Are ACs the New Innovation Centres for Consumer Electronics Brands?


In continuation with the new trend of ACs with built-in air purifiers, brands are going all out to introduce more innovative features this summer

“You have one job to do, and that is to cool the room” — this is probably what you would have told your AC if it could hear you speak. Our previous story reveals how ACs now come with built-in air purifiers. But that was just the start. Today, we have ACs that self-clean and auto adjust tonnage. The humble old AC is officially a multi-function device. Electronics For You explores this trend.

Challenge for sales personnel

For sales executives at multi-brand retail stores, this summer has been slightly more challenging, especially in the AC department. There’s been additional training and demos that are substantially longer than usual. When we spoke to a few retailers in Bangalore, the unanimous voice was that consumers are walking in and asking for a device that cools efficiently.

Educating them that brands are offering more features, has been challenging, but has led to increased sales. Home demos and guided installations are also becoming increasingly popular. Slowly but surely, consumers are coming to terms with the fact that they can choose their auxiliary features while making their AC purchase decisions.

More than just cooling

Voltas, the big daddy of the air conditioning world, have been introducing innovative features with each of their product ranges. A few months back, the company launched the first bunch of smart ACs that was Alexa-enabled. The devices let you turn the AC on and off and change the temperature, hands-free, by commanding “Alexa, turn on the AC” or “Alexa, set AC to 22 degrees”. This summer, Voltas has taken its innovation game higher by disrupting the tonnage game.

Depending on ambient heat and number of people in your room, the new range of ACs are able to toggle between 1 ton and 1.5 ton. ACs traditionally have been tied to tonnage capacity and it took some worldwide innovation to provide Voltas the ability to switch tonnage. But new sensor technology along with a focus on power optimization, has enabled the brand to offer ACs that cool efficiently, while optimizing energy consumption.

Clean and clear

Haier recently launched two new ranges – FashionCool and CleanCool Plus, each with a different USP. Hinging on its proprietary Inverter Plus Technology, the ACs claim to provide effective cooling comfort even when the ambient temperature reaches 60 degrees. Along with this, the new range of ACs also come with a 15-meter air throw capacity, and one-minute instant chill which effectively cools a room within 60 seconds. But the real innovation from Haier comes in the form of Self Clean Inverter Technology (SCIT) which enables automated cleaning of the AC evaporator by lowering the temperature and immediately frosting the surface with 30% increased condensate water.

Haier is able to remove dirt from the evaporator through a strong cold expansion force generated by frosting, which is further washed away through defrosting. The frost-defrost alternate cycle is a new innovation in the world of ACs and the company is betting big on leveraging this innovation in upcoming product offerings.

From bug repellants to built-in air purifiers to rapid cooling to self-cleaning, the humble old AC is now a multi-function device.. All of these features are available across brands, at similar price points. So consumers can pick the feature you want, and choose their brand wisely.

This story has been submitted by Vishnu Anand. He is working as a technology and business journalist under the guidance of veteran journalist Anand Parthasarathy (Ex-The Hindu).