October 29, 2015
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
Bala Subramanian, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Best Buy, left, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in Seattle on Thursday.
State and local officials joined Best Buy in celebrating the grand opening of the company’s new technology development center in Seattle on Thursday.
The office, first announced in February, is focused on mobile development, cloud engineering and the omnichannel customer experience. About 25 employees work there, and there’s room to grow to 100 employees over time.
Best Buy expects this office to drive breakthrough innovation at incredible scale, building on its rapid e-commerce growth in recent quarters. The Seattle team is working in partnership with the existing team at Best Buy’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
“Our customers are shopping both at our stores and online, and we want to create a connected experience,” said Bala Subramanian, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Best Buy. “I’m very happy to say the work is well under way. We are very, very excited about the work we do here and how quickly our team has been able to bring innovative ideas to life.”
Gov. Jay Inslee thanked Best Buy “for bringing more Blue Shirts” to Washington. “We’re the Evergreen State, but we’re also the cloud capital of the world,” he said. “This is yet more evidence that the world is beating a path to our door to come to the greatest intellectual center of talent to make these companies grow.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray offered a warm welcome: “This is a great company, and you’ve chosen a great city to start this new chapter,” he said.
“Congratulations to everyone on this exciting center. I look forward to seeing the growth in employment and jobs, and your vitality here in Seattle,” said Suzanne Dale Estey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, a public-private partnership founded in 1971 to expand and diversify the local economy.
Since the Seattle office opened in May, Best Buy has made a variety of enhancements to its mobile apps, including:
- A new in-app, live-chat feature called BlueAssist that brings expert service to the palm of the shoppers’ hands with the simple touch of a button (or a simple shake of the phone while in the app), whether they’re in a store or at home on the couch.
- A redesigned Geek Squad app that makes it easier for customers identify the services offered and how to use them.
- A new iPad app that’s launching soon.
The grand opening event concluded with a “digital ribbon-cutting” done via a mobile app.