Joe Liu leads strategy and operations at Mivatek Smart Connect. Liu has extensive entrepreneurial and engineering experience. Prior to launching Mivatek (as it was originally named), Liu co-founded and led Oplink Communications, Inc., an optical network manufacturer. When Koch Industries/Molex acquired Oplink Communications in 2014, Liu led a team of investors and purchased the Oplink Connected portfolio back from Koch/Molex, and used this technology to build upon the Mivatek platform. Liu has also served in various roles at companies including Mostek Semiconductor, Motorola Semiconductor, and National Semi. Liu holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from California State University, Chico.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Research Manager for Critical Power & Energy Storage Group had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Joe Liu (JL), CEO with Mivatek.
VS: Can you start by giving our readers a brief overview of Mivatek Smart Connect including the vision behind its formation and its current role in the market?
JL: The business began as Oplink Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPLK), a leading fiber communication system company. In late 2014, Koch/Molex acquired Oplink. Mivatek, led by me as former Oplink CEO, bought the IoT assets and business from Koch/Molex in 2015. Mivatek Smart Connect private labels its multi-faceted, video-IoT autonomous cloud platform for global service providers and brand owners, allowing for advanced mobile-cloud premises data management; protection/safety RMR service; and automation control of a wide range of smart devices from Mivatek’s ecosystem partners, all in one app.
VS: Please describe your product/technology/solution for our readers? How different is it from what is already available in the market?
JL: In a nutshell, the Mivatek Smart Connect Autonomous Cloud provides one open, flexible and scalable platform for home, business, and community connected video-IoT data. The Mivatek Smart Connect Autonomous cloud is a gateway to myriad capabilities:
- Plug-N-Play, DIY, Video-IoT System: At its heart, the Mivatek cloud is an auto-configurable, easy-to-install, and simple-to-expand smart mobile cloud system.
- Collaborative Management: The MIY system with supervisory control offers patented smartphone number and location-based intelligence as well as an easy-to-use real-time user Add/Drop app.
- IoT Data Analytics and Mobile Push Ads: The patented phone number- and location-based intelligence simplifies the premises’ IoT data acquisition, allowing for targeted mobile push ads and in-app social media involvement.
- Multi-Purpose Solutions and Service: Integrating more than 30 video, security, safety, care, and automation IoT devices for smart home, care, business, and community services.
- Video-Verification Made Easy: The interactive and globally managed video provides a number of capabilities, including instant collaboration (all parties notified simultaneously in a health emergency, for example); video verification of crimes in progress, which is a growing requirement for law-enforcement agencies; and the creation of autonomous stores through instant verification of identity and predictive analytics.
- TripleShield Data Security: QR coded device, software sniffing, cloud DHCP control, no SSID required.
- Seeing is Believing: ActionView device control while monitoring video.
- Ultra-Low Operating Expenses: Smart IoT network; no professional installer, very little tech support needed.
- Battery-Powered, Wi-Fi IoT System: The leading Video-IoT solutions in Japan and Korea.
The difference between this and other products/platforms/systems on the market is simply that no other system offers so many capabilities in one system. What’s more, the smartphone- and location-based intelligence is based on patented, proprietary functions. These capabilities can be an integral part of successful push marketing campaigns.
VS: What are Mivatek Smart Connect’s greatest challenges and what strategy is in place to overcome them?
JL: The greatest challenges come from giant competitors like Amazon, Samsung, and Google. Service providers like our technology because they like to own premises data management and RMR service. We are confident that we can win their trust by showing them how licensing our autonomous cloud can help them “own” the customer, helping them pipe the data that they have collected so that they can turn it into actionable strategies. What’s more, we are working hard to ensure that our business model is worry-free for our partners. With low operating expenses, simple installation, and very little tech support needed, we believe we are well on our way.
VS: What is the unique value proposition of Mivatek and what are your key competitive differentiators?
JL: Unique value proposition include:
- We provide a complete turnkey solution.
- We offer a low-cost license.
- Our cloud is easily expandable.
- Our cloud is multipurpose – it can become the foundation of an almost limitless number of end-user applications, including smart homes, business, care, and community.
- With the Mivatek Autonomous Cloud, the customer has one app for life
VS: What is your strategy in regards to offering best value to the customer for the price, compared to similar offerings from competitors, if any?
JL: We partner with service providers so that they can offer customers comprehensive, turnkey multi-purpose managed mobile-cloud, agent, and devices. We may not be the price leader on a single device, but we’re extremely competitive in terms of providing comprehensive distributed video-IoT systems. More importantly, we are helping create a pipeline to help service providers collect critical customer analytics, which can be instrumental in allowing them to create targeted ad campaigns, predict customer buying patterns, and more. In other words, we are providing a system that can help them understand their customers better and create more revenue. This is something you can’t put a price on.
