General Manager, HMD Global: West, East and Central Africa, Joseph Umunnakwe, in this interview, spoke to Emmanuel Elebeke of Vanguard Newspapers about HMD Global’s commitment to accelerating digital transformation in Nigeria, as the world celebrates telecommunications and information technology.
In recent times, telecommunications companies have been key drivers for technological advancements globally. How is HMD Global contributing to these advancements?
There is no doubt that the introduction of new and improved technologies has made a lasting impact on our lives. In fact, technological innovations have helped us adapt to the widespread disruption that a global pandemic wrought on the way we live, work, learn, communicate and socialize with surprising speed and agility. Critically, mobile technology is increasingly going to be harnessed for good. Aside from mobile’s obvious benefits of bringing the world to us in the palm of our hands, it also increasingly acts as a driver for good.
Developing technology for good is at the heart of our work with Nokia smartphones, at HMD Global. We understand that mobile technology and connectivity play a crucial role in maintaining connections, facilitating access to improved education, financial services, and healthcare. More importantly, with the right technology, we can protect against malicious attacks that leave users vulnerable to erosion of their privacy and security.
That is why we are committed to providing the best in software and security upgrades for our consumers and enterprises that choose our devices and accessories.
Nokia mobile devices have led the Trust rankings for the second year running, with the most frequent software and security updates for several years. Our products are built to last and designed with human happiness in mind.
The theme for this year’s World Telecommunications Day is “Accelerating Digital Transformation in Challenging Times”. Looking back at the challenges of the past year and the uncertainty of the future, what role does HMD Global see itself playing in accelerating digital transformation?
Mobile technology continues to enhance the everyday lives of people around the world. We now depend on technology to make our daily activities more seamless. The reality of the COVID-19 health crisis makes this more apparent. Many people believe that our world’s economies have leaped five years ahead than previously thought possible. Because of this increasing dependence, our core values of trust and security have become even more relevant today. We design products not only for convenience but for the greater good.
We are committed to providing the best in software and security upgrades for our consumers and enterprises that choose our devices and accessories. Beyond this, we are excited about the future, as we continue to build technology solutions that enhance the lives of mobile device users and enterprises across the globe.
The recent launch of six (6) phones tells of the company’s drive for market growth. Why did the company launch the six (6) devices at once?
For our team, innovative thinking is about unlocking high-value experiences to those who may have not had access to them before. Millions of people rely on a Nokia device for their everyday needs, from basic connectivity to payments and creativity. Different people with different needs and interests use our devices.
With our intelligent learning systems, we built phones to cater to budgets and what really mattered – quality, reliability, design, simplicity, and ease of use. We care about people trusting their phone. That’s why our industry-leading security offering runs across the new X, G and C ranges – everyone deserves to feel safe. We care about people keeping their phones for longer. These products are built to last inside and out, thanks to our upgrade promises and superior durability.
Take the G-series, the Nokia G10 and Nokia G20, as an example. Our content-creating users can depend on the three-day battery life and an on-the-go creative studio that fits right into their pockets. They can capture moments, edit, and curate content that keep the rest of us happy.
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On the other hand, our 5G enabled X series, Nokia X10 and Nokia X20, were built for the future-formers, to help them keep up with the fast paced young-professional life. The X-series allows us to offer the benefits of our high-end partnerships with Qualcomm and ZEISS Optics. Delivered with our purposeful Nordic design and nature-inspired colors, the X series are sleek and beautiful, which anyone would love to have one.
The C-series, with the Nokia C10 and Nokia C20, were particularly designed for our users who prioritize family and family-time. Affordable and built for durability, it is a great introduction to smartphones for younger users – they can keep it for longer as they get acquainted with smartphone use.
All of these, built on our EU-standard security systems, with three (3) years security updates, were created to restore peace of mind, amidst the challenging times.
Essentially, the launch symbolized a fresh and purposeful step in HMD Global’s journey and as a company that wants everyone to access high quality and long lasting mobile technology, we want more people to have more options and phones that they can love, trust and keep for long time.
What do these phones offer the Nigerian consumer that will not be found with other competitors’? What makes them appealing to their different audiences?
The first is security. According to a recent consumer research conducted by Fly Research in the first quarter of this year, over a third (⅓) of consumers have no idea if their devices are secure or up to date. This lack of knowledge or information has cost mobile phone consumers a lot – time, money, private data and more.
For the second year in a row, Nokia phones have topped Counterpoint research rankings in providing the most comprehensive software and security updates and it has the highest share of the portfolio recommended for enterprise use.
The Counterpoint Research trust rankings are based on the four pillars of software, security updates, build quality, and devices recommended for enterprises. A comparative analysis is done for the leading Android smartphone brands.
The performance of Nokia phones continues to be a competitive advantage in a crowded smartphone market, every manufacturer is trying hard to differentiate its offering. From design and build quality, to screen size and the number of cameras, a lot goes into this effort to differentiate. The software that the smartphone runs on is also an important consideration. Consumers should expect it to be updated regularly to ensure that potential security vulnerabilities are kept at bay and new features are delivered as they become available.
Alongside this promise is durability. Nokia phones go through more testing parameters than the industry average during manufacturing according to a press release published by Counterpoint Research on October 27th 2020.
5G and the 4th Industrial revolution are the race of the moment, how has HMD Global leveraged the technology and contributed to the revolution?
We understand the need to innovate with speed as consumers want to do more work on the go. The Nokia 8.3 5G was the first 5G smartphone to come with the highest number of 5G New Radio bands, ready for both standalone and non-standalone 5G network deployment combinations, launched in 2020.
Following on from here we recently announced our X-series smartphone range. Bringing performance to the range, the Nokia X10 and Nokia X20 comes with 5G, signature longevity and powerful imaging solutions. Like everyone else, we know exactly what it takes to work remotely without losing productivity.
What plans are there to take Nokia mobile beyond its current position?
The past 12 months have no doubt been challenging, yet they also gave us a moment to pause, think and prepare for the next big step in our start-up journey. As a Finnish company, our approach to technology and business is human-first and that is reflected in this new smartphone range. We have a simple idea at the core of our operations: providing accessible connectivity for everyone. This as well as our brand values drive our plans for the future.
We want our users to fall in love with their phones again. We want them to love them for the refined quality and the creative innovative experiences that go beyond on all our devices and at amazing value and affordable costs.
One of such innovations that makes our users love their phones are the imaging algorithm and novel key component technology. It is our belief that creatives and professionals can love their daily lives and career better with the right tools. All of these will be taken into consideration for our future innovation.
Our signature durability and security are at the heart of who we are and will continue to drive future designs that help you keep your device for longer. It makes no difference to us what your phone might cost, we guarantee access to the latest applications and protection from the most recent security updates, even two years after purchase.
Finally, we put our consumers at the heart of what we do. Using rigorous AI and Intelligent learning, we seek to understand our audiences and put their needs at the heart of everything we do because trust is important to us. This two way relationship with our customers is further enhanced through our Nokia phones beta labs, Android Developer Programme and User Experience Programme, where we act on customer feedback, to keep them happy and at peace.
Again, all of these remain a critical part of our current and future activities. By successfully integrating our retail and enterprise products and services, we can truly accelerate digital transformation for our consumers and enterprise users.