by Patricia Ames
In March, Chin Yoon, VP Strategic Marketing at Samsung Electronics, took the stage at Samsung’s National Dealer Meeting. Yoon covered a lot of ground in his 25-minute long address, talking about everything from Android and millennials (and how they’re taking over) to the past, present, and future of the Smart UX platform. And at the end of his presentation, you couldn’t help but feel optimistic about the future of the platform.
Yoon believes that because of the rise of Android and the impending millennial takeover of the workplace — he projects Generation Y will represent 75 percent of the workplace by 2025 — that “they will want the same user experience that they are used to today on their personal devices.” And with the Smart UX platform, Samsung intends to bring that user experience to 15 Samsung devices in 2017 (and more in the future), including the latest MX7 Series.
“It’s all about the experience,” Yoon told the crowd. At BPO Media & Research, we’ve been writing about this shift in expectations for a while and Yoon gave us a nice shoutout from the stage:
The Past and Present of the Smart UX Platform
In the past, ISVs and software developers used the Microsoft Office suite as a template when designing their user interfaces (UI) because users were already familiar with those programs. It helped shrink learning curves and was made for a more intuitive user experience. Samsung brings this paradigm to the control panel. Built on Android technology, the Smart UX platform mimics the look and feel of the smartphones and tablets that we have all grown to love.
The Smart UX platform provides users with a good deal of customization. For one, individual users can build customized user profiles based on their preferences. They can choose how to display all of the features, functionalities, widgets, and apps they use the most based on their preference, just like they do at home. The platform also includes an app marketplace — the Smart UX Center — with over 40 productivity enhancing and cost saving applications. Users can download and install apps and widgets from the Smart UX Center to the device, right from the control panel.
But the platform doesn’t just help customers; partners have been using it in-house too, for their own specific business processes. Using the Smart SDK, Yoon reported that one partner developed an automatic test grading application for their education customers, and that another used it to build an app to streamline service calls and provide speedy, remote assistance.
The Smart UX platform will play a big part in the company’s strategy as the Samsung printer group slowly gets absorbed by HP. Yoon offered up a three-pronged strategy which included “transitioning legacy solutions and business courses to the Smart UX platform, … encouraging open collaboration among our partners so they can continue to develop apps that maximize profits, … [and] introducing vertical solutions.”
Yoon says that the first objective is already underway. Traditional ISVs based in Europe like Ubiquitech, MyQ and ScanShare, along with Samsung’s own portfolio, have already moved their core solutions to the Smart UX platform, with others like Equitrac and Autostore by Nuance joining shortly.
Samsung is also embracing the idea of open source, and they have the attitude to back it up. Yoon called for all types of partners — ISVs, Android developers, dealers and outside partners, and IT personnel — to take matters into their own hands and use the Smart UX platform and Smart SDK to solve their customer’s problems when there is no solution to be found. “I think the most important part is open collaboration among partners,” Yoon said. The company also intends to help partners develop and promote their apps as well as to promote their business with professional services that are focused solely on their partner’s needs.
The third piece of the puzzle, a focus on key vertical markets, yielded three new vertical-oriented applications, with,I am sure, more planned for the future. The trio of apps — Smart Legal Connector (for law offices), Smart Printing Kiosk (public printing), and G Suite Education Connector (for education institutions) — all address pain points in their respective industries. For instance, Smart Legal Connector dovetails Smart UX with today’s popular legal solutions to help law professionals streamline workflows. Meanwhile G Suite Education Connector enables “scan to” and “print from” in G Suite, an extension of the existing Samsung Cloud Connector, and provides students with single sign-on access to their profile at the control panel, while the Smart Printing Kiosk replaces costly external hardware and inconsistent user experience with Smart UX platform.
Samsung is putting a lot behind the Smart UX platform before it passes the torch to HP. It is not yet clear whether the Smart UX platform will find its way onto HP machines, but both companies have made it clear they will continue to invest heavily in the platform. One thing is for sure: HP machines running Smart UX sounds pretty attractive, and can be a huge value differentiator for the company going forward.