InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Diversity is One of the Keys to Success”

Seemant Prakash, the Country Manager for VAIO and AVITA at Nexstgo, says his company will continue to focus on technologies and products that enable people to work and live better

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
2021 had been a very interesting year for the PC market. Travel restrictions and lockdowns did affect normal business operations. However, 2021 was full of opportunities. Covid-19 resulted in PC market rebirth and the momentum has sustained through 2021. Amid remote working and education requirements, PC usage increased substantially.

Demand picked up from various segments such as education and B2B. Nexstgo’s business grew phenomenally in 2021, and we believe “diversity” is one of the keys to success; we expanded both product portfolio and market penetration thereby creating new distribution partnerships and strategic tie-ups with retail partners.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
COVID-19 has changed a lot of things since 2020, including the market and consumer behaviour. Under NEW Normal, the digital platform becomes much more important than ever before; people are getting used to spending more time in the digital world. We focused our continuous efforts on social media and e-commerce to reach out to and engage with our customers. Due to the lockdown in different countries, people were forced to stop traveling and stay home. Consumption power accumulated and the battlefield changed from offline to online.

Under “new normal,” flexible working and studying arrangement continues and becomes a new trend. There was a higher demand for IT Products, especially high-performance laptops. Overall we witnessed customer preference shifting to higher specifications and features. Further, the GCC market is quite conscious of brand value and quality. Hence VAIO, a legacy Japanese brand, and AVITA, our Global Award-winning brand, resonated well with the market demand.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Components shortage and supply chain disruptions affected the fulfillment of different brands and industries globally. However, with our own manufacturing facilities, we were able to reduce this impact. We have a well-established supply chain and service set up in each country to stay agile to market. Our topmost priority is to deliver the best quality products and services to all MEA users.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
NEXSTGO and AVITA have just celebrated our 5th Anniversary. In previous years, we have launched over a hundred innovative products and expanded our coverage to more than 25 regions:

  • With our LIVE IT UP brand campaign, we created lot of positive energy and cheered 10m customers.
  • Our differentiated “Hero” products resonated well with our target customers
  • AVITA LIBER V, which won the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2021, impressively combines expressive individuality with state-of-the-art technology, paying attention to crafted details. AVITA LIBER V was designed keeping in mind the preference of millennials and is in high demand amongst them due to the unique and impressive range of over 30 vivid colour options, premium quality with sleek built.
  • The Ultimate – VAIO Z (the World’s First Contoured Carbon Fibre Laptop), which targets the business athletes, top management, and elites of the society. It is the perfect showcase of VAIO’s product design, technology, and craftsmanship
  • The Premium – NEW VAIO SX14, an all-rounded laptop PC that targets prosumers, and management levels. With the great Japanese heritage, it delivers the high quality and prestige brand image that VAIO represents
  • Work-and-play devices – VAIO E15 with AMD processor, FE series, and NEW SE14 with 11th Gen Intel Core processors are in high demand due to premium quality, versatile performance, durability, and cool design.
  • We successfully set up a strong network of services with 2 years warranty for Windows Home and 3 years warranty for Windows Pro models as one of our differentiators. Our customers and partners strongly appreciated and trusted our service capabilities.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
NEXSTGO will continue to focus on technologies and products that enable people to work and live better in a more connected virtual world. In the aftermath of the pandemic, NEXSTGO advocates developing technologies transforming the user experience in learning, working, entertainment, and social interactions. New high-quality audio-visual features, more intuitive product designs, and user interfaces, superior processing power, and connectivity are all critical elements to fulfil ever more demanding user expectations.

With the increasing computation requirements, customers prefer the latest generation technology. Newer generations of processors from Intel and AMD, and the OS upgrade provided by Microsoft Windows will drive further PC refresh. We are excited and well equipped to launch the latest modern notebooks in the MEA region.

NEXSTGO is developing a holistic approach to address people’s growing need for smart devices for health. Leveraging the IoT (Internet of Things), enables customers to live in a higher quality of smart living environment healthier and smarter through digital devices providing fun along with convenience, as people are more concerned about their health and balance of life. NEXSTGO will continue to fulfill the corporate responsibility in the community and e-learning development in the education segment.

We believe both B2B and the education segment will generate good demand. With a good lineup suited for these segments, we are well-poised to cater to the demand. We see sustained demand similar to 2021 as the Middle East market is on a progressive growth part and major digitalization.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
We are on an expansion growth path and dedicated to increasing our penetration in African markets. We are increasing our presence online and in key retail channels, in terms of providing a superior buying experience both through quality content and professional merchandising at high footfall locations.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Recently, many companies already announced million-dollar plans directed towards the creation of the Metaverse. Technologies are the enablers that drive the transition from the current Internet to the Metaverse, such as Extended Reality, User Interactivity (Human-Computer Interaction), Artificial Intelligence, and even prebuilt Windows 11, etc.

NEXSTGO will continue to focus on technologies and products that provide excellent customer experience which enables people to work and live better in a more connected virtual world. It will be a great trend for our product development and business opportunities expansion in the coming one or two years. VAIO has proudly introduced the groundbreaking AI Noise Canceling Technology that provides crystal clear sound quality for video conferencing.

The high-performance AI had learned and set proper elimination of noises to further improve the sound quality. By reducing the environmental noise, a clear voice can be delivered to the recipient and vice versa. We continue to increase the performance of our devices while maintaining our core advantage of offering thin, light, and premium design.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
In terms of channel, we will increase our presence in B2B and the education segment. We will rejuvenate VAIO brand with new brand guidelines. VAIO enjoys a strong legacy amongst Millennials. With this advantage, we will expand our base to younger generations to experience our technology and design innovation.

We want to further enhance AVITA’s image as a lifestyle brand in sync with our pillars of Liberty, Diversity, and individualism. To support further, Nexstgo will be generating demand and engagement through various brand campaigns, promotions, and activations. We will continue to support various channel programs, collaborations, buyback schemes, and the power of Social Media to generate demand.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
Nexstgo is committed to a long-term commitment to serve the MENA region and we see ourselves becoming brands of 1st preference for our customers.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
We not only plan to increase our participation in various events, but also create various partner events. We would be creating more industry collaborations for synergistic growth. In view of the supply situation, we will bring supply chain efficiency through forwarding planning in collaboration without reputed distribution partners.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
Nexstgo, with its motto “Do what the giants can’t” envisions to bring new revolutionary experiences in solution and technology, through continuous innovation. We believe continuous innovation through design and technology accelerates your success. Apart from the upgraded versions of our current lineup, we will also be launching new solutions and form factors such as All-in-one devices, tablets, and Smart IoT devices in the region. We will continue our market expansion and new customer acquisition in the coming year.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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