European Business: Mr. Jaume, through increased connectivity and the advent of end devices capable of carrying out ever more complex tasks, the computer industry has changed significantly in the past few years. How has Toshiba dealt with these changes?
Damian Jaume: The arrival of tablet computers four or five years ago certainly marked a watershed moment for the entire industry. Starting in 2015, we reduced the number of PCs and TV sets that we sold to the retail sector, and therefore to end consumers. As a result, the B2B sector now accounts for 100% of sales in both areas instead of 40%. The reason for this is that end consumers increasingly see notebooks as basic commodities, giving manufacturers very little opportunity to make their products stand out from the crowd. At the same time, sales of tablets and smartphones are falling. We have reacted to this development in Europe by focusing on the development of PC solutions rather than on hardware. The keyword is the Internet of Things: It stands for a revolution in the IT industry rather than the computer industry. It means that Toshiba has its own department working on developing an IOT software platform to automate production processes for example. Another major topic that will keep us busy for many years to come concerns the process of developing IOT infrastructures for companies. The other major issue is, of course, data security.
European Business: What new developments do you have in this area?
Damian Jaume: In the Toshiba Mobile Zero Client, we have created a unique security solution. It is a computer that operates just like a notebook but without a hard drive or in-built memory, which means that no data is stored on the device itself. It is connected to the company network and can only be started via the network, making it completely secure. Moreover, we only install our own BIOS (basic input/output system). We are the only company with this approach and are also the only one to cover the entire value chain. We don’t have to rely on others for our production.
European Business: The need to protect sensitive data affects a wide range of different sectors. Can you name any examples?
Damian Jaume: The greatest interest at present is from the health sector. Up until now, data protection laws made it impossible to work on a PC on which patient information was stored outside of a medical surgery or hospital. That is now possible. Areas such as finance, government and military institutions are also showing an interest.
European Business: How are the changes in the political climate in Europe affecting your worldwide markets?
Damian Jaume: We have traditionally had a strong presence in Great Britain, which has a lot to do with the high visibility of our brand there. Brexit has destabilized the exchange rate but that affects everyone equally. In times of political upheaval, the need for security always rises, just as it does in face of threats from international terrorism. In Great Britain a lot of companies are putting their investment plans on ice. That is not good for us; on the other hand, growing interest in security solutions is good for us and there is plenty of room for further growth! In Germany, the focus is firmly on data security – that is perfect for us. I am certain that in the next five years we will generate 80% of our turnover from activities that have nothing to do with computer hardware.
In this issue: Gleeds France SAS – Your partner for your building / D. Carnegie & Co AB – Refurbishment formula for safer suburbs / SLM Solutions Group AG – True child of digitization / Hast Retail, s.r.o. – Shopfitting as art / Hyundai WIA Europe GmbH – Banging the drum for Korean machine tools
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