1 year ago

Day 5 - IFA International

  • Text
  • Washing
  • Products
  • Berlin
  • Vacuum
  • September
  • Haier
  • Models
  • Consumers
  • Consumer
  • Appliances


CLEAN LIFESTYLE [ ROBOT CLEANERS ] Focus on the Business of Robots Consumer market fastest growing for robots IFA international interviews IFA keynote speaker Colin Angle, Co-Founder and CEO of iRobot, about the growth in the robotics industry and the intersection with consumer electronics and home appliances… When you look at home maintenance tasks, this is a great growth area that’s just getting started. The consumer side is the fastest growing market for robots. The vision we all once shared was perhaps “Rosie” from the TV cartoon The Jetsons. That was 50 years ago and only 15% of the vacuum market is robots. We just sold our 10 millionth Roomba, a landmark. And that product came from an idea in 2002. When you look at home maintenance tasks, this is a great growth area that’s just getting started. It is interesting to watch the evolution—from the point of a product for gadget geeks, to the point where it is in the hands of everyday people. How important is the international market for iRobot? We have seen our international markets grow tremendously. Europe has led the world with sales surpassing Asia and USA. In a market like Spain, we are actually the bestselling vacuum cleaner. In Europe, there’s the attitude of keeping the home clean. Colin Angle, IFA 2013 keynote speaker Culturally, our products fit very well. Our distributors do a fantastic job in Europe. We do sell some via online sites but the majority of our sales are in MediaMarkt, Darty and other major retailers. In order to have 15% of the market you have to go where the people look for vacuum cleaners. Everywhere you go you’ll find our line-up as we are broadly distributed. How hard was it to get to the point of being the industry’s best-selling robot vacuum cleaner? The consumer industry is constrained by costs, not by the challenge of the technology. Robots are such an intoxicating design challenge but what can bring you down to earth are the cost constraints. Many of the Japanese fell into this with their big R&D. They have proved time and time again that the cost makes building humanoid robots nonviable. Our mission is to find a way to make the cost/value relationship work. We don’t believe robots will any day soon begin to look like legged humans -- and Mother Nature didn’t give out rotary joints. What iRobot did, and I am particularly proud of it, is we focused on the business of robots. From the getgo, we understood we needed to make money to survive. When we looked at a robot, we tried to decide what somebody would pay for it. We worked in many industries – oil, toys, and others like industrial cleaning with Johnson Wax Professional. At every step we learned. Roomba evolved out of the ability to clean commercial floors. Then we learned consumer manufacturing philosophies from Hasbro: high quality, high reliability, and low cost mechanical devices. We added our own expertise in robotics. Ten million robots later, this seems like it worked well. What has been your most significant experience in the robotics industry? The biggest impact robots made on me was year and a half ago in Japan. I met the man in charge of the clean-up at Fukushima. We had supplied 720 of the heavy duty defense robots we make. He told me: “Without your robot we couldn’t have shut down the reactor.” They needed to vacuum and bring down radioactive dust. You start with the idea of doing good. We hadn’t designed our robots for this -- or even known we could have an effect like that. And also every single explosive technician I ever met has told me: I’d be dead if not for your defense robots. As an inventor, it is gratifying when you develop a concept, an abstract idea and then finally get to the point where robots can do it. Colin Angle Co-founder and CEO “the majority of our sales are in MediaMarkt, Darty and other major retailers.” What’s ahead for iRobots? What’s the future? Look at what iRobot does with Cisco. Traditional videoconferencing was limited to where you put it. Now the AVA 500 provides mobility, not a static station just around the water cooler. Major speeches have been given over iRobot, and now even some hospitals use iRobot to diagnose at a distance. We allow doctors to talk remotely to nurses. You have to open your aperture and look further. For example, what role will robots play in help our ageing population? We are already vacuuming the floor. But we can use robotics technology to help people live independently longer—without the earlier intervention of hospitals and hospices. That ageing population is even larger in Europe so it represents an opportunity to do good as well an enormous market. How important is IFA in your global marketing programme? We love IFA. It’s all about meeting our distributors and retailers. Robotics is intertwined with mobility and entertainment, so we come here to stay abreast of mobile and entertainment. Hall 6.1 Stand 119 30

The Fine Art of Ironing CLEAN Swiss-based Laurastar brings professional knowledge to the aid of the consumer LIFESTYLE [ SMALL APPLIANCES ] The Swiss ironing icon Laurastar is obsessed with making this task easier for everyday users, based on the company’s background in the professional field. Having joined the team as Marketing and Communication director two years ago, Julie Monney, daughter of group CEO and President, Jean Monney, has the task of increasing the company’s turnover and growing its market share. After working at Procter & Gamble and Unilever and Landor, being back in a family business was not so difficult given its unique focus. “We are the only company totally focused on ironing, and that makes us real experts in the field. For the last 30 years, Laurastar has been passionately obsessed with developing state-of-theart-technologies that make the results of using our irons more and more perfect. The company has always been inspired by the world of professional ironing; the sort of equipment that dry cleaners use, but adapting it for home use. I have tried to bring more of a consumer-orientated design perspective to our product range.” There have been some big changes in the look of many household devices over the past few years but not in irons, however Monney says it’s time for that to happen. When it does, new sales channels will open. “In terms of increasing market share and turnover, with these new products that are highly differentiated, we’ve been looking at expanding our distribution, and in June we launched Laurastar in China, a project that we’ve been working on for more than two years.” Laurastar’s core competency remains in the Ironing System, an all-inone product including an active ironing board, the iron itself and the steam generator. “Laurastar was the first brand to bring this product to the market for home use 30 years ago”, says Monney. “This very much remains our focus, and this year at IFA we are launching an entrylevel ironing system – the Laurastar GO – at a starting price of 749 Euros. This category has huge potential for growth in Europe, especially in Germany and France. It’s currently 8.5% of the market in value. We believe with great design and ultra high performance products, we will get more and more people to buy into and try this ironing category.” Hall 4.1 Stand 209 Julie Monney Laurastar Marketing and Communication Director “We are the only company totally focused on ironing, and that makes us real experts in the field” RUSSELL HOBBS COLOUR CONTROL STEAM IRON In response to consumer’s wishes, Russell Hobbs has developed a new collection of irons that deal with difficulties related to filling, storing and temperature settings. Launched at IFA, the Colour Control steam iron uses a colour change temperature indicator that shows when the iron is the right temperature for the fabric, enabling users to avoid fabric damage. » HALL 3.1 / STAND 104 UNIQUE SELLING POINTS RESULTS HANDLING SAFETY Ceramic soleplate tackles tough creases. Soft-touch handle makes for a comfortable grip. Three-way auto shut off provides added safety. SEBO FELIX 3 The Sebo Felix 3 floor polisher can prevent the need for a costly professional treatment to restore shine to hard floors – including wood, stone, and PVC. It’s easy to handle with a turning swivel neck for easy manoeuvrability; fine dust is removed via the attached vacuum cleaner. The automatic torque has controlled height adjustment to make sure the floor pad is at the right setting. » HALL 6.1 / STAND 109 UNIQUE SELLING POINTS USABILITY ALLERGY-FRIENDLY VERSATILITY Crevice and upholstery attachments are stored on the telescopic handle. S-Class 3-step filtration results in 99.9% effectiveness to 0.3 microns. 2 in 1: high-speed floor polisher and Felix 4 vacuum cleaner combined. IFA International • Tuesday 10 th September 2013 31

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