Samsung Looks To The Enterprise As The Smartphone Market Saturates

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Samsung’ wants to replace BlackBerry and be a major enterprise provider, Jae Shin and Andrew Mills tell TechWeekEurope

Samsung is  doing great business in smartphones, but is already looking at what to do when that market saturates – as it is starting to do in the developing world. The next big plan – the company revealed to TechWeekEurope – is a major play for enterprise mobility services.

The company is the world’s largest producer of mobile phones, and recently recorded record quarterly profits of £4.8 billion, but sales of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones have gone flat, with some observers speculating its market share has hit a ceiling.

Samsung does have plenty of other irons in the fire, including wearable technology, where its Galaxy Gear has sold 800,000 units, defying predictions that this is just tech looking for a market.

In the business world, however, Samsung is confident that its products and services, including the Samsung Knox mobile device management (MDM) platform, give it an edge over its rivals and the company’s global B2B vice president Jae Shin (below) told us it can help businesses cope with the transition to mobile and deal with consumerisation trends such as BYOD.

Samsung B2B push

Jae Shin Samsung“Entering the B2B space is a big strategic push for Samsung to ensure that we continue to enjoy the same rates of growth as an organisation that we’ve experienced in the past and also to balance our business across the consumer and enterprise space,” says Andrew Mills (pictured further on), Samsung’s European head of B2B.

Samsung has allocated significant resources to assembling the teams and building the partnerships required to launch the B2B assault, claiming that the enterprise market is growing by 35 percent each year, compared to just ten percent in the consumer space.

Mills says the Korean manufacturer senses an opportunity as it believes many businesses are yet to move beyond secure email, and a number of industries, in particular the public and financial sectors, are lagging behind in terms of BYOD and now want a secure mobile platform.

This has long been considered the domain of BlackBerry, but Shin told us that despite the Canadian manufacturer’s “unfortunate” struggles, the timing is purely coincidental. Samsung Knox was first shown off at Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this year and since been approved by a number of government departments around the world, including the Pentagon.

Samsung Knox

“Knox has been in development for quite some time now and we have had our own timeline to address,” he says. “I can’t speak for BlackBerry, but believe Knox is a very timely platform that is really necessary today.

“We are doing a huge push into B2B because in the enterprise space, there’s a real lack of platform security that is necessary to move enterprise customers to the next stage.”

“When we look at BYOD, and the way that companies are employing BYOD, we have identified a need to secure enterprise data and also separate personal data,” claiming to have received enquiries from “all walks of life.”

Chip level security

This description makes Knox sound awfully like BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, which separates personal and corporate data on BlackBerry 10 smartphones and on other platforms using BlackBerry Secure Work Space. What makes Samsung Knox any different?

“The biggest differentiator we have is that because Samsung is a device manufacturer, we have created Knox to have security from the chipset level all the way to the application level,” he says. “Many security solutions out there today are applications that are installed into the OS. When you look at a security solution like that, it secures the application and the data, but who looks after the device?

“Hackers are becoming a lot more sophisticated. They’re hacking the device and they’re hacking the person. So what Knox does is that it creates a root detection that gives hardware level security as well as on-device encryption and container level security. That is something our competitors are not doing today.”

“We genuinely believe that Knox is the best and most secure way to run Android in the enterprise,” adds Mills.

Samsung product portfolio

andrew mills samsungBut this feature is of course limited to Samsung smartphones, meaning customers are locked into using the company’s equipment. Mills says this needn’t be a problem as Samsung’s vast product portfolio means it can offer vertical solutions to industries such as healthcare, education, hospitality and retail, comprising smartphones, tablets, PCs, displays and printers.

Samsung can even work with the customer to combine these products into a custom package, he says, citing the firm’s work with American Airlines, which uses tablets for in-flight entertainment.

“We’re unique as an OEM that collaborates with partners and customers to customise devices for individual unique use,” claims Mills, who is clear about Samsung’s ambitions in the enterprise space.

“We want and expect B2B revenues to be a substantial part of our business going forward,” he declares. “We haven’t released specific financial targets, but the key thing is we see this as a clear part of our strategy in driving growth and advancing the portfolio of business to address the issue that in mature markets, smartphone growth is slowing and we see the enterprise space growing much faster.”

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