In January this year, Samsung launched its new line of refrigerators—Curd Maestro—that customers can use to make curd at home. Given the fascination Indian homes have for everything curd, it is no surprise these refrigerators saw very strong demand pan-India. “Curd is an essential in Indian households. We launched the Curd Maestro refrigerator after extensive consumer research in India that has helped us address consumer pain points when it comes to making curd at home,” says Amitoj Singh, senior director and head, product innovation team at Samsung India.
“We found the common pain point was setting the curd and getting the same consistency and taste. The younger generation did not have the time for the process of boiling then cooling the milk, adding a bit of curd, and then ensuring it is kept in the fridge once it is set. This refrigerator addresses all these pain points,” he explains.
But this brings us to the question— why did Samsung go down that road?
Company officials says that as a brand, Samsung is driven by five core philosophies—people, change, excellence, integrity, and co-prosperity. And these values have inspired the company to come up with innovations that help make the lives of consumers better. Therefore, as part of Samsung’s ‘Make for India’ initiative, Samsung R&D centres in the country—one in Bengaluru and two in Noida—have been working on India-centric innovations based on consumer insights. This has led to several India-specific features across Samsung’s consumer electronics and smartphones product portfolio, including the Unbox Magic television set series, Masala Dry, Sun Dry and Roti Naan microwave ovens.
The relevance of these innovations is evident especially now when many of us are working from home. Take, for example, Samsung’s line of Smart Ovens that are tailor-made for Indian households and can make staples such as tandoori rotis and naans as well as masalas and tadka with the help of HotBlast technology.
On the television front, the Unbox Magic TV range that was launched last year was also made for India using insights from Indian consumers. Samsung R&D Institute Noida developed five industry-first features—personal computer mode, music system, home cloud, live cast and two-way sharing.
“These innovations keep in mind the evolving needs of Indian consumers on how they interact with their TV sets and other smart devices. In the current context, TV sets with the personal computer mode are being used by consumers to work from home and study from home as these come with a free subscription to Office 365,” says Singh.
Consumer insights are the key
Singh’s product innovation team does consumer research and comes up with strong insights, along with inputs from diverse teams such as sales, marketing and others. These insights help R&D teams create these successful innovations.
“Indian consumers are unique, and the needs are unique. We need to innovate different for them, create products and features that help them solve their problems,” he says.
Investing in collaboration
Last year, Samsung invested $16.8 billion globally in R&D across its product lines as well as on cutting-edge innovations in Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G mobile networks, AI, autonomous driving, and connected car technologies. An interesting example of collaboration between Samsung R&D centres is the recently launched solution for Samsung’s Galaxy A51 and Galaxy 71 smartphones—AltZLife, which allows users to quickly switch between normal mode and private mode (Secure Folder) by simply double clicking the power key.
The on-device AI function also intelligently suggests moving private content to the Secure Folder, thus enhancing smartphone privacy.
Last month, Samsung’s Bengaluru R&D centre launched an industry-academia programme last month called Samsung PRISM (Preparing and Inspiring Student Minds). Students in engineering colleges get to work on projects in AI (including vision tech), machine learning, 5G networks, IoT and connected devices to solve real world problems.