BY CHIMA AKWAJA
In this interview with CHIMA AKWAJA, director and business leader, Information Technology and Mobile, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Emmanouil Revmatas speaks on how the company is learning from its mistakes; raising the bar in the smart phone experience, and what to always expect from Samsung.
rends in the information technology sector are fast-paced. How do you keep up with new and emerging technologies, and how does Samsung assess and get to understand their usefulness to consumer needs, especially in Nigeria?
Samsung is an innovation leader in mobile technology. Every year, Samsung spends billions of dollars globally in research and development (R&D). Samsung spent $13.4 billion in 2014, over $14 billion in 2015, and $13 billion in 2016. In order to keep Samsung’s market leadership in Nigeria through consistent customer satisfaction, Samsung listens to its target audience through various channels. On-the-ground market research and online/social media listening are just a few of the various ways Samsung employs in keeping in touch with its customers’ needs and pain points. Samsung processes feedback from the field on a daily basis through partners, dealers, trainers, as well as independent reviewers.
Last year, there was an upheaval in the mobile phones market concerning the Samsung Galaxy Note7, which had battery issues at the time. In what ways has Samsung addressed safety in Galaxy S8 and in other Samsung products going forward?
The Galaxy Note7 battery issue led to more rigorous efforts to significantly improve quality assurance in Samsung. Samsung examined every aspect of the Galaxy Note7, including hardware, software and related processes over past several months into January 2017. Samsung’s investigation, as well as the investigations completed by three independent industry organisations, concluded that the batteries were the cause of the Galaxy Note7 incidents. These findings informed more rigorous testing and further enhancement of Samsung’s already extremely high level of quality assurance in the manufacturing process for the Galaxy S8|S8+.
Many have argued that the frequent upgrade of Samsung devices is just a business gimmick and has little to do with consumer needs. How do you have to say about that?
You will agree with me that innovation is at the speed of thought, and as we experience significant technological breakthroughs in a world that has become a global village, thanks to the Internet and social media, consumers continue to demand more and faster improvements too!
The average lifecycle of a smartphone is now barely 18 months, so releasing new devices in each series – for example, the Samsung Galaxy S or Note Series – every 12 months is just enough to get ready for our customers’ expectations. Majority of our customers are often ready for the next upgrade within 12-18 months. We also need to note that different customers are looking for different features, benefits, and advantages in a smartphone.
Our latest high-end Galaxy devices will help individuals and business owners multi-task and keep more of their files secure. Both devices are perfect for multi-tasking. Users can multi-task with ease on the long screen of their phones, chat with friends using the full keyboard, while watching a video. While the multi window resizes the whole app window, the snap window feature will display only the selected area so you can refer to it while you are doing any other task.
Samsung will push the boundaries as far as our customers’ imagination can go, and further! With the latest Galaxy devices, we are driving narratives that inspire our target audience to think and act outside of the box – to do what they cannot do, because anything is possible as long as you can imagine it!
Smartphones like the Galaxy S8 have become the new PCs and very useful devices for everyday activities like banking, shopping, messaging, communicating etc. As a result, they have become storage for very sensitive personal/business information.
How robust are the security features in the S8?
Security features on these two devices are very robust. Samsung places a high premium on security in order to protect content in the devices. The two devices provide heightened security and privacy, with biometric authentication, including fingerprint scanner, iris scanning technology, and facial recognition so users can quickly and effortlessly unlock them, offering users more authentication options that can be used interchangeably.
The low-end smartphone market is beginning to show some promise in terms of margins. How committed is Samsung to this market?
Whilst the majority of our focus is now on the mid-range, high-end, and premium segments of the smartphone market in Nigeria, we still provide value for the low-end smartphone market. It is also important to note that the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria over the last few years, especially with the devaluing of the naira, also impacted pricing. Nevertheless, we are committed to delivering the best smartphone experience to our consumers across segments.
When it comes to mobile hardware today, Samsung appears to have a clear market lead. How much of your success is attributable to what you are doing and how much is attributable to the missteps of competing companies?
The truest competition ought to be with self. In this regard, whilst other players in a market space might rise or fall, being the best that you could ever be is the most guaranteed way to continuous and sustainable growth. Limiting innovation to competitors’ capabilities can lead to complacency and short-sighted innovation. You easily become blind to other possibilities.
Samsung prides itself as a technology leader and our progress and success as a company has been built on our passion for excellence, pushing the boundaries for our customers, and relentless self-improvement. Both devices are also water and dust (IP68)-resistant. Users do not have to worry about getting the device damaged when dropped in water, as deep as 1.5 meters, for up to 30 minutes. There is hardly any other device in the premium category that stacks up to this powerful combination of features and advantages for the Nigerian smartphone user in Nigeria.
One complaint one regularly hears about smartphones is that the battery life is short. Considering the Nigerian environment, where power supply is a huge challenge, how well has Samsung taken the power situation on board, in the battery life of its devices?
Whilst it is now a fad for smartphone brands to pack physically large batteries into devices, usually bloating the size and impacting adversely on design and convenience, Samsung has continued to innovate to ensure longer battery life just by optimising internal processes in the devices. The new devices, for example, are equipped with the world’s first 10nm AP which makes it possible for apps to launch faster, battery life is longer, and power consumption is down 20 per cent.