I'm Dan Ackerman and we've been talking about for many months now, how the nature of work is changing the tools that we need to deal with those changes.
Chief among them is the humble computer.
People used to like to laugh at their laptops and say I do all my work on my phone or on my iPad or even on my watch but once you take away all that court mechanism stuff from having the physical office and you have to do it all yourself at home, all of a sudden that laptop becomes very important again, how do these devices have to change?
That is why we are asking now what?
Are we gonna do to change computers to more closely match what we're gonna need going forward in this work from home environment.
And I am going to talk to Alex Cho, he is the VP of personal systems at HP.
And I'm very excited to talk to him for a little bit this afternoon about what the future of computers looks like and what we can all do.
To get more used to this crazy work from home all the time, perhaps permanently environment Hello, Alex, how are you?
it's good to be here.
I'm doing good getting used to the work from home myself.
So I think we're all in this together
How long have you been working from home Yeah, we were just doing the math this morning or just looking at our calendars.
It for me personally, this is week 19.
So yes, this is more than a short term thing.
This has become a several month norm for me and I'm expecting that you will continue for the next few months as well.
I mean that truly the question or that's the thing people are asking themselves at first we thought, maybe they'll be a few weeks.
I remember back in mid March, I said, okay, I'll plan for this for like, two to three, maybe four weeks, and then things will go back to normal.
That has not happened.
It sounds like we're all settling in for the long haul.
You are not making any imminent plans to return to your office.
Yeah, well, first I would say it's a little bit different around the world.
We have offices around the world and based on situation by country.
The circumstances are a little bit different.
But yes, in general right now working from home, particularly here in the US, we see that we will be in this for the foreseeable future, at least for the next few months.
And we're assessing as we go, but more clearly, even if we do return to the office.
Expectation his work is changing and our definition of what happens in an office versus what happens to the home will structurally change.
And that means a lot for our industry for us and also for the customers in general.
It's that change that I want to talk to you about first, tell me a look go back 18 weeks.
Roughly What did your office work technology situation look like?
Give me a little outline of that.
And then we're going to talk a little bit about how that's changed and what it's like now.
What were you used to first, before we all started working from home.
If you think about what work was like, rewind only 18 weeks ago or 19 weeks ago,
feels a lot longer.
I mean, for the most part people people were hundred percent of the office and if you think about that you work your day in the office and then you go home and you might catch up on work from home.
So, you know, what we're learning is that when you are working at home, maybe a couple hours or whatever it might be after being the office versus working from home all day long.
That's a huge difference working from home.
24 by seven is very different.
When we're in the office 18 weeks ago, what was different?
We took many meetings from the office obviously, we met people.
we bumped into each other whether in the hallways, we would be meeting rooms together.
Yes, we would video conference, but we would have a mix of people and other offices.
And largely speaking, i would say we still followed very much have a mix of meetings in person and meetings via technology, video conferencing.
Fast forward to today.
I don't have any meeting that doesn't include some type of technology 100% of the meetings in involve technology.
In fact, I'm on meetings like this all day long and if anything, realizing that it is the new eyes, ears, mouth.
Of how I connect to people, it's digitally.
So that's a big change.
We've really had to develop a new set of remote meeting skills whereas before in the conference room together in the office meeting together, we could have a casual conversation and if you were dialling in or videoed in You were in that meeting but you weren't really in it.
The people in the room didn't really pay a lot of attention to you.
We've all had to amp up these skills, whether it's projecting our voices or making sure that everyone gets a turn.
We're paying attention until you know the body language of people on screens, which we never really did before.
I do want to dive dive down a little bit deeper on on this office change when you were in your office back in February March.
What was your setup like?
You have a main laptop you work from Did you have like multiple monitors and a huge setup?
What was your standing desk?
What was your What was your basic setup like?
Yeah, so first caveat, running this business I had a little of everything.
So that's probably not a good sample size.
But what did I have?
I mean, I had a in my office, I had my notebook And was connected to two large displays in front of me, and I had a conferencing system that was a part of the room.
And there was enough space for people to come in and for us to have small huddle discussions live, we could do it also by connecting other people in.
