IFA’s Jens Heithecker: Collaboration Will Drive Future Innovation
IFA executive director Jens Heithecker has overseen enough IFA’s to know a positive trend when he sees one. Regarding the 59th edition of the annual consumer electronics extravaganza held in September in Berlin, Germany every year, he saw a new kind of synergy emerging.
“Innovation speaks for itself. It is coming in from all different industries and is combining to create new and different concepts,” he explained. “IFA is a very positive environment for the industry and is the best platform to communicate about new products and ideas.”
Heithecker has always been quick to point out that IFA has two main objectives— to showcase what’s best in the industry and bring the best minds together for co-innovation. The latter of those two objectives has become the dominant theme at an event that is seeing a major increase in the diversity of industries that are attending every year.
This trend in the make up of the event’s exhibitors, attendees and programs, speaks directly to Heithecker thoughts that collaboration is at the heart of what is driving today’s innovation.
To drive home the point of how the world’s climate of collaboration has changed over the years he stated, “A bit over 20 years ago, listening to western media would have cost your career for people living under East German dictatorship.”
Indeed, and today both the literal and figurative knocking down of walls has paved the way for global progress in countless industries.
He warned however, that the recent increase of trade sanctions flies in the face of this progress saying, “Trade is not a zero sum game. What you can buy will not be the best product (with trade sanctions), because it is not using the best components in the world.”
Heithecker added that this ultimately becomes a setback for innovation itself, as it makes co-innovation and collaboration so much more difficult.
Regarding the technology present at IFA, Heithecker was bullish on 5G, stating, “It carries same importance or strength as buzzwords like IoT and AI have in previous years. It is an extraordinary new technology that is really arriving on the market – rolling out around the world.”
He added that we are seeing the arrival of a “pervasive connected world of devices” and the ubiquitous usage of connected solutions by consumers in whatever they do.
“In this sense, we talk about ‘new mobility’ with devices controlled remotely or even talking among themselves, so it appears evident we need new communication technologies” he continued. “5G is the standard of the future and that’s why it has been so important at IFA.”
Getting back to the collaboration theme Heithecker feels IFA has its finger squarely on the pulse of, he said 5G tech is very much part of the conversation.
“5G will be very important when it comes to new mobility concepts, especially for autonomous cars, because the data exchange will need to be much faster than what has been possible up until now,” he said. “In other words, it’s not just about faster media downloading. That is of course one of the great advantages for consumers, it’s also about the world of connected devices that will increasingly come into play in the next few years.”
Heithecker concluded by stating, “In order for technological advancements, it is crucial that the world continues to develop together.”
IFA Berlin is the largest consumer electronics trade fair in the world. Powered by Messe, Berlin, the recent IFA Berlin 2019 welcomed more than 1,800 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors. Half of those were dedicated trade visitors looking to strengthen their professional networks and conduct business. Guests can expect to find presentations on emerging technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence along with a diverse range of consumer electronics devices on display, including cutting-edge TV technologies, audio systems, appliances, VR and AR devices, smart home electronics, research equipment and much more. For more information on IFA Berlin 2020, running from September 4-9, 2020, and the two-day Shift Automotive conference click here.