Korean home appliances wow at IFA via hyperconnectivity, eco-friendliness

IFA, Europe's largest exhibition of home appliances, was opened on Sept. 6 with the keywords "hyperconnectivity," referring to systematic connection of all appliances, and "eco-friendly," stressing the reduction of energy waste and protection of the environment.

A record 160  Korean companies including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics participated in the event.

Samsung Electronics turned City Cube Berlin into "Samsung Town," the largest by a company at the IFA covering 10,072 square m. Visitors experienced systematic connection in the section "Smart Things Home," comprising seven spaces of a home including the bedroom, office and kitchen via the platform "Smart Things."

LG Electronics also stressed connection through its app LG ThinQ and held a solo exhibition in a space covering 3,610 square m.

A major attention grabber was the demonstration by the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA) of a unifying app controlling home appliances of different brands. For instance, a Samsung app can operate an LG refrigerator or a GE oven.

The alliance is a non-profit organization formed by 13 global corporations such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, GE, Haier and Electrolux to expand the smart home ecosystem. It was established in August last year to create a service allowing a single app to control appliances made by participating companies.

Samsung Electronics, the chair of the HCA board, introduced an app from each company that controls 42 functions of 15 items. This came eight months after the Korean corporation in January announced plans for the alliance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

HCA President Choi Yoon-ho said, "This year, we will stress focus on connection under the slogan 'Any app, any device,'" adding, "The goal is to reduce energy use by large electronic appliances, including air conditioning devices that consume 60%-70% of energy."

Enhancing connectivity and saving energy are expected to kill two birds with one stone.

Eco-friendly home appliances have grown in prominence amid the European energy crisis. Demand for such items with high energy efficiency is brisk due to the continent's drive to cut greenhouse gases and raise its portion of renewable energy.

Samsung Electronics displayed a refrigerator using 10% less electricity than the highest rating of energy efficiency in Europe, a washer using 60% less, a dryer using 35% less and an air conditioner using 20% less. Simulations showed that in artificial intelligence (AI) energy mode, a household could cut its overall electricity usage 15%-20%.

LG Electronics also showcased a refrigerator using 10% less energy per year than the best energy efficiency grade as well as eco-friendly items like a table and an air purifier made with renewable plastic on their outer surfaces.

Yang Hye-soon, senior vice president at Samsung Electronics for customer experience for digital appliances, said, "With this year's IFA as a starting point, our vision is of sustainable living contained in home appliances through communication with customers," adding, "We will not stop at Level 1 and will showcase more efficient products."

Unique items made by small to medium companies and startups also gained attention.

Lotte-Korea Brand Expo, an integrative booth featuring items by 50 outstanding small to mid-size companies from Korea, was featured at the exhibition "Global Market." There, Bumil Industrial Co.'s induction cooking utensil using purified water (used to cook instant noodles) caught the eyes of visitors thanks to rising global interest in Korean food due to the global Hallyu boom and the utensil's ease in cooking such noodles.

"My Cat," an AI pet made by the Korean startup Macroact, responded to a person after analyzing the latter's emotions via facial and voice recognition. The pet was initially wary of visitors but after engaging in emotional exchanges with them, showed its charm and gained their attention.



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