Vodafone Group announced it will establish a new hub in London for its global product and services innovation and development activity, following the closure of its research and development base in Silicon Valley.
The London xone base will be used to develop mobile technology, including mobile apps and prototype devices. It will help Vodafone create a tighter synergy between itself and its customers in Europe, Africa and India, while also allowing it to take advantage of the technology skills and talent available in the UK and Europe, a company statement revealed.
However, the closure of the Silicon Valley site is a big move for the business, which opened that office in September 2011 to incubate start-ups in parallel with Vodafone Lab technologies to increase the compatibility of resulting technologies. Vodafone Ventures, Vodafone's capital investment arm, will maintain its headquarters in California and will continue to work with early-stage start-ups in the U.S.
The Vodafone xone hub will now be the centre of global development and incubation of new and emerging technologies that complement and augment Vodafone's existing products and services.
Pratapa Bernard has been appointed as the new head of Vodafone xone, reporting to Stefano Parisse, Vodafone's consumer services director. Bernard formerly led Vodafone's consumer services business in emerging markets and succeeds Fay Arjomandi, the former head of the Silicon Valley research and development site, who is leaving the company.
Parisse commented that the establishment of the hub "will bring our product development team closer to the customers it serves". He added that it will enable Vodafone to "simplify our development process, enabling us to get the very latest technology into the hands of our customers as quickly as possible".
A team of engineers, technical architects and designers will be based at the London hub where they will: build and test device prototypes; develop new apps and services that complement Vodafone's existing strategy; and help accelerate the time it takes to get the very latest technologies into the hands of Vodafone customers.
Vodafone Global Enterprise, which serves an increasing number of businesses throughout the US, will also maintain its presence in Silicon Valley.
- see this Vodafone press release
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