4 June 2008
Sounding The Alarm(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 02,2008)
These may be dangerous times, but now no householder need leave his or her home unprotected because of the cost or complexity of installing effective home security devices.
Hong Kong company Swiftronic Ltd specialises in providing affordable, easy-to-install home security technology that reflects its proud history.
Swiftronic has been in the electronic consumer goods business for more than a quarter of a century, and now has nearly two decades of experience in making home security products. "We were initially producing audio items, but around 1990 we started making home security alarms," Marketing Executive Cindy Lai recalls.
She explains that the company is an OEM/ODM and all its products are built to its own designs. "We have a 3,000-square-metre, joint-venture factory in Dongguan, China, where we employ about 160 people," Ms Lai explains.
This facility has three production lines that allow Swiftronic to manufacture 6,000 units per day. "We specialise entirely in security products at the factory, although we have a second factory in Shenzhen that manufactures soap dispensers - also for OEM customers," Ms Lai adds.
Most of the company's business is focused on Europe, where regular customers distribute its CE-marked products in France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and the UK.
However, business is growing in Eastern Europe. "We also do some business with North America and Japan, and we are trying to develop our business further in all our markets," Ms Lai reveals.
She adds that the company has exclusive arrangements for customers in some markets. "In the UK, for example, some of our items bear the Yale logo exclusively," Ms Lai says.
All Swiftronic products are manufactured to the highest quality standards, Ms Lai asserts. "We have R&D and engineering departments at the factory, and we source materials and components in China, Taiwan and Korea," she says. "We are very concerned about maintaining a high standard of quality because people have to be able to rely on the products we make."
Affordability and ease of installation and operation are manufacturing priorities, illustrated by products such as the MA80 Motion Detector Alarm with Telephone Dialler.
Offering round-the-clock home security, the MA80 can be installed "in seconds" and easily programmed with a personal four-digit code which arms and disarms it.
Ms Lai explains that it will dial up to three programmable telephone numbers in the event of an intrusion.
"When something happens the dialler calls a preset telephone number and whoever picks it up will receive a recorded message," she says.
The MA80 is powered by a AAA alkaline battery and can operate for six months on one battery - assuming that it remains in standby mode and is armed and disarmed twice daily. "Of course if the alarm is sounded frequently the batteries will need to be changed earlier," Ms Lai observes, adding that the MA80 uses a low-power IC to save battery power.
Other products designed for effectiveness and ease of use include the XA901 Wireless Motion Sensor Alarm, which is operated by a radio remote control that deactivates the alarm at distances up to 30 metres. "Many customers like the XA901 because it is very simple and convenient to use," Ms Lai says of the one-year-old product.
Swiftronic makes more than 20 different designs of alarms, ranging from the top-of-the-line MA80 to simple window alarms with chimes and powerful high decibel personal alarms suitable for joggers and travellers. "They are all battery-operated items for very simple security," Ms Lai adds.
The company also manufactures panic alarms for the elderly, such as the easy-to-programme HA28 unit that works with a standard telephone, can be activated by a remote key fob and offers hands-free, two-way voice communication.
"The user can preset three telephone numbers and when the panic button is pressed it will make a call which delivers a recorded message," Ms Lai says. "The HA28 works with mains electricity, but also has a battery back-up."
Swiftronic's FOB Hong Kong unit prices currently range from US$20 for the HA28, introduced earlier this year, to about US$1.30 for a basic personal siren alarm. "It is quite an acceptable price for real security," Ms Lai concludes.
TEXT BY ROBERT PIERCE