How Samsung is Shaping the Future of Health with Wearables & Connected Devices

Wonjin Kim
Director, Digital Health Wearable Solution at Samsung
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Speaker 1 (00:15):

You're listening to the TechTables podcast. A weekly Q&A podcast dedicated to interviewing industry leaders from across the world, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Mixing it up each week with topics ranging from design and product innovation to IoT and industry 4.0, let's do this.

Joe Toste (00:33):

Hey, you guys welcome back to another week in the world of TechTables, mixing the best in design in tech innovation with me, Joe Toste. I'd love to connect with you behind the scenes on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. There, you can even message me questions for future guests coming on the show. Back to today's show, I'm very excited. Today we shift our focus to episode five, how Samsung is shaping the future of health with wearables and connected devices. A huge thank you to Wonjin for taking time out of his busy day in New York to chat with me, but that's quite enough from me. Without further ado, I'm thrilled to welcome Wonjin Kim, Director of Digital Health Wearable Solutions & partnerships at Samsung.

Joe Toste (01:09):

Well, let's kick off today with a little bit about you and your background and the government. You used to work at the CIA and defense technology industry, and how you arrived to focus on all things wearable today. Let's start with that, Wonjin.

Wonjin Kim (01:24):

I started my career in the government and then the government and defense technology. Then I quickly realized there is a lot of opportunity for devices born as a consumer device, and they're making their way into our government and defense and commercial enterprises. Certainly they enable robust communications. Now, with wearable technology, we're able to address things far greater than just communications alone.

Joe Toste (01:54):

It's [crosstalk 00:01:54].

Wonjin Kim (01:54):

At the end of the day it's all about data.

Joe Toste (01:55):

I mean, I know you're a little bit older than me so K, you were at the forefront of seeing all of that come up, especially on the wearable side, which is really, really fun. Next month, coming up in Orlando is ... I know you transitioned from government and the defense, and then eventually you kind of made it to the enterprise wearable sector. But next month in Orlando is probably the world's biggest healthcare conference called HIMSS in Orlando, and digital health and wearables are pretty hot in healthcare today. I think we can both agree on that. And we're seeing a ton of advancement in sensor in wearable technology. Can you talk about just the productivity and even the healthcare improvements that wearables are bringing to your customers today?

Wonjin Kim (02:41):

Sure. What's common about the healthcare and enterprise with wearables, wearables are bringing continuous data, insights and engagement at the personal level. In the past, outside of dedicated medical devices worn on the bodies, health data was really collected at manual intervals, providing just a snapshot of the persons' status at the moment data was collected. And now wearables are providing continuous sensing in a non-intrusive way. Providing a stream of data on that individual and combined with other sources of data it's providing a holistic view of the person's wellness and health. And also the communications element is providing engagement. One of the key challenges for the healthcare providers and patients, really that patient engagement is translating to better patient outcome, all thanks to wearables today.

Joe Toste (03:38):

I really like what you said at the end there around patient engagement and patient outcomes. I just did my, it was my annual, or even more than annual checkup at the doctor's office, because I'm pretty bad. I mean, I'm a healthy young one, and so I probably don't go to the doctor that often.

Wonjin Kim (03:55):


Joe Toste (03:56):

This next time I showed up and they've got the app and they've got all these stats on me, from all kinds of systems hooked up and every single test I've taken since I was a baby. Now you can hook in, I have an iPhone, I know that breaks your heart, but you can hook in to-

Wonjin Kim (04:14):

It's okay.

Joe Toste (04:15):

... your health data. It's a really ... Like you said, I was super engaged. I'm like, "Wow, this is really awesome." Just that engagement is going to provide a better outcome and also probably a better experience for people going to the doctors so I love that you mentioned that. A big theme that we preach is, this thing called Connected Worker 4.0, which we call device data and decision, kind of the 3Ds. Device, which is the AR/VR mobile wearable IoT devices. And then data, obviously is the analytics, big data cloud. And decision is, AI, ML, digital twin, virtual assistant. At Samsung there's a lot of different types of devices based on the types of problems that you guys are looking at. To help boil it down a little bit, what are the top three problems that you're seeing in the marketplace today where wearables are equipping and evolving today's workforce?

Wonjin Kim (05:14):

Good question. We're in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution or the connected workers 4.0. During this revolution, there are now lots and lots of IoT sensors across factories, job sites, smart cities, and they're streaming, more constantly streaming mountains of data on the performance of the machines. But what about connecting the most important assets to humans. Even today, a lot of the data are still around the performance of the machines and they're not able to address collecting data on the human performers or the persons. That's where the wearables are beginning to make a large impact.

