Samsung’s UK head said Britain is getting smarter and the company will be at the heart of this transition
“The ‘seamlessly connected’ world that in the early 90s was still science fiction is now a fast-developing reality,” said Andy Griffiths, Samsung President of UK and Ireland, during the inaugural meeting of the Samsung Insights Club held at The Shard in London, a building which has apparently adopted Samsung’s smart technology.
The Korean manufacturer, along with the Big Innovation Centre think tank, has published research suggesting that two thirds of Brits believe the UK is on the way to becoming a smart society, with one in 10 believing the country is ahead of other nations in that respect.
He said the UK was confident with technology, evidenced by having the most Internet-dependent economy in the G20 and the widespread use of m-Commerce – something which has attracted South Korea’s attention.
Glasgow has been named the UK’s Future Cities demonstrator by the Technology Strategy Board, while Mayor of London Boris Johnson hopes to turn the Olympic Park into a testing ground for new smart city initiatives as part of his vision of a ‘Smart London’ plan.
“It is clear analogue Britain is no more, it’s digital Britain, and at Samsung our role in this evolution is to empower people through technology,” he continued. “I firmly believe the next few years will be a pivotal time for us as a technology industry leader and as a major business in the UK. We want smart to be inclusive not exclusive, we want it to be enterprising and innovative and we want it to be about taking all of UK society forward.”
Griffiths added that there were gains to be made in all areas of a smart society – work, home, health, education, leisure and government – and that 45 percent of respondents to Samsung’s report, Towards a Smarter Society, believed that investment must be made into the UK’s infrastructure to cope with the demands of smart technology.
Adequate infrastructure is seen a key pre-requisite for the advent of a smart society, along with a data friendly culture based on trust, digitally literate citizens, leadership from public institutions and the presence of open platforms.
According to Samsung’s research, the most popular current forms of smart technology are connectivity apps such as Skype and Smart TVs, with remote working systems, home technology and smart meters also used.
Home and health
The home is expected to be the main area of expansion with 72 percent keen to adopt innovations that would save them money and be more efficient. Smart security, lighting and smart appliances such as washing machines are also popular. More than half of respondents say they would like to see smart traffic systems adopted, while smart fridges and the ability to purchase products through their Smart TV are also demanded by some.
Health in particular is an important area for many people. Half of respondents say they plan to use wearable technology to monitor their wellbeing in the future and 46 percent say Internet-enabled doctor appointments are their most wanted development, while 3D-printed medicines have also been mentioned.
“What is exciting is that many of these developments are close at hand,” said Griffiths, who naturally believes his company can deliver many of the solutions desired by the British public. It says the incremental updates offered by the Samsung Galaxy S5 and its Samsung Gear wearables are evidence of its ability to listen to customers.
“Listening is what allows us to lead, but listening only works if you’re prepared to learn,” he added, explaining that Samsung had also listened to service providers, retailers and content owners in an effort to stimulate and support a smart society ecosystem.