the company by going to www.findsolutions.com.
Off the Wall – Motion stand
Oliver Mitchell, director of Off the Wall, presented the latest model in the company’s collection of AV stands – the Motion stand. “The unique feature of this new model is the accessory – the soundbar attachment. The soundbar bracket is universal allowing to be used with any brand’s wall-mountable soundbar. The Motion stand, as all our models has ‘no-more wires’ feature – hiding all the cables. It has a very contemporary design and comes in two finishes – silver and black.
“The inspiration for this stand came from our customers who came to us asking to design a stand that would accommodate their speakers and soundbars. Hence we added the swivel mechanism and height adjustability to suit different audio products. It’s a natural extension of our Origin range which is so popular with customers. The soundbar mechanism can be attached both to the Motion and Origin stands.”
Big Red Sales portfolio is growing
All the Big Red Sales brands, including Vogel, Sennheiser, Linsar, Yamaha and Alphason were represented at the exhibition.
John Reddington, BRS’s director and founder, has also used the show to make an important announcement for the company: “Despite the recession, Big Red Sales performed very well in the brown goods category – as companies are realizing the benefits of sub-contracting their sales function. We have been approached by number of DA and SKA brands and we decided to join hands with Morphy Richards. Our association with them will begin on 1st August.”
Statesman Appliances for the independent
The six-year old British Statesman Appliances brand is exclusive to independent retailers offering them a two-year parts and labour warranty and service. The company offers products in four categories: cooking, laundry, cooling and dishwashing, and has both freestanding and built-in appliances.
“We are in the niche market as many manufacturers distribute their product through all the channels while we are sticking with the independent, returning the loyalty the channel showed to us and we feel that this gives a unique standing in the market,” stressed Patrick Hill, area sales manager for Statesman Appliances.