Wonjin Kim (05:59):

Today workers are base of using legacy devices like a two-way radio or even a pen and paper and clipboards. When they do equip the people with various different sensors, there is a sensor for everything these days on the market. One of my customers ... and I have to give him credit for coming up with this terminology is, now the humans are becoming like a human Christmas tree. There are so many sensors now on the human bodies or the connected workers. It's now getting to the point where it's impeding the performance of the worker. So how do we enable a technology that can address multifunctions instead of a dedicated sensor for the human worker?

Wonjin Kim (06:47):

Thirdly, and this is one of the most important one for us and our customers and their employees is, coming up with sensors or devices that the people actually want to wear.

Joe Toste (06:59):

Well, you touched on a lot of really great stuff. Actually, I really liked the Christmas tree. I'm going to have to take that. That's really funny. People are a kind of a walking Christmas tree right now and that's the next piece, right? Is they're becoming the sensor, that is moving from machine to the human is literally the walking sensor when it was just going to generate so much more data. I was Googling yesterday, because so you just keep factoring and factoring and factoring I don't even know. I think they just keep creating names for which factor. How much data does Samsung create, that's incredible there's just so much out there. I don't even know the proper term for it. Someone smarter than me is going to have to hop on and tell me what it is because you guys just like trillions of data. I mean just the factors of data that get created and multiplied are just incredible. It's insane.

Wonjin Kim (07:58):

And I think the terminology is just big data there is no other term around it. And at the end of the day, what does the big data mean for these commitment workers and that's the problem that we're working to solve, it's not just collecting the data, but making sense out of the data and providing meaningful, actionable insights for the connected workers as part of the Smart Factory 4.0.

Joe Toste (08:28):

I love it that we are on the smart factory 4.0. One of the things that really struck my eye was that Google shocked the digital health wearable world by announcing that it was going to acquire Fitbit last year, it looks like they're going to get the regulatory approval. Fitbit CEO, James Park says "Working with Google gives us an opportunity to transform how we scale our business, allowing us to reach people around the world faster while also enhancing the experience we offer to our users in the healthcare system and that this collaboration will accelerate the pace of innovation to define the next generation of healthcare and wearables."

Joe Toste (09:03):

Competitions obviously heating up big time and consolidating in the wearable space with big players like Apple, Google, and Samsung dominating the market share. How does Samsung stand out in such a competitive space?

Wonjin Kim (09:17):

The smartphones is a very saturated market and I think the industry we believe in wearables and the future of wearables as you said, it is very competitive. So what we're doing is really focusing on the customer's needs. And I separate that into two separate segments. One is to consumers, you mentioned innovation so we were one of the first in the industry to launch smartwatches and we're continuing that innovation and design for the broader audience.

Wonjin Kim (09:50):

If you look at the market today, 75% of smartphone users worldwide are using Android phones and we believe in being able to provide them with innovative and design centric smartwatches. And then the other side of the, our customers are the industrial workers or our enterprise customers for us, we're really focused on solving their pain points, the use cases on why they are looking for smartwatches and why they should adopt smartwatches for their connected workers. So really for us, the key is whether it's consumers or business is focusing on their needs and the market.

Joe Toste (10:31):

Yeah, that's really good. One of the, and I know Samsung kind of specializes in the wearable on the watch side, on the device side, I interviewed Andy Lowery, who's the CEO RealWare, and they've gotten the headsets and everything. And it was so fascinating to see, from the enterprise side really to the different types of problems and then how each situation is just so unique and how people are trying to solve them, whether it's with a glass or with a watch or a wearable.

Joe Toste (11:02):

There's so many different problems out there it's just really fun to be in the space right now. I lean more on the enterprise side, so like yourself it's a fun time right now so I really like it. When it comes to use cases, logistics, manufacturing, inspection, quality maintenance, repair, installation, training, digital health, the list goes on. What are you seeing on the Samsung side right now, as the top three use cases for wearables?

Wonjin Kim (11:32):

Right? So the top three areas for wearables for us and our team is first is the overall general population wellness and that's working with a health insurance, life insurance and corporate wellness providers, and some of the lifestyle companies out there to provide wellness offerings. The second is providing or enabling virtual care. You may have heard of our partnership with Kaiser Permanente where we're enhancing patient engagement and treatment outcome with the results being published or recently published on The New England Journal of medicine.

Wonjin Kim (12:09):

The third areas where I focus a lot of my time on is really a cost of industries with field workers. It's not necessarily just manufacturing or any of the specific verticals you've mentioned, but it's across the verticals that may have known workers or field workers who may or may not be connected today with our smart devices and is really enabling the health and safety of the field workers.

Wonjin Kim (12:36):

And then how we do that with our smartwatch and our solutions are offering them hands free communications because a lot of them work with their hands on the job sites. Secondly is really knowing where they are for safety reasons in case of emergency being able to send the right help to the right individual, to the right place. And thirdly, using the sensors on our smartwatch and also working with some of the other sensors that are integrated with smartwatches is really being able to analyze the risk factors and really predicting someone's risk scores or injury risks.

