The technology industry is at an inflection point. Consumer demands are evolving, and companies are creating innovative experiences that are completely reimagining what is possible through new technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
At Samsung, we entered 2017 with a simple mission that, despite challenges, we were committed to continued investment in the future of technology, and we remained dedicated to bringing the most elegant, most advanced, and most innovative devices and services to customers everywhere.
And we accomplished our task. We delivered breakthrough products and services that are making a real difference in the lives of our consumers.
Now, as 2018 begins, we know that our work is never complete, and that we must continue to invest strategically in our teams and our innovation to rise up and meet what is possible.
As President and CEO, here’s how we’re meeting that challenge head on.
Tomorrow’s Multi-Device Experience
Part of our long-term vision is to evolve and deliver experiences that help customers live more connected lifestyles. Unfortunately, for too many, the world of connected devices remains fragmented and complex. Each new device means a new set-up experience, a new password to remember, a new interface to learn, and a new way to manage and control it all.
That’s not simpler or easier. We believe a connected technology experience should be as seamless as flipping a switch. That’s why at Samsung we are committed to what we call the Multi-Device Experience.
Over the next year, the world will see the same kind of amazing products it has come to expect from Samsung, but we are also going to take the next step in ensuring these products come together and work in unison to unify the technology in your life.
Four years ago, we acquired SmartThings to bolster our leadership in the then-nascent Internet of Things (IoT) market. Today, SmartThings has evolved to become an open IoT platform with more than 370 certified devices from more than 40 brands, automating millions of daily activities, like turning off your lights and the heat when you’re not home.
In 2015, we made a bold promise that all Samsung devices would be IoT enabled by 2020, and already, 90% of our TVs, appliances, smartphones, and tablets are now IoT-ready.
This Spring, we will be launching the SmartThings App, which will enable people to manage and control all of their Samsung connected devices and any SmartThings compatible devices.
The app is designed to easily connect and control all the IoT devices in your life, unifying the many existing IoT apps, such as Samsung Connect, Smart Home, Smart View and more into one single touchpoint for the connected world.
Simply put, SmartThings will be the remote control for the connected life.
Because security is so critical, we’re taking two important steps forward for consumers: first, we’re bringing Samsung Knox technology to our smart TVs and smart appliances, protecting devices at the hardware, platform and application levels.
We have always been a company committed to innovation. This has led to a global leadership position in TVs, smartphones, refrigerators, and digital signage. Samsung sells more than 44,000 mobile phones and 5,400 TVs around the world every hour and we are the No. 2 patent holder in the U.S., with more than 5,000 new patents approved last year alone. And we invested more than $14 Billion globally to accelerate open innovation in new and emerging technologies.
And the results speak for themselves. We’re honored and humbled that Fast Company ranked Samsung Electronics America as the No. 2 most innovative company in the IoT industry, while BCG recently ranked us as the No. 7 most innovative company in the country.
Investing in the U.S: People and Operations
We believe our future success depends not only on delivering world class innovation, growth and customer experiences around the world, but investing in the communities where we live and work.
Last year we grew our U.S. operations and footprint by more than $10B to expand current facilities, increase R&D in IoT and make major acquisitions. We acquired Harman International Industries, Inc., providing Samsung with a significant presence in the connected car market, which is expected to grow to more than $100B by 2025.
We also invested in jobs. Today, there are more than 20,000 members of the Samsung family across the United States. Our robust Silicon Valley presence began in 1983 with our first R&D facility and today we have 3,000 employees with multiple subsidiaries in the Bay area. We have a global marketing centre of excellence in New York City and more than 6,000 people in Texas fuelling our telecom hub in Richardson and our Samsung Austin Semiconductor operation, one of the largest single foreign direct investments in the US at $17B.
In South Carolina, we opened a brand new $380-million home appliance manufacturing plant which has started to produce some of Samsung’s most popular, industry-leading home appliances. By 2020, we will create nearly 1,000 local jobs in S.C. and are proud of the incredible work being done by our teams across the country to push the boundaries of what’s possible as they strive to create the future.
That same relentless passion and drive also applies to our brand. I recognize that the past 12 months have been difficult for Samsung, but true to form, our team tackled these challenges head on, listened to our customers, and learned some very important lessons. Our employees are the guardians of our brand, which is why we’re raising the bar and developing the skillsets needed to help us continue to make our vision a reality.
When I joined Samsung almost 11 years ago, I could not have predicted where technology would be today. Think about where we were 11 years ago; most of us couldn’t get email on our cellphone, Netflix was primarily known for mail order DVDs, and artificial intelligence was still relegated to the realm of pure science fiction. What I learned, over time, is that this company is one with deep-rooted values and a strong commitment to moving smartly and quickly, taking risks and delivering best-in-class technology.
We’re proud of our progress. Yet we know that there’s still more work to be done. I have full confidence that with our team, culture and strategy, we are in a unique position to help define the connected lifestyle of tomorrow. And I could not be more excited to be a part of it.