Seagate’s New Drive Line: Free Agent, with John van Bronkhorst

January 8th, 2007 |
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John van Bronkhorst, Seagate‘s executive director for branded solutions reveals the new features in the Free Agent new generation hard drives. This is a Seagate podcast.

Transcript:

Host: Michael Johnson – PodTech

Guest: John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Michael Johnson – PodTech

This is Michael Johnson and we are here at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, here in the Seagate/PodTech BlogHaus. We are here with John van Bronkhorst who is the Executive Director of Seagate Branded Solutions, welcome to the Podcast.

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Thanks very much, I’m happy to be here.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Now, you’ve got some exciting products here. I’ve just, actually, been introduced to a whole new line of Seagate products which are rolling out here at CES. Tell us a little bit about this new family and what’s different about this particular line?

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Well, Seagate for years has provided storage and capacity and we are now – we are the world’s leading disk drive manufacturer. For years we’ve had a retail presence that’s putting disk drives in boxes and selling capacity points. Last year, Seagate bought Maxtor Corporation. All of a sudden we had two brands selling pretty much the same thing, gigabytes in a box with backup solutions. Maxtor had a really good brand presence in the marketplace, known as the backup data security and protection brand.

So, we are leaving it that way, so we’re using this opportunity today here at CES to launch a new brand strategy for Seagate, which is all about you. It’s about you and your creativity and the freedom to access your data and use your data anytime anywhere. So, we’ve brought up this entire new product line, it’s called Seagate Free Agent; it ranges from a 1 inch 12 gigabyte product up to a 2.5 inch product that goes from 80-160 gigabytes, all the way up to the Free Agent pro-product, which is a 3.5 inch desktop product, it goes all the way to 750 gigabytes. We have different software feature sets between the portable products and the desktop products; we’ve got a fantastic new look and feel. They look different, they feel different, they act different. They appeal to a different audience than the old silver boxes that were only about capacity and backup.

So, we have taken the two brands now that we have both of them within our control. Maxtor will be about data back-up and data security and Seagate will be all about creativity and freedom. How to use your data, how to take your data with you, how to have access to your data, your content? We live in a media rich world.

So, it’s a fascinating time for us. The other thing that’s really important about this product announcement we have today, is that we’ve put a five year warranty on all of these products. It’s no longer that you get a one year warranty on an external storage device. They’re not just storage devices, they are really data movers, they are content places, places you can feel comfortable about what you do with your rich media. So, given that the rich media is very valuable to people, it’s usually pictures, videos and music, most of that non-recreatable. So, it’s valuable to people. Five year warranty gives them more confidence in their ability to have that safe.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Well, it’s a real statement because I know that with drives that I have bought in the past maybe it has a one year guarantee. Now, this is — they usually last beyond that, but still I guess the idea that this stuff that you’re talking about, I mean, it’s – whether it’s working as a professional in audio and video production or whether you are just backing-up and storing these memories now more and more. One year doesn’t seem like it’s valuing my life very much.

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Well, you are absolutely right about that. It’s fascinating as we look at this, you think about the days when we grew up and mom would take all the pictures and put them in a shoe box. That was the data aggregator. Well, today, the pictures don’t go in a shoe box because they are digital. So, you have to have comfort, confidence and the feeling of security about where you are putting them. So, we give you the ability to in fact, in our Free Agent pro-products we have the ability, the functionality in that product to auto upload a synchronized folder to your Shutterfly account. So, you could actually print or create photo products with your pictures, but now your pictures are replicated not only on your hard drive and on your external storage data movie or Free Agent pro-product, but also on your Shutterfly account. You’ve got it in three places; you’re safer than you would be if you just had it on your hard drive.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Now that was one incidence of, one instance about where I was leading with my next question is, you’d mentioned before these drives are going to act different. Let’s catch up with that concept a little bit because I don’t think that people are used to thinking about their drives acting in a certain way besides may be quaming (ph).

