Imaginations still firing after 30 hours’ no sleep
City Telecom (HK) provided a particularly exciting – and relevant – case for this year’s CICC.
Chairman Ricky Wong, who has already successfully challenged various oligopolies in Hong Kong’s communications industry, is now attempting to cement City Telecom’s place among the next generation of local free-to-air TV broadcasters and multimedia companies.
“Nowadays, TV is a very sexy, attractive industry to look at,” Wong said. “The students competing in the CICC engage with TV and multimedia every day. As the end-users, it’s probably very interesting for them.”
Wong was impressed with how well the participants tackled the challenge with which they were confronted.
“The students were presented with a lot of material related to my company and they came at it from a fresh angle. Quite a few teams came up with proposals involving social networking,” he said.
The students seemed to be as inspired by the chairman’s personality as by the case subject itself. “When we heard his corporate presentation, we admired his spirit and his courage in challenging the status quo,” said Angele Law, a member of the winning team from HKUST.
Wong made lively and iconoclastic contributions throughout the proceedings. “The students represent 18 universities in 12 countries, and from an age point of view, they are my target audience. So I’ve saved the HK$500 I usually have to pay each person in one of our focus groups,” he joked.
Wong thought the students looked at City Telecom’s case very seriously but had not been afraid to use their imaginations. He recalled how one team had presented a proposal for 4-D TV, with the extra dimension supplied by the motion of the viewer.
“They didn’t suggest how this could be implemented. But at that moment, they triggered an idea for a solution in my mind. Could we create a wireless interface that controlled [a massage] chair so it responded to the TV programmes being watched?”
Wong did identify one common weakness among teams. “Maybe it was because they hadn’t slept for 30 hours, but when a single team member was presenting, the rest looked like their energy levels were very low,” he said.
“If you are on stage, no matter if you are speaking or not, you have to keep your energy levels up as hundreds of eyes are looking at you.”
The City Telecom chairman said he had found the judging process very enjoyable. “Sometimes life is so busy, so this is a good chance for me to rethink the whole process.”