October 31, 2014

LG Electronics Wants YOU!

LG electronics has been around since 1958 when it was established as Goldstar.  In 1995 it changed its name to LG Electronics.  It has spent most of those years as a quiet second (or even third) choice electronics option or most people.  That it already changing.

Now Andrew Barrett, LG’s vice-president, marketing, for LG Electronics Canada Ltd. announces he has big plans for LG’s future in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

 “It seems like only yesterday that LG was a rather ordinary, personality-less, original equipment manufacturer. “The only way LG could shake the shackles of being lesser known,” Mr. Barrett says, “was to be seen as a brand of desire.” ”

The new strategy: To seed the company’s global operations with a marketing mindset geared to a sense of style.  Think red steam washing machines.

Style implies taste, and taste can be tricky. Consider Scarlet, the LG TV with the brazenly red back panel. “When your positioning is based on style … the TVs can’t just be a black box that looks like everybody else’s TVs,” he says. The reaction to the Scarlet has been polarizing. “There were some who absolutely loved it, and others who were appalled by it and never wanted to see it in their home,” he says.

Two weeks ago Mr. Barrett was tapped by LG HQ to lead the company’s just-announced global sponsorship for Formula 1 racing.

“There’s a social style, a social status, a premium-ness that sits around F1,” he says, expressing how he believes the style-technology harmony of the racing circuit makes a perfect match for the style-technology focus of LG. Think Monte Carlo and yachts and celebrities and cerulean vistas. “We think we’re the Monte Carlo of consumer electronics,” he says.

The job grows bigger. Any day now the company will announce a broadening of Mr. Barrett’s marketing responsibilities to encompass what he will define only as a “significant portion of the world’s geography,” reporting to the chief marketing officer for LG worldwide.

Made in China – PR Problem?

“Made in China”  I search for this phrase daily now as I shop for my family.  When my son was only three, he would search for it on his toys and we would all joke about how everything we owned was made in China.  Now I’m trying to avoid these imported products.  I, like so many Americans have become leery of China’s goods.  Tainted milk and fish have marked all Chinese products and so even high quality  small electronics are being avoided.  Tim Somheil of Appliance Magazine writes more:

The appliance industry sources huge numbers of small electrics, consumer electronics, and even white goods out of China. The vast majority are high-quality appliances, well made, certified to international safety standards, and—because they’re made in China—they offer a cost advantage that enables the consumer to get a better product for the price.

Of course,it is a vast overgeneralization by the public to associate well-made appliances with tainted milk, but that association is reality.

China—for the good of all the enterprises that manufacture consumer goods within its borders—desperately needs to take a more honest approach. When there’s a crisis involving Chinese-made products, of any kind, the country needs to embrace that problem immediately and publicly.

Consider how pleasantly surprised consumers would be if they saw China demonstrate willingness to take ownership of a crisis, without hesitation, and provide full disclosure on the problem’s cause and scope.

And consider what the impact would be if offshore consumers saw this approach consistently. The credibility of the government as a spokesperson for the “Made in China” brand would grow—and China would get real credit from the public for its considerable product safety efforts.

Maybe the best possible scenario in the next few years is to move many consumers’ perception from negative to neutral. That’s still a huge step in the right direction for all manufacturers with “Made in China” stamped on their products.

At this point I really have very little confidence in the integrity of Chinese manufacturers.  I’m no longer incredulous when I hear of a problem product out of China – instead I sigh and hope for the safety of those effected.

Nokia’s Smart Home Solution

Is this an idea who’s time has come? 

The Smart Home.

The new Nokia Home Control Center, a Linux-based platform that will control your house’s resources via your mobile phone.

According to Nokia, the platform is open allowing third parties to integrate their own smart home solutions and services; its core consumer value is the plug and play experience across all solution areas with high security levels built in. All solutions based on the platform can be used through a smart phone or PC locally or remotely. Consumers can monitor and control their electricity usage, switch devices on and off, and monitor different objects, such as temperature, camera, and motion. In future, entire systems within the home can be connected to the Nokia platform, including security, heating, and ventilation systems.That way, you’ll rarely come across an incident where some new smart home tech you bought doesn’t actually work with your main controller. NHCC works with Z-Wave, ZigBee and KNX, three of the most common command languages for home networks.

Further, Nokia has started working with a number of companies to define and create a solid basis for building the next generation of products that will introduce a new kind of mobile access to intelligent systems at the home. These collaboration partners include Danfoss, Delta Dore, Ensto, and Meishar Immediate Community (MIC) and Zensys. The Nokia smart home partner program is structured around five key areas which mobile access will open up, creating new opportunities for the next generation smart home. These are security, energy efficiency, wellness, construction, real estate, and smart home solutions.

