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    Sustainability will fuel the tech trends of 2023

    As we approach 2023, the trends influencing a new era of smart tech come at a tipping point for our industry and the planet’s future. Fresh from consumer electronics show IFA, Mark Terry-Lush of agency Make Honey argues that smart brands increasingly put sustainability front and center.

    Hakan Bulgurlu, chief executive officer of Arçelik and owner of brands including Grundig and Beko, recently emphasized the need for brands to focus on sustainable manufacturing and economics in his keynote at consumer electronics show IFA. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business-critical theme and smart brands are already investing in sustainable-focused business goals.

    Samsung has partnered with Patagonia (whose commitment to fight climate devastation has undoubtedly overshadowed others’ efforts) and launched its Global Goals program; while Schneider Electric has its Smart Home 2.0: Be a Net-Zero Citizen initiative.

    As consumers’ perspectives shift toward sustainable living, brands must guide their mindset. They should reappraise their marketing initiatives through a CSR lens, demonstrate commitments, and be transparent about making improvements across logistics and supply chains. Trumpeting sustainable packaging alone is not a sustainable marketing strategy.

    Today’s consumer is more attuned to manufacturing methods, what kind of impact they make and how they align with their values. Purposeful content and marketing, and a commitment to sustainable goals and partnerships, are just two ways brands can push sustainable endeavors.

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    It’s all about multipurpose

    Foldable, flip-able, flexible… we’re in a new age of product design.

    While the concept has simmered for some time, foldables have taken major strides. Samsung has dominated the foldable smartphone market with the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Flip4 launching this summer to great acclaim, with the design now being applied to notebooks and laptops. Look out for next-gen flips and folds from Google, and OnePlus and OPPO.

    Lenovo has its second-generation ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop; ASUS its Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. LG joins the party with its gaming monitor LG OLED Flex, capable of both a flat and curved screen.

    Future products will be dual-purpose as the lines between devices blur and designers and engineers solve practical and UX conundrums. Brands can think laterally about functionality, creating products catering to multiple needs – a single screen for calls, morphed into a dual screen for videos, or attached to a keyboard for work.

    The concept goes beyond the mobile category. Gou, maker of portable power accessories, unveiled its 420 ml Loch bottle (part bottle, part wireless charger), while LG flaunted its new MoodUp Refrigerator replete with a choice of light colors to turn your kitchen into a disco.

    These concepts will challenge marketing departments to be creative with their comms, social and PR strategies. Brands must get their ‘why?’ right. Consumers need to be convinced that a product’s dual purpose aligns with their values.

    There are huge opportunities to reinvent product categories and combine technologies to create something original. Expect to see a sales surge in multipurpose products as consumers seek devices that match their flexible lifestyles.

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    Everything connected, everywhere, all at once

    The smart home continues to evolve. Brands are developing ecosystems for their devices to link televisions, soundbars, air fryers and smart bulbs, CCTV and heating via a smartphone hub; consumers can control everything with the touch of an app. This connectivity has spread throughout the household to vehicles and homeware products.

    Haier recently announced its new smart home strategy, creating ovens with user interfaces, refrigerators with tailored cooling systems, and washing machines offering personalized home experiences.

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    Smart home security is exploding. Security brand Yale has a series of connected devices to keep the home safe, while TP-Link has a one-stop solution of internet-of-things products including smart bulbs, doorbells, and privacy cameras, controlled from its Tapo app.

    The home is getting cleverer. Bosch, LG and Arçelik are creating smart entry devices, climate-controlled shoeboxes, and washing machines and tumblers which reuse water to make homes more energy-efficient.

    Brands exploring the smart home segment will need to build trust and convince consumers their smart home security devices ecosystems are the most innovative, secure and easy to use.

    Consumers will want energy-efficient and environmentally friendly smart homes, so storytelling that focuses on the benefits (saving time, energy, and money) will give brands cut-through.

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    Purposeful, sustainable technology

    We’re on the cusp of a new era of innovation; one driven by purposeful, sustainable technology. With mindsets shifting toward more energy-saving and climate-conscious living, brands need to seriously evaluate their missions and values, think creatively about how to invent original technologies for more flexible lifestyles, and develop solutions that give consumers greater control of their lives.

    CES 2023 is just around the corner, followed by Mobile World Congress: two high-profile opportunities for brands to showcase their new, industry-shaping innovations.

    Make Honey will be in both Las Vegas and Barcelona, so reach out to understand how to shape your story and enhance your event marketing.

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