What to expect at IFA 2015

Product Manager IoT Division - Connected Products, IBM

IFA is an annual consumer electronics trade show held in Berlin, Germany, during the first weekend of September. IFA is akin to the European version of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), except that IFA is open to the public. Anyone who has anything to do with electronics or the consumer side of it will be there, but there are also a lot of organizations: telcos, mobile phone providers, mobile app companies, car companies and the list goes on. The world of technology descends on Berlin every year for this event, and it’s a wild spectacle.

Awash in technology

Imagine more than 12 airplane hangars filled with booths of all sizes showing off cutting-edge products that are likely set to be sold within three-to-six months, even during the holiday season. A person can get lost walking around IFA, and with the Internet of Things being the topic of the day, I fully expect to see some amazing things at the 2015 event.

Last year, I was shocked by how many connected products, connected homes, connected cars—I guess connected everything—was on display at IFA. I can only imagine this year will be four times the messaging and four times the hype. And I’m expecting to hear some major announcements from all the Internet of Things players from all industries. For example, wearable devices running on Android are expected to switch to new Internet of Things–capable smart watches, and wearable clothing, more realistic smart home solutions, connected automobiles and many more connected things will likely be at IFA this year.

While no formal announcements have yet been made, surely companies such as HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung and Sony will all be making some major announcements. Samsung, in particular, is usually IFA’s prom queen. The company typically hosts a huge Unpacked event in Berlin, with smaller satellite events around the globe that are all streaming the show live. Not to be outdone, expect similar types of events and parties from other organizations as everyone is trying to capture the consumer’s mind-share.

Expect the expected and unexpected, I’m excited to see what’s changed. Last year the event was about the connected home. At the Mobile World Congress 2015 event in Barcelona, Spain, everyone was talking about wearable devices. I’m interested to hear what the theme is going to be for the IFA 2015 event. Here are my guesses:

  • A silent Apple. The organization always goes silent during these events. It doesn’t participate, and at most just schedules a competing announcement during the conference.
  • Connected clothing. Companies are expected to introduce a new category of wearable device shirts for athletics that track Global Positioning System (GPS) data and other biometrics data.
  • Connected bathroom products. Toothbrushes, faucets and showerheads are all expected to be introduced as companies push Internet of Things products into the one room of the house you probably thought they’d never consider.
  • Connected toys. Expect some new Internet of Things–based toys to be introduced that are meant for kids but still follow Internet of Things concepts.
  • Alliances. Also expect some major alliances to be announced. This company partners with that company, and they form a strategic partnership to enter a specific market, such as an electronics company partnering with a telecommunications organization to provide packaged connectivity for continuous use. I can only guess, but these kinds of alliances always seem to be announced during IFA. I’m looking forward to hearing about them all.
  • Beer. Attendees drink a lot of beer at this event, and I can’t wait.

My friends, my peers within the electronics and high-tech solutions team and the Internet of Things division, and I will be in attendance, but we won’t be available in a booth or a place on the floor. Like at the 2014 event, we’ll be inviting clients and friends at the 2015 event to join us in the IBM suite, right next to the lawn and garden—a perfect place to watch the concerts and relax.

Share the experience

I encourage anyone who is attending and interested in learning about IBM’s Internet of Things strategy to stop by and see some cool demos and perhaps speak with some of our technical experts. Contact your IBM sales rep for more information and to schedule a time to join us. I hope to meet you in person, so please stop by and introduce yourself. I’ll be the guy with the beard. See you in Berlin.