We talked to Maverick Chen, RugGear® President about professional mobile communication devices FOR MISSION CRITICAL and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maverick Chen: We are fortunately healthy, have come through the pandemic very well so far, and of course, hope, like everyone else, that the situation worldwide will ease again in the foreseeable future. Of course, in lockdown times, we were missing traveling, meetings with friends, and in larger circles, but one also rediscovers opportunities to make valuable use of time within the family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded RugGear®.
Maverick Chen: I have always been interested in design and technology and graduated with a Bachelor in Mechanical Design and Automation Techniques, studied Private Equity at the Peking University HSBC Business School, and finished the EMBA program at CKGSB, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Among others, I worked as Design Manager for the multinational Foxconn Technology Group and participated in many initial projects for clients such as Apple®, Nokia™, and Dell ®. In 2002, I joined Philips® Consumer Communications (today: Sangfei) and introduced several mobile telephone projects onto the market.
With more than 20 years of experience in mobile communications, I realized early on the enormous market potential for industrial rugged phones and founded RugGear in 2006.
Together with our CEO Martin Haaf and through the support of a fantastic global team RugGear has become one of the world’s leading and most innovative designers and manufacturers of rugged mobile devices for professional industrial use in recent years.
How does RugGear® innovate?
Maverick Chen: Our high-performance mobile devices combine proven hardware and communication solutions with state-of-the-art technology over public or private broadband via LTE standard. RugGear devices represent efficient, secure, and stable team communications and offer both Push-to-Talk (PTT) and Mission-Critical-Push-To-Talk (MCPTT) capabilities. With our customer-focused product development based in Germany, we are a key player in driving the future of broadband communications, and by innovating, we develop advanced devices and communication solutions. As d member of the worldwide 450 MHz Alliance, we are happy to support the use of the important 450 MHz technology on band 31 on the hardware side.
We can draw on a large international network of developers and innovation leaders as well as very close customer contact and thus can respond to the needs and wishes of our customers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Maverick Chen: We are very grateful that, economically speaking, we have come through the Corona crisis relatively unscathed so far and that our products continue to be in high demand. The Covid-19 pandemic has, of course, also had an impact on our company, especially on cooperation and exchange with customers and partners. Important presence trade fairs such as the MWC in Barcelona had been cancelled in 2020, gradually more trade fairs were planned virtually, and we have already participated in some (such as the PMR Expo in Cologne/D) with success, which makes us very happy. Nevertheless, the important exchange on site, the possibility to travel internationally and visit customers and partners is, of course, missing. Currently, we benefit a lot from virtual interaction and maintain a lively exchange in and with our international team, customers, and partners.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Maverick Chen: Of course, we have had to decide whether to keep our offices and production facilities open, depending on the current pandemic situation, but we have managed to keep our employees largely unaffected by Covid-19 through an extremely good hygiene plan and flexible work offer. Our main focus has always been to protect our employees and invest in the best possible protective measures. Compared to other companies, we have seen that acting and investing quickly in this area pays off.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and RugGear® in the future?
Maverick Chen: I have been practicing daily running for many years. This clears my head, especially on stressful days, and keeps me fit – I run about 150 km a month. In general, I am a very stress-resistant person, and through my long experience in business, I know that every crisis also brings opportunities, which you then have to recognize and use. At RugGear, we have many exciting projects in the pipeline, which in itself brings very positive energy – also for me personally.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maverick Chen: There are several competitors in the pure rugged phone sector, but together with our partner i.safe MOBILE, we are the world’s leading provider of integrated solutions for PTT/POC (with software partners), Mission Critical, MDM, and the hazardous area (zone 1/21 and 2/22). We are constantly expanding our worldwide cooperation with well-known mobile communications suppliers and operators as well as solution and integration providers with representative offices in Europe, the USA, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia.
We want to provide customers with secure, reliable, and long-lasting team communication technology. We are passionate about and committed to the future of mission-critical broadband communications.
Your final thoughts?
Maverick Chen: My vision is: Always stay open-minded, think in a customer-oriented way, and never lose the desire to develop something new.