Samsung is committed to playing a leading role in ensuring that the future of how we work, learn, live and deliver healthcare is better and brighter for all of us. In this Q&A, Taher Behbehani, General Manager and Head of Mobile B2B Business, offers his perspective on helping businesses prepare and define the ‘next normal,’ including highlights from his “Future Of” conversation series with industry leaders to help us examine the complex issues people and businesses are facing in new and creative ways.

What are you most concerned about as we adapt and prepare for the future?

As we reflect on our learnings from the past few months, it’s crucial to remember that a better future is not something we can hope for. It’s something we can count on. Our country has lived through countless economic and social challenges, always striving to emerge better on the other side. That said, for many workers, managers and business leaders, thinking about the future can be daunting. The number of crises we are being confronted with feels overwhelming, and many are just managing for the moment.

I am particularly concerned with the trend toward fearing what’s next because I have two young daughters. The older just finished her first year of college, and the younger was scheduled to start her freshman year in college this fall. When I was their age, I had anything but a fear of the future. I had an intense desire to make my mark on the future and to make it better. They deserve to share in that same sense of optimism.

What impact is Samsung seeing with the changing work environment?

At Samsung, we are already seeing how the future of work, business, education and healthcare is evolving in the pandemic’s wake. Sales of our tablets, PCs and security software have risen dramatically, but this is not surprising. The majority of the U.S. workforce has been forced to work from home, telemedicine has become a necessity and an entire generation is continuing their education remotely. Like many other companies, we are also seeing the impact of social distancing as digital sales outpace traditional brick and mortar.

These business trends are in lockstep with the ways in which our country’s workforce has adapted to the new remote working environment. And that situation isn’t changing, with 60 percent of those currently working from home indicating they want to continue doing so once the economy has reopened. It’s also encouraging, that while many of us are still getting used to digital commuting, overall business productivity has not been impacted. A recent report finds that productivity for people working from home has decreased a mere 1 percent.

What are some learnings from your conversation series with industry leaders on this topic?

In our conversation series, we uncovered how different industries are handling the disruption and coming up with creative solutions to get back to business. The fact that many businesses have pivoted so quickly to a radically new working environment gives us a sense of optimism about how, together, business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators can address and solve the issues we are facing across multiple industries.

Take the travel industry, one of the hardest-hit sectors. I had a fascinating discussion with Wendy Aks, director of architecture and design at Enterprise Holdings, on the future of travel. Wendy shared that while many people temporarily stopped traveling for leisure and business, their transportation solutions remain critical for frontline responders. As such, they quickly modified their offerings with new mobile solutions to minimize contact, consolidated operations to centralized branches, and added curbside rentals to help promote social distancing and minimize foot traffic in their locations. They also implemented a faster, low-touch rental experience for advance check-ins leveraging Samsung tablets in some branches to reduce customer interaction with employees.

Clearly education is a hot issue right now. How can Samsung help and what are you learning from your conversations on how schools can reopen safely?

As schools work to better understand when and how they will be able to reopen safely and effectively, the role of education technology is crucial to support the shift towards remote and hybrid learning models. With many schools accelerating their plans to put a tablet or laptop in the hands of each student, Samsung is helping to provide devices in need of schools in a timely manner. Recently, I talked with Dr. Kecia Ray, principal consultant and president of K20 Connect, about how schools are meeting the current education challenges and how technology can enhance their efforts. Dr. Ray noted that while education is the last frontier for adopting technology to increase efficiencies, the pandemic has triggered every aspect of education to be touched by technology and we are now realizing what a wonderful asset it can be to accelerate success. He believes that a blended learning continuum provides the most consistent way to allow for continuity of instruction, something that all educators desire to offer their learners.

Let’s talk about healthcare. What is the role of technology in improving patient care?

The impact of the pandemic on our healthcare system is significant, and hospitals and healthcare facilities had to defer in-person appointments and non-essential procedures. I had an enlightening conversation with Leo Bodden, CTO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on his learnings in managing during these times and the role telehealth will play in the future. Leo’s team adapted quickly and moved 3,000 staff members to full-time remote work and conducted patient visits virtually.

Telehealth - Virtual Healthcare

According to Leo, before the pandemic, NewYork-Presbyterian was already engaging in telehealth services and now it’s a must-have offering for healthcare providers to remain relevant. One of his biggest concerns in transitioning to a telemedicine world is accessibility for the masses. People in some of the communities they serve can’t afford a $1,000 device, which creates more disparities between the haves and the have-nots. But imagine the day when a $300 watch can do the same thing as more expensive medical technology. Then you can start monitoring and supporting patients, even for cardiac, from home without major investments on infrastructure. That is going to be a major paradigm shift in healthcare service delivery.

Check out the new “Future Of” conversation series here: