IFA and U.S. IT

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2008-08-27

I'm in Berlin, Germany, for a few days attending the IFA (world's biggest consumer electronics show? Depends who is counting, but it is big) show and taking part in three panels. So what is there for U.S. information tech execs to learn from consumer electronics? The answer is some old and some new lessons.

Design and usability matters. This is an old lesson but one that business IT still needs to learn. Having lots of buttons and options that are hidden behind ranks of drop down menus is simply dumb. The lesson of success from Apple was simplicity hiding complexity and that is a lesson business developers still need to learn.

Innovations can startle the world, but big changes often take a lot of time. The development of Blue-ray and its implications for high definition have been around for at least 10 years, but high definition and flat screen monitors are just now on the high growth curve. Lesson from the recently concluded summer Olympics, big events and lots of content can still drive device sales.

Something new. Look for areas that have not been part of the digital family. At IFA, the big push is one for white goods (yeah, washing machines, refrigerators, etc.) to finally get digitally smart and join the household network. This discussion has been around for a while, but energy implications, healthier lifestyles (maybe my fridge will alert me when the milk goes bad) and the need to create more efficient homes just as we try to create more efficient businesses is moving smart appliances to the forefront. Still needed: common networking standards.

Energy efficiency and common standards? If that doesn't sound like something you are working on in your business, then you are out of tune with today's business needs. I'll be writing more from IFA over the next three days. Stay tuned.

Full Disclosure: I am speaking on three panels at IFA and have received a speaker's fee for my participation.

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