And I also had the ability to, I had a whiteboard behind me, which I often used in order to jot down ideas and brainstorm ideas.
And you could see that from the camera or Or people sitting in the room could obviously so.
Is that a real whiteboard or a digital whiteboard?
But we also had an ability to capture what's on that digitally and bring it in.
But yes, the ability to do both real dry erase markers.
Remember that was
I, you know, I had I had one of those digital whiteboards at my office, and they often wished I just had a regular one instead because it just seems so much more immediate and easy to use.
So when you got the call and said.All right, everyone's got to work from home now, did you take that equipment with you?
Or did you have to start from scratch and build a home office?
Or did you just use the stuff you already had at home?>> Yeah, it's a mix and match.
Mix and match.
What did I have?
I already had my beautiful 13 inch notebook.
But guess what, like a beautiful 13 inch notebook.
Is great when you're working intermittently on it.
But if you're on all day, you want something bigger.
So I do have in my home office, a all-in-one device, 34 inches.
I mean, it's beautiful.
And what's great about that is I can see multiple documents.
I could be video conferencing with a PowerPoint next to me.
Which is nice.
So number one, I already had that but I've transitioned to using that 98% of the time and or 95% of the time, 5% I'm working in other parts of the house with my notebook.
The other difference is I actually have already a very nice mic built into this all in one But given the amount of time that I spend doing things like this, we actually looking at different types of accessory mics, because the ability to be heard is so important.
So that's good news.
It's the microphones and it's the cameras.
I think the two things people are learning, being forced to learn during this whole experience is that Number one sound counts for so much and there are very few laptops that have really decent built in mics.
If you're doing this all day, every day, you're just gonna want an external mic and secondly, we're learning that video cameras in a lot of laptops.
Are not really all that great.
I am shocked, let us not speak ill of any company that's not represented here.
But let's just say a lot of people found out that the cameras on their MacBooks are really not as good as they thought they were when they try to use them long term, and I think your point is well made about 13-inch laptops Which is everyone's favorite size really.
It's great for intermittent use.
Yes, it's great for going to the coffee shop with but as your all day everyday work machine, you know that real estate gets cramped very very quickly.
I am curious you must talk to other at home workers at your own company at other companies.
People who buy HP products are our potential customers.
What are they now scrambling and asking for from personal systems, whether they're purely commercial systems or crossover laptops?
What what are they saying that they need now that maybe they didn't realize back in February and March when they did it?
Yeah, we think of it almost as a hierarchy of needs.
And at the basic level, people are first saying I need to have a compute device in my home.
And while for those of us who have a notebook That is straightforward.
There's many who had only a desktop in the office.
So level one is they needed a device to be used in the home.
Above that, though, what people are recognizing is that they want exactly what we just said.
I call it the equivalent of our eyes, nose ears.
They want to be able to be heard well, so they want good mics.
They want to be able to see well so they actually would like Larger display.
And in fact, you know as we measure productivity is improved when you have multiple displays in front of you.
They also want to make sure that they are as productive as they can be.
So they really want to keyboard and mouse No full setup.
We're also finding is that people are looking for solutions to how to cope co create how do you do that, you know.
People are using whiteboard digital white boarding more and not finding a perfect solution yet as well.
People care about ergonomics so they want displays that have Height adjustability because leaning over all the long is too much for them.
And so, ergonomics and well being become importantly so what we're saying is that there's a hierarchy of needs that people are increasingly working through and one of the things that have been important temple area compute that is only more important now is everything around security and privacy.
We see that homes are under more attack or people in the private networks are more vulnerable.
Secondly, it's not it.
People don't have the share type of dedicated workspace in the home as they did in the office.
So privacy becomes important.
[CROSSTALK] And their home networks at home are not as secure, they're probably running an off the shelf router from Best Buy with the default password on it.
How do IT department's work around that, especially when people are often using their personal computers Getting on a company VPN is still much more trouble than it should be.
What's the number one?
What do you think?
What level of security do you think home workers should try to hit just to avoid being low hanging fruit and what are we missing?