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

You are absolutely right. We’ve lived in a world where the drives historically have just been expansion vehicles. You go buy an external disk drive and plug it into your computer because you ran out of space on your hard drive. That’s not really a very active product; it’s not really doing anything for you. In fact, you’re doing something with it. So, we’ve put software and feature sets on these new products that do things for you. So, on the portable products there’s a portable environment, you actually can take your settings, your personal files, your personality with you.

So, your passwords are there, your Internet favorites, your portable applications, your email files. So, you can take your portable drive when you go to your mom’s house and you want to show her the pictures you took. You don’t have to take or carry your laptop computer. You can take your portable drive to your friend’s house and share your music files. You can take your portable drive on your next business trip and still have access to your email.

So, portability is a key point here, it’s no longer just a storage receptacle, it’s giving new functionality and future sets. When you move up to the Pro-products and the desktop products, which sit in your home on your desk and looks so elegant next to your flat panel display and your nice sleek keyboard. We give you the ability to have an online storage account, so you can synchronize your data into the cloud. In fact, when you buy a Free Agent pro-product, we’ll give you 500 megabytes of space online for six months for free, included with the purchase of the product. You are always free to buy more expansion space, you are free to extend it beyond the six months. We are hoping to prove to people that there is a value in this online capability, but that online capability gives you anytime anywhere access.

So, again, if you buy the pro-product, you put your pictures on it and then you synchronize them into your Internet disk in the cloud. Then you go to your mom’s house and you’ll login into your Internet disk in the cloud and you’ll share your pictures. She can see your stuff, without you actually having to carry it. So, we are giving you a really different way of managing and using all the stuff that you’ve created, it’s not just about storage expansion, it’s about usability.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

But you got a major hurdle to overcome that with this idea — sure people are taking more digital pictures now, they are really — they are getting clearly, they just –actually in some ways don’t have a choice right now about where they are going, as far as generating digital content, but then you got a trust factor. You’ve got to really be able to put trust in that box and folks are used to I think traditionally since, this is a whole another era, it’s a whole new hard drive. They have to get to know this; this object and it relate to it in a different way. How is Seagate going to cross that hurdle?

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Well, it’s all very true. Today people are taking those pictures and putting them on their PCs, which could be generic PCs, they don’t know what’s inside and they’re trusting that. The scary thing is they don’t even know they are trusting it and they won’t know they have a problem until they loose something.

So, there is a lot of work that has to be done to message this and to educate people as to the value of the content on their computers. Those who are knowledgeable for the first time this last year finally valued the content on their computers as priceless because the stuff can’t be recreated. I can’t go back five years and take another picture of grandma with my child when she was an infant. I can’t do that and if I loose that, I’ve lost something that has tremendous sentimental value.

So, we’ll do a lot of work in educating people as to the importance of their personal content that they’ve created and that we want to make sure they never loose. So, with the Seagate brand, you’ve number one, you’ve got the largest disk drive manufacturer in the world. We have a very long history of data integrity and data protection and security and now we are bringing the five year warranty to that as well. In order to give people the comfort and confidence that we know what’s your stuff and we know it’s important to you and we will do everything to protect that, that we possibly can.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

John van Bronkhorst is the Executive Director of Seagate Branded Solutions. We are here at CES in Las Vegas, they are rolling out some new brands; the Free Agent line. You can take a look at them at Seagate.com and there’s a special area for CES things as well.

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

That’s correct.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Also Maxtor Solutions has something as well.

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Maxtor Solutions is to look at all of that, all the products for data security and protection. We’ve got a broad range of products across both brands now to provide you with any need you may have.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

John thanks for being on the Podcast.

John van Bronkhorst – Seagate

Thanks very much.

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Posted in: CES BlogHaus 2008, CES Las Vegas - Consumer Electronics Show, Connected Social Media, Seagate, Tech Conferences and Events, Technology
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