Meet esteemed Global Director of Consumer Technology at UL Solutions, Ibrahim Jihani. He has an impressive career spanning over 18 years with the company. As the industry leader for Consumer Technology, Ibrahim leads UL Solutions endeavors in pioneering new technology and innovation across a diverse spectrum of manufacturers.

Ibrahim’s expertise includes a wide range of sectors, including AR/VR/MR equipment, Audio/Video, Batteries, Consumer Electronics, Robotics, Data Centers, and more. Ibrahim’s leadership extends beyond mere management; he plays a pivotal role in shaping UL Solutions mission to address global industry challenges through product evaluation, testing, and certification.

Ibrahim is a recognized leader in his field. He represents UL Solutions in various industry trade groups and serves as a key liaison for manufacturers, regulators, and retailers worldwide. His dedication to excellence has earned him the prestigious Mark of Excellence—a UL Solutions program that recognizes employees who exceed expectations—award on five occasions, a testament to his unwavering commitment to driving positive change and mitigating risks in product safety and regulatory compliance.

With a master’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Ibrahim brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role at UL Solutions. His contributions have not only elevated the company’s standing in the industry but have also made a lasting impact on global safety standards and technological innovation.

Early Exposure to Engineering

Engineering has been a significant part of Ibrahim’s life since childhood, influenced by his mechanical engineer father, who holds several patents in various products, including home lighting. Ibrahim was actively involved in learning about his father’s innovations, participating in construction reviews and testing of designs. This early exposure fueled his desire to study computer engineering and be part of consumer technology advancements.

Upon joining UL Solutions in 2005 as a project engineer in appliances, Ibrahim embarked on a career journey that led him to support the latest innovations in industrial, commercial, and consumer electronics. His role has involved ensuring that these innovations reach the market in safe and reliable ways, mirroring his childhood experiences aiding his father with product launches.

Addressing Industry Needs Post-Service Delivery

Ibrahim underlines the importance of customer satisfaction, ease of doing business, and loyalty at UL Solutions. The company is dedicated to providing an exceptional customer experience by treating both new and existing customers with respect, ensuring expeditious service delivery, and maintaining timely and relevant communication.

Post-service delivery, UL Solutions remains available to address industry needs, fostering ongoing growth and advancement in consumer and commercial technology markets.

Key performance indicators, including customer surveys, delivery times, and effective communication, are closely monitored to gauge customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.

UL Solutions continuously enhances its software and websites to facilitate easier customer engagement, and engineers and technicians undergo training to become proficient in customer service. By prioritizing initiatives aimed at increasing customer loyalty and enhancing the overall consumer experience, UL Solutions remains committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Commitment to Safety, Security, and Sustainability

As a third-party entity, UL Solutions supports integrity and impartiality in assisting manufacturers worldwide as they introduce their latest innovative products to market. Ibrahim emphasizes the company’s commitment to ensuring safety, security, and sustainability in consumer technology by collaborating with manufacturers before product launches. UL Solutions, alongside its parent standard development company, UL Standards & Engagement, evaluates the need for new standards and certification programs to safeguard public safety.

One significant example of this proactive approach is in the field of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) equipment, collectively known as XR Equipment. Market research data and customer requests indicated a shift towards mainstream commercial and enterprise use of XR equipment in recent years. This raised concerns about potential health and safety effects on users and the safety of various components and system design of XR equipment.

Recognizing the need for safety standards, UL Standards & Engagement and UL Solutions announced plans to develop a safety standard at the end of 2019. Stakeholders, including manufacturers, research firms, and hospitals, were invited to contribute to the development process. A technical committee comprising over 30 organizations worked on the safety standard from 2020 onwards. In April 2023, the first edition of UL 8400, the world’s first accredited consensus Standard for AR, VR, and MR Equipment, was published.

A significant milestone occurred in January 2024 when the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) added UL 8400 to the workplace safety standards list. This underscores the importance for CIOs and IT executives to ensure XR equipment provided to employees is certified to UL 8400 to meet OSHA requirements, that can help to mitigate workplace risks and protect employees, UL Solutions is the first OSHA-approved National Recognized Testing Laboratory for UL 8400 Safety Certification and can assist manufacturers in achieving this certification.

Welcoming Feedback and Diverse Ideas

When building and leading global teams to ensure cohesion, collaboration, and effective communication across different regions and cultures, Ibrahim emphasizes several key strategies. At UL Solutions, where the work has a global impact, collaboration with professionals worldwide is essential. To facilitate this effectively, Ibrahim underscores the importance of respecting all cultures, welcoming feedback, and being open to diverse ideas. Clear articulation and reiteration of messages are crucial, especially when working with team members whose primary language is not English, ensuring comprehension and buy-in.

Ibrahim highlights the significance of being mindful of cultural differences regarding holidays, workplace norms, and the time of year. Understanding these factors contributes to more effective communication and fosters a harmonious work environment across regions and cultures.