What are the industry missing when it comes to that?
Yeah, we really believe in having multiple layers of defense on this.
And that's why you see that when we focus on endpoint security, we will talk about, it in our most secure commercial devices, we we secure down to the silicon level and the BIOS level, also believe in the importance of having privacy as what that comes with.
We have camera privacy screens so that you can close your webcam as well as mic switches.
People want that and then there's everything in between as well the importance Ensuring that you are protected not only around on signature based viruses but there's a lot of new types of attacks that are happening in right now.
customers need More defense on their on their devices.
So we see that as.
Look at what just happened to Twitter just a few days ago.
We were definitely seeing people being dispersed working from home not really being as well acquainted with best practices as they should be and not having.
It your corporate security team in the office looking over their shoulders being able to help must lead to a lot of vulnerabilities.
But I would you agree that the biggest threat is still the lowest tech form of hacking, things like you know, phishing and social engineering and social hacking?
Is that still magnitudes worse than.
You don't be worried about being sent some malicious code.
So you're right that as complex as security can be it is true that still and increasingly phishing attacks on email based methods of trying to get malware onto the device That they are still large and growing.
And so that's why endpoint compute is very important.
Security is very important and increasingly so.
And by the way, one of the things that we realized is that You might have great security in your device, but it's only as important as only as good as you keep it on.
And a lot of the ways that security is being worked around is that they are going in turning that off and so security as a service and you're starting to see Those type of offerings from HP and from the market because any good defense is only as good as turned on.
So the ability to remotely manage security provision remotely and remediate remotely becomes increasingly important.
And just remember, don't post admin credentials in the Slack channel.
Good, good, good.
That's a public service tip.
Yes, which is the current theory about what happened to Twitter.
If you could have gone back, I would say a year but really not During the development cycle, 18 months 24 months and you had an inkling not that we'd have a coronavirus, but that people would be shifting to working from home in a very major way.
What in hindsight, would you and HP have focused on to better prepare for this moment?
And so one good news is that we feel like, As difficult as COVID has been in many ways, it's been an accelerant to things that we've been working on for several years, you might have heard from us before talk about one life and, that was our recognition that the commercial or professional side and our personal side of more blurring and what we call one life run, enabling us to Have technology that serves both worlds has been what we've been working on.
We just didn't know that COVID would come and would fast forward us in the future.
That's why a lot of the focus on security, a lot of the use cases that we've been focused on and enabling people to be able to work with brighter screens so they can work in more rooms and more ambient environments.
We actually have been investing a lot in mics in particular so that you don't have to be hovering right in front, but you can sit away from your notebook and actually be 360 degrees around it so you can be heard from multiple people.
Again, we just didn't expect 18 months ago, obviously that covered would come.
What would we have done more on?
One thing that we see shifts Is that the need for larger devices.
Now everything had been around smaller, more portable.
Well when you're in your home 13 inches, people are looking for something bigger.
15 inch is one example.
We had already been investing in a rich portfolio of displays.
Monitors, but right now is when everyone's recognising that if you really want to be productive and work all day that you really want a display that fits your environment and so continue Doing and having done even more on our display portfolio, if we had known that this is coming, but we've got a lot coming and we already have a lot right now.
So we're pretty encouraged about that.
I think the other thing that we recognized is just how important it is to ensure that all of our devices maximize connectivity.
We already are the leader in providing solutions around Wi Fi six and we really curate around maximizing the performance of Wi Fi or devices across our consumer and commercial portfolio.
It's only more important to every customer is recognizing that content Connectivity critical.>>That's the that's the biggest I think wrench in the works this year.
What does this do and this is a part of the industry that HP is getting increasingly involved with What does this do for the increased rollout of 5g?
Is it suddenly something everyone loves to talk about but since your home all the time, now you may not need anymore.
Are we going to see more products basically the first.
5G laptops are starting to roll out right now and will continue to throughout the fall.
Is that just bad timing or will those be key products this year?
Or is it gonna have to wait till next year the year after to really come into its own?
Yeah, so we think of it definitely is an end and meaning this First is Wi Fi is very important and only more important as we just talked about.