The Nokia Home Control Center will be launched some time in 2009.

Stop Playing Games and Save Energy

We’re all trying to save money these days.  Using less energy by turning off lights and lowering your thermostat are goo ways to cut down on your energy bill, but here is a small step that can help you save a little more – Turn of your Wii, or Xbox when you are done playing.

Video game consoles nationwide use about as much electricity in a year as every home in San Diego combined, and can significantly add to consumers’ electric bills, according to a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Much of this energy use is consumed by machines that are left on, but not in use.

“If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz. “With so many struggling in today’s economy – it’s important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future systems more energy efficient, they’ll be doing the right thing for consumers’ pockets, for our clean energy future, and for the environment.”

Looking at the “big three” video game consoles – Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360 and Nintendo’s Wii – the report measured the amount of power they use when they are active, idle and turned off. It found these systems use nearly the same amount of power when you are playing them as they do when you leave them on and walk away. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 also operate as high-definition video players. When they are used this way, the consoles continue to operate at nearly peak energy levels, even after the movie ends, unless the device is turned off.

National video game energy use is growing as more and more homes have these devices and additional features are added. The report offers solutions for individuals to cut their game console-related energy costs and offers recommendations on how manufacturers can dramatically improve the efficiency of the next generation of consoles that are being developed. NRDC is working with the leading video game hardware and software designers to help make these improvements. In particular, NRDC is working to make sure users will be able to automatically save their settings and place in the game before they shut down the systems.

Need Help with Technology? You’re not Alone.

So many wonderful new gadgets.  So many user handbooks to read.

Some 48% of technology users usually need help from others to set up new devices or to show them how they function.  “Struggles with modern gadgetry mean less engagement with the services they enable,” said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project. “Time spent dealing with set-up or outages means less time using modern communication services to connect with friends or find information that might help people be more productive.”

Although tech users can usually fix the problems by themselves, with the help of friends, or by calling upon user support, some say they cannot fix tech problems at all. Here are some of the ways device owners fixed their broken technology:

  • 38% of users with failed technology contacted user support for help.
  • 28% of technology users fixed the problem themselves.
  • 15% fixed the problem with help from friends or family.
  • 15% of tech users were unable to fix their devices
  • 2% found help online.

“In an age in which new technologies are introduced almost daily, a new gadget or service can become popular well before the technology itself is understood by the average user,” said Sydney Jones, Research Assistant at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. “Naturally, some users catch on to new technology more quickly than others, and those who have more trouble grasping the technology are left confused, discouraged, and reliant on help from others when their technology fails.”

Read more here.

LG, Sharp, Chunghwa to Plead Guilty to Price-Fixing

LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., three leading Asian electronics manufacturers, have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing and pay a total of 585 million dollars in fines, the US Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

South Korea’s LG Display will pay the largest fine, 400 million dollars, the second-highest criminal fine ever imposed by the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, the department said in a statement.

From Yahoo Finance:

It said Japan’s Sharp would pay a fine of 120 million dollars while Chunghwa would pay a fine of 65 million dollars.

The Justice Department said the three companies had agreed to plead guilty for their roles in conspiracies to fix prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

The price-fixing conspiracies had a direct impact on computer, television and cellular telephone manufacturers such as Apple, Dell and Motorola, the department noted.

LG Launches Recycling Program

Once you’ve picked out the perfect new DVD player or television, you need to plan for the disposal of your old ones.  If your outgoing model was made by LG, that task might just have gotten a bit easier. 

 “The LG Electronics Recycling Program provides consumers with a free and convenient way of recycling their used, unwanted, obsolete or damaged LG consumer electronic products by dropping them off at a designated Waste Management eCycling Center. Waste Management currently has 160 designated drop-off sites across the United States and plans to have at least one drop-off site in each State by September 2008; the number of sites will continue to be expanded over time.”

 

 “Products covered by the LG Electronics Recycling Program include LG, Zenith and GoldStar brands of televisions, monitors, audio equipment, video cassette players and recorders, DVD players and recorders, combination TV/VCR and TV/DVD units, set top boxes and accessories associated with those products. Consumers may drop off up to 5 LG-branded items at a time. There is no fee to consumers for the covered LG-brand products; other brands will be accepted, but a fee may be charged by Waste Management for non-LG brands.”

You can find out more here:

 http://www.lgusa.com/green/locationlist.xls or http://www.wm.com/lg

 Waste Management Customer Service: toll free 1-877-439-2795

LG Customer Service: toll free 1-866-372-2928

Ellen and the Vacuum Kid