What Happens In Vegas Stays in Vegas…

…in the context of CES however, what happens in Vegas is the window to the world in the future says Ranga Somanathan, Head of Global Network Clients SEA, Australia, New Zealand, India for SMG.

Ranga Somanathan



The canvas of the future at display at CES 2016 could be painted in broadly five themes,
– OTT – video / content distribution via the Internet
– Wearables – moving from just a steps-counter to FDA approved healthcare systems
– Automation of Automotive – smart, self-driven cars
– Automation of Home – connected and smart homes
– User Interface – new user interface through augmented reality and virtual reality

OTT: Start of a Global Revolution: 

CES 16 saw the announcement from Netflix on worldwide rollout, with massive excitement across markets for realtime access to original content at affordable prices. With the introduction of 4K and 8K TVs, much to look forward to the OTT players to create and deliver content in Super Ultra High Definition, as Samsung terms it 4K.

Wearables step into the medical world:
Wearables have gained much traction since the last CES with Fitbit taking the lead with the fitness-driven and Apple, Samsung covering off the fashion-first individuals. Notable development over the last year is the introduction of wearable technology in the area of high grade medical care approved by FDA. As this space gains momentum, it will significantly impact real time monitoring of blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions with implications for healthcare and insurance sectors.

Hands-free Driving:
This CES in parts looked more like an automotive show than and electronics show, with all the auto majors having huge presence at the convention centre and the keynotes at The Cosmopolitan, Aria – hotel casinos. Their vision for future of Automotive and their investments in the area of connected and self-driven cars, though didn’t seem anything like a gamble. Even as the self-driven cars are a few years away, the work in this area will bring to us, in the near future, much more intuitive user interface in the people driven cars displacing analogue dashboards with touch screens, head up displays, remote climate control. With the auto industry being rather bullish on self-driven cars with the aim to eliminate accidents and increase passenger comfort, the industry is also reinventing the way the cabins are designed for this era of cars. Much to look forward to for a drive in a Connected Car. By the time my daughter turns 16, likely she won’t need to worry about a driver’s licence.

The car with a touch
Never Home Alone:
If cars are our second home in Southeast Asia with people spending long hours on the road due to traffic, our first home is not very far from becoming connected and smarter. At display in CES were some awesome technologies from Panasonic, Samsung to make our homes intelligent, whether the next Samsung refrigerator will scan the contents and alert you to place an order on the local grocer’s ecommerce site via your smart phone or the touch screen display imbedded on its door or you unlock your door to your apartment remotely from your phone, for your friends because you are late, stuck in a traffic jam.


Virtual gets Real:

Although VR & AR have been part of CES for sometime, 2016 saw a significant increase in floor space with the presence of companies like Samsung, Sony, Facebook and NASA. With Virtual reality evolving from Mobile to PC and Consoles, 2016 is expected to see an increased focus on investment in content and accessories. With 360-degree cameras, drones and 3D Sound systems, VR & AR is primed to go mainstream towards the end of 2016. With wearable and Virtual reality converging, there will be a natural evolution to an enhanced user interface between humans and machines in the coming years.


Internet of Things, the key enabler:

Smart Home and Smart Car, combined will be awesome. Intelligence & Data, Battery and Processing Power will have to imbed itself into every aspect of life for us to have a seamless experience. Dominant presence of Intel, Qualcomm was a demonstration of the fact that the wish to play a big role in realising this potential.

For now, the IoT is a tad bit frustrating given multiple vendors and a lack of integration.

Quite a lot of heavy lifting will happen in this area of ‘world changing’ but ‘monotonous’ stuff of enhancing battery life, improving processing power and integrating the various ecosystems in the coming months. From a consumer behaviour perspective, even as we enjoy the benefits of the technology, one will constantly struggle with the question that, “how will this help me and not take over my life?”




SMG Philippines University announces first graduates

Congratulations to the Philippines team!


Starcom has announced the first batch of graduates from a training programme launched last year called SMG University.

SMG University was launched in September last year with the aim of going back to basics of understanding the consumer where the work is more important downstream than upstream making the process of insight and discovery more robust.

Modules covered are digital planning, screen neutral planning, programmatic, activation and measurement.

