In the latest issue of ERT…

View the June 2021 digital issue of ERT

Editor’s comment: Get smart!

This month’s issue of ERT is a Smart Home Special! We are looking at both the consumer electronics and home appliances markets and how they are flooded with internet-enabled, connected products that offer hands-free, remote controlled, voice-activated, generally all-round smart uses.

It goes without saying that as we’ve all been spending much more time at home, adoption of the latest technology has gone through the roof! Some of the people I spoke to for the features this month reported that the majority of smart sectors have grown exponentially in terms of both sales and volume – although security and lighting were the standout areas. Security remains one of the most compelling use cases for attracting consumers into the smart home ecosystem, with 58 per cent of all smart home shipments in 2020 being security and monitoring devices, according to Futuresource Consulting.

But rewind to just a couple of years ago, for many people smart speakers were the entry point into the connected home – once someone has a voice-activated smart speaker, this can act as a catalyst for them to add additional devices and services. And that still remains the case today. Calling out to Alexa to play songs by your favourite band was a novelty to begin with, but consumers quickly realised the expanding opportunities available with this small, cylindrical speaker sitting in the corner.

If an electrical gadget or kitchen appliance has got voice control capabilities, it is usually accessible to a huge customer demographic.

However, another key trend we’re seeing now is app control – seemingly taking things a step backwards as voice is all hands-free, but with smartphone apps consumers can access and control a plethora of products across their home from literally anywhere.

A common example on the appliances side is being able to set the oven to pre-heat before coming home from work. But of course, there are many more features and benefits that make great demonstration tools and talking points for retailers in their stores. As I’ve said before, seeing is believing, and as consumers have been bereft of that hands- on retail experience in the past year, smart technology is the perfect way for people to engage with products and learn about their functions with experts on-hand to guide them through.

Exclusive: ‘The first choice for smart home’

Talking of connected kitchens, this month’s ERT interview is with David Meyerowitz, CEO of Haier UK and Ireland (pictured). We spoke about the company’s ambition to be the first choice for smart home appliances.

“We’re definitely on track for all products to be connected by 2023 and have an additional target of 10 million smart users across all brands by this deadline,” he told me.

It’s an impressive goal, but judging by Haier’s recent raft of product launches in refrigeration and laundry, it certainly seems that David and his teams are fully focused on achieving it.

Lastly, and circling back to the subject of retail experiences, I chatted with David about Haier’s new Brand Activation Centre in Warrington – a purpose-built facility for the Haier, Hoover and Candy brands to deliver “a fully-immersive and branded experience”, he explained. The showroom areas demonstrate hundreds of models from the brands’ expansive portfolios across cooking, cooling, laundry, dishwashing, floorcare and air purification.

You can read my interview with David Meyerowitz from page 18.

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the June 2021 digital issue of ERT here