The latest issue of ERT has landed!

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Editor’s Comment: The next generation of tech to tickle your fancy!

Welcome to the latest edition of ERT. And first thing’s first… where has 2023 gone?! Around this time last year I was writing about what a long and challenging year 2022 had been; by contrast it feels that, although many challenges still remained during 2023, it’s absolutely flown by!

We are now fully into the so-called ‘golden quarter’ of the year with the retail sector gearing up for the all-important Christmas period. And industry figures would suggest that consumers are already out and about spending money, so let’s hope that continues and retailers enjoy a productive and fruitful festive season ahead.

Of course, Black Friday isn’t far away either. And, like it or loathe it, it appears that this Americanised trading event is here to stay. Sales figures across the famous shopping week (because it’s far from just the one day anymore) will provide a really good indication into consumer shopping trends for the following weeks up to and including the New Year.

But as T21’s Paul Laville writes in this issue, can Black Friday survive the cost-of-living crisis here in the UK? He believes there’s no doubt it will be just as successful as previous years – even during Covid! People love a bargain! (Or what they consider to be a bargain.) So Paul provides his tips on how to navigate this crucial shopping period.

Also in this issue is our bumper review of IFA. I returned to the Berlin show at the beginning of September – again, that only seems like last week! ­– to see all the latest home tech that’s coming our way. The TVs were bigger and the appliances were ‘greener’; in fact, sustainability was a common theme for most brands across the exhibition. As was Artificial Intelligence; a House of Smart Living and a Robotics Hub were added as new experience zones at the show this year.

Away from the main stages of the big-name brands, we saw some rather alternative tech on display. Swedish audio brand, Urbanista, introduced its new solar Bluetooth speaker called ‘Malibu’; using Exeger’s Powerfoyle solar cells it can recharge while unplugged using both outdoor sunshine and ambient indoor lighting.

Elsewhere, an army of new robotic vacuum cleaners were busying themselves around several stands. The likes of Roomba, Dreame, SwitchBot and Roborock were showing off the cleaning power of their latest AI-driven, hands-free vacs.

For TV fans, Hisense unveiled its new anti-reflective screen that will come out next year on its flagship line, said to make an “incredible” difference to glare during daytime viewing. In audio, Samsung demonstrated its new Auracast Bluetooth feature – a mini network that allows audio to be broadcast from the TV to an unlimited number of receivers, like earbuds and headphones.

What was clear from walking round IFA this year is that innovation in the home and personal tech worlds shows no signs of slowing down. So while consumers may appear a bit more cautious about how and where they spend their money at the moment, there’s always something new and exciting around the corner to take their fancy. This industry is constantly evolving.

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the latest edition of ERT online – or on your mobile device