Samsung unveils automated ‘Virus doctor’ as it eyes to expand market in Africa.

BY JAMES RATEMO In Sandton, SouthAfrica

It is now possible to battle deadly airborne viruses allergy causing dust mites without involving a medical practitioner.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a market leader in consumer electronics, has unveiled the latest air filtration technology among its new range of premium air conditioners.

The gadget dubbed ‘Virus Doctor’ kills more than 99.9 per cent of harmful airborne viruses including SARS and H1N1, to guarantee contamination-free indoor air.

In an Interview with The Standard during the company’s Africa’s forum in South Africa, Samsung Chief Operations Officer George Ferreira said the company’s sub- Saharan African unit plans to increase its share of the electronics market on the continent to as much as 33 percent by 2015 from 20 percent now.

Ferreira said the company estimates that demand for electronic products will grow to as much as $50 billion in 2015 from $10 billion now.

Recent outbreaks

“Recent outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Avian Influenza, SARS and H1N1 have brought increasing attention to the health hazards posed by indoor air pollution… our technological innovation to develop the groundbreaking Virus Doctor technology is to address a growing need for protection against airborne infections,” said Ferreira.

Samsung’s Virus Doctor technology neutralizes dust mites, moulds and viruses that cause skin irritation and respiratory problems, fungi, high-allergen agents that cause allergies, active oxygen that speeds up the skin-aging process, airborne bacteria and viruses such as influenza, chicken pox and life-threatening viruses including H1N1 and SARS.

“Tests have proven Virus Doctor’s consistent effectiveness in eliminating a wide range of harmful pollutants in different settings. The potential for using Virus Doctor technology is immense, and I envision it being applied in all indoor settings from private automobiles and residences to schools, hospitals and public places,” said Professor Sang-Heui Seo of South Korea’s Chungnam National University.

Samsung’s revolutionary Plasma Ionizer Virus Doctor device generates Hydrogen and Oxygen ions to convert biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses into harmless water vapor.

Virus Doctor will efficiently decrease the exposure level of H1N1 and prevent it from spreading. The cleaning properties of the Virus Doctor Ionizer have been recognized by various authentication authorities across the US, UK, Japan and South Korea.

Allergies

For children and adults with allergies, the Virus Doctor device also eliminates common home allergens such as dust mites and microorganisms for a pollutant free indoor environment.

It is especially useful in removing allergens, which trigger rhinitis and asthma. The device also protects the skin by neutralizing OH radical, which causes skin-aging.

He said the company has opened brand shops across Africa to ensure products are available across the market as soon as they are launched.

In the past, Africa received new products far much later after the products were launched in Europe, America or Asia.

Ferreira said the company realised the immense challenges the continent poses and that it is taking a “very pragmatic approach” in its expansion plans for the rest of Africa.

There are three key areas that the company is looking to address in this regard: logistics; brand shops; and business to business, or B2B…when it comes to doing business in the rest of Africa, we are taking a very pragmatic approach,” Ferreira said.

Ferreira said key in its African strategy lies in the further rollout of its “brand shops”, stores which have an identical layout wherever in the world they may be and where users can “touch and feel”, as well as purchase, a wide range of Samsung products ranging from notebooks and smartphones through to refrigerators and vacuum cleaners.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Johannesburg, Manhattan or Nairobi, the customer has the exact same experience in our brand shops – the layout is the same and the product ranges are the same,” he said.

“Each store houses 500 products in 40 different categories and our aim is to make them the flagship store in any country that they are established…our aim is to have 200 brand shops throughout Africa by the end of the year,” he said.

There are currently 70 brand shops in the region which means Samsung is looking to establish a further 130 by December.

Samsung also launched and showcased its latest innovation in mobile phones, 3D Television and home appliances.

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