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Henry Kondo

Product Planning Manager

Sony Mobile

Describe/Tell us about your role at Sony Mobile?

As Product Planning Manager, UX and Product Strategy Group for Sony Mobile, I develop plans and roadmaps for mobile and wearable products across Sony Mobile’s portfolio.

This year at IFA, we’ve introduced the broadest range of mobile products ever seen from Sony Mobile, which included two new pieces of SmartWear. Especially when it comes to wearable technology, it is important to listen to the consumers’ needs and to give them choice, hence the consumer-driven innovation of both the SmartWatch and the SmartBand. This is a big part of what I do, listening to consumers and developing products in line with what they need and want.

How has the launch of the new range of Sony Mobile Smart Accessories enhanced your wearable portfolio?

The new range of Sony Mobile Smart Accessories encourages customers to explore our entire eco-system of products, as each has been designed to enhance their smartphone experience. All smart accessories are underpinned by Sony’s one-touch functionality with NFC technology, enabling consumers to tailor each experience to fit with their chosen lifestyles.

The expanding ecosystem of content and connected accessories means that Sony now, truly stands out for delivering unrivalled entertainment, creativity and connectivity to consumers. Our content services’, including Sony Entertainment Network, brings entertainment straight to consumers out of the box with unique offers and packages. With more than 160 NFC enabled one-touch products it’s easy to share and choose the best set up to enjoy that content, whether it’s on the move via wearable technology, or in the comfort of your home via a smartphone. Whatever Xperia device consumers choose, they can be sure to get not just “good” but “great” experiences - that can only be delivered by the power of Sony.

Tell us about the main trends you’ve observed in the wearable sector over the past 12 months?

Sony brought the world’s first smart Bluetooth watch to market in 2007 and has been investing in wearable technology for close to a decade. Based on customer feedback and market trends, Sony's vision for the evolution of the SmartWear Experience is an ecosystem that gives users more flexibility and choice to personalise according to style and taste. Of late, we have observed that users are keen to incorporate the use of wearable technology into their daily lives seamlessly, which is why, through the Made for Xperia programme, Sony will offer SmartBand SWR10 wristband designs from leading fashion brands including Ted Baker and Barbour - and a special collaboration with Roxy for limited edition designs launching later in Autumn 2014. The SmartWear for Lifelog ecosystem will also evolve - Smart Tennis Sensor will come the US next year with Lifelog compatibility.

Other trends in the wearable sector include design. Our modular, waterproof SmartWatch 3 design allowed us to create a small, unobtrusive wearable, but one capable of holding the components and technology necessary for the connected and standalone user experience we’re delivering. We’re always exploring new styles and form factors based on feedback from our users, to ensure we’re providing experiences that either matter, or will benefit them the most.

How has your business benefitted from Juniper Research’s reports and research?

Sony Mobile benefit greatly from Juniper reports, in particular, the annual benchmark report into smart wearable technology. The report provides valuable insight into market trends, forecasts, and even barriers to entry. Sony Mobile refer to industry reports whilst product planning, as our focus is set on delivering stand out experiences for people in the format that makes the most sense for their chosen lifestyles.

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