“I didn’t want to produce general monitors. I believed that there had to be niche market for something new that few thought of before. So, I considered monitors used in casinos” said Kim, Yong-Bum, CEO of Tovis.
Tovis is supplying monitors to the world’s biggest slot machine manufacturer, IGT, a US-based company. Currently, the company ranks second in the global market with a share of 23 percent. When he started the business in 1997, he found that monitors for casinos is a more lucrative business than others, and set a goal to make IGT his top client. To differentiate from other suppliers, the company focused on minimizing the volume of monitors. “Bulky monitors looked old-fashioned so it was necessary to reduce the scale of control boards. With persistent efforts, we were able to develop more compact parts than other competitors,” he said.
MTBF - Measure of the reliability
A smaller design wasn’t enough to satisfy the global firm. To prove its technical skills, Tovis indicated Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) on product specifications. This is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of a system during operation. The company operated sample products hundreds of times to see the average time between failures. “Even though IGT did not require this, we thought it would help them handle problems beforehand. With the reduced size and quality, orders were rushing in from other casino companies. Besides casinos, its industrial monitor is also being used as a core part for special instruments including gaming, amusement, medical, signage, and public information display.
Another flagship product is a TFT-LCD module called LCM for cell phones. Since ‘touch screen’ phones are becoming popular, manufacturers are making display screens larger and reducing the width. Tovis changed its touch panel materials from plastic to tempered glass, which is only 0.7mm thick. They are clearer with high-light penetration and scratch resistant. “When producing touch panels, we use only one film of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) while others use two. This could directly lead to price competitiveness. With one film reduction, 5 percent of costs can be saved. We obtained a patent on this technology for the first time in Korea two years ago and since then we have supplied to LG Electronics,” he said.
Tovis showed strong growth with sales increasing 60% and reached 300 million dollars this year. The company also made contracts with global casino businesses including Unidesa in Spain, Games Warehouse in the U.K., Casino Technology in Bulgaria, and Aruze in Japan. “We are expecting to have more global partners not only in casino areas but also in TFT-LCD modules and touch panels,” the company said.
For more information, you can visit http://www.tovism.com/