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> posted by   on July 14th 2012
 

IKEA’s Full HD Billy

In a couple of weeks, the new IFA trade fair 2012 edition starts in Berlin. The IFA is the most influential fair for all consumer electronics in Europe. For almost one week the largest global giants will present their newest babies, the ones that consumers will put on their “must have” list. But there is a new kid in town– IKEA. The Swedish multinational has already revealed its secret at the Milano Design Week in April. IKEA’s new UPPLEVA range integrates smart TV and sound sytem with furniture and the all-in-one concept system is probably coming to Berlin. It is a bit of ’80s and ‘90s design, but there is much more to it …

 

I found an interesting interview with Marcel Godfroy who is responsible for the UPPLEVA collection and I would like to share it with you.

Below interview is from Consumer Lifestyle News

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TV and Furniture Package With a Swedish Accent: IKEA launches into the world of CE sales with an original all-in-one concept.

After working for a number of years with Philips in the Consumer Lifestyle field, Marcel Godfroy moved to IKEA, where most recently he has met with perhaps the biggest challenge of his career: launching the company’s UPPLEVA range of “turnkey” furniture and AV – all in one.

CLN asked Marcel how IKEA came up with the idea for UPPLEVA.

My initial role, in charge of the launch, was to establish a definition of what the products would look like, find the right supplier set-up, develop and manufacture the products and also prepare the sales launch in the stores. As you know, IKEA has set the goal to become the leader in home lifestyle. Through research and customer feedback, we discovered that in the living room, where the TV is a centre of activities, people are very frustrated with the current solutions at hand. One of the main issues is storage, and this is something we are already tackling with our living room furniture offering. But in many cases, it is combined with electronics. It is really a hassle to combine these two worlds that are not made for each other. They don’t look alike; there is too little choice, too many remote controls… You have to buy different elements in different places, and you don’t know if it’s going to match and fit together. The experience of buying electronics is so bad that we feel that the IKEA concept of selling and helping customers in making their choices can also bring something to the table. In a way, the concept is not new. But what you see today is that the “bundle” solutions you can buy in retail are very limited.

What was the hardest part of your role?

Bringing the two worlds of furniture and electronics together. The mechanisms of working with these worlds are totally different. Luckily, at IKEA we are well equipped to work with both, but it is something that has been an issue in the industry … how to sell the furniture around the electronics.

How is the rollout planned?

We started in May/June 2012 in five stores in five different countries. We first kicked-off in Milan, then Stockholm, Gdansk, then Paris and Berlin. From October onwards, we start to roll out to many more stores and many countries.

How would you describe the concept behind the furniture?

IKEA normally works with big furniture systems or families. These are based on certain dimensions, and with that, a customer can build any combination based on his budget, and his functional needs in terms of storage. But also in terms of expression and colours and finishes; all based on the same system. For this we chose one of the main families, called BESTÅ, which is the one that was mostly used to combine with electronics in the home, and we added a lot of new features, including cable management, ventilation, size (so the electronics fit properly), the colours had to be matching, there had to be Smart TV connection, and so on.

How could you best describe the range?

The Smart TVs come in four sizes, from 24 to 46-inches. All TVs are Full HD with up to 400 Hz response rate and LED backlighting. The TVs can be combined with a 2.1 sound system with speakers that are built-in to the furniture and a wireless subwoofer to create surround sound when watching TV or playing a CD/ DVD or Blu-Ray disk. The sets are compatible with most common audio, video and picture formats, such as MP3 and MP4, DivX HD, and JPEG, which makes it easy to share files with a USB memory, or via computer/WiFi. We have selected the TVs in two colours: traditional high gloss black or white. On top of that you have an option that you can add a special “deco frame” that has a colour matching the finish of the furniture. If you buy “beach” colour furniture, you can buy that frame to coordinate the TV and the furniture. There is also brown and walnut finish, so it creates a real package.

 

Obviously selling this is not the same for the sales people as just selling furniture. Have they had special training?

Yes. We have a special training concept in IKEA where key people are trained in each country or store and they then teach others in internal training sessions, so there is a qualification process in which the sales people are certified to be able to sell certain product categories. But of course this can be likened to a journey and it will take some time.

 

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Marcel Godfroy – Project Leader – UPPLEVA, IKEA

Marcel Godfroy obtained a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration in Eindhoven. He started his international career with Royal Philips Electronics NV in the late 80’s. After a large number of different marketing and business management functions for the domestic appliances and consumer electronics divisions, he left Philips in 2009 to establish himself as an independent consultant in the field of marketing and innovation with IKEA of Sweden AB as one of his main clients. Since 2012 he has been employed by IKEA as project leader for the UPPLEVA project.

 

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