Joe Toste (13:16):

Oh, wow. That's really good. I really resonate with the field workers and just from a lot of the use cases on our side that we see and other companies on the enterprise side field workers are huge, especially making sure their hands are free is a huge one. So you didn't want to have an iPhone or an iPad in your hand and you're on a tower or something that would be, it'd be a little hard to work.

Joe Toste (13:41):

So rolling in, you ran a successful pilot with Buffalo Wild Wings. That was pretty fun that improve the customer experience. It boosted revenue for the company. My first job was a waiter in high school so I really empathize with the use case on the wearable side, although wearables didn't exist. I actually had the first cell phone I got, iPhone didn't exist that didn't come out until my senior year of high school or first year of college then this is before Blackberry really was a thing. I had this Nokia, I think the only game on it was snake, and so there are no wearables. I had my Nokia snake phone and I was a waiter in high school. Can you dive a little bit deeper just on the pilot and the experience inside Buffalo Wild Wings? And just talk about that story.

Wonjin Kim (14:28):

Yeah. First I have to credit our solution partner TaskWatch who really found a use case and created a solution for the restaurant. They took our device and wrote the application based on the customer's use cases and designed the pilot and really launched a successful pilot with the restaurant.

Wonjin Kim (14:49):

One of the couple of things that we from that engagement is one, it has to drive customer satisfaction. That's why our customers are looking for technology and digital transformation because they really, they also compete in a very competitive landscape and they're always up in their games to enhance their customer satisfaction. So what does that really mean for the restaurant or the restaurant industry, is really reducing the wait time for the customer, for them to get their wings and the beer that is hot and cold and timely.

Wonjin Kim (15:25):

Secondly, you mentioned you worked in the restaurant industry yourself. We also have to provide value to the workers. And what does it really mean for the workers on why should they wear the smartwatch? It really directly translates to income earned. When their customers are satisfied, that translates to higher earnings for the workers and using this technology.

Wonjin Kim (15:51):

And thirdly, one of the things that we learned in one of the early pilots is, we really have to define what success looks like for the restaurant or for the business. The question is, why should the CFO fund the full large scale deployment of brand new technology what's in it for the company and the company's success KPIs.

Joe Toste (16:16):

Can you talk about what some of those success KPIs were, what the CFO's look for?

Wonjin Kim (16:22):

It's really the tables turn for them every during the peak hours, the quicker they can turn a table that translate to incremental revenue earned for the restaurant.

Joe Toste (16:35):

Wow. That's really good. I think when you're having that discussion with the CFO, and that's one of the things that I've been learning a ton, especially on the technology side, because that's where I'm at is, with a lot of companies you've got to go to the CFO and they might not be a technologist. They might not have necessarily that insight, so building that business case is really good. I love that KPI. That's so great. The tables turned. And especially the experience for the waiter or the waitress that better experience definitely is going to result in higher tips so it is a win-win a little bit.

Joe Toste (17:16):

Let's talk about wearables on the enterprise side for a minute. A common theme of KPIs that I hear from companies is reducing X amount of time or reducing the number of times a worker has to move their head by having the instructions or information transferred quicker to workers in real time. How are you seeing the evolution of 5G and wearables in the enterprise space transform the way workers receive and communicate information?

Wonjin Kim (17:42):

We at Samsung are very excited about 5G. Not only do we make 5G enabled phones and tablets, but we also make the infrastructure equipment for carriers to enable 5G in the cities across the US. We haven't brought 5G to the smartwatches yet, but we're certainly looking forward to that future and our customers are constantly engaged in conversations with us. I think it's still a little bit too early to tell, but the future is certainly bright and the opportunities are endless for our customers.

Wonjin Kim (18:15):

And the reason is 5G really brings or enables that Latency three cloud bays connected services. So our enterprise solutions to software solutions run on clouds then the more we can reduce the latency in the communications [inaudible 00:18:34]. Right now, we have a lot of applications running on the watch side and that's limited by the small battery and the processors and things like that on the watch. The more we can offload that to the cloud with a zero latency, the more value added services we believe we will be able to provide to our customers.

Joe Toste (18:56):

That's really great. One of the things I've noticed too that's probably going to be pretty fun is, you're right, 5G probably it's definitely early, but as 5G comes along, I think battery life will keep improving too as 5G becomes more and more mainstream. So I think as a battery improvement and the 5G coming along, side-by-side I think it's going to be really, really good. Now it was funny. I was with my mom in L.A. or something, and she has an AT&T phone and she was like, "Look, I've got, I've got five G." I'm like, "That's not really 5G. That's fake 5G."

