Berlin: Brisk crowds at the electronics fair IFA

The first IFA in the usual format for three years started on Friday with a great crowd.

Berlin: Brisk crowds at the electronics fair IFA

The first IFA in the usual format for three years started on Friday with a great crowd. Several thousand people explored the halls of the electronics fair.

More than 1100 exhibitors show the innovations in entertainment electronics and household appliances. The trade fair only wants to publish visitor numbers at the end of the exhibition on Tuesday. According to the company, the pre-Corona level of 2019 was roughly reached on the past two press and trade visitor days.

One of the first guests on Friday was Berlin's Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD). "The whole IFA is geared towards sustainability and energy efficiency," she said, referring to efforts to save energy in the face of scarcity. "It starts with changing your own behavior," Giffey said. "When you leave the room, turn off the light. If you're not at home: turn the heating down."

The IFA trends again include networked devices, voice control and artificial intelligence. For its future computer glasses for displaying virtual reality, the Facebook group Meta is working more closely with the chip group Qualcomm. The companies agreed on a multi-year strategic cooperation, as Qualcomm boss Cristiano Amon announced on Friday at the IFA. This includes closer technical cooperation between the development and product teams. Qualcomm's technology is already in Meta's current VR glasses Quest 2.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the ambitious goal of aligning his company with virtual worlds - the "Metaverse" - and thus establish the next major computer platform. To cement the change, he had the company name changed from Facebook to Meta. Qualcomm is particularly strong in modem chips that connect smartphones to the cellular network, and also supplies the main processors for a large number of phones running Google's Android operating system.

In 2020 there was only a greatly reduced IFA edition due to Corona. Last year the fair was canceled entirely. This year there are no restrictions due to the pandemic. The organizers recommend wearing a mask. On Friday and in the days before, however, masks were the exception in the exhibition halls.

The International Consumer Electronics Fair (IFA) originated in Berlin in 1924. While a new edition of the electronics fair in 2023 has been secured, there is still no contract for the edition in the anniversary year 2024. The rights holder GFU, the event company Clarion and Messe Berlin are still negotiating about it. Neither the fair nor the GFU commented on the details at the start of the fair. Giffey assured that the anniversary of the IFA would of course be celebrated in Berlin. "The IFA and Berlin belong to Berlin, and we have to do everything to ensure that the IFA stays here."

"Miss IFA" is not back at the exhibition center after the Corona break. A model slipped into this role, complete with a fiery red wig, for years. Main task: to smile brightly for photos at the side of mostly male company leaders. Such display of women triggers more and more criticism. The trade fair company did not give any further explanation for the waiver of "Miss IFA", but only spoke of changes to the marketing concept.

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