Samsung this morning announced plans to woo and court enterprise customers, introducing the Samsung Solutions Exchange. It wants to combine its SAFE (Samsung Approved for Enterprise) and Knox-enabled smartphones and tablets with "holistic," vertical-specific solutions.
Since I spoke with Tim Wagner, vice president and general manager of Samsung Mobile's Enterprise Business Unit, in advance of the announcement, two points that came out of the conversation have stayed with me.
The first has to do with how Samsung's devices, since the Galaxy S III, have been jam-packed with features—a reality that some find less than ideal. As I suggested in my review of the phone a year ago, it can all feel overwhelming and unnecessary. (Samsung knows this and offers a simple mode.)
But while half a dozen cool-but-unnecessary features, all together, can be too much, one of those features, in a scenario the feature complements perfectly, can be just right.
Wagner gave the example of Air Gesture, a feature launched on the Galaxy S 4 that lets a user interact with the phone without touching it. While some reviewers found the feature hit-or-miss, or to be, as TechRadar put it, "the least practical [feature] on the phone," Wagner said he's been working with a hospital that's recognized how helpful Air Touch could be in an operating room, if it were put on a tablet.
That makes great sense and is super practical. As Samsung drills down into the top vertical markets, it becomes easy to imagine how the hodge-podge of innovations it offered consumers could, taken separately, address very real, business-advancing needs.
The other bit of conversation I keep thinking about has to do with Galaxy Gear, the smartwatch Samsung introduced Sept. 4.
While it's big for watch, it's still smaller than the tools most enterprise users depend on.
"Financial services companies, government, health care, they're all over it," Wagner told me. "They want a way to immediately notify key resources in [a situation]. In health care, it could provide the ability to quickly notify an ER doctor and have him or her respond through the watch."
When I saw and tried on the Gear, I had no desire to own it. But I can very easily imagine a doctor trusting it as a key tool—the modern pager, but better—that she wouldn't dream of parting with.
With Solutions Exchange, Samsung plans to partner closely with third-party software makers, and Wagner suggested that with Salesforce.com integration, the Gear could show particular information or offer calendar reminders.
Currently, the Gear isn't a SAFE device, though the Note 3, which it connects to, is.
"We'll be working on ways to further secure the connection between the two," said Wagner. "It's a unique opportunity for Samsung to show off additional value."