Wonjin Kim (19:32):

I won't comment on that.

Joe Toste (19:32):

[crosstalk 00:19:33]. They put out a press release. They're like, "We're sorry, this is all marketing." When real 5G comes, and battery improvement comes too, on the wearable side, that's going to be so fun.

Joe Toste (19:47):

I'm really excited. I love it. I'm a huge wearable consumer and I also get to test a lot of wearable enterprise products too, so I'm really excited about it. This is just a really hot market and low early, but definitely really fun a lot of pilots and POCs happening.

Joe Toste (20:05):

Real quick. Switching back to digital health, something I'm really excited about is the on-device AI for personalized care in the future of wearables at CES, Samsung announced that this is the age of experience saying, "We believe AI is the future of personalized care. It's that convergence of hardware and software that will make personalized care more impactful and meaningful in the future." How do you see the intersection of software and hardware in the wearable space providing value to your customers today?

Wonjin Kim (20:35):

I am a personal and firm believer in the convergence of the device and the software solution for the benefit of our customers. So I myself started my career at Samsung on the device marketing side, and I've transitioned to Software Solution Development and Marketing because, a device without software is just a paperweight to our enterprise customers. So the convergence of the device or the hardware and the software definitely needed to happen so I'm really thrilled to be working in the software solution business. And we can't talk about software solutions today without AI or machine learning so already today, our smartwatch software solution is using, or beginning to use machine learning to provide personalized insights for our enterprise users of our smartwatch in the areas of location and their health and safety.

Joe Toste (21:38):

And I forget the executive who said it, but that the age of experience that's, I think this next 10 years, we just roll into the next decade. That age of experience is such a great phrase because that's really what it's going to come down to, whether you're a consumer or whether you're on the enterprise side, it's going to come down to this age of experience and really, how do you make hardware and software beautiful, seamless, just fully integrated together, where you just have a beautiful piece of hardware and a beautiful piece of software.

Joe Toste (22:16):

And it's going to be more and more important. I know consumers obviously care about it, but even on the enterprise side, they're just going to demand more and more of that consumer enterprise touch. Lastly, before we hit the 60 seconds seeking breakthrough segment, what's the number one problem that you're seeking to solve as the director of digital health and wearable solutions at Samsung?

Wonjin Kim (22:41):

So this AI and personalizing the solution also means collecting personal data. So working on this breakthrough, emerging tech to bring this personalized benefit also has brought some barriers that we need to remove and barriers to adoption costs from actual and a lot of times perceived privacy concerns. So is really working very closely with our customers, the business decision makers, but also the actual users to understand how their concerns over the privacy of the data and the devices.

Wonjin Kim (23:22):

And working with them to mitigate and feel safe and sound about adopting this personalized wearable technology. And that's through working on strict security and security technologies and privacy policies, but also again, working directly with the users to show the benefits of adopting the technology versus using legacy devices.

Joe Toste (23:48):

Awesome. Okay. 62nd breakthrough seeking breakthrough segment. Number one, what do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning?

Wonjin Kim (23:59):

I honestly didn't know he was going to take this long for this emerging technology to get adopted in the enterprise space. And the reason is every customer requirement is so unique. So growing and having the discipline to focus on the solution that meets the 80% of the market needs. I think it's really key to speed up the time to market.

Joe Toste (24:21):

Ooh, that was really, really good. Number two, what were your three most important priorities as the director of digital health and wearable solutions?

Wonjin Kim (24:29):

Because it was such new technology. It was really understanding our customers and also putting together a strong product management team and then a flawless execution and delivery.

Joe Toste (24:41):

Love it. Last one. Where do you see the wearable market in the next five years?

Wonjin Kim (24:47):

At Samsung we believe in better health for billions and that wearables and health are synonymous.

Joe Toste (24:55):

Got it. Love it. Okay where can people find you Wonjin?

Wonjin Kim (25:00):

They can find me at Samsung or on LinkedIn.

Joe Toste (25:04):

[inaudible 00:25:04] on LinkedIn. Are you on Twitter?

Wonjin Kim (25:07):

I am not so active on Twitter.

Joe Toste (25:10):

Okay. Active on LinkedIn though.

Wonjin Kim (25:13):

Very active on LinkedIn.

Joe Toste (25:15):

Love it. Okay we'll find you on LinkedIn and in the show notes, when we post this episode, we'll we will link to Samsung and we will link to Wonjin's LinkedIn profile. Awesome. Well, thank you and appreciate you coming on the show today.

Wonjin Kim (25:31):


Speaker 1 (25:33):

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Joe Toste
Joe Toste
Host of TechTables Podcast

Host of TechTables 🎙- Conversations with Top Technology Leaders