Trends in home appliances at IFA 2015. The latest products and innovations from the leading manufacturers of large and small home appliances will again be in the spotlight from 4 to 9 September 2015 at IFA in Berlin.
The trends will be defined by connectivity and the smart home, sustainability, energy efficiency and the conservation of resources, preparing healthy meals, easy-to-use controls, time-saving and, of course, outstanding design.
The spectrum of innovative produces encompasses home electrical appliances such as ovens, hobs, extractor units, steam cookers, microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and clothes driers, and small appliances including automatic coffee makers and coffee machines, milk whisks, kettles, toasters, contact grills, food processors, equipment for hair and body care, as well as for the correct care of clothes, homes and floors, and so-called wearables.
Due to their diversity and outstanding performance home electrical appliances and small appliances are more in demand than ever before, because they are easier to use, take the effort out of housework and also save time.
They also improve the quality of life, making it more comfortable and healthier, and promoting a feeling of well-being. Preparing meals and the experience of cooking and eating together with family and friends are popular lifestyle factors.
Moreover large and small electrical appliances are setting new standards in energy efficiency, sustainability and the conservation of resources.
With each new generation of appliances the manufacturers have improved the energy consumption.
This meets with the approval of users because there is a strong awareness among consumers of the need to use water and energy carefully, and to protect the environment in general. Consequently a new electrical appliance soon pays for itself on account of its reduced energy consumption.
Among so-called “white goods” the combination of high quality materials and outstanding design with a fresh range of colours is more in evidence than ever before.
This has been combined with an innovative and extensive range of functionalities and with simple, easy-to-use controls. Intelligent home appliances with interconnected applications continue to gain in importance. A large number of versatile apps are now available, for such purposes as information, operation, the care of appliances, comfort, service, maintenance, remote diagnostics and energy efficiency.
By interacting with tablet PCs or smartphones, intelligent home appliances can be controlled or enquiries be made about their operational status. With these systems individual appliances can communicate with one another, linking hotplates with an extractor unit, or operating various kitchen appliances by means of a single control panel.
Electrical home appliances: improved and intelligent
Despite the improvements that have already been achieved, the economical use of electrical power, water and detergents is an ongoing topic, and significant, tangible progress is still being made. Among the outstanding features of the latest generation of washing machines are their intelligent detergent dispensing systems, special programmes for washing particular kinds of clothes and for removing dirt and stubborn stains, as well as various automatic programmes using sensors.
They deal effectively with dirt by using foam systems, improved drum movement and steaming, even at temperatures as low as 20 degrees Celsius. Antibacterial door seals and detergent drawers are designed for enhanced hygiene as are the special programmes for allergy sufferers and baby clothes. Attention has also focused on reductions in noise levels.
Outstanding energy efficiency levels have been achieved with driers in particular. The latest generation of appliances has automated functions for cleaning the condenser, which also contribute to a more economical use of energy. Further improvements to stability and smooth running have also been achieved. Moreover appliances are now available with standard dimensions that can cope with a ten kilogram load. Modern driers also make use of steam and scents to freshen and air the clothes. Intelligent models use error codes and a smartphone service to advise users.
The new dishwashers operate faster and even more effectively, in some cases reducing operating times by more than 60 per cent compared with their predecessors. Automatic programmes, special air ducting systems, high pressure jets, a water wall or steam all help to improve and speed up the cleaning process, removing dried or burnt food residues without the need for prior soaking and scrubbing. And of course the required amounts of water and energy have been further reduced. Sensors, variations in water pressure and special programmes all ensure that delicate glasses and valuable crockery are cleaned with the necessary degree of care. Automatic load recognition and improved racks for plates and glasses on several levels have been designed to make the appliances easier to use. Interconnected dishwashers can also be operated from any location by means of a smartphone.
Keeping food fresher for longer is one of the main features of the new refrigerators and freezers, along with improved energy efficiency. As a result the latest appliances set new records for reduced energy consumption, and the side-by-side fridge-freezers also feature elegant styling. Some of these models are so flexible that the freezer can be transformed into a refrigerator at the press of a button.
The latest generation of ovens are remarkable for their flexibility and speed, combining a number of functions in a single unit, such as conventional heating, hot air, a grill and steam cooking, as well as a microwave and induction. A number of different dishes can be prepared simultaneously on three levels, without a clash of aromas. Sensors ensure perfect baking results every time, supported by numerous baking, roasting and slow cooking programmes with extensive databases. Many of the new models are interconnected and can be operated by means of an app.
