Scanners are not something new to us. Prior to starting piQx Imaging, we had an exciting 11-year venture designing and developing scanners at Seiko Epson Corporation until its scanner R&D center here in Singapore closed down in 2010. If you are familiar with Epson scanners, you would know that their image quality and performance are always a notch above most of the rest, and we are proud to have been a part of the effort that made them so. We held the leading role in designing the world’s 1st LED based CCD flatbed scanner and we were also the major part of the team which developed the world’s thinnest CCD photo scanner.
Before the decision was made to start anew with piQx Imaging, we had a tough time deciding if we should follow the entrepreneurial crowd and do the cool stuff, or stick to what we do best - turning contents on paper into preservable, easily shareable digital information. How many people still needed information from paper? Would paper even last for long? With such a vast and mature range of solutions out there, were there still unmet needs within the scanning community? Those were tough questions for us, and they still are. We took the plunge and piQx Imaging was born in June 2010. We made a standpoint that scanners should and could be further improved, and there were people who needed faster, smaller and more convenient scanning solutions.
Setting targets were easy; achieving them was total hell. One might think that the idea of using cameras to scan was a no-brainer – much smaller, lighter, faster, no motor noise, no mechanical wear and tear, uses less energy, no nasty paper jams and most importantly, books could be scanned facing up, not down. But there were good reasons why cameras had not yet taken over conventional scanners – with their superb advantages, a long list of image quality and usability problems tagged along. So what ensued were year after year of seemingly endless cycles of idea creations, experiments, design recalculations, algorithms design, software coding and of course, failures and disappointments of gigantic proportions. But we are lucky enough to be able to tell ourselves today that we managed to conquer those stubborn problems of camera scanning and allow the community to reap its immense benefits without the trade-offs.
So what does the word 'business' mean to us? It was read somewhere that business in its simplest sense means “buy cheap and sell dear”. But we felt something of the greatest essence is missing. It should be “buy cheap, add value and sell dear”. Adding value is the process of using creativity, knowledge and effort in order to reduce burdens from people’s lives. And if successfully accomplished, those who genuinely benefited from it would return their sincere gratitude in a form called profit. So yes - profit to us essentially means gratitude from the people we served well. Otherwise, we do not deserve it.