Connectivity and user experiences driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility – the key trends to keep an eye on for Samsung Electronics South Africa in 2016.
Organisations that are prepared to utilise technologies that leverage relationships and engagement are well placed to remain competitive in a challenging economy. The Business-to-Business (B2B) market is in a strong position to evolve alongside the changing demands of clients and provide the applications they will need to succeed.
“Mobile device penetration continues to rise and solutions that are capable of enhancing the mobile experience will be successful,” says Mike van Lier: Director of Enterprise Business Division (EBD) at Samsung South Africa. “The IoT has become more than just a phrase, it is now a way of doing business. The reliance on connectivity has increased year-on-year and this trend is likely to continue this year.”
It is important to note that, IoT is not just for the smartphone and tablet. Any smart technology, which includes white goods and printers, can be tailored and transformed to provide integrated data – making life easier for both businesses and consumers. 1According to statistics, more than 50 billion appliances globally will be connected to the internet by 2020 with an economic value of nearly $US 2 billion. Africa has already adopted the technology with a total of 128 million people, 52% of the global market, connected to one another in the mobile and machine to machine spaces (M2M).
“A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ states, 57% of South Africa’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices. This ranks the country higher than many other developing countries on the mobile traffic scale. The smartphone population penetration is around 47% with 23 million active smartphone users2,” adds van Lier. “As a result, both retail and enterprise are in a unique position to take advantage of the technology and embrace deeper development and engagement.”
The connected retail space isn’t new, but the futuristic view is rapidly becoming a daily reality. As an example, consumers in Japan are already talking to lifelike robots instead of shop assistants. In South Africa, e-commerce is improving in both functionality and adoption – which offers an opportunity for businesses to improve their engagement with consumers. Nevertheless, foot traffic remains alive and well and this means that retailers must still invest in signage and messaging that is relevant and visible.
“Retailers need to merge the physical and digital to create inspirational and relevant shopping spaces,” says van Lier. “Consumers don’t just buy anymore; they want to experience and engage with a brand and product.
Samsung has invested in innovations that deliver targeted advertising solutions that form a part of every touchpoint in the shopping experience. Virtual fitting rooms, mirror displays and mall signage are all great ways of capturing consumers’ attention in a cluttered environment.”
Of course, connectivity is as important within the enterprise space and this year is likely to herald a shift in innovation and development. Office infrastructures are evolving to support the mobile employee and wireless technology is core to this process. IoT allows for the operational integration of connected devices to the right technology in order to allow communication to be effective.
“Truly efficient business settings depend on a reliable and fast network to meet the expanding demand for bandwidth,” says van Lier. “In order to support IoT and enterprise mobility, solutions such as Samsung’s WLAN platform assure improved end-user experiences with faster connectivity.”
Finally, the tedious processes of the past are about to be replaced by connected devices printing directly from anywhere and on any platform. “Cloud printing is just one of the ways in which offices will become smarter and more convenient,” concludes van Lier. “The applications are endless and the potential for streamlining business processes, improving productivity and saving on costs is already proven. IoT is here, what the organisation needs to do now is reevaluate the way it has been doing business. Trends contributing to a connected world are real and to stand out they have to implement solutions that map back to their strategic goals for long term success.”