TFI Digital Media
Multi-sensory video content has become an essential element for online communication and promotion. TFI Digital Media Limited, a distinguished graduate of the incubation programme of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), discerned huge corporate and public demand for online video content back in 2010, and embarked on developing high-quality video technology and solutions to explore opportunities. TFI has since developed an edge in the niche market and has taken its business beyond Hong Kong to compete with the world’s best in the field.
TFI offers four product and service streams:
- Video solution ¬– An end-to-end solution encompassing content management, cloud storage, transmission and streaming for companies that need video content to support business development or build corporate assets, such as movie production companies, hotels and real estate companies.
- OTT – Provide functions and services such as OTT (Over-The-Top) online video platforms, flexible business models, anti-piracy control, content management and personalised video recommendations for entertainment and other industries. Its in-house online TV service, Opensky.tv, provides a broadcast and demonstration platform for content providers.
- Live streaming – Provide “One Click Go Live” high-quality live broadcast services for concerts, corporate meetings and art and culture events. The live broadcast of the boxing match of Hong Kong’s Rex Tso Vs Kohei Kono in 2017 was an outstanding example of TFI’s live streaming service.
- Video encoder – From high-speed encoding to content protection, it provides open API that allows external systems to control the encoding processes and cloud encoding, to meet the diverse needs of enterprise solutions and video content management.
Enhancing video technology
TFI’s founder and CEO Wilson Yuen says that the team focuses on R&D of video technology to refine videos as a tool for supporting clients’ business performance. Using car makers as an analogy, he says that a car maker will make sports cars, sedans and trucks, and has customers from different walks of life. In a similar way, TFI adds value by making recommendations based on a client’s imagination and develops greater mutual value through video technology.
TFI covers a broad spectrum of clients from diverse fields, including culture and arts, entertainment, business applications, real estate, medical care and healthcare, tourism, religion, sports and academics and education. As well, a number of online platforms are using the company’s wide-ranging products and technology to provide entertainment or information to users.
TFI has about 110 employees. Its services are used by more than 3 million user terminals, and its video streaming service is used in more than 27 countries and regions in the world. The company has offered digital content management and protection services for a host of international mainstream movie producers. It has won numerous awards, including Hong Kong ICT Awards, Technological Achievement of Hong Kong Awards for Industries, The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA), and the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Global ICT Excellence Awards 2016 - Private Sector Excellence Award.
Wilson emphasises that videos must enable users and distributors interact in order to have the best effect. This needs solid technology as a foundation. In the start-up stages, he and his team had spent three to four years in R&D before getting the business going.
Personalized technology offers the best visual experience
TFI boasts a number of patented technologies, the most notable is its “One Click Go Live” system, boasting True 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) quality, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR). The system enables a smooth and high-quality compelling viewing experience. Wilson says that personalisation is the key trend for online viewing. It goes beyond audio-visual technology, into the territories of artificial intelligence and big data analysis. The OpenSky.tv service, for example, offers on-demand content and uses machine learning algorithms to make content recommendations based on individual preferences.
Looking back at the start-up process, Wilson believes that the key to success boils down to how hungry the team is for success and their execution abilities. Right timing is also important for R&D and product launch. Team spirit is the most critical, as it takes teamwork to overcome challenges.
Multi-level support from HKSTP to expand business
He thinks HKSTP has helped TFI in many ways. First of all, the Incu-Tech programme has provided the company with funding support and office space. Through helping TFI take part in various exhibitions and competitions, the corporation has helped TFI increase its exposure and identify collaboration opportunities with oversea companies. The HKSTP brand contributes to elevating the company’s image and opens up more development opportunities.
In addition to its headquarters in HKSTP’s InnoCentre, TFI also maintains offices in Mainland China, Taiwan and the US. Wilson thinks that Hong Kong has world-leading broadband networks, which makes it an ideal market to test new video broadcast technologies. In the future, TFI intends to recruit more talent. It is running a joint research project with the City University of Hong Kong on high-speed and accurate video finger-print based copy detection technology and video encoding technology to further extend its competitive edge.