Vassilis Seferidis is Director of Business Development for Samsung Electronics responsible for driving revenue growth and strategic development of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics business in Europe. Vassilis has more than 20 years’ experience in the Consumer Electronics industry mainly in Strategic Business Planning and Product Management roles.
Innovation in technology is focused on delivering for the end user. What are some of the biggest technology advances driving new and better services for the consumer?
Vassilis Seferidis: It seems that 2014 is the year that Ultra High Definition (UHD) is the main focus of all TV manufacturers. Samsung is leading this wave with the introduction of a wide range of UHD products including flat and curved UHD TVs. Two enabling technologies have been instrumental in making the UHD TVs possible in 2014: The new HEVC compression standard and the new version of the HDMI interface (HDMI 2.0).
Another significant technology development is the maturity of the connected TV platforms which now offer a wide range of premium over-the-top (OTT) services. In the context of the cable industry, Smart TVs enable the virtualisation of the set-top-box (STB) by delivering pay-TV services directly onto the Smart TVs without any external hardware components (STB, CI+ CAMs, etc). This results in a better user experience while reducing the CAPEX and OPEX for the operator.
What are some of the biggest technology advances that the average consumer may not notice?
VS: In 2014 several manufacturers introduced Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled TV-sets. Today there are only a handful of applications that use this capability so there is a risk that the NFC feature can be overlooked by users unless services providers and developers come up with exciting new applications to utilise this technology.
Another technology advancement which generates quite a lot of excitement worldwide is that of wearable electronics. However, it seems to have a little impact on the TV industry at least in the short term!
How is cable using technology to differentiate itself in the marketplace?
VS: Cable is an unparallel provider of high speed broadband and television services. Key to its future success is the expansion of its broadband network in terms of speed and reach which will enable new products and multi-location/ multi-device services. However, in the long term, the only way for Cable to sustainably differentiate itself from its competitors is by enhancing its overall consumer experience both in terms of content delivery and customer service.
From a technology standpoint, what are cable’s priorities for 2014?
VS: Cable is facing today many diverse technology choices which in many occasions have created a “FoMo effect” (i.e. Fear-of-Missing-Out). In the last year for example we have seen large investments in many and varied technologies which, although credible in their own right, make little sense as pieces of the same jigsaw puzzle. Therefore, the highest priority for a cable operator today should be to formulate a consistent technology strategy by deciding where they want to be in 5/10 years time and then working backwards define the stepping stones required to achieving those goals.
Technology in this industry moves at an incredible place. Today we talk about on-demand, connected life, wireless, over-the-top, ultra-fast, and multi-screen, but what new buzzwords will emerge in 2-3 years’ time?
VS: I believe that Smart Home and Internet-of-Things (IoT) would be the next buzz words that would become every-day terms in the next 2-3 years. The progress in this area is really fast with all major players investing heavily for a piece of the action. Thankfully, these are technologies where the cable industry can play an important role in both the technology development and the commercial deployment of products and services.
How does an organization like Samsung Electronics embed tech innovation into its culture?
VS: Recognising the importance of innovation in the fast changing and highly competitive market today Samsung has endorsed a global program for infusing innovation to the company’s culture. The programme has the executive management endorsement and targets all three areas of the innovation process: (1) Creating new ideas (2) Implementing new ideas to technologies and (3) Commercialising technologies into new products, solutions or services. In simple terms the program aims to empower and encourage the employees to come up with new ideas, foster their creativity and recognise and reward their efforts.
Vassilis will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.