1 Sept 2001
Company Profiles(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 05,2001)
Over To Voice-Over
Data To Go
Telecom specialist Hong Kong Communications Equipment Co Ltd has its agenda packed with hi-tech innovations like Voice-over Internet Protocol.
SINCE its beginnings in 1970, Hong Kong Communications Equipment Co Ltd (HKC) has become a leading distributor of telecoms equipment. Chief technology officer Kevin Kwong says the company quickly adapts its business strategy to market demands and technology changes.
Today, innovations like Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) highlight the company's agenda. In the early days, HKC supplied mechanical round-dial telephones to the former Hong Kong Telephone Co. In the 1980s, advances prompted Hong Kong to switch to a digital phone system, and HKC started distributing PABX office-telephone systems.
The company is among the largest distributors of telephony equipment to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Chinese mainland.
"We distribute major high-level PABX products like NEC and Nitsuko for office-telephone systems," says Kwong.
Once the GSM network was introduced in Hong Kong, HKC entered the lucrative mobile-phone market. It distributes Alcatel telephones and is Hong Kong's largest distributor of Nokia mobile phones.
"We supply more than 700 shops in Hong Kong and run the four Nokia service centres," explains Kwong.
In the 1990s, technological developments prompted more complex phone systems with added functions. As well as providing the necessary hardware for business phone systems, HKC supplies clients with complete consultation, installation, programming, training and maintenance services. Since 1995, the company has been ISO 9002-certified.
HKC has broadened its range to security telephone and video-communications systems as well as providing call-centre solutions.
The greatest telecom revolution of the past 30 years is the exponential growth of the Internet and related technologies. VoIP is considered the next "killer application" with rich benefits and cost-effective solutions.
"The infrastructure is rolling out at high speed. The Internet will reach every household and broadband will achieve maximum market penetration, so all telephony devices will be Internet aware," Kwong predicts.
"Research suggests the duration of calls by the VoIP network last year was 20 million minutes and by the year 2006 it will be 750 billion minutes. VoIP is the next wave of communications, and 3G networks also use this technology."
HKC is developing its own VoIP telephony systems and related Internet appliances. Its products IP Phone and Broadband Call Dialer deploy VoIP technology.
"The IP Phone provides traditional user interface, but advanced VoIP functions. Through the Internet, it talks to any H.323 device in the world. In fact, with the IP Phone, users talk without IDD charges," Kwong says.
"Enterprises seek VoIP opportunities to lower IDD charges. Our Broadband Call Dialer enables customers to link the existing PABX to the Internet. When calling from the existing PABX telephone system, the Broadband Call Dialer delivers voice to its destination through the Internet, thus bypassing IDD tariffs.
"We focus not only on individual products but on whole systems or total solutions. When products are properly linked, a beautiful picture appears.
"With our successful distribution and service history, we look forward to the improved service VoIP technology will bring," Kwong says.
Hong Kong Communications Equipment Co Ltd
Among the versatile
premiums from Brilliant System Ltd are a key-chain databank (right)
IN the competitive world of electronic gifts and premiums, Brilliant System Ltd director George Chan says innovative products are ideal. "We like to stay ahead while aiming to maintain quality, keep turnover fast and be responsive to customers," he says.
Incorporated in 1987, Brilliant makes mainly electronic translators, dictionaries, data organisers and personal digital assistants (PDA). Its translators and dictionaries feature an impressive range of languages, including English, Russian, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew and Farsi.
"We use text-to-speech (TTS) technology. Type in a word and the machine speaks it," says Chan. The company's next generation of translators will use recordings of real voices.
"The translators are popular with business travellers and language learners. They sell well in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We can produce any language required. A customer defines the language, and we have the technological know-how to program accordingly."
The products sell in department stores, mail-order catalogues and increasingly as corporate gifts and premiums. An in-house research and development engineering team in Hong Kong develops new items.
The company implements an Incoming Quality Control (IQC) system throughout production. "It begins with material selection. We make sure we have reliable vendors and consistently high-quality materials, and we do random testing of materials to ensure AQL standards are met," Chan says.
Brilliant sources its ICs from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, while other parts come from reliable vendors on the Chinese mainland. Two hundred workers at the company's modern 2,500-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the mainland receive regular training to ensure sharp skills.
"We have a check and feedback system at every point on the production line. Since we opened the factory in 1999, output has been good and quality high. We have had no products rejected by customers," Chan adds. Maximum capacity is 10,000 units per day.
"We do a mixture of our own designs and OEM platforms. Competition is undoubtedly tough, but we try to keep ahead with new designs and products," Chan says.
Two new designs aim squarely at the gifts and premiums market.
A key-chain databank (model 8001) is small and compact, yet users can store telephone numbers as well as use stopwatch, clock and alarm functions and a tiny, built-in torch. Games and fortune-telling functions are included.
The key-chain databank, available in almost any colour customers require, features a customized programmed slogan of up to 32 characters.
A second potential gift or premium is a touch-panel PDA (model 1228). Extremely light and compact, it operates as a scheduler, alarm clock, world-time indicator, phone book, currency and metric converter, games machine and calculator.
For orders exceeding 3,000 units, logos or brands can be added to the casing. Shipment is after 7-30 days, depending on order size.
"These two products are design patented. I believe we offer the best designs for such products," says Chan.
WRITTEN BY RUTH WILLIAMS
Brilliant System Ltd
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