VS: Continued innovation is the key to success in this growing industry. How is the process of innovation managed at Mivatek?
JL: We continue to innovate in the following areas:
- Battery-powered, All Wi-Fi Video-IoT System: This is a patented capability, which we continue to improve upon.
- NB-IoT: A single device as an alarm and alerts system.
- Community Protection and Automation: Our autonomous cloud can form the foundation of an HOA- (Homeowners Association) or concierge-managed service.
- Connected Care System for Independent Living: Not only do we continue to develop our own line of connected sensors, we integrate with the newest wearable devices from third-party vendors, allowing for preventive care and connected emergency response.
- Connected Business: Leveraging our connected video/audio collaboration, control, and communications.
VS: What do you want the company to accomplish in the next couple of years and how would you define success for Mivatek?
JL: Our definition of success at Mivatek Smart Connect is very simple – and eminently quantifiable:
- Gain increased traction with enterprise partnerships. Although our system, as it is currently constituted, is relatively new, we have already generated great interest in the service provider and brand owner market, and we have several solid clients to show for it. But as we are still new, we need to gain more traction among our prospect base.
- We also want to double our partnership accounts every quarter.
VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product/solution in the marketplace and are there any positive client testimonials that can be shared with us?
JL: See Sha Maison case study
VS: Do you foresee the acceptance of your product/technology/solution in the marketplace to have an influence on the direction of the overall market going forward?
JL: If we were to partner with a giant service provider or brand owner, our comprehensive connected platform and app can quickly become popular. At the highest levels of business, where the Amazons and Googles play, any successes are immediately scrutinized by the competition. They want to do what they are doing and how they are doing it. It’s not unlike sports: when a team wins a World Series or a Super Bowl, all the other teams look at their operations to see how they succeeded and if they can replicate the elements of that success. The same principle holds true here.
VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for such solutions and more specifically, what role can we expect Mivatek to play in shaping the future of the industry?
JL: In the future of connected home, business, and community platforms, the winner has to be easy to install and expand, easy-to-use, affordable, offer low operating expenses, and provide comprehensive services using one app. That’s what Mivatek offers. In addition, we believe we will continue to help push the industry forward, as we are not only coming up with new capabilities but are constantly improving the existing ones.
VS: What are your company’s marketing and product positioning strategies? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances / partnerships?
JL: Yes, we publish our API online, so we welcome device developers using our mobile cloud mobile push alarm and alerts for free to build a comprehensive connected eco-system around our platform. More generally, we are examining all types of alliances and partnerships. We have only begun to identify the most obvious beneficiaries of our services; as we identify prospects in other industries and end-user markets, we will continue to encourage additional alliances.
VS: What is unique about your company in regards to offering the best and differentiated service experience to customers?
JL: In the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) area, we offer home security, safety, video, care protection, energy and automation control, all integrated in one app. We also cover multiple residences and businesses, with separate local collaborative protection control service as well as Monitor-It-Yourself (MIY) capability.
VS: Please describe the importance and focus of your company towards building and strengthening the brand equity of your offering?
JL: At Mivatek Smart Connect, brand equity is critical for us, especially as a relatively newer player in the market. For us, Mivatek’s brand equity is being built around our multi-functional, autonomous cloud that can help service providers and brand owners increase customer loyalty, gain important customer insights, and generate more revenue, and ensure that this is all done cost-effectively. We want the Mivatek name to be immediately associated with all of those values.
VS: What kind of customer feedback mechanism do you have in place to ensure that the product development and innovation matches market and customer needs?
JL: Our customer feedback mechanism is two-pronged: formal and informal. From an informal standpoint, we attend trade shows, talk to attendees and influencers, and follow the industry trends in the relevant media outlets that cover our markets. This provides us with a great deal of valuable insight into what customers want in general. As far as direct feedback from our own customers, we have conducted numerous surveys to determine if our platform performance is up to our customers’ standards, as well identifying areas of improvement and increased functionality.
VS: How do you compare yourself with top competitors in regards to offering best-in-class solutions, with a full complement of features and functionality?
JL: With regards to comparison with top competitors, these are the factors to consider
- Overall mobile-cloud connected system management – software defined.
- Our patents provide smart phone and location-based intelligence.
- We offer multiple location capability, multi-purpose functions; and multiple users with separate levels of control.
- Our auto-configuration patent offers smart device/system activation, a true DIY plug-n-play system.
- Our patented TripleShield video is ultra-secure.
- Our system can enable the creation of targeted mobile push ads based on solid data analytics results.