Fragrant Harbor… Pearl of the Orient… Asia’s World City.
Hong Kong is known by many monikers. Whatever title one chooses to use to describe Hong Kong, all agree that it is a special place. Just a tiny speck on the globe, it is one of the world’s richest cities and is strategically situated within a three-hour plane ride from five important Asian markets. As the Hong Kong government’s branding campaign says, “Hong Kong is where opportunity, creativity and entrepreneurship converge.”
So, it’s no wonder that when Jerry Garrett first experienced Hong Kong on a business trip as a management consultant in 1995 that he was smitten by the place. It was love at first sight. The vibrant city and Hong Kong’s global business opportunities were – and remain – exhilarating.
Today, almost three decades later, Garrett lives and works in “Fragrant Harbor” where he serves as Managing Director of the successful Convergence Systems Ltd (CSL). CSL, like Hong Kong, embodies the qualities and culture of opportunity, creativity and entrepreneurship.
CSL started in 2000 and was one of the first companies to use the UHF Gen2 protocol. In 2006, CSL designed, with a license from Impinj, and sold its first UHF 18006-C compliant readers. Its best-selling products continue to be the CS108 handheld reader and the CS203X ruggedized integrated reader.
We chatted with Garrett about products, the markets and its challenges immediately after he got back from celebrating his birthday by going scuba diving for the first time in the Philippines (See picture above).
1. Tell us about Convergence Systems Ltd (CSL). Why do you use the term “convergence” in the company name?
Our first company manufactured active RFID tags. In 2000, we started CSL as a systems integration company to use the active RFID sensors combined with custom application software and server hardware to provide a tracking solution. Complete solutions require the convergence of various technologies: hence, the name Convergence Systems. Through many a twist and turn, we have established ourselves as a leader in UHF RFID readers, antennas, and specialty UHF tags. I’m proud of how far we have come as a company.
2. CSL has several products. What’s your best-selling product? Why do you think it is so popular?
We have two best selling products. The CS108 handheld reader and the CS203X ruggedized integrated reader. The CS108 has the longest read range in the industry and easily interfaces with all major mobile OS platforms. We just launched the super-fast CS710S handheld (1300+ tags/sec) incorporating the Impinj 710 reader IC. The CS203X is the most rugged integrated UHF reader in the market.
3. What is the biggest challenge today for companies like yours in the RAIN RFID market?
We hoped that the UHF RFID technologies would grow faster and take a bigger share of the classical barcode use cases. The slower rate of adoption challenged us to fundamentally rethink our CSL product design strategies and to get closer to the product users. Our R&D engineers work closely with our customers early in the design cycle to ensure CSL’s new products will meet their immediate application needs and can be used quickly by as many vertical markets as possible.
4. How long have you been a member of the RAIN Alliance? Why did you join?
CSL was an early member of RAIN. We joined RAIN because we have always been a strong advocate that the RFID industry must adopt standards to lower the purchase risk to end users by minimizing inter-operability issues among the various suppliers of tags and readers.
5. When not managing CSL, what do you do in your spare time for fun?
Well, managing CSL is fun! I am always answering customer emails and texts in my spare time. As for fun, tennis, golf and travel always make me smile. Living in Hong Kong, we can spend long weekends visiting many nearby countries in less than three hours. We leave Friday afternoon and we will be back in the office Monday morning ready-to-go.