1 June 2005
Wireless Wonders(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2005)
Designing and manufacturing innovative, consumer-friendly products is a core concept for iMagic Systems Ltd, which is helping redefine home entertainment and communications with end-to-end Web-based products.
One of the company's latest offerings is the ingenious Boni iMagic PowerConsole system. "It provides a one-stop integrated multimedia platform that links all home and hotel electronic entertainment services through a wireless broadband connection," explains iMagic co-founder and executive director Justin Tsang.
"Wherever the user is in the home, hotel or office, he or she can view video content through wireless connectivity on a traditional TV, notebook or tablet PC."
The system uses an MPEG 4 H.264 video codec that provides high compressions, thus requiring little bandwidth, while ensuring high quality video and audio playback.
iMagic's latest product range also includes the Boni Chat international video phone system and the Boni Guard advanced home and office security system; both of which operate via broadband connectivity.
"As the Web becomes an increasingly essential part of modern daily life, we are developing products that appeal to merchants, service providers and consumers," claims Tsang.
He says the key to successful product development is to understand customer needs and shifting trends and then to incorporate this information into innovative product designs. "The technology we use is not necessarily unique - what is unique is our combination of technology and innovation," Tsang explains.
iMagic's ultimate goal is to take reliable technology and develop high quality user-friendly products that are well designed and affordable. "The feedback we have been receiving from distributors and end users has been very encouraging," Tsang maintains.
The positive response has prompted the company to step up promotion of its Boni brand name. "Currently our main markets are the US and Europe, but we are increasing our marketing and promotional activities worldwide," Tsang notes. "Promoting the Boni brand name is a key part of our future marketing strategy."
The 10-year-old company is odds-on to succeed in establishing the Boni brand on the world electronics scene, having been one of the first companies to develop and commercially deploy a public multimedia touch screen platform that incorporates voice, email and Internet access.
The Powerphone, as it was called, was awarded the Financial Times Global Telecoms' Most Innovative Fixed Product of the Year at the 1999 ITU Convention held in Geneva.
"We have expanded the PowerPhone system into a user-friendly PowerKiosk that can be used for ordering cinema tickets, downloading mobile phone ring tones and photo printing, to selling insurance and making hotel reservations," Tsang explains.
"A number of Hong Kong-based and global corporations are using iMagic PowerKiosk as a customer service, advertising medium and e-commerce vehicle."
The innovative product is the fruit of the labour of iMagic's 40 multinational and multi-disciplined designers and engineers based in Hong Kong, and 10 engineers located in Shanghai and Beijing.
Production is outsourced to selected factories in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland. "We work closely with our production partners and have developed an integrated checking and monitoring system to ensure our products meet the highest standards," adds Tsang.
He believes that while the company has focused on producing new and innovative products, it is essential that these products are well designed, attractive, functional and easy to use. "We design our products with the user in mind," Tsang insists.
Early product development includes user testing and low-fidelity prototyping with mock-ups. "Consumer friendliness and testing is often carried out by non-technologically-minded people, including family and friends of iMagic employees," says Tsang.
"We are aware that our industry is sometimes guilty of producing items that the average user struggles to understand, and work hard to eliminate anything that might seem complicated."
WRITTEN BY CHRIS DAVIS
iMagic Systems Ltd