Introduced to me through a mutual contact I worked with at HP, this week’s guest is the Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), Arsham Hatambeiki. We will discuss innovating technologies and what UEI is doing to make in-home technology experiences better for the consumer.
What is UEI, and what is the company’s history? Arsham says he’d bet just about every listener of the show has a product of UEI. The company started with a basic concept of making life easier both for the consumer and the service provider. We came up with the idea of a “universal remote control” that could control different aspects of TVs and set-up boxes from the provider. How big is UEI today? We are about 3,700 employees distributed globally with offices in Scottsdale, AZ, the Bay Area, Orange County, and San Diego, California. Does UEI deliver finished products or just components added to a later finished product? Arsham says they do both. We offer finished products such as remote controls, security sensors, and gateways. We also have software that can integrate with smart TVs and smart speakers, as well as a software-only solution.
Path to UEI
What was the spark that led you on the path to UEI? Arsham says he would categorize it into two different things. Firstly, I wanted to help the market evolve by integrating innovative technology into smart home, speaker, and other innovative home products. Secondly, I saw the need to keep brands in control of their own experiences. UEI came together to enable direct home delivery for the consumer. We focused on protecting choice and bridging the gap between entertainment experiences and smart home experiences. Have you seen pushback from consumers with privacy concerns? Arsham says most concerns of privacy by consumers have been misguided. I do think clear business models from brands will be the only way to address that. Having a clear business model stated by the brand is the only way to address that.
What advice would you give to people innovating technologies across ecosystems? Arsham says to always start from the user in the application. In the world of smart homes, there is much more value in going deep than going wide. When integrating across ecosystems, you are often hoping that your business model doesn’t conflict with another’s, so beware of that. Users have proven that they like specific brands, they want to have a choice, and they like to build their own experiences. You need to go to the market with that in mind.
About Our Guest: Arsham Hatambeiki
Arsham Hatambeiki is the Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Universal Electronics Inc. Arsham has a research background in areas of data communication networks and machine learning with a special passion for smart home applications of conversational AI.
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To learn more about innovating technologies behind in-home technology experiences better, listen to this week's show: Innovating Technologies behind the Tech.