Hobs are also fitted with sensors to monitor the preselected temperature ranges and identify the levels in the pans. One advantage of this is to prevent overheating. Some of the more “intelligent” models can weigh the ingredients as well as monitoring the contents of a refrigerator. The safe and effective supply of heat via induction continues to capture a larger share of the hob market.
In addition to the traditional positioning of extractor units over the hob or on a wall, other alternatives are now available. After use they can be retracted into a cupboard, or incorporated in the hob itself. New technology enables these units to easily switch from air circulation to extraction, and also offer improved energy efficiency and lower operating noise levels. Hoods with a ceiling-mounted hoist can identify the best or individually adjusted position above the hob. Remote apps can be used to operate the extractor via a smartphone or tablet PC. Some models can also react automatically as soon as the hob is switched on.
Small electrical appliances: Flexible and innovative aids, and not just in the kitchen
Of course, in addition to large appliances IFA also features small appliances. Each year the small electrical appliance sector demonstrates its innovative strengths with an impressive and wide range of new products for use in many different areas as well as the kitchen. Wearables, devices that users always have on them or wear, represent a new category, as do the small electrical appliances for the single-person or small household, which place a particular emphasis on conserving natural resources.
“Food preparation” is another sector that is rapidly gaining in importance. A wide range of powerful tabletop mixers with differing capacities can be used, for example, for the rapid and careful preparation of popular and healthy smoothies. A wide selection of whisks, handheld mixers and macerators augments this product range.
Food processors offer an increasing range of capabilities and are more powerful too. They can take on many tasks in the kitchen, from whipping cream to kneading dough, as well as stirring, macerating, grinding and mixing, and can also heat up food and cook it. Some of these appliances have a choice of over 100 programmes for food preparation.
A new area is devoted to so-called fun cooking. Meals that are prepared at the table, with an electric grill, contact grill, raclette or fondue, bring more variety into our lives. For desserts there are waffle irons and cupcake makers, all of them highly innovative and flexible small appliances.
An enjoyable meal is rounded off by cups of coffee, espresso or cappuccino. This accounts for the continuing popularity of appliances for preparing hot beverages. In addition to coffee, tea makers are also the focus of attention. Automated coffee makers, capsule and espresso machines, traditional coffee filter machines and tea makers, either as standalone on built-in units, meet the needs of just about every customer, providing drinks in large or small quantities, or even a single cup of filter coffee.
In the body care sector the range of small appliances continues to expand. For hair care, hair styling, depilation or shaving, oral or dental care, or for caring for the skin, an innovative device is available for every kind of application. There are now apps that can show a new beard style on a photo of the user, thereby enabling different looks to be tried out in advance and then implemented with advice from experts. There are also toothbrushes that can communicate with a smartphone to ensure perfect dental care.
Small networked appliances are available for monitoring body functions, offering new ideas and a whole range of applications. For example, scales can transmit the weight reading to a smartphone.
Everyone is talking about so-called wearables, and these can be worn on the wrist, carried in a trouser pocket, on a key ring or even on one’s nose. Augmenting a mobile phone, or as standalone products, they can measure and document everyday events, and provide assistance with sporting or holiday activities, or at home.
Armbands with the required electronics, such as acceleration sensors and other types of sensor, give continuous blood pressure and pulse readings, and can register the level of activity of the wearer, whether he is jogging, climbing stairs or prefers to use a lift. The data is subsequently transmitted from the wearable to a smartphone or tablet, where it is evaluated with the aid of dedicated apps.
Vacuum cleaners offer improved performance and reduced energy consumption, and not only because of the new EU energy label. And these improvements can be found on the large units as well as the portable handheld cleaners. These appliances are becoming even more compact, lighter and quieter.
Automatic robot vacuum cleaners are growing in popularity and are certainly not a niche product any more. Full of the latest technology, with new functions, sensors and automated systems, they are more powerful and more intelligent than ever before. What is more: the smart version can even be operated using a smartphone. With their powerful batteries, the floor cleaners can operate for even longer without recharging. The robot vacuum cleaners are supplemented by other appliances with well-designed wiping systems to cope perfectly with different kinds of floors.
A wide range of units are also available to ensure the perfect climate within the home. Air purifiers, humidifiers and aroma diffusers create an oasis of well-being within one’s own four walls. And if required, they can be combined with customised lighting and an individual choice of scents. They enable a fine mist to be created, distributing the required amount of humidity and fragrance throughout the room.