Consumers today are no more looking for single-function gadgets. They are turning towards multi-function devices and willing to invest in electronics that can take on multiple roles, save energy and can be connected with a single device to work automatically, says Sanjeev Jain, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Nikai Electronics in an interview with Khaleej Times.
“People are looking for better smartphones, virtual reality devices and personal drones. Convertible laptops are also becoming a trend, where the keyboard can either be folded or detached to make the laptop like a tablet that is more convenient to carry. Wearable electronics, especially wrist-worn, are also a big hit accounting to almost half of the sales,” he adds.
According to the COO, Nikai’s exceptional offering is its bestselling product, the Smart Curved LED TV. Since its inception, this television has been in high demand among customers, and the company continues to improve the technology by making it more user-friendly and easy on the eye. “Our 55-inch Curve Smart LED TV has all the features offered by the big players in a Smart TV. This product has outsmarted TVs in the market with its affordability. It is extremely user-friendly and doesn’t strain the eye. Also, the 75-inch UHD Smart TV has been a great success for us. The Curved TV has been our best-selling product of the year,” he stresses.
While it may take a few years for technologies such as augmented reality, cognitive intelligence or machine learning to make a significant impact, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be a lot closer to home. “AI is at an evolutionary tipping point and already much more embedded in our daily lives than most people think. Consumers currently encounter elements of purposely designed AI in their daily lives by using voice-activated virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa®, Microsoft Cortana®, or Siri® voice recognition software to find restaurants, provide directions, play music or make suggestions for lifestyle changes. Tech-giants Amazon, Apple Inc., Google, IBM, and Microsoft are engaged in an AI arms race, which is expected to push the technology into the market at groundbreaking speed. In 2017 and beyond, AI also holds great promise for streamlining business processes and improving customer service – all while reducing operating costs,” notes the CEO.
The UAE is ranked among the top 10 most popular global locations for retailers because of its strategic location that attracts more retailers than any other part of the world. “A key factor contributing to a retailer’s success in the UAE is the growing young population and an increased number of expats and tourists. For a top electronic brand like us, the UAE is a very strategically placed market and has helped us grow and become a Super Brand,” says Jain.
The COO predicts future trends, “With the increase in the purchasing power and the need for a better lifestyle, consumers are increasingly looking for simple yet efficient electronics. “The boom will continue as consumers demand more and savvier electronics. Smart tech will be everywhere. Wi-Fi connectivity and app control will be more common in small kitchen counter electronics and appliances.”
In keeping up with the global trends in increasing demand for smart consumer electronics, Nikai plans to bring in electronics that are more customer friendly and energy efficient. “It is our goal to offer the latest technology to our loyal customers at a price that is affordable and a product that is reliable,” he adds.
The Home Appliances (HA) sector is witnessing change. Consumers are moving away from standard equipment to better and more energy efficient appliances. Additionally, with the increase in the purchasing power and the need for an improved lifestyle, the demand for smart home appliances is increasing throughout the world, especially in the UAE where residents are known to embrace a lifestyle with gadgetry.
New features are constantly being added to all products to make them more efficient. “We have a variety of water dispensers for our consumers to choose from. With its high-efficiency compressor and low noise design, our water dispensers are designed to accommodate every need. We have top loading washing machines which are 100 per cent dryer and air conditioners which are super cool and super-fast. In the coming years and keeping up with the consumer needs, we plan to enhance designs and make it more energy-efficient,” says Jain.
Elaborating on some exceptional offerings during 2017 he says, “We’ve also introduced the electric oven with a new function – ‘Keep Warm.’ One can keep the food warm for hours without having to heat it again and again. This year, we plan to re-introduce the old Indian style mixers, the L-shaped ones with the most modern technology. So, it will be like a ‘old bottle in a new packaging’. Only this time it’s the technology that is new. This is going to be a new re-introduction as well as our exceptional offering for 2017.”
The sentiment in the home appliances market is evolving. Smart washing machines, vacuum cleaners and air conditioners that can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled via Bluetooth will generate more revenue as they will be in demand, notes the COO.
Some of the popular trends this year include developing ‘Green Machines’ or rather energy-efficient machines. A number of companies are meeting the set green standards and developing products that use 10 to 15 per cent less energy and water than the standard. Also, appliances are growing in size. For example, refrigerators on an average would be of 18 to 20 cubic feet, but last year’s average was 22 cubic feet. This move has been driven by busy lifestyles as people expect more storage, according to changing needs.
Explains the COO, “Imagine a refrigerator that automatically inventories items as you load it, knowing not only what the item is but everything about it, such as when it expires or what it could be used for. Start pulling out eggs and flour and chocolate chips and it prompts you with a chocolate chip cookie recipe and tells the oven to pre-heat itself. (That’s right, the refrigerator is talking to the oven).”
Nikai’s plans are in line with the times where consumer interaction is the backbone of innovation. With immense competition between local and foreign appliances, brands will have to find out the unspoken and unmet need of the consumer to be different in terms of packaging, brand persona or product features. But a brand has to bring about these changes by observing the consumer as they shop or use the products at home.
Jain concludes, “Keeping pace with the global trend of increasing demand for smart home appliances, we plan to bring in home appliances with connectivity, differentiation and innovation at the core, which are more customer friendly and more energy efficient to meet the demand of the consumers. In a busy lifestyle that the UAE has, everyone wants an easy to operate appliance that can be managed without having to be around it physically. It is our goal to offer the latest technology to our loyal customers at a price that is affordable and a product that is reliable.”
Suchitra Steven Samuel
Twenty-five years back, my love for the written word attracted me to mainstream journalism. I have been in Dubai since May 1997 and currently work as Supplements Editor for Khaleej Times. Been associated with a Sharjah-based English daily and served as Managing Editor for a publishing house in Bahrain. Interviewed heads of state, ministers and senior diplomats in various capacities. Delighted to speak to people, travel, and write about the simple things in life. I love to dabble in art, photography and videography. Active on social media through Facebook and Twitter (@suchitrasteven).
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