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Sony predicts that as the entertainment group turns its attention to services to drive sales of consumer electronic devices, robots will take over its production lines for TVs, smartphones and cameras.

Kimio Maki, head of Sony’s electronics business, said that the acceleration of factory automation will be combined with more attention to online sales and data analysis to cut manufacturing costs. He added that this will also help reduce product defects.

“I don’t think that using robots for automation alone will bring enough benefits. The key is to use digitization to connect sales and manufacturing,” Maki said in an interview with the Financial Times.

He said that compared with the 2018 fiscal year, by the 2023 fiscal year, the installation of unmanned production lines at Sony’s main TV factory in Malaysia is expected to cut costs by 70%. The group also plans to use robots in smartphone and camera manufacturing in the future, although it will retain some factory workers.

In terms of marketing, artificial intelligence will be used to analyze sales data to more effectively set the manufacturing volume.

Kimio Maki © Sony

Digitalization drives cost efficiency is Sony’s strategy Consumer electronics products Already turned.The group prevented television losses that spanned more than a decade, and Stabilize its financial performance By shifting to smaller batches but higher-end products.

Maki is not just selling hardware such as Bravia TVs and Xperia smartphones, its mission is to provide compelling services that keep consumers interested and look back, thereby generating recurring revenue.

Although Maki stated that the company will continue to sell hardware and services to consumers, an important part of its growth goals will come from products for professional use, such as crystal LED displays for virtual video production and ball tracking for the sports and entertainment industry. technology. In the long run, Sony also wants to target the entertainment space of cars.

This shift has also improved the profitability of Sony’s electronics and medical businesses. In the fiscal year ending in March, its operating profit margin rose from 3.3% in the 2018 fiscal year to 7.2%. Maki told investors that he hopes to increase this number to 10%.

Critics have long pointed out that Sony’s weakness in services and digital platforms is that the Walkman manufacturer has Apple’s iPod with Amazon Kindle, Despite holding Rich entertainment portfolio Covers games, music, movies, and animation.

Another challenge is Sony’s hierarchy and Silo structure, Which makes it difficult for the various departments of the enterprise group to cooperate on the ecosystem that integrates various products.

But this is changing, and Maki believes that since Sony split its electronics business into an independent subsidiary in April and merged its audio, television, mobile phone, camera, and medical businesses into one organization, the situation is changing.

“By coming together under a single entity and governance structure, we are now able to organically collaborate to create new things. This applies not only to manufacturing products, but also to purchasing, manufacturing, product development and sales,” he said.

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