Aero-class Long-haul Bus Infotainment System Hong Kong Firms Capitalizing IP Trading to Tap ASEAN Market
Intellectual property trading is the market of much potential that helps traditional manufacturers to attain new technology and expanding fast their business. Kam Yip (Hong Kong) Limited, the firm that specializing in traditional car navigation products and in-car entertainment systems, has through IP trading brought in the "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system" which Hong Kong Productivity Council developed years ago. Company managing director Yip Siu-kam sees potential of such system, believing its aero-class infotainment services could help boost its Thailand long-haul bus business, and ultimately helps its business upgrading and could tap into the ASEAN market quickly.
"Margin of the traditional in-car navigation products was only few percentage points, however the ‘MOST150 multimedia infotainment system' introduced through IP trading exposes us to a lot more business opportunities and greater profits," said Yip. He said the company originally produces in-car navigation system and DVD devices which market competition has become fiercer. "The life cycle of electronic products are usually 3 – 5 years long, if we shut ourselves from new development, the market will shrink and margin diminishes. The closures of many mainland factories are examples. We need to access to new technologies via IP trading so as to survive."
Fast Transmission Multimedia Integrated Infotainment Platform
Joseph Poon, Director (Technology Development) of Hong Kong Productivity Council and who's responsible for the R&D of "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system", said Multimedia Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) was not the name of a product but the standard that early European bus manufacturers used in parts purchase. Up till now, the transmission speed of such system has been increased to MOST150 (150Mbps) that can handle bundles of multimedia data and to broadcast high-definition video and music programmes. It also can be the integrated information platform and navigator.
Poon said most bus companies now are having MOST25 and MOST50 systems installed in their 4-seat and 7-seat buses, the speed of transmission have not been a concern. However, during an overseas trip, he noticed MOST system could have higher speed and adopted by collective transportation such as long-haul buses. The multimedia navigation platform, which is as high quality as those used in planes, could mean business opportunities. As such, the Council in 2009 started relevant R&D and technical analysis, to build the platform and share the skills with industry participants through IP trading.
To upgrade the in-car platform to "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system", each bus only needs to install one system as the host platform which is able to transmit data to a maximum of 60 terminals. Passengers could choose programmes according to their own choices. Since the data is transmitted through optical fiber, signals are resistant to electromagnetic interference and with no electromagnetic radiation, it would not affect the car's electronic system. It is more convenience and safer when compares to rely solely on traditional copper wire connecting in-car DVD player.
Kam Yip's Yip said, "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system" allows passengers to enjoy movies or listening to music, it also is a multimedia integrated platform for brand new advertising and online shopping experience. The business model of multi-participants creates a more sustainable value chain that the company can share advertisement revenues and increases income streams.
Thailand Orders the Springboard to ASEAN Market
He said the company has half year ago started exploring the ASEAN market with this new technology. In Thailand, they already gained approval to install such technology in 100 long-haul buses. "Thailand is a country relies much on tourism, many buses run 8-10 long hours per leg from provinces to provinces. There is a large demand for high quality multimedia infotainment services. Our company introduced the new technology to local agents and received tremendous responds and new orders."
Meanwhile, ASEAN countries locate close to each other and long-haul buses services is key means to travel among nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Yip said the company targets to get 10,000 buses installing their system in 5 years within the ASEAN region. Moreover, they "plan to have 5 GD-HK cross-border buses installed the system for trial and testing before improving the whole services gradually." The company also is in talks with mainland bus operators and advertisers about developing the mainland market together.
Looking back, Yip agreed that the company could not develop new technology in such short timeframe if its not through IP trading. "Entrepreneurs' strength is adaptability and market knowledge, however they are not able to role out R&D due to the lacking of such capability. Since Hong Kong has abundant professional R&D personnels, providing balanced theoretical and practical feasibility studies and directions for product development, it helps us to save unnecessary efforts and is where our competitive edges lie."
Hong Kong Well-equipped in IP Trading
Joseph Poon said HKPC has internally an intellectual property department that specifically on research and preparatory works for new technology patent applications. This can help avoiding any R&D projects from infringements. Moreover, Hong Kong's sound infrastructure in regulatory and law regime has been the reason why overseas and mainland buyers trust local developers. "If ‘MOST150 multimedia infotainment system' is not a Hong Kong developed product, it may already faced a lot faked counterparts and its IP value becomes null," he joked.
Its noteworthy too "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system" was a product funded by the Innovation and Technology Support Programme that was run under the Hong Kong SAR Government's Innovation and Technology Fund. Participating companies could have rights to use the technology for free in 3 – 5 years after project completed, they also have the priority rights to rent or buy the skills afterwards. This helps to boost Hong Kong as the Asian IP trading hub and accelerating activities within the region.
Poon said the Council started the R&D of "MOST150 multimedia infotainment system second generation" in 2013, to connect it with Cloud reception. Once succeeded, it would allow in-car multimedia devices to update new programmes and passengers to download new games and purchase information instantly. This would induce more users and to boost more IP values.
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