Samsung Electronics on Tuesday announced the launch of its android-based education application under its Media Solutions Centre (MSC) division, as the company takes a shot at the e-learning market estimated at Rs 18.41 trillion. According to a Ken Research Report, the e-learning market - which includes the use of electronic media and all information and communication devices/technologies in education - is set to grow at a compounded annual rate of more than 17 per cent until 2018. Tarun Malik, Director - MSC for South-West Asia at Samsung Electronics, speaks to Shamni Pande about the $216.7-billion electronics giant's new initiative. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Does the launch of the education application signal a strategic shift for Samsung?
A. Yes, it does. With the launch of our education application, we are initiating a big push in the software innovation space. If you look at the education space then we are looking at potentially 30 million school-going students in India, who we believe, are underserved in some ways. Of course, if you look at the entire universe of students, which includes special education, test-preparation and higher education, then this number is about 200 million.
We will initially focus on the K-12 segment and we are going to offer CBSE curriculum in an interactive manner for students. Down the line, we will also offer ICSE curriculum along with other boards. With this we hope to not only take position in the education/e-learning space, but also in software innovation for the first time. We are also partnering with Aakash Institute to offer test-preparation through their flagship iTutor product. We will not just offer learning, but also assessment content for class 8 up to class 10 as well as medical and engineering entrance exams.
Q. Will it challenge the position of established e-learning players, particularly those dealing in smart-class?
A. It does take us into the e-learning territory. However, we are not challenging others, but merely have worked on our capability sets to fill the existing gaps in the education system. Many players went to sell PC-based learning system to schools, which failed. Today, people like personal devices. Also, we identified some other areas where the learning will be aided by PDFs and simulation videos and even be delivered in 3D through our Smart TVs. There are many players, but none that has gone the whole nine yards to stitch it all up together. Besides, we do have leadership in tablets and Smart TV, so this launch is also focused on our devices. This means that people can buy our android-based app on Samsung Playstore.
Initially, we may just offer it as a promotional add-on with our devices, but we will be selling it. The entire curriculum for each class will cost about Rs 2,000 for one year. However, this price in not fixed and will vary according to the grade. Samsung 's Smart Learning app can be accessed anytime, anywhere with online and offline access points as it is cloud-based service. In short, we are very bullish about this space.
Q. Are you speaking to schools and the government and others for possible partnerships?
A. Yes, we have initiated talks, but we have no announcements to make yet. We initiatlly hope to increase our spread and will launch this commercially on Teachers' Day. About 7,000 stores in India have been equipped to sell education content on Samsung Galaxy Tab, which will be extended to 10,000 stores.
Q. What are the other spaces you are looking at?
A. This is just the beginning, you will hear of many new announcements in the software innovation space from us. There is a whole new team in the MSC that is mandated to come up with innovative applications in different spaces. Of course, they involve our devices. But the India market is leading the fray, globally for Samsung, in software innovation in education. Gradually, we will offer this in other Southeast Asian countries as well.