By Claire Reilly
Fresh off a successful run at the IFA trade show in Berlin last month, Samsung yesterday announced the launch of a new bottom-mount refrigerator range which has been designed with Australian consumers in mind.
With the company gearing up for a big summer and a number of new products rolling out in its home appliances range, Current.com.au spoke to the head of home appliances at Samsung Electronics Australia, Mike Lilly, to discuss the company’s strategy for the category and what retailers can expect in the near future.
According to Lilly, it’s all about creating the right products to suit Australian consumers.
“One thing we do, particularly on refrigeration, is we design products specifically for our marketplace," he said. "We know from research that we’ve done that people have an existing space in their kitchen for fridge. When people shop they say, ‘Okay this is what I can fit’, so we need to find the biggest capacity that we can launch in that space.”
Fitting more into that space comes down to one little word for Samsung: SpaceMax.
“We’ve launched some upside down fridges that, for the first time, are launched specifically for the Australian market,” said Lilly. “For some reason in Australia, we don’t like height above 1,700 millimetres. So we’re limited to 1,700-millimetres high, but as much space as we can get. So using SpaceMax technology we’re able to get an extra litre in that same traditional cut out size for a kitchen.”
Aside from getting the maximum possible internal space for consumers, Samsung is also increasing its focus on smart appliances for the connected home, with Wi-Fi connected air conditioners already hitting stores for summer, and a Wi-Fi connected fridge on the way.
“The whole connected area is very important to us as future product, and later this year we’ll launch our first Wi-Fi French Door fridge,” said Lilly. “We consider the kitchen a social hub of the home. You’re interacting with your family, you tend to be in working in the kitchen when you’ve got dinner guests and when you have children, the fridge becomes like your notepad or calendar, so it’s a very central part of the house.
“We all want our appliances to look good, but when you buy a fridge and start to put notes all over it, it starts to look pretty tacky. So by putting features on the Wi-Fi fridge like a notepad, twitter or a music app, suddenly you can take all those Post-It notes off the fridge.
“You can put on it, ‘Soccer training tomorrow, or don’t forget to pick up some milk’, you can sync your calendar and you can even upload photos to the screen. We’re starting to see the connectivity in AV and phones transfer across to home appliances.”
According to Lilly, technology is Samsung’s strength, but much of the technological advances in home appliances are occurring behind the scenes where consumers can’t see them.
“It’s about using that technology to make a product a lot easier to use. I don’t want to think about how hard it is to use a fridge or how hard it is to use an oven, it’s just easy. And all that intuitive technology is starting to creep through to home appliances.”
Samsung Electronics Australia head of home appliances, Mike Lilly, with marketing director Arno Lenior.
A demonstration showing how many pieces of delicious cheese one can fit in a Samsung refrigerator, thanks to SpaceMax technology. That's a lot of cheese.