In fact, this is where moving aggressively to things like Wi Fi six has been for us.
We're very happy that we did that across our portfolio and that bodes very well for consumers in their home as well.
Given network challenges and people are always sharing resources in the home, having LTE built into notebooks has also been very useful.
In fact for me, I've actually found that having multiple Notebook that has both Wi Fi and LTE works very well so that if I ever have a Wi Fi issue, then I immediately have LTE there.
And that means that 5G has a way to really blink it and provide even broader coverage going forward.
I think it's going to be very important for the industry as a whole.
If anything, I think everyone is finding out That connectivity matters and,
And one pipe isn't always good enough as you know.>> No, no, I had a chance to try a 5G computing device very recently in New York which is considered to be a fairly decently wired town.
I had to dive down on the map.
And you don't need to feel bad about this because this was not an HP product.
I had to deep dive down to the map and find block by block where the 5G I guess AT&T coverage was.
And I fortunately happen to coincidentally be on a little stretch of street, that started this block, one more block, one more block, then ended, and walking around with this device, I could see the signal, just drop off, immediately and come back.
The, it's interesting that the hardware, is starting to bleed out there, before the networks are really ready, in.
In a big way, had we not been working from home and we've been in our office, at our coffee shops, I'm playing some stuff.
I feel we'd be a lot more excited about 5G this year.
It may be.
It may be a year off.
But that gives us a chance to go back and re examine other things and think about how to reinvent the home office.
And I think that's what you and HP and other PC companies are really invested in right now figuring out how to take your existing product portfolio and make it work for people and how to change that portfolio going forward.
So I pose to you, starting today.
You have to go and rewrite the DNA of the laptop.
For this new work from home standard.
What do you keep?
What do you change?
Do you overwrite everything completely and start from scratch?
What's your, What's your dream?
If you had a chance to just snap your fingers and say I'm going to remake everything.
You're working from home.
Yeah, I love that.
So first is, we definitely build on what we've already started.
Because we again have been on a mission around what we call one life for multiple years now and it's only to accelerate that.
And as a part of that what becomes increasingly important for us.
Is what we talked about in terms of the equivalent of your eyes, ears mouth, continuing to improve the mic performance, the camera performance, the speaker performance.
People don't want to wear headsets all day long.
So they want to be able to not be encumbered and have to wear something and have great audio output.
They don't want to have to lean over and be close to the device when they speak.
They would love to be able to stand back and have movement.
They would love for them to show up and be able to move back and forth and still be seen.
So that's just, that's an area that I think increasingly important.
They want something that allows them to work without being fixed in one position in front of their device.
Secondly, the perfect notebook will be very much continuing to enable different types of work in different places in the home.
What we're learning is that people move around when they're working in the house.
And so they need something that allows them to work in the kitchen, in their bedroom, if they have a home office or outside.
In fact, the data that we're learning is that.
People are very diverse in how they work in the home.
41 percent of some of the survey that we've looked at lately show that people are competing to work on the family couch, and not to say we've been designing before.
So how do you enable that to happen with low battery life?
So that's bright enough screen so that it was ambient light, you can still see very well.
Privacy continues to be very important.
People wanna be able to work and make sure that it's private.
And so that's an increasingly important part of what we do.
And then the other thing is today, largely, when we do this thing that we're doing We're communicating information, we're sharing information, we're exchanging information.
It gets more difficult to do things like co creating big word but you know ideating together being creative And really collaborating in ways that are beyond just exchanging information.
So how do you do that?
How do you allow more inking on your device so that you can whiteboard on your device and share that more easily.
So these are the type of additional use cases that as we move forward we want to do a lot more of and then finally Keeping the device secure, so important for everyone.
For the individual, for the company, for IT departments, and so continuing to make progress in that space.
We're very happy with How much progress we made?
But security is an ongoing area that we think we can continue to improve for our customers.
Yeah, especially now that everyone's on their home network or on the coffee shop network and their laptops are just sitting in there.
And their backpacks are on their couches or on their kitchen table.
So you're not on the corporate network where there's a certain amount of security built in.
