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See Me, Hear Me

Samsung Electronics to Focus on Interconnectivity and Simplicity

Making devices every demographic can use

Couple operates cell phone with laptop on desk, Samsung article Innovation50+

Product by product, Samsung is proving that it is following principles of universal design, making products that are designed for everyone to use. — Hill Street Studios

Baxter says that Samsung is paying attention to the demographics. “On the broadest level Samsung all around the world is focused on where are the trends, the population segments that are growing, what are the consumer needs,” he says. “If I look at boomers and the active adult community in terms of digital cameras and HDTV, what do we find if we look at trends at the macro level, then peel that back?”

Connectivity is the reason many of its new devices come equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities. Says Baxter, “it’s less about productivity in a traditional sense, and more in terms of wanting to stay connected with family and friends .... That extends to our phones, our cameras, our TVs. We ask, ‘How can I connect with friends and use media differently?’”

Too Many to Count

Samsung makes just about any kind of consumer electronics device you can imagine, including computers, cameras, tablets and mobile phones. But Samsung has also become a major player in the appliance industry. And there too Baxter says Samsung is trying to introduce connectivity, “Appliances, smart appliances, are becoming a major focus for us, refrigerators with an LCD screen, a calendar and Wi-Fi capability appeal to the boomer population as well. Put in LED lighting to see what’s in a refrigerator with 32-cubic-foot capacity. An LCD refrigerator with apps like Grocery Manager, that will allow me to track expiration dates.”

Connectivity and simplicity are also behind Samsung’s decision to manufacture the Google Chromebook, a device that uses Google’s Chrome browser instead of an operating system. “Chromebooks have easy connections. There are no worries about viruses. These types of products address anxiety.”

In Tim Baxter’s world, connectivity will know virtually no bounds. He says, “We think we’re really on the cusp of being able to integrate it all. The average U.S. family has 32 consumer electronic devices; only a handful have connectivity. That’s why we are launching AllShare, a cloud-based utility.”

Right now the service will allow you to share music, photos and videos. But eventually you may be able to program your television, start the washing machine and even track what’s in your refrigerator. Will boomer and seniors benefit from this kind of connectivity? Baxter thinks all consumers will come to expect it, and boomers and seniors will find their needs served by being along for the ride.

"See Me, Hear Me” is a continuing series examining whether major players in the consumer electronics industry are meeting the needs of boomers and seniors.

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