1 Nov 2001
Company Profiles(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 06,2001)
NSM Technology Ltd
|The SpiderNET, from NSM Technology Ltd, is a 2.4GHz wireless PBX system allowing users to carry cellular handsets that plug into power points.|
WITH Bluetooth technology fast emerging as a new standard in wireless applications, one Hong Kong-based technology start-up is an early leader serving the personal connectivity market.
NSM Technology Ltd, a spin-off from Bluetooth chip manufacturer National Semiconductor Corp of the US, has worked at the cutting edge of wireless voice and data communication equipment since 1999.
Its DECT-frequency telephones for the European residential market were best sellers. Now its product line extends to 2.4GHz frequency and Bluetooth wireless technology products.
NSM Technology is among the few companies with both technology and expertise to produce Bluetooth modules. It has shipped Bluetooth products overseas since October 2000.
"We have close ties to National Semiconductor, a major wireless chip maker, so we can compete globally with the latest chip technology," says president and chief executive officer Alex Wong.
An in-house research and development team works on new designs while a small-volume factory provides a rapid prototyping service.
Earlier this year, the company launched SpiderNET, one of the world's first 2.4GHz licence-free-band wireless Private Branch Exchange (PBX) products. Designed for small and medium-sized businesses, this cordless phone system is a more versatile version of a traditional office PBX. Instead of a fixed-line office extension, employees carry cellular handsets that plug into power points rather than telephone lines. This saves on line rental, maintenance and installation.
"Users no longer are tied to desks waiting for calls or trying to call someone back. It is totally versatile and gives true mobility," says Wong.
The SpiderNET has three parts: a master base station, a remote base station and handsets with standard or speakerphone chargers. It supports 4-8 analog trunk lines, 16 simultaneous speech connections and 70 wireless handsets.
"Depending on office layout, coverage reaches 1.5km in diameter per cell. External antennae can go outdoors to reach offices on different floors," says Wong. "You get seamless handover from one cell to another."
The SpiderNET offers comprehensive PBX features and additional analog interface for wired telephones, fax/modem lines and external voice-mail systems. It also supports an external music source, paging system, PCs and printers. The system can be upgraded for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to allow Internet gateway access and Bluetooth interfaces.
It outperforms existing cordless telephones. The 2.4GHz frequency offers the benefits of a wider bandwidth. It has better data-privacy protection against eavesdropping. There is less chance of crossed lines or interference from other telecoms gear.
Mass production began in October. Minimum order is 200-300 systems costing an average of US$5,000 FOB Hong Kong per system.
NSM Technology was the first telecoms hardware company to receive investment from Hong Kong's Applied Research Fund, a government initiative assisting technology ventures. The resulting US$2m investment will allow it to develop such new products as personal digital assistants, mobile Web browsers, 3G mobile phones and wireless voice/data gear using VoIP technology.
WRITTEN BY MELISSA G. WESTCOTT
NSM Technology Ltd
A-MAX Technology Co Ltd
|This portable MP3-CD player from A-MAX Technology Co Ltd accepts multi-session CDs that allow users to add or update the contents.|
From 1991 to 1998, A-MAX specialized in producing high-quality personal-computer equipment. Then it began creating Internet-application devices and is a leading developer of MP3 and DataPlay media players.
Outpacing the competition in research and development is a priority. "We work hard to overcome technological hurdles, such as vibration issues, and the challenge of combining different media format players within one device," says sales manager Angus Lai.
The company employs 700 workers at a state-of-the-art factory in Zhaoqing on the Chinese mainland. It has distributors in the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and on the Chinese mainland.
"About 30-40% of our products are manufactured under the NAPA brand while 60-70% are OEM items for customers worldwide," says Lai.
A-MAX has made portable MP3-CD-DA/VCD players for more than two years. "Our three-in-one player, NAPA DAV311, appeals to cost- and space-conscious consumers. It sells well in Asian markets due to the regional popularity of VCDs," says Lai.
Another hot product is the NAPA MCD380, an MP3-CD 8cm-disc player with 480-second anti-shock features. It supports ID3 technology so stored information like an artist's name and song title can appear on its LCD.
"We have strong US-market interest in this product. We think it will also excel in Asia where the 8cm disc is a popular format," says Lai.
A-MAX is launching a portable MP3-CD player, the NAPA DAV325, with numerous programming options and an advanced anti-shock feature. This player also supports ID3 technology.
The company will soon market "the ultimate multifunction player". Initially targeting Europe, the extremely slim and compact NAPA DAV510 plays DVDs, MP3s, VCDs and audio CDs.
"We have sales offices in Germany and the Netherlands and are sure this product will prove popular for cars in Europe," Lai says.
As an experienced producer of MP3 players, A-MAX has moved confidently into developing "next generation" audio equipment.
"Our NAPA PA15 device supports MP3 encoding and allows users to record from any source," says Lai. Due in markets by late 2002, the PA15 supports the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) that satisfies the security needs of record companies and other content providers.
Lai says DataPlay will be the new standard for digital media. Discs measure a mere 39.5mm, and many manufacturers aim to produce an affordable player by 2002.
A-MAX is developing the NAPA DP-600. "You can store up to 500MB of data on our device," says Lai. "That is any kind of digital media - photos, audio, video, PC games. It really is the device of the future."
Another DataPlay product, the NAPA DR-100, is compact enough to carry for enjoyment of music or to view presentations, play PC games and save digital documents.
Lai confidently says A-MAX will lead the way with fair-priced, high-quality players.
WRITTEN BY RUTH WILLIAMS
A-MAX Technology Co Ltd
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|