I do find myself being chased from living room to kitchen to bedroom with my laptop as other people look for workspaces within the house.
When you talk about collaborating, that's really interesting to me.
I feel like and tell me if you agree we may be moving towards needing multiple devices at the same time.
To effectively do that, where we're I'm talking to you on one video device right now, but maybe I'm typing or getting some notes on a computer.
My son kind of showed you this because he and his friends, they FaceTime from iPads while they're on their computers, coding Roblox levels.
And they have basically multiple multiple device.
They're surrounded by devices having multiple channels of communication for collaboration.
Once again the children lead us, don't they?
Yeah, In fact, think about the whole world of gaming and how that drives a lot.
To be honest with the gaming is something that is really exploding across all demographic groups and ages.
But I just say what we think of in the traditional world as IO, think about IO.
keyboard, mouse and display.
You'd argue that what we're finding is that this is a rich opportunity to expand that multiple displays makes you more productive.
We're also finding that VR becomes increasingly important because your ability to retain information is better.
Are some of our measurements seven times better retention in VR than standard training mechanisms?
So if you're trying to explain or teach something that becomes important, and you're right if you wanna be titled Yes, but then if you want to jot something down and ink it and have people see real time and adjust that as you go, then you have a second surface for inputting your annotations.
So we see that This is a wonderful, it's really a great time for innovation.
As difficult as this topic is.
It is a terrible topic, everything else but it's great for innovation or it.
It is, it is definitely and it's something that we're all participating and learning from.
But, that, that is our learning that COVID is very hard for the world, is very hard for people.
And I think, that is a point that really strikes us.
And we're really compelled because opportunity to innovate is just, it's so, right in front of our faces and we're excited about progress we've made, but so much more to do.
So computing really, I think, will be in the center.
And this is why we have said You know, the PC was starting to become irrelevant, a couple years ago, the PC is now essential.
Dan, like, you're not working unless you have a PC.
You're not learning if you don't have a PC, many people aren't getting care unless they're in front of a PC and connecting to a physician.
And so the PC is essential.
Which actually means that we have a lot of room for innovation and a lot of room to add more value to the world.
I'm going to throw out an innovation question for you looking forward, knowing that there have been some big developments at least announced in this area over the last month or two.
What's the future look like for arm PCs?
So, yes, obviously a lot of discussion about that our brethren down the street have been talking about their ambitions.
We think that the reality is that in this kind of PCs essential environment, there is room for a real diversity of silicon.
There's room for many different types of use cases in fact over finding Is that compute becoming an increasingly growing part of people's lives means there's room a lot of different types of compute with new performance and power dynamics based on your use case.
And so there are use cases where you want maximum performance and you're connected power-wise.
There's other when you want more battery life and less performance and you want everything in between.
So we actually think that compute will continue to expand, the needs will grow, and again Ripe opportunity for innovation all up and down the value chain.
I'll tell you, we are computer people.
We're used to working from home on computers, worked with computers, we've been doing this a long time.
Look forward six months, twelve months, where do you think we're going to be in terms of how we work?
Are we going back to the office?
Is work from home permanent?
Is the crowded cubicle office, open office gone forever?
Is their hybrid model.
What do you wanna see?
What do you think we're gonna see?
Yeah, you actually use the perfect word that for us we're using and and that is we think it's a hybrid world.
In fact it's not just for work, it's also going to be for classrooms.
In many other environments, hybrid meaning yes, some will be in the office and some will be working from home.
And video conferencing and remote collaboration is not just when you're not in the office.
In fact, people in the office obviously will be Remotely working with people in other places as well.
So we definitely see a remote environment.
Now based on where COVID is where
Work spaces may be more contained and will be more protected but nonetheless the idea of distributed work and working, we think the home will continue to be a place where there's more work that's happening and then again the same applies for classrooms,teaching and learning in hybrid enviroments.
And what that just tells us is again, the PC will be essential in all those environments because we think that structurally there's a change in how people think about distance and how to use technology to augment distance.
Alex Cho from HP.
Thank you for helping us answer that all important question.
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