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Laboratorys Im InTouch
product allows users to be in touch and take control of their PC at any time from any web
Remote Access Service
01 Communique Laboratory Inc.
Suite 500, 1450 Meyerside Drive
Mississauga, ON L5T 2N5
President & CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published - December 7, 2006
Andrew Cheung, a graduate of University of Western Ontario, founded 01 Communique in
1992. He envisioned a line of consumer oriented products that would bring the concept of mobile productivity to the forefront of businesses
everywhere, and make it an accessible reality for every business operation, regardless of
size. Under Cheungs leadership, 01 premiered the COMMUNICATE! unified messaging
product line in 1995, followed by the Im InTouch remote access product line in 2000.
Established in 1992, 01 Communique is an innovative force in the development and
delivery of remote access and support products and integrated communications software. 01
markets cost effective and reliable solutions that provide anytime, anywhere access to
information stored on a desktop PC. 01s suite of products includes its remote access
product line Im InTouch for businesses and mobile professionals, and its remote
support product Im OnCall for resellers, ISVs and support organizations. 01 has
built an extensive market for its solutions through the cultivation of solid distribution
channels and marketing partnerships.
Cheung, what was your vision when you joined the company and where are you today?
Mr. Cheung: I founded the company more
than 14 years ago, and at that time we were doing unified messaging, which is the
technology that turns your computer into a fax machine and answering machine. You would be
surprised to hear people use the word modem today, but at that time, that was the new
technology. Six years ago, at the turn of the century and the peak of the bubble, we saw
that people would cease using modems and turning their PCs into fax machines, and that
market would go flat and eventually diminish. We predicted that this would be happening.
We then decided to focus on doing something that would welcome the age of the
always-connected broadband internet, which means that you would be able to remotely
control and access your personal computer wherever you go as long as you had access to an
internet browser, whether it is a wireless browser or home or at an internet kiosk. We
have therefore been focusing on this market since 1999 and 2000, and we are very excited
to be where we are today.
Will you tell us about your main products?
Mr. Cheung: Our main product in the
remote access market is called the Im InTouch, which lets the user know that
they can be in touch all the time. Therefore, when you can find a browser, you can take
control of your PC, so that you are in business everywhere that you go. Essentially, you
do not even need to take a notebook computer with you; in fact, recently, it was not
possible to even take a bottle of water on the plane, and carrying a notebook aboard was
out of the question. Instead, our Im InTouch product allows you to travel
light and easy. Just pick a browser wherever you are, and you are in business, so it is
Who is using your products and how are they learning about you?
Mr. Cheung: We have quite a diverse
customer base. Many people learn about our product from the Internet, because we have
search engines that point to our product. We also have won over 100 industry awards; just
last week we won the Tech Innovator Company of the Year in the SMB category from
VARBusiness Magazine, a CMP publication. We just got the award last week from award
services in Huntington Beach California. We have customers on a subscription basis as well
as from a server basis; all kinds of small and medium sized businesses; from US, Canada,
European countries, Asian countries; pretty much all over the world. Outside North
America, our largest customer installation base is Hitachi (NYSE: HIT) in Japan, who has
more than 3000 users. They like our solution so much that they have even customized and
local branded the Im InTouch solution into a product called DoMobile in Japan.
They are marketing that product in Japan for all of the larger corporations as well as
Are most of your customers buying it through someone else or is it a direct sale, and do
you see that changing?
Mr. Cheung: We have both channels;
people that subscribe through the Internet are subscribing directly; they find the product
on a search engine, and we give them a trial and after thirty days if they like it they
can use their credit card to subscribe. That is facilitated through automatic building as
an ecommerce system. We also have a reselling system, which is selling the corporate
version, whereby the customers host the server themselves. Hitachi is a typical example of
this type of business.
Where do you see the growth coming from, which side?
Mr. Cheung: Pretty much both. The
market is extremely huge and according to IDC, the SMB market for the host-to-host service
(not including the corporate server side) is going to be growing to 270 million a year by
2010. Therefore, it is a huge market altogether.
What makes your technology unique?
Mr. Cheung: We have a patent, which is
very unique. We have applied for two patents to protect our technology. That was more than
six years ago and the two patents were granted in August of 2005, just over a year ago. We
also have a few other patents pending for some newer technology; for example, the remote
wakeup, so we are the only product of this type that can remotely wakeup or boot up a
computer that has been shut down. In many other countries outside North America, the power
costs are so expensive, so the company would ask the staff to shut down the PC before they
leave so that they can save costs as well as ensure more security. In this case, remote
access wont work because the computer is shut down, so we have an extension that we
could remotely boot up that computer.
What about the security issue of working remotely?
Mr. Cheung: The security is the most
important thing. Part of the reason for remote wakeup is to increase security so that you
can even shut down a PC. However, if you dont shut down the PC when using our
system, it is still very secure because everything is password protected. Secondly,
everything is going through a secure SSL 128 bit encryption, which is the same level that
web banking is using. If your PC is at work, you would have a corporate firewall, and our
product allows you to enable your computer at work to be remotely accessed from home,
without having to poke any holes in your firewall. This is the unique technology that we
have patented, and our first patent that was granted over a year ago was about that. We
have a mechanism where you never need to open a firewall on your PC to remotely access the
How is business today?
Mr. Cheung: Business is going really
well. We are firing up the licensing business as well as the subscription business and
also growing internally.
You have some litigation, will you tell us about that?
Mr. Cheung: It is about the patent,
while I cannot tell you any more than what is public knowledge, the litigation information
as well as the patent information is on the website.
You currently have a deal with Hitachi, are you looking for more foreign alliances in
Mr. Cheung: Absolutely! Wherever in
the world. Secure remote access is one of the fastest growing areas in terms of the world
of the Internet. This is a phenomenal place for the global market.
You just added a child-monitoring tool to the Im InTouch; will you tell us
Mr. Cheung: The child monitoring is
another piece of the solution. People generally think of remote access to the PC as a
business solution, where you are remotely accessing your business information, email, and
documents. However, remotely accessing the computer is not limited to business usage. For
example, if you have a teenager or young kid at home and you are worried about what they
are doing on the Internet, you can remotely access and see the PC that your kid is working
on at home and monitor what is going on. If you do not like what they are doing on the
computer, you can shut down the program remotely. In addition to child monitoring, you can
also take advantage of remotely accessing the PC to grant temporary access to the PC for
up to ten people, and you can invite them for conferences and you can run your PowerPoint
presentations. This can be done with 10 different people all over the world at the same
Why should potential investors be interested now?
Mr. Cheung: This is a fast-growing
area that we captured. Six years ago, we looked at this and determined this was coming.
Right now, the market is so attractive that Hitachi spent the last three and a half years
customizing and local branding solutions that they are now marketing in Japan and we are
marketing it in North America. IDC predicted that the market is going to grow to $270
million per year, without even considering the corporate server market. It is a huge
Has the investment community started to take notice of 01?
Mr. Cheung: Yes, to some extent.
What should people remember most about 01?
Mr. Cheung: The most important thing
is that we are the lead runner of the remote access and remote control solution companies.
We are leading the pack, we have patent protection and this is where we are going from
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