September 23, 2010
This year I finally made it to IFA! After two years of organising press trips and managing them from the office, I was allowed out to help support the Sony Europe (client) PR team with the mammoth job of co-ordinating their launch activity at this year’s event.
I won’t go into too much detail about what was announced by Sony this year (you can check most of the products out in video form on their YouTube channel), but suffice to say that 3D was very much the focus. 3D TVs, 3D PlayStations, 3D digital cameras, even a 3D VAIO – all were on display for attendees to try out and experience.
Sony has invested a lot in 3D technology, with the corporation covering all aspects of the process: the cameras used for filming, producing the content (movies/games/exclusive World Cup highlights) and obviously making it all available in people’s living rooms. Being able to cover the full range of 3D capabilities has put Sony much further down the 3D road than some of its competitors.
As 3D was the main focus for everyone, there weren’t any earth-shatteringly revolutionary products unveiled, but there was still plenty for the assembled tech journalists and bloggers to write about. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s decision to host their press conference during IFA (not a week later as they usually do) didn’t noticeably take the sheen off proceedings. A new social network and a touchscreen Nano? For most people I spoke to, the verdict was a resounding ‘meh’.
What struck me most about IFA was just how VAST it was. Unlike CES (which I also had the pleasure of visiting this year), different stands are housed in different buildings meaning you can quite easily get lost (as I did) moving between the halls. There’s even a square in the middle that was playing host to gigs by the likes of The Kooks and, er, Scooter.
For the city, and its taxi drivers especially, it’s a massive boon. Huge billboards loom over the city for all of the major consumer electronics suppliers. This included a highly cheeky gigantic Samsung poster just across Potsdamer Platz from the iconic Sony Centre building.
The presence of all of these major corporations does not detract from the overall vibe of Berlin. It’s a city in transition – you can still feel the history in the air, but there’s a fresh sense of purpose, a feeling of renewal.
I know some journalists and PRs complain of IFA fatigue, but for a first-timer like me, it was an eye-opening experience. Same time next year? Yes please.