As part of the Coderus team, we travelled with our CEO Mark Thomas, to Germany to attend the IFA 2018 conference in Berlin, which we first started attending last year. The IFA is the world’s leading home appliance and consumer electronics show, and we were excited to fly over and see what the biggest names in the tech sector were showing off, for this year and for the future. And even though some might argue that you can actually watch a live stream of the event, without the need of physically attending, that doesn’t apply to small size organizations and Asian companies. Besides, with the range of the attendees varying from students to families, and from businesses to tech-enthusiastic individuals, networking and sharing the fun of technology were some of the parts that we enjoyed the most.
Having attended in previous years, Mark knew the show would not disappoint him– and he was right. The conference was a technology goldmine – a Christmas wonderland of products and concepts, from the genius to the seemingly crazy. Even though there was a shuttlebus connecting the two separate parts of the city, the team mapped over 20km a day in steps as they made their way through the different sections. There were the usual gimmicky booths – dancing robots, as always – but we were pleased to see that a lot of the technology was unhindered by novelties and was left to speak for itself (with the voice assistants, quite literally).
Whilst it would have been nicer to come across more UK companies at the event, it was great to see so many European companies represented in every section of the Conference. Of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without the Tech Giants – Google were there pushing their latest developments with voice assistance, encouraging attendees to engage with their 80-satellite staff. There was an opportunity to play for prizes in a Google Gumball machine which was extremely popular – we would have needed to queue for two hours to give it a go!
VR gaming was everywhere, from Jedi fights with Lenovo to football and racing games with Samsung. There was also a popular table football VR experience, which from Spectator mode demonstrated some impressive graphics and excellent attention to detail. As well as the games themselves, there was a large focus on the audio and motion around them, which enhanced the experiences considerably.
Technology in the health sector showed itself to be pushing boundaries, demonstrating a new wearable solution for helping to regulate blood sugar levels, which is going to massively aid the diabetic community worldwide. Air quality trackers are also gaining popularity with both personal and fixed monitors demonstrated.
Home automation had the biggest presence we’d ever seen, making its way into every section at the conference in some way or other. There seems to be more home automation systems available now, which will make it hard for consumers to choose, but there were of course the most exciting developments seen by Google, Apple and Samsung – for example the Samsung connected home. It will be hard for other companies to keep up with these giants when it comes to automated tech, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other innovative ideas from the smaller contributors at the conference.
There was the usual large presence from Android, with demos from vendors both known and unknown. Blackberry had an impressive display – is seems as if the company are pushing for a comeback in the next couple of years. Samsung was represented here and also in the TV section with a massive display – although they were definitely outshone by LG, with screens allowing you to walk through Canyons and the Victoria waterfalls, which was sensational. There was the usual push for TV upgrades, but there was also a demonstration on how FHD and UHD upscale could be still worth doing for the upgrades to 8K, which was particularly interesting.
One thing which seemed to be missing was demonstrations in vehicle autonomy – whilst there was some presence, it was much smaller than expected given the current hype around the industry. This may show that the technology is further away than we may have anticipated, and it is not something we should expect in the next couple of years. However, there were many talks on this at IFA-Next – IFA’s stage for innovation – so it’s certainly on people’s minds and perhaps developments will accelerate exponentially, especially with the enabling 5G and LoRaWAN networks up and coming.
On the whole, the Coderus team was impressed by all of the tech demonstrated and the sheer size of the conference – it was an honour to be immersed in innovation for a two-day period alongside other enthusiastic attendees. There were a lot of impressive developments in the different sectors, and, we already look forward to next year’s IFA-Berlin 2019, hoping to see an even bigger UK presence, embracing innovation – and with the conference being only a short flight from Stansted airport, it is definitely a worth while experience.
As a software development company, we’re very excited about the future of the industry!