The current situation with COVID 19 is unprecedented for companies and employees alike. We spoke to Max Hsu, Regional Director of Viewsonic in the Middle East and Africa to understand how a company like Viewsonic is coping with the current situation and what they have in line with current needs of consumers.
How has ViewSonic adjusted its work practices and responded to the current COVID-19 situation in UAE?
We are entirely on board with the government guidelines for fighting against this pandemic and keeping our staff and their families safe. We have been following the rules laid out by the government and working from home since the middle of March 2020.
Being in the business of solutions that make work, study, and play better from home, our staff is pretty hands-on with embracing the work from home culture, so there wasn’t any discomfort making that shift, to be honest. Our face-to-face meetings and demos are now being done in the form of online sessions and webinars as long as the COVID-19 scare looms large on our heads. For the safety of the team, we will continue working from home until further notice from the government. And to ensure our team are continuously working as normal even more efficient and more productive than normal, I keep those regular meetings as usual and more frequent sharing work and information among the team no matter good or bad news. Furthermore, encouraging and inspiring team is very essential during this period.
How have work-from-home requirements changed in a short period in the region? Where do your offerings come into play here?
Like most affected and potentially at-risk parts of the world, the employees in a significant part of the region country had to change and adapt to the new reality of maintaining social distancing and working from home very quickly. While initially, everyone is more than happy with a 180-degree flip in their work-life balance situation, it can hamper productivity, creativity, and even health (especially back and eye strain) after a few weeks.
Realizing this and the urgent need to create a more conducive work-from-home environment for all, our marketing team launched a digital initiative wherein we started communicating tips, tricks and healthy habits to keep in mind during this lockdown along with recommending some of our very appropriate-for-this-situation products like the ergonomic (VG2755) and stylish (VX2776) monitors that are a perfect fit for home & office use.
Moreover, to encourage indulging in entertainment during the lockdown, we have been promoting our products that are perfect for this purpose – our portable projectors M1+, M1, M1mini, and M2 that are designed for creating a “Work and Play” lifestyle at home itself. Each of these caters to different kinds of requirements that users may have and they can pick accordingly.
Distance learning has become the new method of schooling during the COVID 19 lockdown. How are your solutions enabling better distance teaching and learning for schools and students?
As a stakeholder in the education sector, we wanted to support schools, educators, students and parent in the MEA region during this unfortunate and unforeseen crisis. We have been extending our support to all the parties mentioned above by offering our valuable myViewBoard Distance Learning tool to them, completely free of charge. This has been made available to all schools and universities in the MEA region for the time being during COVID-19 pandemic.
Making the situation-appropriate updates on the Distance Learning tools wasn’t easy for our team and engineers as they had to be done on an extremely short notice. However, we are proud to say that the team was amazingly successful in delivering a professional educational tool that is serving teachers and students well with its engagements, interactive features and a friendly user interface during this pandemic. We have kept in mind the smallest needs of classrooms to try and give that feeling and experience to teachers and students alike with features like one-way camera, huddle, raise your hand “to participate”, push to talk, whiteboard along with all the existing features that are already there as part of the myViewBoard software.
Moreover, since the myViewboard software has been in existence for a long time, it can be used through other call applications like Zoom/Team as well. It also incorporates a web-based distance learning virtual classroom and live streaming for distance learning through Facebook & YouTube. Many schools and universities are making great use of this tool, and those who are not can still register for free and try the interactive academic tools that it offers.
How has ViewSonic’s business shift from being a product entity to becoming a visual solutions provider proven to be beneficial during this time?
Being a large part of the education and flat-panel sector has dramatically increased our focus now on distance learning and work-from-home solutions. By providing ViewBoard Interactive Flat Panels(IFP70/50/30-series) and the myViewboard tool which is a whiteboard software that can work on Android and Microsoft, our standing has become stronger during this time when academic institutions are trying their best to conduct classes remotely.
Similarly, by providing different monitors that incorporate all individual and enterprise needs when it comes to working remotely – from standard, heavy user, stylish to professional users, our footing has become even more solid with corporates during this period of work from home. Lastly, we are also experiencing a growing interest in our entertainment solutions that include portable smart projectors (M-series) to create home cinema experiences with built-in Harman Kardon speakers, smart stands and many other unique features, and includes gaming monitors like the XG270 and the XG2405.
Digital transformation has been a crucial driver in facilitating remote working. What are the tools that your entity has adopted during this crisis to be better equipped to handle the workload?
We make use of a wide variety of practical tools in order to aid working from home for all. While some practices like online meetings are standard across entities operating during this time, other practices like Demos and Webinars are helping us bring in and retain business even more. Our end-user Live Demo and Partners Webinars have been so successful that in just two and a half months, we have conducted over 45 webinars that have seen 500+ attendees.
We are also continually increasing our focus on digital campaigns and social media communications to stay in touch with our customers during these tiring and trying times, especially since we have products that can help them have a much better stay at home experience for work, learning and entertainment. Owing to the strong mindset of our Dubai team, we managed to set-up and launch our products on popular E-commerce sites in the UAE like Amazon & Microless, and in KSA with Extra/Amazon/Noon, and we will be available on more sites soon.
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting ViewSonic’s outlook and future plans?
While this is an unimaginably unfortunate and prolonged situation for all businesses, we decided very early on that we are going to have a positive outlook and work towards finding and implementing practical solutions during the pandemic and its aftermath. The channels of offering our solutions are changing, not our exemplary skills in making them reach more people who need them.
Keeping this in mind, we are highly focussed on providing customers with impressive, engaging, and enhanced work-from-home, study-from-home, teach-from-home, and entertainment-from-home solutions that will make their lives easier. Subsequently, our business will thrive as more and more users “See the Difference” with ViewSonic solutions. With that in mind, we plan to enter new markets in Africa, as we have complete faith in the government and leadership of the UAE and hope we put this pandemic behind us soon.