Samsung is betting big on IoT and AI to connect homes of the future. In an exclusive interview for EFY, Rajeev Bhutani, Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Business, Samsung India shares some interesting thoughts on the IoT awareness in India, Samsung’s IoT enabled products and much more.
Q. What is the level of awareness about IoT in India? How easy or difficult is it to promote the idea of a connected home to Indian consumers?
Samsung strongly feels that there is a lot of potential for IoT-oriented products. Advanced technologies such as IoT, combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and voice assistants, are creating a new future for the consumers.
The Indian consumer is open to the idea of connected homes. According to NASSCOM, the IoT market in India is expected to reach US$ 15 billion by 2020. Recent studies suggest that using connected devices in a home environment could reduce domestic energy consumption by at least 10 per cent.
In India, most millennials view IoT as an enabler for connected living. According to the research, domestic automation appears to be an essential for today’s consumer, since bulk of consumers believe that IoT is all about, smart homes having connected devices and smartphones. The Indian market is constantly growing in terms of wearable technology, with IoT applied in fitness, healthcare, lifestyle and infotainment sectors.
Majority of millennials today are tempted and are more inclined to buy technology that can contribute to making their lives easier given their hectic lifestyle.
Having said that, popular opinion of what constitutes IoT needs to advance through education and awareness, for society to build a sustainable IoT ecosystem.
Q. What is the nature of R&D undertaken by Samsung in the area of IoT with specific reference to India? Besides individual product development, is Samsung also spending R&D budgets and strategies on connecting them?
Samsung is committed to develop ground-breaking products and services that will shape the next era of connected living. With two manufacturing units, five R&D centres (including two of Harman) and one design centre in India, we are always looking at developing IoT products and features to suit the needs of our consumers.
We offer a diverse range of connected home appliances that demonstrate the exciting ways in which the company’s advancements in AI and IoT technologies simplify the lives of consumers. Samsung spent more than US$ 14 billion on R&D globally last year and has more than 65,000 engineers and designers working to innovate and bring the best products and solutions for our consumers. Our customer-centric approach helps us in delivering the best-in-class and most suited technology to our consumers. At present, Samsung provides half a billion connected devices every year.
Globally, we have been the pioneer in introducing IoT to its customers. Our 2020 aim is to make all the devices IoT enabled and we have already achieved 90 per cent of it. In India, unlocking the true potential of IoT through interoperability will unveil new possibilities for the technology to transform consumers’ lives. As the adoption of IoT increases, Samsung R&D India will continue its mission to provide interoperability for consumers, businesses and developers both in India and around the world.
Q. Samsung already has a range of home appliances that have made their way into Indian homes. Which of these are ideal to be brought under the IoT umbrella?
Samsung with its vast portfolio of premium home appliances products believes in open innovation and making technology accessible to the masses.
Providing a personalised experience, Samsung’s smart innovation spans across the range of products including smart TVs, air conditioners, kitchen appliances and more, offer a level of convenience and seamlessness that only Samsung, with its deep know-how of technology among product categories, including chipsets and smartphones, can deliver. Each product offers a level of personalisation that can help users streamline everything from managing household chores to enjoying their favourite entertainment.
Q. When a consumer in India walks into a store to choose and buy a standalone Samsung device, how does a Samsung salesperson convince him/her to look at a broader IoT scheme of things?
Samsung is supported by a strong network of retail outlets and 3,000 customer service points, which is the largest by any company in the country. Since its entry into India in 1995, Samsung has set new benchmarks in innovation-led manufacturing and consumer marketing and established itself as a truly national brand. Samsung has trained salesperson in their outlets who understand the requirements of consumers and help them make informed purchase decision.
Informed about the various features of products, Samsung’s representatives are able to educate the consumers on the benefits of adopting and actively using smart home technology. They can convince consumers by educating them about the use of smart technology to monitor their house at all times, helping save money on energy bills due to lower energy consumption, planning meals, coordinating family schedules, making shopping lists and even entertaining by playing their favourite songs and movies on their refrigerator.