Shanghai is one of the most important economic zones in China. The region has the fastest response to domestic governmental standards and applications when it comes to video surveillance and public security monitoring. A&S introduced four Shanghai manufacturers to unveil their advantages.
Shanghai manufacturers, like those in the rest of China, are showing keen interest in overseas markets. At Foready, exports now account for more than 50 percent of revenue, while Fingertech's overseas sales increased by 35 percent in 2007.
According to Foready General Manager James Chin, overseas markets are concerned about quality, service and price. Given that many Shanghai manufacturers no longer possess a strong price advantage, improved quality and service is important.
Like other Chinese companies, Chenova has worked hard to pass various certification standards such as ISO9001, CE, FCC and CCC to ensure that its products gain entry to key international markets. It is also adopting techniques from its OEM partners to become a more professional player.
After-sales service is another crucial plank. Foready after-sales services encompass replacement, local partners, spare components and technical support. "At the very least," said Chin, "I want our partners to be able to replace PCB boards to enable us to provide prompt response while, at Foready, we replace only the IC as this is rarely required." Foready also provides extra parts with every order.
Then, Fingertech delivers standby products to customers during emergencies for free, while Chenova goes beyond this to do maintenance on or replace defective products for free, even providing clients with refunds. Some Chinese manufacturers are setting up overseas offices to offer better technical support. Currently, Foready has an office in Australia, Chenova a branch in the U.S. and Fingertech a representative office in the U.S.
Focus on Design
Unlike players in Shenzhen, however, which focus on manufacturing alone, those in the Yangtze Delta are looking to R&D. Chenova has a 50-member R&D team, which accounts for 20 percent of all employees. Every year, 10 percent of company revenue is invested in R&D.
Fingertech, which specializes mainly in access control systems and fingerprint readers, has an eight-member R&D team designing hardware programs and updating fingerprint algorithms. Reinvestment in R&D accounts for 25 percent of company revenues.
Chinese manufacturers are also moving beyond offering low prices to add value. "Industrial design never appears as pure art, but is reflected in stylish structures and user-friendly interfaces," said Luis Liu, Deputy Manager at Fingertech. He attributes the popularity of Fingertech's FT-240 fingerprint time attendance system to just such qualities.
Chenova is launching its IIC-Intelligent IP camera, which integrates object detection, tracking and classification with event detection to compete with traditional IP cameras. "We have been able to launch these products as we have mastered advanced technologies, such as IP68 waterproofing, H.264 compression and dual-stream technology," said Edward Cheng, Overseas Manager at Chenova.
Chenova's CFH6006W a speed dome featuring an IP68 waterproof, vandal-proof housing and cover with a high preset accuracy of ∮1 and malfunction self-diagnostics has been a big hit overseas. It also withstands temperature of up to 70 degrees Celsius, while offering multi-protocol compatibility. The speed dome is also compatible with Hitachi, Sony, Samsung and CNB camera modules.
Another popular product is the company's CF-DVR16A3 DVR, which offers clear images, an easy-to-operate mouse, dual-stream technology and user-friendly interface.
"Few people understand perimeter security," said Chin. "Products should be designed to stop burglars before they break in." Active security involves integration of alarms and access control. "We are also moving to offer more cameras with more comprehensive capabilities," he stressed. "We also want to integrate alarm functions in speed domes." Foready has developed intensive-care unit (ICU) applications to allow monitoring of family members or friends.
Foready product s al so feature malfunction self-diagnostics. Chin stressed what this function can help after power failure. "At Safe City projects in Shanghai, some 230,000 cameras 50 percent of them speed domes have been installed. After a power failure, perhaps 120,000 speed domes would need to be reset to the right monitoring positions. How much manpower and time would that take? It would be a real mess." Finally, Fingertech will be launching a new, reduced-size time attendance system in two months as management believes that small offices with less than 100 staff hardly require a capacity for 20,000 records. Fingertech will also add RFID functionality when required.
Finally Linbell, as a DLP multiplescreen panel wall solution provider, launches 70-inch, 80-inch and 120-inch panel walls for niche markets. Its monthly production capacity is 300 units with 120 factory staff. "Partnering with Mitsibishi enables us to improve the quality and technology suited for high-end applications," said Zhang Yeling, General Manager at Linbell.