SMG University is a comprehensive training program offered to all its employees that marries theoretical, interactive practice. The program strengthens SMG’s culture of creating value – accumulating knowledge, sharing learnings and insights, elevating the collective to be the best partner for marketers.  The program progresses from integrated fundamental modules to intermediate and advance certifications.

SMG’s CEO Leah Besa-Jimenez said, “Our company’s greatest asset is its people, they are the driving force of our business.  Investing in them and giving them the proper tools to do the best job possible in the rapidly changing landscape, is integral to their success and of the company.

SMG University announces first graduates



Starcom Mediavest Group names talent management lead for SEA

sujatha-e1452582890923-700x420A big welcome to Sujatha!

Starcom Mediavest Group has appointed Sujatha Maniya as talent management head for Southeast Asia. Maniya replaces Tang Seok Hian, Talent Management Lead for SEA, who left to be a consultant.

She reports into Jeffrey Seah, Country Chair VivaKi & CEO Starcom Mediavest Group Southeast Asia.

Her responsibilities include the development of strategic HR business plans, talent management and change management.

“Human Resource as a business practice is in a powerful position to influence business success in 2016, especially as organisational changes and shifting priorities continue to increase in complexity, frequency and scope,”Maniya (pictured) said.

“Organisations need to apply several strategies to prepare for and more effectively adjust during continuous change and at the core of those strategies are the HR business partners. HRBPs who improve their skills, maintain partnerships and confidently and competently manage projects they lead, can make these changes, successful realties in their organisations.”

“Culture, employer branding and industry outreach become key priorities for HR as each company competes in the space of talent attraction and acquisition. This means that most HR, if not all, will need to sell better, seal strategic partnerships with key players in the industry, and manage talent communities,” Seah said.



SMG Malaysia bolsters performance media team

Starcom Mediavest Group’s Malaysia office has hired Nandan Samant as associate director to launch the performance media team.

Samant hails from SMG Convonix’s Mumbai office and is part of the network’s liquid talent program. He will bring together search engine marketing and search engine optimization as holistic service under the performance media unit.

“Nandan’s role in Malaysia will be to scale up and advance the performance marketing capability elevating SMG to a strategic position to move the business forward with precision marketing solutions for marketers. Liquid Talent is a priority as we invest in keeping our workforce engaged providing our talent with a different yet meaningful experience,” said Piyee Wong, managing director Starcom Mediavest Group Malaysia to A+M..

Samant (pictured) reports into Stan Chew, executive director of Starcom Mediavest Group Malaysia.

AirAsia was SMG Malaysia’s first and massive business win in APAC for search.


Starcom Mediavest Group’s Malaysia office has hired Nandan Samant as associate director to launch the performance media team.


SMG Singapore Wins SG50 Award

SMG has won the Singapore 50 Enterprise business award.

The Singapore 50 Enterprise award celebrates the great contributions to the success of Singapore, creating breakthroughs that would be of advantage to all businesses within the country, perpetuating the economic success of Singapore where businesses have played a part in for the last 50 years.


The eligibility criteria & selection for SG 50 Enterprise 2015 has been rigorous.

  • Only a number of 50 entities are open to all industry/trade for 2015.
  • Each participant must be nominated by the public before participating in the award.
  • Only a limited of up to a maximum number of 5 nominees or participants in each sector of industry
  • Generation of healthy revenues given the human financial capital and other resources the company possess.
  • Good business practices, operational efficiency and outstanding performance
  • The company, in any way or manner, have contributed to the economic growth of Singapore within the past 50 years.
  • The company has to be an established businesses which are “iconic” in their sector of industry.

There will be an article out in January on SMG in The Business Times so we will let everyone know when it’s out.

The editor Amanda Tan asked us in the interview: “What makes SMG stand out from its competitors?

My answer was “We have the humility of a start-up and scale of a multi-national company with offices in Moscow, Bogotá, Africa, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore. We reinvent and never accept status quo. We have the right knowledge, technology to inspire employees and brands to  be super-brands & super-employees.”


“This award is for the team in Singapore – you make our culture stick & click and this shows in pitches and in our cohesiveness as a company,” said Patricia Goh, Managing Director SMG Singapore.