‘M fac­tors’ that will drive a com­pany’s in­no­va­tion

Business World - - TECHNOLOGY - By Michael Ngan Michael Ngan is Len­ovo Philip­pines’ coun­try gen­eral man­ager. The views ex­pressed are his own and do not re­flect those of Busi­nessWorld Pub­lish­ing Corp. and its own­ers.

IN ev­ery sec­tor, in­no­va­tion is the in­evitable next step. Com­pa­nies ev­ery­where are un­der im­mense pres­sure to gen­er­ate new prod­uct and ser­vice in­no­va­tions even faster than be­fore. What was once rev­o­lu­tion­ary has quickly be­come the norm, and or­ga­ni­za­tions are be­gin­ning to re­al­ize that they need to be able to move just as fast to stay ahead of in­creas­ingly sat­u­rated mar­kets. Which brings to mind, how then can to­day’s com­pa­nies rein­vent the wheel?

Home to the world’s largest pop­u­la­tion of In­ter­net users and bol­stered by a thriv­ing mo­bile-savvy mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion, Asia is lead­ing the pack. IDC fore­casts that Asia Pa­cific ( ex­clud­ing Ja­pan) will rep­re­sent the largest mar­ket for in­no­va­tion ac­cel­er­a­tors, reach­ing more than US$600 bil­lion by 2020. We ex­plore the key driv­ing forces — ‘M fac­tors’ as we call it — lead­ing in­no­va­tion in Asia and how these will con­tinue to shape de­vice in­no­va­tion as we know it to­day:


Mil­len­ni­als are tak­ing over. These born and bred dig­i­tal na­tives will make up more than 70% of the work force by 2025, and will come with an es­ti­mated US$6 tril­lion in dis­pos­able in­come by 2020. For com­pa­nies look­ing to cap­ture their at­ten­tion, they need to re­al­ize that mil­len­ni­als bring an en­tirely new set of ex­pec­ta­tions to the con­sumer mar­ket. They want things wher­ever they are, when­ever they want it. The rise of the ‘shar­ing-mar­ket’ has also less­ened the need for mil­len­ni­als to own things. This has led to the emer­gence of an ‘ex­pe­ri­ence econ­omy’ — where per­son­al­ized and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences are top pri­or­ity. For in­stance, if a mil­len­nial watched a movie and felt like walk­ing in the shoes of a Star Wars Jedi mas­ter for a day, they would be more than will­ing to put down the dol­lars to ex­pe­ri­ence it if they can.

We are see­ing busi­nesses start­ing to ad­dress this with a fevered em­pha­sis on de­liv­er­ing more choices and more ex­pe­ri­ences to to­mor­row’s end-users. This means lever­ag­ing new tech­nolo­gies such as aug­mented and vir­tual re­al­ity (AR/VR), ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ( AI), and au­to­ma­tion to sup­port new be­hav­iors and ex­pe­ri­ences across di­verse de­vices.


Per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ences are driv­ing to­day’s in­no­va­tion, and for or­ga­ni­za­tions to stay ahead, they need to deep dive into the end-users habits that are dom­i­nat­ing ev­ery­day life. Gone are the days where a de­vice serves just one pur­pose; users are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly savvy, and they ex­pect their de­vices to do as many things as they are while seam­lessly in­te­grat­ing into their daily rou­tine.

The ad­vent of smart as­sis­tants and rapid adop­tion of In­ter­net of Things ( IoT) has opened the door to many op­por­tu­ni­ties for greater in­te­gra­tion be­tween de­vices. Gart­ner pre­dicts that 30% of in­ter­ac­tions with tech­nol­ogy will hap­pen through con­ver­sa­tions with smart ma­chines. The in­dus­try is point­ing to­ward the in­evitable smart home, fit­ted with tech­nolo­gies that will en­able users to con­duct web searches, play mu­sic, cre­ate lists and pro­vide cal­en­dar up­dates with just a sim­ple voice com­mand. Al­ready, stud­ies have shown that more than 65% of users around the world en­gage with voice tech­nol­ogy and a third do so be­cause it is more con­ve­nient when per­form­ing daily du­ties like get­ting dressed or cook­ing meals.


With Asia set to be home to 5.6 bil­lion con­nected de­vices by 2020, sur­pass­ing North Amer­ica by al­most five times, mo­bile is be­com­ing the new norm. Be it mak­ing pay­ments, or­der­ing break­fast or even com­plet­ing a work doc­u­ment on the go, Asian mil­len­ni­als are driv­ing this shift. They will ex­pect noth­ing less than in­tu­itive, high-per­for­mance yet aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing de­vices that de­liver ex­pe­ri­ences beyond the user in­ter­face — be it for work or play.

Over the years, there has been much de­bate over the ef­fi­ciency of tak­ing notes with the pen and pa­per ver­sus typ­ing it out on the PC. How­ever, it is in­ter­est­ing to note that the multi-sen­sory process of hold­ing a pen to sur­face en­ables recorded con­tent to be more mem­o­rable and bet­ter suited for con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing, pro­to­typ­ing and brainstorming. Just ask your friends and col­leagues!

In­creas­ingly, we see com­pa­nies pulling out all the stops to meet this de­mand — through de­vices that de­liver the ‘ 2- in-1’ value that go beyond the tra­di­tional form fac­tor. Of­fer­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity on the go with­out com­pro­mis­ing on aes­thetic, smart de­vices out there are al­ready de­liv­er­ing the mul­ti­sen­sory PC and tablet ex­pe­ri­ence. Some are even mim­ick­ing an ac­tual book that comes with dual sty­lus pens, in­te­grat­ing the func­tion of tra­di­tional note tak­ing with ad­vanced touch­screen and key­board ca­pa­bil­i­ties. What’s more, they even come with gor­geous glass halo key­boards with hap­tic feed­back for ease of use!

Asia is at the fore­front of de­vice in­no­va­tion, and man­u­fac­tur­ers to­day need to stay ahead of mar­ket trends to stay rel­e­vant in this in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket. De­vices need to pro­vide the ba­sic mo­bil­ity, func­tion­al­ity and con­ve­nience of a smart de­vice, and at the same time de­liver a per­son­al­ized, mul­ti­func­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

Be­fore you know it — the tra­di­tional smart de­vice will be a thing of the past and your or­ga­ni­za­tion could be the one to bring the next game-chang­ing in­no­va­tion to the in­dus­try.

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