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Synology CEO interview: IP storage solutions and analysing security trends

The Synology 2016 conferences will be held across 17 countries, providing a chance to develop closer customer relationships with attendees
Derren Lu, CEO of Synology Inc and Scott Lee,
Senior Manager of Software Development
Group for Surveillance

Synology – a company founded by two former Microsoft employees – began as a storage solution provider and grew to include surveillance in its product offerings. While many security companies in Taiwan are voicing their concerns over falling sales, Synology is seeing its products grabbing shares in the security market and the sales figures are continuing to grow.

Synology began its annual series of global roadshows in September, holding large-scale conferences in 17 countries spanning three continents, starting in Shanghai, China and ending in Istanbul, Turkey. In these “Synology 2016” conferences, the leading network-attached storage (NAS) vendor unveils new products and plans for the future. Most importantly, however, Synology sees these conferences as a chance to develop a closer relationship with their customers.’s APAC correspondent, Alyssa Fann caught up with Synology’s CEO, Derren Lu, for a quick interview at the end of the Taipei conference to discuss the company’s marketing and product strategy, and the story behind Synology’s success. As CEO, Lu oversees Synology’s global operations, with a focus on delivering products with innovative features and unrivalled customer service. Previously, Lu was also General Manager of Synology France, responsible for expanding growth in European markets.

Tracking the trends Over 1,000 people registered for the Taipei event alone. What is the story behind these large-scale events?

Lu: End users today differ from end users of the past. The Internet of Things has changed the way companies interact with their customers. End users today strongly feel the need to understand and trust your company before using your products. For Synology, annual conferences such as these provide a platform for us to communicate with our customers and build a stronger relationship. What are the main strategies that have enabled Synology to grow since its founding to become a global company?

Lu: We began as a software company, and one of Synology’s strengths is that we had no burdens. This enabled us to look at the entire market and trends to focus on catching what is important. For example, two trends that I feel Synology has successfully caught onto are cloud and mobile. When the first iPhone was launched, Synology immediately established a team to work on making our features mobile-friendly, as we saw mobile devices gaining significance in the future.

Overall, we analyse the main trends in the market and whether Synology has a part to play. If the answer is yes, we do it.

New kid on the security block Were there any trends specific to the surveillance market that Synology has successfully caught on?

The years that it took IP-based solutions to overtake analogue solutions were beneficial for us – it allowed Synology to perfect its product offering

Lu: We began to offer video surveillance recording in 2007. Although we are a storage solution provider, we felt that simply providing a storage solution was insufficient; hence, we began to look at the applications that require storage. We immediately saw the large demand for storage in video recording. Back then, the security market was still predominately analogue, but we saw IP-based solutions overtaking analogue, which would translate to requirements for larger storage capacity and flexible storage options as resolutions grow. Hence, we chose to only focus on the NVRs for IP-based security solutions, despite security industry veterans suggesting to us that it may be years before IP-based solutions overtake analogue solutions in the security market.

At Synology, however, we decided not to divide our resources because we saw the analogue market as saturated. In fact, the years that it took IP-based solutions to overtake analogue solutions were beneficial for us – it allowed Synology to perfect its product offering. As a latecomer to the security market, Synology chose to focus on its strengths and compete in a new paradigm, instead of competing against established analogue solution providers.

Seeing value, not costs, in customer feedback What is the percentage of security sales in Synology’s total sales?

Lu: Based on our analyses from data that users have consented to share, one in five Synology users also use our security solution. Also noteworthy, our beta software release of surveillance station 7.1 saw 35,000 to 40,000 downloads in the first couple of weeks. This is interesting as it is only the beta version, which is not generally popular with businesses as they are often averse to risking their stored data. We were surprised to see the amount of interest generated by the beta version of the software and that our end users are open to new concepts and features. Did the customers take this opportunity to provide feedback?

Lu: They were very eager to provide feedback on the products in general. We found that they were eager to use this opportunity to communicate with us and did not limit their feedback to the new features. For Synology, we see great value in listening to the voices of our customers, as they often go on to recommend Synology to their friends and employers. We have many cases where our products, including surveillance solutions, were recommended to businesses by employees who use Synology products at home.

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