As smartphones move on to the next level of innovation ruled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, Samsung is fast developing future-ready devices to enhance consumer experience in India.
The focus, says Asim Warsi, Head of Samsung India's Mobile Division who has now been promoted as the Global Vice President, is to build on services in the field of entertainment, utility and mobile payments for the end users. In an interview with IANS, Warsi said,
AI and IoT are very interesting spaces. There are a lot of possibilities and Samsung is in the thick of developing solutions, with giving a great hardware play on AI. We are building such platforms to enhance consumer experience and you will see more of them in 2018.
Apart from building India-centric smartphones where the company has been an undisputed leader for years, Samsung is now working on delivering better services for its consumers.
There is the Samsung "My Galaxy" app that offers not only customised music, videos and gaming but also one-click access to services such as cabs, food ordering, movie ticket-booking, and more.
Music is powered by streaming app Wynk, videos by over-the-top (OTT) video service Viu and gaming by Omlet Arcade — the social network for gamers.
When it comes to UPI-based mobile payment ecosystem, Samsung Pay now supports Yes bank credit cards and SBI debit cards. Other partners include Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank, as well as payment gateways like Visa and American Express.
There is a lighter version Samsung Pay Mini for mid-range phones (like the Samsung J series) that do not support the easy "tap and pay" method using debit or credit cards but supports mobile wallets and UPI for online payments.
"My Galaxy, Samsung Pay and Mini will have more exciting features soon. Not just smartphones and connected devices, we are deploying our energies into improving sales and marketing, brand image, networking, retailing, manufacturing and R&D," said Warsi.
When it comes to IoT, market research firm Gartner has predicted that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use globally in 2017 — up 31 percent from 2016 — and total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion by the end of 2017.
According to Samsung senior executives, the South Korean giant is working towards combining its IoT Cloud platform with its entire line-up of products. Patrick Chomet, EVP, Product and Innovation Team of Mobile Communications Business, told IANS recently,
We are trying to implement IoT Cloud for all of our products in the future. IoT is Samsung's effort where all products made by the mobile division, for instance, are on the Cloud along with other flagship appliances such as refrigerators and TVs.
With digital assistants getting better at talking to other apps and completing tasks for the user every day, Samsung is also gearing up to make the second edition of its voice-powered personal assistant Bixby uniform across Smart Home devices.
Slated to launch in 2018, Bixby 2.0 will be an "ubiquitous", "personalised" and "open" digital assistant.
"I see a faster growth for the AI and IoT-enabled devices in the Indian market in the next couple of years. The whole game is who has the right mix of innovation. Samsung is constantly innovating on devices that enrich your life," said Warsi who doesn't miss rushing to the shooting range two-three times a month to rejuvenate himself.
"Out of my two passions — horse-riding and shooting — I prefer shooting as it takes less time. After a weekend recharge, I am ready to take on the busy week and at the end of Friday, I die to go back to the range again," he said, adding that it helps keep the ideas flowing at a time when disruptive technologies are set to make serious impact.