IFA 2023: five business tech trends to look out for

IFA 2023 is the world’s biggest consumer electronics and home appliances show, with 180,000 visitors due to descend upon Berlin this week. While the official IFA 2023 show dates are 1-5 September, press announcements will come thick and fast on 30-31 August when companies use IFA as a launchpad for their products.

But IFA isn’t merely here to showcase products. It’s where companies do business: where they build partnerships, make deals and talk strategy. And it’s also where we can see trends develop. (Did you know Einstein opened IFA in 1930? Or that this is where the video recorder was launched, back in 1971?)

Here, we look at five business-tech themes that we expect to emerge at IFA 2023.

Sustainable businesses at IFA 2023

Sustainability is hardly a new theme for tech shows. It’s one of those words that companies love to smother their press releases in, and you’ll often see ambitious claims alongside shiny initiatives.

This year, though, things feel different. IFA has a dedicated “Sustainability Village” in one of its biggest halls, complete with four days of talks and events. We expect many companies to double down on sustainability with their launches, too.

Businesses should care because they have such buying power. Whether it’s phones, keyboards, laptops or ergonomic chairs, buying at scale has consequences due to scale alone.

Roll on robotics

Willow personal robot ifa 2023

We will definitely be heading to the Robotics Hub at this year’s IFA. There’s the promise of “first-hand insight into how robotics will alter the way we live” and attendees will also be given the chance to test robots for themselves.

Not every robot will be humanoid, of course. Roborock will hold one of the first press events, and it’s all about robotic vacuum cleaners. Then there’s Eeve and its “personal robot” Willow. But think mowed lawns rather than a hand-delivered glass of wine.

We’re hoping to see robots that go beyond the home and into the workplace…

New dimensions at IFA 2023

Early press releases and conversations suggest that 3D and immersive technologies aren’t going away. We expect to see several new products based around 3D vision and hear others that support Spatial Audio.

What sort of products? Think personal, 3D OLED screens and 3D monitors and don’t require special glasses. The idea is to make it even easier to build both physical products and 3D models. Not to mention 3D worlds.

That metaverse thing hasn’t quite gone away yet.

Related reading: Can these AR glasses replace screens?

Startup success stories

As anyone who has read our TakeOff interviews with tech startup founders will know, huge opportunities await those with the drive to turn their idea into a business. That’s especially true for tech startups, with innovations in everything from digital health to smart buildings.

Not only will many startups be exhibiting at the show, but so will investors. We expect several fruitful partnerships to start at IFA 2023.

Bendy screens make IFA 2023 debuts

The Honor Magic V2 launch earlier this year in China

And finally, we come to bendy screens. Honor will deliver this year’s first keynote, and we already know that it will use it as a global launch for the foldable Magic V2 phone (already launched in China).

But Honor has also promised that we “will witness something very unique at our IFA booth, never done or seen before”. Tantalising.

We strongly suspect that the Magic V2 won’t be the only foldable device, however. Fancy a bendy TV that appears in your boardroom when you need it? Or a portable display for execs on the move? Well, so do we. And we hope that IFA 2023 is when those products turn into reality.

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Tim Danton

Tim has worked in IT publishing since the days when all PCs were beige, and is editor-in-chief of the UK's PC Pro magazine. He has been writing about hardware for TechFinitive since 2023.