Toshiba seems to have identified storage innovation as one of the key areas of focus for the manufacturer. Santosh Varghese, GM – MEA, Digital Products & Services at Toshiba Gulf discusses new launches and storage market trends
Discuss the market outlook for storage drives in the region?
Toshiba Storage Portfolio consist of Hard Disk Drives , Solid Sate Drives , Memory products like USB Flash drives , SD cards , Micro SD cards and Compact Flash cards . Toshiba has seen a phenomenal growth in FY -2016 with 70% YoY growth in the HDD segment. This has been mainly because we have added new category of Internal drives both 2.5’’ ad 3.5’’, done market expansion across Africa region with in country business development model and sustained over 27% market share for our external hard drives. Currently Toshiba is a major brand in Storage category offering full range from HDD, SSD and Flash Products
Elaborate on the new launches from Toshiba including the latest Canvio for smartphones?
Toshiba has recently unveiled three amazing products which highlights Toshiba’s innovation in the Storage Portfolio.
Canvio for Smartphone is a unique back up product for storing your data on the smartphone. As you recharge your phone daily, the phone data can be backed up on Canvio for smartphone. Full back up is done once and everyday it does incremental back up as the user recharges the phone. The Toshiba APP helps in managing your data on the device. It can also be used to back up your PC data too. It helps in transferring data from old phones to new phones. Less 20% of the people backup their smartphone data leaving the data on smartphone vulnerable to phone damage, theft or accidental drop in the water.
While the current Canvio edition for smartphone is currently meant for Android users, very soon we will have another OS version.
The FlashAir is a SD Memory Card with embedded wireless LAN capability. This enables wireless LAN communications to non-networked devices by inserting Flash Air into existing card slot. Up to 7 client devices can be connected to Flash Air over wireless LAN at the same time. This lets you transfer photos from camera to phones /tablets instantly, supports iOS and Android
The 4th generation of Flash Air which will be commercially available from June this year has many advanced features like 90 MS/Sec read speed and 70 MB/Sec write speeds. The time required to download a 50 MB Video file is 12.6 Sec with 31.4 Mbps, which is almost 3 times faster than WiFi. It uses the Eye-fi Technology which enables camera power to be maintained when connected to Flash Air.
Transfer Jet is a content transfer device which is easy to use, offer ultra-fast speed (375 Mbps), is safe and secure. Just touch the other device and instantly transfer content to other device. It is 10X times faster than Wi fi, 100 times faster than Bluetooth and 1000 times faster than NFC. Transfer jet supports many innovative vertical solutions like eBook download at books, live video download at concert hall, Movie content downloads in a plane, trailer movie content downloads etc.
Discuss the demand scenarios that you see for storage of smartphone data? How does cloud storage stack up vis-a- vis hard drives?
Research has shown that less than 20% backup their data on the phone. In MEA region, less than 4% of the consumers backup their data on Cloud due to fears of security and lack of confidence of storing private data in public clouds. Personal storage device like Canvio for Smartphones helps you backup your precious data while daily recharging your smartphone and the data on personal hard disk can always be safely kept by the user.
Elaborate some of the highlights of Canvio as a brand for portable drives and the success in the region?
Canvio is a well-known brand for external HDD products from Toshiba. It has many flavors suiting the wide profile of users. Canvio Basic and Ready is for regular profile users whereas the Canvio connect which comes bundled with backup software and better design as well as Canvio premium that feature very high end design and backup software is meant for prosumers and supports both Mac and PC versions.
Do you see falling prices as a challenge to profitability of external drives? Is this being offset by wider market penetration?
Prices have been almost stable for last one year with the capacity increasing the demand for higher capacity offset any price drops. Also our channel policy of ‘’Go Wide Go Deep in every market” has helped us increase the channel breadth to cater to various User segments
What are the current distribution/retail strategies for Toshiba?
Toshiba’s business model has always been in-country business model with local distributors catering to the local channel. We launch the latest products and technology across all markets in line with the global launch. Our award winning P4P (profit for performance ) channel rebate program is implemented in many markets in the region which helps the channel in selecting proper model mix and focus on sell out thereby helping them to increase their profits and achieve cash flow /working capital management.
Discuss plans for Transfer jet family of products in the region?
Transfer jet is an evolving technology which will be launched very soon in all markets in this region after getting proper approvals from concerned TRA. With its superior features, we are very confident that this technology ill very soon evolve from early adopters to a mass products.
Elaborate on channel engagement initiatives and sell out enablement as a priority focus for the company?
Toshiba’s channel engagement starts with authorizing the channel partner to sell Toshiba Storage products, providing channel training for floor sales staff, launching sell out driven promotional activities and executing daily monitoring of sales in key segments. ATL and BTL activities for demand generation and with focused digital marketing campaigns enhances Toshiba’s brand equity of its products and technology against its competition.