IFA, for the uninitiated, is Europe’s answer to CES – held in Germany every year, it’s a celebration of the cool, the concept, the kooky and the downright crazy of consumer electronics. Around this time every year approximately 1,000 exhibitors from the world’s largest B2C technology companies and 200,000 punters gather in the sprawling Messe Berlin for a five-day festival of home appliances and gadgets.
It’s my third IFA – seasoned tech PRs and journos alike will scoff at my lowly number of stripes here - but having had a good look at the attendees and their promotional material beforehand, and this being my third outing, I have a sense of what to expect.
So here’s what I think you can expect in the next few days:
Samsung stealing a march in screens – Samsung haven’t really made much of a secret of their forthcoming 8K screen (they’ve had outdoor advertising about it in Berlin for much of the last week), and it’s officially unveiled at the show. This will hoover up a lot of the media coverage and attention at the show, and create a challenge for other companies to get airtime for their products.
Smartphone evolution, not revolution – New releases from Sony’s Xperia and Huawei’s Mate ranges, and new handsets from LG are all expected at the show. With Samsung having stolen everyone’s thunder (again!) by releasing its Galaxy Note 9 earlier in the month, this will mean that these manufacturers will need to be at their best to capture the public and media’s attention.
Smarter speakers – Smart speakers are exploding in popularity - shipments of smart speakers increased by 180% in Q2 of this year alone. Expect to see more smart speakers from Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Sony and lots more besides.
The robots are coming – At this year’s CES there were lots and lots of robots. You can expect more of the same at IFA this year. LG’s CLOi series, Anker’s robot vacuum, Softbank’s Pepper, Samsung’s Aibo amongst many others will be awkwardly engaging with consumers and executives alike over the coming days.
Confusion over hashtags – This seems to be a perennial problem, but with everyone looking to maximise their presence at the show, there are a number of different hashtags that companies and consumers use alike. The organisers themselves use #IFA18 and #IFABerlin (the official account is @IFA_Berlin) but you should probably keep an eye on #IFA2018 and #IFAtechnews. Using the “mute” function on Twitter to block-out overly noisy accounts is a must for making sense of the content from the show.
Hotwire’s team will be scouring the halls of Messe Berlin over the next few days to look out for the latest technology and pick out some of the highlights of the show. Follow @HotwireGlobal on Twitter and @HotwireGlobal on Instagram to keep in the know.
As big tech shows go, IFA 2018 is right up there among the biggest of the year, the time when a substantial chunk of the people in the tech industry descend upon Berlin has begun. The event began on August 29 in the German capital and lasts for a week, with dozens of major hardware manufacturers coming together to showcase their newest and most innovative creations. From smartphones to smart speakers, TVs to laptops, and much more – IFA is always a bonanza of consumer tech and home appliances. It's even getting big enough to rival the mighty CES in Las Vegas too.