Ginger Finnegan, Director of Planning, Sharp Laboratories of America is responsible for identifying new opportunities for the Sharp Business Solutions division based on market and technology trends, partner identifcation/collaboration and unmet customer needs combined with internal innovation
At Inspire Expo, she said that Sharp has a road-map of inspiring products, that solve real customer problems, revealing that the company has a number of connected technologies to support new ways of living and working, such as a digital assistant, in the pipeline.
“Digital transformation is transforming business,” she said, citing AI, IoT, voice and augmented reality, adaptive security, advanced work automation and digital assistants, as examples of the key trends in the DX economy. “This is a time of change and opportunity,” she said.
Finnegan spoke about recent European research conducted by Sharp that confirmed inefficiency and end-user frustrations with meetings, adding that the survey findings confirmed meetings as an important focus area for Sharp.
She said that Sharp was developing an ecosystem to remove these frustrations. Customer benefits include time savings, productivity gains and smarter decision making, while for the channel Finnegan argued that the advantages will include more hardware sales opportunities, increased customer lock-in and annuity revenues.
Four key areas of focus:
Meeting launcher: available to sell as a subscription this will provide the ability to rocket start meetings from set-up, organiser authentication, to easy share and save of information and notes.
Digital assistant: a first-step platform for future smart office services, the in-built camera would support face recognition and voice commands save time.
Voice controlled MFP: the smart office MFP would recognise voice functions via a smart digital assistant (which could come to market as early as 2019), Finnegan also said that Sharp was developing a smart services platform – open interfaces to business applications.
Meeting summariser: providing the ability to capture and transcribe all or parts of a meeting, sold on a chargeable subscription basis, this would also provide analytics to provide insights into how to optimise meetings.
Hinting at innovations further down the line, Finnegan gave a few examples of how Sharp will leverage AI, she spoke about the potential use of MFP data and AI/machine learning to reduce service costs as well as the possibility for AI-driven service cost reduction.
“Foxconn, Sharp and partners will deliver original hardware wrapped around these solutions,” she said. “We have opportunities to collaborate in new ways with other companies – we have a seat at the table,” she said in conclusion.