Talking R&D with HP's chief technology officer

Talking R&D with HP's chief technology officer

Shane Robison about how industry trends have affected HP's R&D strategy

What role are countries like China and India playing within HP's R&D organization?

First of all, how they fit into the business picture is that they are big growth opportunities. I just arrived from India, where we were at an internal technology conference in Bangalore. In June, I was in China for a couple of weeks, visiting our labs and our customers there. These are just really high-growth opportunities for us and in many cases they have newer and more sophisticated communications infrastructure, which allows us to really deliver the best experience to the user. Their capabilities are beyond what we have in many parts of the U.S.

People think of these countries and regions as emerging markets. To some extent that's true but we think of it more of a growth opportunity. For example, in India you have a lot of very sophisticated people and they want to use technology in every aspect of their lives. It's a big, open market for us.

How does that affect HP's R&D strategy?

Let me give you an example. India is so big and complicated, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. We're going to take our latest and greatest products and deliver them into the market where the market is ready to receive them, in the big cities and the industrialized areas of the country. A lot of the very best stuff we have can be delivered into those markets. In other parts of the country, we're going to do design for the country in the country. We've done that in India. We've released PC products that were designed in Bangalore for the Indian markets to either hit price points or features and functionality that were required because of the unique nature of certain parts of that geography, the demographics there.

It does change our R&D strategy slightly, in that we'll have a broader set of product offerings, because we'll need to have product offerings that are very leading edge and we'll also need to have offerings that meet requirements of cost or other factors. Some of this is going to be R&D innovation and some of this is going to be business model innovation. One of the things we can do is give people access to PCs through other business models, such as pay-per-use, in situations where they can't afford to go out and buy a PC. We're going to do all of that.

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