What led you into the wireless business?
I was an associate dean of IT at Bond University in Australia and I got frustrated with my fellow academics who were enthusiastic in conducting pure research but not in developing marketable products, which was unfortunate, since neither government nor industry would finance development without the possibility of commercial return.
So in 1992, I established Bond Wireless together with a graduate student to develop an SMS solution for a transport company wanting to alert commuters about train delays.
You have products like Campaign Messenger, SMS Print, SecureTrans, Greetings2Phone and Telemetry and Vehicle tracking and many others. What are the most popular of your applications worldwide and why?
It’s Campaign Messenger, which lets people send bulk SMS messages, easily, instantly and securely from their PC over the Internet to our SMS gateway in Australia which then sends them on to recipients anywhere in the world.
It was one of the first Microsoft .NET certified applications available worldwide when we launched it in 2003.
What is your current focus?
We’re marketing our SMS Gateway platform and are looking at franchising our business model for companies wanting to get into providing SMS and VoIP services. For example our Text to Speech application lets you send an SMS to our server, which converts it to speech, calls the recipient’s number anywhere in the world and reads it out to them in various languages, including English with UK, Indian, Australian or American accents.
To how many countries and through how many operators do you supply your services?
Our services are available over 500 networks in 150 countries and we have direct 55 carriers and content aggregators worldwide.
What are the most exciting and promising of all these applications overall and which of them do you expect to be the most promising and exciting over the next three to five years?
It’s our patented SecureTrans (SMS Authenticated and Verifiable) secure SMS solution which provides non-repudiateable proof of receipt, which is important in mobile-commerce. It’s already used in Australia to notify HIV patients of their medical results and high school students of their government exam results.
Do you travel a lot in course with your business, how extensive are your travels, what do you do while travelling and what do you enjoy most about the people, culture, cuisine and so on during your business travels?
Besides regularly coming to Malaysia on business and family matters, I regularly travel on business to Germany, Dubai, the US, China and to South-East Asia, and I’ve attended international exhibitions and trade shows like CeBIT in Hanover and Sydney, CTIA in the US, CommunicAsia in Singapore and the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes.
I love meeting different people, enjoy cultures and different food and unique culinary cultures like cobra in China, German sausages, elpollo loco chicken in California, escargot in France and of course satay in Malaysia.
Wow! You surely are a connoisseur. What,s your favourite food then?
Satay. I was the satay champion while at Citibank when I ate 86 sticks in under 20 minutes.
Where were you born? Can you tell us a bit about your early days?
I was born in Klang and attended LaSalle School there, where I was one of the top students and was a Selangor state swimmer. I studied electrical engineering at the University of Southern California specialising in computing and completed a dual masters, namely an MBA in Finance and a Masters of Science in Industrial and System Engineering in Robotics.I then joined Citibank in New York and was among 14 people selected to join its North American Investment Banking Associate Programme and was transferred back here for three years. I got a full scholarship at Bond University to do a PhD in artificial neural network applications in finance and was chair of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), Gold Coast Chapter for some years and was made a fellow.
I still maintain contact with the university and was made an adjunct professor at Bond and Griffith universities on the Gold Coast.
Besides work, what are your other professional or industry-related activities?
I’m involved in the Angels Institute in Australia, which brings experienced professionals to assist technology, health, manufacturing, alternative energy and ICT startups. I’m also involved in the ACS Foundation which provides scholarships to ICT students and industry collaboration.
What do you like doing during your leisure time, what hobbies, sports, interests and family activities?
Playing computer games, badminton, ping pong and chess with my children.
What mobile phone or phones do you currently use and what is your dream phone or device?
The Nokia E70, since its WiFi feature lets me make quality VoIP calls via Bond Wireless server. My dream phone is one running all of Bond Wireless applications enabling people to make cheap, if not free phone calls and SMS.