Emphasis on Continuous Improvement

As one of UL Solutions’ first certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belts since 2010, Ibrahim spearheaded companywide initiatives from 2008 to 2011, focusing on improving response times to customers through effective project management. This involved consistently tracking key deliverables, communications, and promoting best practices across the global engineering workforce. Continuous improvement was emphasized to ensure optimal project delivery efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Transitioning to business leadership roles from 2012 onwards, Ibrahim concentrated on enhancing processes and measuring results within innovation initiatives. Acknowledging the importance of allowing innovation to develop, he emphasized monitoring market research data, aligning it with technology trends, and utilizing available data to anticipate future safety, security, and sustainability risks proactively. These efforts were aimed at maintaining UL Solutions’ commitment to excellence and staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of consumer technology.

Listening to Customers for Product Roadmaps

As a tech leader, Ibrahim shares the importance of continuous learning and staying informed about emerging trends and technologies at UL Solutions. This involves a multifaceted approach, including:

  • Listening to customers: Gathering insights from customers about their product roadmaps and future technology launches.
  • Attending trade events and industry symposiums: Participating in events to stay updated on industry developments and network with professionals.
  • Involvement in standards and industry groups: Participating in working groups for various standards and industry publications to stay informed about regulatory requirements and industry trends.
  • Engagement in trade associations: Involvement in manufacturing, retail, safety, and technology-related trade associations to stay connected with industry peers and gather insights.
  • Reading market research reports: Absorbing information from numerous market research reports and studies to understand market trends and industry preferences.

This comprehensive approach ensures that UL Solutions remains abreast of the latest developments in consumer technology. In cases where emerging technologies present new challenges, such as artificial intelligence, UL Solutions engages with industry stakeholders to formulate hypotheses about safety requirements and validate these hypotheses through feedback and collaboration. This information informs strategic planning and decision-making processes, enabling UL Solutions to offer services that address market needs effectively and competitively. Ultimately, the goal is to provide safety, security, and sustainability services that align with market demands and contribute to the advancement of consumer technology.

The Crucial Role of Third-Party Evaluation and Certification

Ibrahim believes that innovation is the catalyst for significant transformation, as it meets and redefines consumer needs, creating opportunities for mass adoption. As a third-party entity, UL Solutions aligns its innovation with market and regulatory demands. When new technologies require trust or face safety concerns, the role of third-party evaluation, testing, and certification becomes crucial.

Ibrahim underscores that innovation should never compromise safety, security, or sustainability. UL Solutions prioritizes transparency, demonstrating that customer innovations are safe, secure, and sustainable. To foster innovation, UL Solutions cultivates a culture of growth among its teams, seeking individuals who are naturally curious, creative, and continuous learners. This environment encourages exploration and discovery of new technologies, with the aim of enhancing transparency and trust in products, software, and systems. Ultimately, this approach allows UL Solutions to support innovation while ensuring consumer safety and confidence.

A Legacy of Safety

With a rich history spanning 130 years, UL Solutions has developed a robust process for risk management, prioritizing employee safety and the development of innovative services. As a third-party entity, UL Solutions plays a crucial role in reducing the risk associated with its customers’ products, thereby facilitating the launch of safe new products into the market.

As an example, in the case of XR equipment, UL Solutions aims to minimize the risk associated with prolonged use. By leveraging accredited safety standards like UL 8400 and collaborating with CIOs and technology executives who prioritize safety certification, UL Solutions helps ensure that innovative products enter the market safely and at scale. This approach aligns with the company’s commitment to promoting safety and mitigating risks associated with emerging technologies.

Ensuring Effective Execution

Ibrahim mentions the importance of regular communication and check-ins with various leaders and internal stakeholders to align on long-range planning at UL Solutions. The company employs rigorous and robust ongoing and annual review processes to stay on task, pursue long-term strategic goals, and deliver on yearly budgets effectively.

Regular presentations, to educate the market, end-users and staff, internally and externally, are conducted by Ibrahim to share his vision for the future of consumer technology. Feedback from both the organization and external partners is actively sought to ensure that UL Solutions remains on the right track. This collaborative approach helps in maintaining alignment and guiding the company in the direction that best serves its goals and objectives.

Guidance from an Expert

In offering advice to aspiring leaders, Ibrahim says it is important to maintain mental agility and continuous learning. He encourages aspiring leaders to actively engage in executing projects and commitments while consistently expanding their knowledge base. Ibrahim suggests focusing on technical subjects and becoming an expert in one or two areas, alongside developing public speaking skills and overcoming personal doubts. Ibrahim suggests aspiring leaders to find their voice and contribute to addressing industry challenges by leveraging their expertise. Ibrahim emphasizes the need to balance technical leadership with business acumen, ensuring alignment with company and industry needs. By serving as a bridge builder between technological innovation and market demands, aspiring leaders can contribute to the advancement and safety, security, and sustainability of the world’s products, software, and systems.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *