KW 11: Haier announces expansion plans in Europe, HelloFresh develops smart best-before labels, Apple discontinues HomePod


Haier announces expansion plans in Europe: Chinese household appliance manufacturer Haier wants to become the market leader in Europe with smart electrical products. The world market leader is currently concentrating primarily on Russia, Great Britain and Italy. The expansion into other European markets, including Germany, should take place this year through the construction of new plants in Romania and Turkey. Europe head Yannick Fierling announced that he wanted to bring more new products onto the market this year than ever before. The company, whose German branch is in Munich, is currently number five in the Western European market for household appliances with a share of 7.2 percent.

HelloFresh develops smart best-before labels: Meal-kit delivery company HelloFresh wants to halve food waste by the end of the year and aims for 60 % fewer carbon emissions. The company is also working on smart shelf-life indicators. To combat food waste, HelloFresh has started working together with the Dutch Wageningen University & Research, which has developed a smart shelf life indicator called ‚Keep-it‘. The label measures the temperature of the storage environment and calculates the actual shelf life of the product. The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is currently examining the system, with the possibility of intending to replace traditional best-before labels in due course.

Apple discontinues HomePod: Apple has discontinued its original HomePod after four years. It says that it will continue to produce and focus on the HomePod mini, introduced last year. The larger HomePod offered a beefier sound space but the mini has been very well received and clearly accomplishes many of the duties that the larger version was tasked with. The sound is super solid (especially for the size) and it offers access to Siri, Apple’s assistant feature.

Vodafone announces climate-friendly window handle: British telecommunications company Vodafone and its partner company Smart Klima have announced the completion of a smart, climate-friendly window handle. It can collect information about the air quality in a room by means of sensors, whereby air humidity, room temperature, volatile organic compounds and the CO2 content are recorded. The data is then sent to the Smart-Klima server, where it is evaluated. If the air quality is poor, the window handle can use the smiley function to ask its owner to ventilate. The first deliveries of the device should start in April.

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Model Amazon: Schwarz Group starts cash-free mini market “Shop Box” as a pilot project
Telekom: Magenta Smart Speakers can no longer be rented
Cooperation: PioTek and Busware agree on smart home cooperation
Convenience: Smart Home accessible via Bluetooth and WLAN without ZigBee and classic control center
New: Apple’s iPad Pro with Thunderbolt should come in April


According to a recent survey by opinion research institute Civey, 60.5 percent of Germans value data protection and data security when buying smart home devices.


Smartspeakers to receive health updates: Smartspeakers from Google, Amazon or Sonos are still primarily used as tools for listening to music. In the future, however, the digital assistants could be used more for medical and health purposes. According to a report in the Washington Post, researchers in the United States have developed an AI-based system that uses sonar technology to intercept vibrations that the heart causes in people’s chests. Algorithms in smart speakers could identify and analyze patterns in people’s heartbeats. Until now, this technology was still dependent on direct contact between people and devices, for example with smartwatches.

“Journalism of Things” conference on “smart” reporting in Stuttgart: Journalism of Things occurs when sensors that collect data, and the modern technology that helps evaluate it, come together with a journalistic flair for contemporary themes. The result: innovative and relevant reporting on almost every conceivable topic. The Journalism of Things Conference (JoT-CoN) in Stuttgart was the first Journalism of Things conference in Europe in 2019 and is set to be one of the most innovative journalism conferences again this year. This time around, the focus is specifically on JoT projects that can be implemented in concrete terms.

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„We do not consider previous smart city approaches to be desirable.“
Pedro Viana, head of the digital transformation department at the Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernization, advocates that smart cities and regions should first and foremost be there for the citizens and promote environmental protection.


Has Apple patented smart socks? Apple is heavily rumored to be working on its own pair of AR glasses and apparently considered vibrating haptic socks to tackle this problem. A new patent spotted by AppleInsider mainly describes a haptic output device that may include foot-shaped structures with cavities configured to receive the feet of users. The foot-wearable support structure would also feature an “array of haptic output components” that work to apply feedback to the bottom and top of a person’s foot, possibly to create a sense of movement even if the foot isn’t moving.

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