Inavate + BenQ: To strive and thrive

Hurrairah bin Sohail speaks with Jeffrey Liang about how BenQ responded to the disruption caused by Covid-19 and how the challenges spurred the brand to see its products and its solutions in a new light.

Everyone should be familiar with the disruption caused by Covid-19. To varying degrees, the pandemic has had an impact on every individual in some way. The challenges caused by Covid-19 are unique and businesses have had to deviate from established game plans to respond. Jeffrey Liang, president at BenQ Asia Pacific, talks about how the brand navigated tricky waters.

The Covid-19 crisis has caused disruption to businesses across the world. As an international brand with offices all around the globe how did BenQ respond?

BenQ’s response was informed by the directives and recommendations from the WHO and the governments of the countries where we operate. But in some respects, the government standard for tackling Covid-19 and the measures they put in place represent the minimum standard that everyone must meet to stop the spread of the virus. As a company with a global footprint, BenQ had to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of its employees and its partners and this started with very clear communication of our objectives through the different phases of our fight against Covid-19. We broke these objectives into three aims. Firstly, the key is to protect and safeguard our employees and their families by maximising social distancing and enabling them to work from home.

Secondly, we have to make sure that the company and the facilities are still profitable during the pandemic. Lastly, we have to analyse and re-evaluate the market opportunities in light of the ‘new normal’ for both the B2C and the B2B businesses of BenQ.

What role did technology play in your response to the disruption caused by Covid-19?

Last year, at InfoComm India, we launched our first smart projectors for business, the E600 and E800ST series, which come with an Android system allowing users to install a range of apps to increase the projector’s functionality. With the disruption caused by Covid-19, we looked at the product again and found that its relevance to the market has increased. Internally, we found that we were increasingly using videoconferencing to make sure all our teams and all our branch offices were able to communicate and perform their duties.

However not everyone could have access to videoconference rooms and occupying anyone’s laptop, smartphone or tablet for the purpose is not the most optimal solution especially for group meetings. But with our smart projector, you have the ability to turn any space into a videoconference room. At BenQ, we found that our own products were the answer to the disruption.

Can users also leverage BenQ’s smart projector to address the challenges caused by Covid-19?

There has been a change in consumer behaviour, and we have to embrace the momentum of technology. Right now, videoconferencing solutions, remote collaboration solutions for communication are in demand. But the videoconferencing experience has changed drastically.

We have a wide range of both consumer and enterprise products which includes a range of flat panel displays. But we found that while users were interested in setting up fixed working spaces at home, what they really wanted was a flexible solution that would adapt to the work from home scenarios that come up. The BenQ smart projector is compact which makes it ideal for the home setting as well and it provides users working from home the flexibility they need. As long as you have a wall to project on, you can use the projector to enable videoconferencing for big teams with rich information and serve your display needs.

What lessons has BenQ learned from the challenges posed by Covid-19? How has BenQ evolved as an organisation moving forward?

At BenQ, we’ve been in communication with our employees and the feedback we have received is that they would like to work in an office environment. There is still value in having dedicated office space where workers can focus, have face to face communication and just have the human element present. But we are also aware that working from an office may not be possible based on the situation in the specific region and country. Moving forward, I think we have to be flexible. We don’t know what course the pandemic will take and the key for us is to be able to adapt and switch our working format as needed. This means continuing to ensure that our workforce is digitally connected and that they have the support and the infrastructure to be able to work from anywhere.

With regards to technology and solutions, what products does BenQ have planned to address the ‘new normal’ scenario?

The disruption caused by Covid-19 made us relook at our products and our business which spans across B2C and B2B segments. What we had to do was to analyse the demands coming from our customers and what their needs and requirements were. During the lockdown and work from home phase, users have to be able to learn from home and work from home with high productivity. With this in mind, we found that our display products, monitors and projectors, were especially suited for the situation. The other main need for users is entertainment, and this also makes our B2C portfolio more attractive.

These core demands from our users are also driving our research and development now and our upcoming product roadmap. We are looking at fine tuning some features and adding new ones for our projectors to make them a better fit for the future. The business landscape has changed, and I really believe that flexibility is going to be the key. Everyone from big enterprises to SMBs, they are feeling the pinch caused by business disruption and they are looking to manage the crisis. In times like this, investment is done carefully and only if solutions can demonstrate that they can deliver returns. Our focus is to show them that BenQ’s smart projectors and wide range of interactive flat panels can help alleviate their problems.

The moment when a crisis arrives is also a time to thrive. BenQ has readjusted its organisational thinking and operating model to meet the continuously changing environment. Be agile and digitalise, that is what I believe. BenQ continues to study customer needs and offers corresponding smart technology and services. By empowering its employees, partners, and customers with problem solving solutions, BenQ and its associates can remain competitive and prosper in the new normal.

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