Big Interview: Smart living and multifunctionality

Big Interview: Smart living and multifunctionality

Showhome catches up with Dan Harvie, VP, Head of DA, and Dan Hastings, Director, TV/AV, Samsung Electronics (UK) to discuss future landscape of kitchens in our January/February issue of Showhome Magazine.

With the popularity of smart living increasing, how has the consumer demand changed for appliances? 

Dan Harvie: The smart home has now become a reality for millions of people around the UK and everyone is beginning to see its true potential. As a result, consumer demand for connected appliances is increasing. It’s important to remember that people invest in smart products because of the tangible benefits and life improvements they offer, from feeling safer to saving time or money. For Samsung, providing appliances that meet these demands is instrumental to our product development and that’s why we’ve created appliances such as the Infinite Line™ oven range, which allows you to control the settings from your mobile phone, and the Family Hub refrigerator which enables you to look inside your fridge via a smart camera while out shopping. Even the Samsung AirDresser can connect to Samsung’s free connected living platform, SmartThings, which then suggests the best cleaning cycles and stores details of your garments. It’s all about making life easier for the consumer and meeting their demands. 

Dan Hastings: Agreed, and smart living isn’t just relevant to appliances, it’s a key, holistic focus for Samsung. We’re continually improving our Smart TV offering too and have recently added Google Assistant to the suite of voice assistants currently available on 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, making voice control of these devices even easier. SmartThings brings everything together and has experienced exceptional growth since its launch, with over 130 million registered users globally. With the growing advancements of Smart TVs, laundry products and cooking appliances, we’re only just getting started.

Covid-19 has revolutionised the layout of the home environment, shifting to a multifunctional lifestyle living experience in the kitchen, how are Samsung contributing to this?

Dan Harvie: I think that use of space is going to be a real focus as we continue to spend more time in the home. Multifunctional kitchens will be key, as this is likely to be the room where you work, exercise, relax, cook and eat! At Samsung, we are committed to providing technology that is flexible and supports people’s daily routines, which is why we’ve developed kitchen appliances which incorporate a wealth of diverse features.

The Family Hub refrigerator, for example, is much more than just a fridge. It can log your recipes, keep on track of your family’s social engagements via the calendar function and you can even watch TV as you cook, thanks to the inbuilt screen. 

The Dual Cook Flex™ oven also has a number of smart features, such as a Cooking Guide, which recommends the optimal cooking mode for baking, and a My Recipe function that lets you save the settings for your favourite bake, so it’s easy to make again. The hinged Flexible Door also means you can divide the oven in two, enabling you to cook a family dinner while baking sweet treats for the next day. It’s these convenient features which make these appliances work that little bit harder so you don’t have to!

Dan Hastings: From a TV perspective, Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLED 8K features a new Infinity One Design. Not only does it take QLED to the next level, but crucially, a nearly bezel-less screen provides an even more immersive viewing experience. The sleek design and form factor makes it perfect for multifunctional living spaces and it looks really impressive against any wall!

Samsung’s The Frame is also great for making a statement in kitchens and open plan spaces due to the innovative technology that transforms the screen into a chosen piece of art. The 2021 version builds on The Frame’s innovative legacy, offering a more customisable experience in a slimmer form. It’s designed to mirror the depth of a traditional picture frame and new attachable bezel options come in five colour options and two different customisable styles to match the aesthetic of any room.

What other trends do you see impacting the industry in 2021? 

Dan Hastings: Given the current climate, people are relying on technology for entertainment more than ever before. Last year, we conducted research into the UK’s TV habits and uncovered that 69% of Brits now use their TV differently. It isn’t just a source of entertainment, it’s a form of escapism, it’s educational and it’s helping others feel connected to the outside world. 

This is why Samsung is continuously developing products and partnerships that enhance people’s entertainment experience, including the launch of The Sero in 2020. The Sero features vertical innovation that is ideal for those who want to bring viral videos to life by watching trending social content on the big screen in portrait mode.

Additionally, our latest partnerships and products combine traditional TV viewing and entertainment with social media trends – a recent example of this is where we have launched TikTok exclusively to our award winning Smart TV platform, enabling customers to experience the trending content in a new and innovative way on most of our TV line-up.

Dan Harvie: Homes are changing from multi-functional to omni-functional. Consumers are expecting their appliances to do more, which has led to higher demand for personalisation and we are actively seeking ways to deliver on those demands through our products. 

Take the Bespoke refrigerator for example, which allows customisation through changeable panels and modules. We know that consumers now expect more from their appliances. They must be both reliable and customisable with more connectivity. Customers want to control all their appliances seamlessly and receive recommendations on how to use them efficiently. The future is about linking different devices and using AI to form deeper connections with users to maximize their experiences. 

When we design products, we always think about what design the consumer would really want. To us, this means creating beautiful designs that blend with daily life—designs that make you want to show it off. In order to conceptualise the values we embody in our daily lifestyles, we constantly study the composition and style of space, along with deep analyses of the latest design trends.

We are also seeing a rising need for more connectivity. This isn’t just about being able to connect appliances to your phone so you can control them remotely – it’s about linking different appliances with each other to deliver more personalised experiences. For example, we’re applying AI in our washing machines and dryers to allow deeper connectivity between users and their devices to tailor their laundry experience to their habits and preferences. 

We’re looking forward to developing and sharing further innovations and solutions for our customers. Watch this space!