Five Minutes With…Spyridon Gousetis, Marketing Director, Sony Mobile MEA

Wearable technology is fast becoming one of the industry drivers, says Gousetis.

What is your company focusing on this year?

We will provide our consumers with choices of compelling Xperia products, smartphones, tablets and smartwear. Through these Xperia products, we will showcase unique consumer benefits, as well as, the wider connected world of the Sony ecosystem.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

The business of smartphones and wearable technology is a fast paced and constantly changing sector that requires consistent development of technologies and innovation to ensure that consumers get the best and latest. Sony pioneered smart wearable technology and that trend has been adopted by the market and many other tech companies. Although the lion’s share of growth will remain with the smartphones, wearable technology is fast becoming one of the industry drivers.

What new products will your company launch this year?

We do not comment on products we’ve yet to launch, but as we outlined during CES in January, Sony’s focus this year will be on wearable technology developing concepts within that market segment.

What is the future of wearable technology and how is Sony tapping into this?

As it was made apparent at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015, Sony has increasingly invested in the development of wearable technology as the rapid rate of growth in this particular segment has led to new technologies being available for use.

Sony is focusing its development of wearable technology on experiential values as well as a modular philosophy that allows the device to be used independently and in conjunction with an individual’s other smart devices.

Sony Mobile also believes that wearables have to integrate with existing accessories rather than be accessories in their own right. The Core module at the heart of our smart band is a testament to this modular philosophy, and smart glass – the micro screen device you can attach to existing eyewear is a concept Sony is pursuing – is being developed as consumers want a more seamless integration between their smart devices and the fashion/lifestyle items in their life.

Which are the most successful markets for Sony in the Middle East?

Our region has been one of growth for Sony Mobile Communications. We have demonstrated consistent double-digit growth over the past three years, and our regional forecast is extremely positive for this year as well. In every region we are in, we operate as one the three best-selling in the premium range of phones.

What are the biggest challenges for businesses like Sony in the UAE?

The challenges we face in this market are not dissimilar to other markets wherein competition is very high, and consumers, especially on the premium end of the spectrum are demanding the very latest in innovation, design and technology, so we always need to be at the forefront of the innovation cycle. In particular, UAE has a very high rate of smartphone penetration coupled with a tech savvy consumer base that has more disposable income compared to some other regional and international markets. As such, there is a higher proportion of business coming from the premium range of products.

Sony recently opened the world’s first Xperia Aquatech Store in Dubai. How was the overall reception to the store from the guests?

The reception of the first of its kind Xperia Aquatech store was overwhelmingly positive with our international guests thoroughly enjoying the experience and the unique concept. Sony Mobile is committed to offer its consumers a lot more than just premium smartphones, tablets and smartwear devices. We are fully committed to Sony’s Vision statement i.e. “a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity”. The Xperia Aquatech store reaffirmed our confidence in the durability range of our products which enable consumers to enjoy their lives together with their favourite phones, tablets and accessories without having to worry if the respective devices get wet or dusty. Sony pioneered this technology many years ago and currently our waterproof/dustproof product range still enjoys the highest rating in the industry.

Is Sony planning to launch the underwater store in other countries too?

Although the module is fully mobile and transferable to other potential locations, there are no firmed up plans as to its next destination.

Will you be hiring this year?

Hiring is a combination of a country’s business development objectives and a market’s forecasted changes. This evaluation and subsequent possible actions will take place at the end of our fiscal year at the end of March.

What’s your leadership style?

Operating in a multinational/multicultural environment can be very challenging. I am a keen observer of people and their behavioural patterns and motives. This has allowed me to fine tune the way I communicate my thoughts and interact in my surroundings. In my experience this has made all the difference in my professional as well as personal life. I should definitely add sense of humour

What makes the perfect employee?

The sense of purpose, direction and authentic interest in what one is doing

Define success in five words…

Natural acceptance and respect from colleagues

Three tips for becoming the boss…

Work with the best and leverage on their potential

Accept risk and failure as natural everyday events, hence – be prepared to ask for forgiveness but not for “permission”

Remember those who contributed to your success