Manu Sharma, Senior Director at Samsung India is very passionate about cooking, and this time at home has given him the opportunity to occupy the kitchen. Just this last weekend, he cooked up some delicious prawns with garlic, butter, lemongrass, parsley and thyme for his family, with much of the herbs coming from his herb garden at home.
His cooking will definitely get better as the days progress because he’s also signed up for a Masterclass, learning from greats such as Gordon Ramsay, Massimo Bottura.
“This is a perfect time to learn some new skills. Something that you may have kept on hold for a long time.” That’s his advice to his team as well, which works on ‘Make for India’ innovations at Samsung.
The ‘Make for India’ initiative was started back in 2014-15 to understand the pain points of consumers in India, and then work on that consumer insight to deliver those meaningful solutions in Samsung products through the three R&D centres in India, in Bengaluru, Noida and Delhi.
The result: India Centric innovations that were loved by consumers, making their lives better.
“We have everything in India – manufacturing, R&D, sales, marketing. We thought we can collaborate to understand consumers in India better,” says Manu, who heads the Make for India Task Force that comprises people from all of these areas of business. “Consumer insights and ideas can come from anywhere,” he says.
One of the first ‘Make for India’ innovations was Ultra Data Saving mode (UDS), which gave consumers control over their mobile data usage, helping them save costs. This was at a time when data costs were still very high in India.
When the S-bike mode was launched, Samsung looked at another real-world problem that consumers face, from a safety & convenience point of view.
But consumers in India and their preferences have transformed over the last few years. The fundamental changed is in the amount of data being consumed around entertainment, gaming and social media, as data costs have come down.
In this new era of data, with Gen Z and millennial consumers wanting to instantly share photographs on social networking sites, in came innovations such as Social Camera.
The ‘Chat Over Video’ feature developed by Samsung R&D centres in India helped Gen Z and millennials binging on video content to enjoy an uninterrupted and uncompromised viewing experience while chatting.
“Today, apart from data, one of the biggest trend is intelligence on devices. A lot of intelligence is being built now on a smartphone…from the camera to voice, and to many other aspects. The important thing is how the smartphone is able to learn from consumers and solve their real problems,” he says.
Last year, Samsung Research Institute in Bengaluru, which is the largest R&D centre for Samsung outside South Korea developed the ‘Scene Optimizer’ for Samsung’s intelligent camera that can automatically detect what’s in frame and adjust accordingly to help you get beautiful photos. It adjusts exposure, contrast, white balance, and more, choosing from 32 modes.
The latest in the line of intelligence related ‘Make for India’ innovations is Alive Intelligence, which debuted with the Galaxy A71 earlier this year.
Based on extensive consumer research in India, the Alive Intelligence features such as Useful Cards, Multilingual Typing, Finder and Smart Crop – have been designed to help Gen Z consumers live a fast and organized life.
“We are doing a lot of work on building the intelligent capability of devices that would allow consumers to minimize their anxiety & help them express in more ways while they seamlessly work together with other devices in the future,” says Manu.
But in the current situation, the team came up with a simple innovation that was much required as consumer behaviour was changing. The World Health Organization recommended frequent washing of hands among a slew of other measures to halt the current pandemic. Hand wash is considered effective only when it lasts for full 20 seconds, according to healthcare professionals.
So, a small group of designers and developers from Samsung Research Institute Bengaluru came up with a wearable app for Galaxy Watch that prompts users to clean their hands, a key preventive attribute to stay safe.
Apart from smartphones, the ‘Make for India’ initiative has yielded several innovations around consumer electronics products such as refrigerators, televisions and smart ovens that have been loved by consumers.