Kee Cheng Heng the Managing Director and Co-Founder of HelloHolo tells us how an immersive media agency founded in 2016 specialises in mixed reality (MR) solution development.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kee Cheng Heng: From the beginning of the outbreak, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the pandemic would affect HelloHolo, especially since client demonstrations were normally done face-to-face. During the circuit breaker, we had to quickly adapt to the new normal by changing the way we ran our business, which meant that a lot of additional hours had to be put into restructuring workflows and communicating with the team. However, one great thing that came out of it was that I was able to spend more time with my family, which was something that I was not able to do so often previously due to the nature of my job that requires me to travel frequently to meet with clients and build new business relationships.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded HelloHolo.
Kee Cheng Heng: Prior to HelloHolo, I was developing IT solutions for SMEs and start-ups as my first brainchild, Axension Studios, in which I got to work with great people and partners. I then went on to join Microsoft as a technical evangelist, which led me to meet my co-founder, Chew Rong Kang. From there, we decided to start HelloHolo after being inspired by the excitement about the ground-breaking of Microsoft HoloLens, with the business idea of providing device acquisition and rental services to the Asia-Pacific region. As more interest grew around emerging technologies, HelloHolo subsequently decided to venture further into application development, training programmes, and 3D content creation in hopes to democratise MR and enable companies of all sizes – whether big multinational corporations or small start-ups to leverage on mixed reality technologies beyond their current business strategies and unlock new value with it. Since its founding, we have grown the company into multiple business areas, engaging over 100 unique clients and partners, and we are currently leading an effort towards the expansion of HelloHolo into the ASEAN market.
How does HelloHolo innovate?
Kee Cheng Heng: How we innovate comes down to three things: our passion, purpose, and people. Firstly, mixed reality is the type of technology that naturally inspires. It unlocks a whole new future where real and digital worlds are able to meet, which is why it is such a powerful tool that can transform industries and why we are so passionate about democratising this technology. Secondly, our mission at HelloHolo is to help businesses and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region to build the next generation of applications and experiences that will not only value-add to them but also inspire those around the world. Lastly, we would not be able to do what we do without our exceptionally talented and committed staff who cares even the slightest detail of what we do. We’re constantly learning about how we can better innovate to serve the needs of our clients.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Kee Cheng Heng: Fortunately, our business finances were not greatly affected by the pandemic. Covid-19 contributed to the rise of a new phenomenon that companies will become more reliant on incorporating emerging technologies like MR, AR, and VR into their business practice due to its abilities that allows real-time collaboration while minimizing face-to-face interactions. This has allowed us to challenge ourselves to brainstorm new and innovative solutions that can help other businesses, especially those that fall under the AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations) sector, and rely heavily on on-site expert knowledge. As such, we were able to delve further into the future of technology and Industry 4.0, which is how our HoloGuides and HoloAudit solutions came about.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Kee Cheng Heng: Being an emerging technology that has just started to gain traction in the last few years, it can be hard to find experienced candidates who have worked with the hardware and software before. This makes hiring much more tricky, as most candidates do not have as much exposure in the field of AR/VR/MR. Our focus, hence, is less on the ability of the candidates but more on their soft skills as well as the culture fit between them and the rest of the team. We see ourselves as a platform to allow all our staff to be able to learn new skills and develop themselves in this emerging field of immersive media.
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