Strategy and businesses
Our vision is broad, because our market is broad. We want to enable everyone to enjoy the delight of hearing – so we provide a comprehensive range of solutions that addresses every form of hearing loss: hearing aids, cochlear implants, wireless communication products, and professional audiological care. We want to reach every consumer – so we operate through a full spectrum of sales channels: independent healthcare professionals, large retail chains, government agencies, clinics, and our own retail network. We want to continue to meet the needs of an evolving global consumer population – so we integrate our businesses, using the insights we gain from direct consumer contact to drive our continuous innovation cycle. We know that the experience of hearing loss is different for every individual – so we aim to combine the technological expertise and operational efficiency of a global group with the passion for good service of a local caregiver.
We have gained our leading industry position through customer-focused innovation, not just in our products and solutions, but in how we engage and support the people we serve, both hearing care professionals and consumers. We maintain a high level of investment in R&D and in evolving our business, because we have seen how rapid innovation drives financial performance.
The Sonova Group operates through three core businesses: hearing instruments, retail, and cochlear implants, each individually addressing its segment of the hearing care market while sharing research & development, technology, consumer access, operational processes, and ideas.
Hearing instruments business: We are the world’s leading manufacturer and developer of hearing instruments, regularly introducing new capabilities and making them available across a broad range of product formats and sales channels. We operate under three distinct brands, each with its specific appeal to the market. Phonak is recognized as the industry’s innovation leader, pioneering life-changing technology advances. Unitron supports hearing care professionals in building their businesses through excellent consumer experiences. Hansaton is a trusted brand in key European markets, with a clear focus on independent audiologists.
Retail business: The consumer stands at the center of everything we do. Operating in selected key markets worldwide through several established local brands, the retail business complements Sonova’s innovative technology with world class audiological service and expertise in an accessible, welcoming environment. The aim is to ensure that every consumer has affordable access to the right individual solution at every stage of the hearing journey.
Cochlear implants business: Our Advanced Bionics brand enables people with significant or complete hearing loss to hear clear, lifelike sound through a cochlear implant. These sophisticated systems incorporate the latest developments in Phonak sound processing technology. Once primarily recommended for children born with severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear implant systems are now increasingly used for adults as a supplement or alternative when hearing aids are no longer sufficient to correct the recipient’s hearing loss.
Each of our businesses contributes to the three key areas of activity that make up Sonova’s growth strategy: creating market-expanding innovations in products and services; deepening our engagement with consumers and professional partners by opening new routes to market; and introducing powerful, easy-to-use eSolutions that take advantage of the digital universe to connect us ever more closely with our markets.
Key areas of activity
Sonova anticipates consumer needs through a process of continuous innovation based on technology platforms: step-changes in basic functionality that enable a whole new range of features and possibilities. This year, the key new enabling technology is SWORD, a unique wireless chip that runs multiple communication protocols, allowing hearing instruments to connect directly to any cell phone1 and to other consumer electronic devices, including televisions, as well as supporting ear-to-ear communication. The immediate benefit is that hearing aid wearers can enjoy phone conversations without needing an extra body-worn streaming device. But that is only the beginning: the universal plug and play connectivity offered by SWORD enables a whole range of new features across the spectrum of Sonova products and services: new ways to enjoy listening, new ways to control and enhance functionality, new ways to connect with the support and expertise of hearing care professionals – all made possible by a tiny chip.
In all our innovation we keep in mind our consumers’ first, critical questions: does this make a real difference to my hearing experience? Does it look and feel good? And is it easy to use? Everything we bring to market is designed to meet each of these requirements.
- Smartphones and traditional mobile phones with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth® versions, Bluetooth® is a trademark owned by the Bluetooth SIG
Sonova has grown through constantly expanding its engagement with consumers. We maintain the widest global distribution and partner network in the industry, supported by Sonova-owned wholesale companies, independent distributors, and our own retail network in selected markets. This broad and deep reach, covering over 100 countries around the world, gives us a unique opportunity to understand changing consumer needs in detail and to continue to grow as markets evolve.
We recognize and welcome the diversity of the hearing care market; we foster growth, not by restricting ourselves to one or two paths to market, but by optimizing all our channels to the consumer. We expand our existing customer base through continuous innovation, presented through our distinct brands.
We help our professional partners expand their businesses and further improve the service they offer. We work to ensure access to affordable hearing solutions for all who need them. And we continue to integrate our businesses, so that the consumer insights and expertise we gain in one area are quickly applied in all the others.
We live in a digital age, where even grandparents are familiar with smartphones, tablets, blogs, forums, and social media feeds. The idea of remotely controlling devices, seeking support, and providing feedback is an emerging trend; some of the technology and models for providing these interactions already exist. The challenge now is to make certain that they really do what they promise: that they retain all the rich responsiveness of a face-to-face encounter while adding the convenience and precision that the latest technology makes possible.
At Sonova, we are constantly seeking ways to increase our engagement with consumers; the eSolutions platform is an efficient and versatile enabling toolbox to support and connect with the people we serve at every stage of their hearing journey, from initial awareness of hearing loss to getting the best performance from their current hearing solution.
Whether they are younger or older, use hearing aids or cochlear implants, are customers of our professional partners or of our own retail business – we want to provide a consumer experience that conveys the delight of hearing, while we gain new insights about how our people use our solutions.