This article is part of a Technology and Innovation Insights series paid for by Samsung.

In Samsung’s video series, The Next Wave, Samsung Electronics President and Chief Strategy Officer, Young Sohn, unpacks the brave new world of technology and business with some of the leading minds driving the next economy.

In this week’s episode, Sohn sits down with VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger to discuss the network virtualization giant’s rapid growth curve, aggressive acquisition strategy and ambitious plans for an increasingly digital world ahead. Mr. Gelsinger also shares his personal belief in tech-for-good, and why he thinks it’s the responsibility of every technology company to be a force for good by helping every person on the planet lead a healthier, happier and more productive life.

So often, progress happens in an accidental way. Individual innovators and companies make their own contributions until we look back and realize the revolution has already started. At that point, there’s nothing left to do but keep up – adapt and hope to stay relevant in the future.

Right now, however, the transformation around us is clear as day.

A global pandemic has forced every industry, ready or not, to become fully digital almost overnight. We’re on the cusp of a 5G world. Artificial intelligence and cloud computing are reaching new heights. The challenges and opportunities are no secret – so leaders have a choice: action or reaction. Keep up with the future or choose to shape it.

In the latest episode of Samsung’s interview series “The Next Wave with Young Sohn,” Pat Gelsinger, discusses how he has chosen the latter.

For those preferring to read than watch, here’s a round-up of the conversation!

The pitfalls of reactionary progress can be seen in the current piecemeal approach to cybersecurity. When threats arise, new products are developed to address them. However, Gelsinger argues, that this system is broken. Despite rising security budgets that now reach billions of dollars annually, cyber losses continue to outpace cyber investments dramatically.

The industry spends so much time chasing the bad guys that they fail to build the barriers that will prevent breaches in the first place.

That’s why, under his leadership, VMware acquired Carbon Black, a cloud-native endpoint security software that detects malicious behavior and prevents malicious files from attacking an organization. Further, VMware isn’t selling Carbon Black as a standalone product but rather integrating it into every one of its products. Why? Because Gelsinger believes that customers need fewer products to think about, not more.

AI in the edge, cloud, and data Center

This seamlessness reflects a broader trend of our current wave of progress. While past tech revolutions have been driven by consumer desire for exciting new products, everyone — companies and customers alike — are now seeking technologies that enable an easier way of life.

Take AI, for example. In the past, we imagined it would create a world of robot house cleaners or butlers. Instead, AI has the potential to provide an architecture for an entire generation of applications. VMware recently partnered with NVIDIA to deliver an end-to-end platform that will do just that.

The new partnership is designed to accelerate AI adoption, enabling enterprises to extend existing infrastructure for AI, manage all applications with a single set of operations, and deploy infrastructure where the data resides.

Similarly, 5G will enable a new world of innovation. Autonomous cars are not exactly a novel product any longer — but without the underlying technology to support them, they haven’t become mainstream. 5G will make other innovations possible.

Thriving in a time of COVID

Technology’s ability to simplify our lives couldn’t come at a more critical time. Those who are hesitant to embrace change currently have no choice: COVID has pushed us all into a digital world.

Gelsinger has embraced the many opportunities that have come along with this shift. VMware became a virtual organization overnight, going from 20% work from home before the pandemic to 97% today. And the company is now implementing a permanent work-from-home policy where every employee can pick exactly where they want to work, anywhere in the world. The new policy has not only increased productivity, it has also allowed the company to recruit and hire a more diverse workforce.

Of course, there are challenges as well. For instance, some employees are struggling physically and emotionally under the burden of a virtual-only work day. That’s why VMware is now making some critical adjustments, like providing employees with extra personal days to help them decompress and shorter virtual meetings.

Gelsinger believes there has never been a better time to be a technologist. Both the challenges and opportunities in front of us are clear, but to meet them, we must choose intentional action not reaction. As he tells Young Sohn, technology now has an incredible opportunity to shape the future of humanity and be a force for good — leaders just need to seize the moment.

Catch up on all the episodes of The Next Wave including conversations with the CRO & CMO of Factory Berlin, the CEO of Solarisbank, the CEO of Axel Springer, and the CEO of wefox. 

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