JVC Kenwood’s Maeda on the Art & Science of Engineering
CE companies’ product planning strategies should never be subjugated to the need for price-competitiveness. And free-thinking creativity and initiative must be encouraged among engineers in CE companies, or new-product ideas cannot germinate.
Those were some of the views expressed by Satoru Maeda, JVC Kenwood Holdings’ senior vice president and executive officer of the company’s New Business Development Center, to an audience at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair during a seminar entitled, “New Home AVC Products and the Future Consumer Electronics Industry.”
Maeda, who spent 28 years as an engineer at Sony and while there, developed the company’s Location Free TV, articulated his concerns for the future survival of manufacturers within the consumer electronics industry as they grapple with business challenges but choose to respond those challenges without concern for keeping a healthy balance among technology development, marketing and product planning.
“The current problem in the market is price competition due to a lack of product planning,” he said. “All companies are competing in the same field with the same products, and there are few products from new concepts making a big impression in the market,” he said. “Even 3D TV is already a victim of price competition, because it is an existing technology that any company can make.”
He said that products generally fall into two categories: “replacing products” that improve upon existing products – such as CD players, which replaced turntables, and DVD players, which replaced VCRs – and “co-existing categories” – trail-blazing products that offer unique functions and don’t replace other products – such as the VCR. “Co-existing products create new markets,” he explained. “If a replacing product doesn’t add additional functions that meet consumer wants, it won’t succeed in the market. Co-existing products can succeed only if you can imagine that a new lifestyle will be created by the new product.”