with a fine eye for trends in electronics - car alarm kit
It started almost by accident 30 years ago.
The buyer's question is John J.
Shalam, a partner of a Japanese import company, has 2,000 car radios that he thinks will never be sold.
But not only did he sell them.
A few months later, he set up his own company, Audiovox Corporation, to meet growing demand.
Today, audivox of Hauppauge is a leading designer and supplier of sound and safety systems for cars and mobile phones.
Last year, the company listed on the US stock exchange had sales of just under $0. 6 billion.
Mobile phones account for most of its business, which sold 2 million last year.
The company is a powerful factor in the domestic and global automotive electronics sector. Its car-
Security systems have the largest market share in the United States.
Advertisementaudio Vox also has a small household appliance business unit.
And, of course, the car stereo, it changed sir. Shalam's life. Mr. advertising
Shalam, 63, came to the United States from Egypt in the 1950s, attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a bachelor's degree in economics.
Continental cereal in New York offered him a job he refused because he was not a citizen.
He had not been paid until the visa was issued.
Later, he worked briefly at the customs import company.
The Japanese company, audivox, started in 1965.
An avid rider, sir.
Shalam is the chairman of the Old Westbury Mariner Foundation, which is responsible for the creation and maintenance of trails.
He lives in Old Westbury with his wife Jane.
They have three sons. Q.
How did the import business begin? A.
As a bachelor in my 60 s, I go to my sister's house for dinner several times a week.
There I met a man named Caesar, who was also an Egyptian.
He runs a small trading company in Japan and asked if I would like to go out and promote some business for him.
We reached an agreement.
I will ask people in New York who want to buy any products made in Japan, while Caesar in Tokyo will go to the factory to order and ship here.
We built a very good business with pocket transistor radios, baseball gloves, binoculars--
Many different sundries. Q.
What is your turning point? A.
Caesar sent me a box with a sample car radio.
My job is to find a buyer.
I found someone in Brooklyn who wanted 3,000.
But when they arrive, he will only open a letter of credit of £ 1,000.
Basically I have only 2,000 radios left and I have to sell them soon or we will lose a lot of money.
I search for distributors on Yellow Pages.
Not only did I find people to buy, they also liked the product so much that they asked me to ship more.
I am reluctant to do so since the last transaction failed.
But they kept calling me.
So I finally agreed.
The products became so popular that by 1965 I had phased out all the other products and only focused on car radios.
This is just the beginning, company Audiovox. AdvertisementQ.
Is it growing fast? A. Yes.
Automotive Electronics is a huge industry.
It starts with the AM radio.
Then FM became popular.
FM stereo, four and eight-
Track tape player.
It is now a cassette and CD player.
Every few years, there is a new product in the industry. Q.
What will the next revolution be? A.
Everyone is talking about the car navigation system, which is already on some taxis.
They let you find the best route, the least traffic area, etc.
If you are in a strange place, they will guide you to hotels and restaurants.
They are a bit expensive right now, about $2,500, but I think the competition has become more intense over time as their production increases and you will see a lot of this equipment in people's cars.
This is what we are doing. Q.
Do you design and sell car safety systems? A.
Yes, the small transmitter that people walk around with key chains, where you press the button, the door is open and the lights are flashing.
Our market share in this product may be the largest in the United States. S. today.
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View all New York Times newsletters. Q.
Why do these items have to be "sexy" to sell well? A.
People in this country will not buy products for safety.
Seat belts will not be sold without regulations.
If you have a car alarm it simply rings when someone breaks in, but there is no other evidence that you have it and people won't buy it.
But if you combine the alarm clock with the feature that allows the door lock to pop up and open the suitcase remotely from the outside, then you have something.
The ability to start the engine remotely has also become very popular.
You can stand 50 feet away from your car and press a button and the engine will start automatically.
In winter, when your car is outside, you can heat the engine for 10 to 15 minutes before leaving.
The heating is on and the car is warm and comfortable when you go in.
The same is true of summer air-conditioning.
Today, these functions are incorporated into the alarm system. Q.
How did you get into the mobile business? A.
As early as the 1983 S, people began to talk about these new phones made by Motorola.
We put a lot of energy into the car.
Although the business is good, we can see that its future is limited because more and more manufacturers are shipping fully equipped cars.
We thought the cell
For us, the telephone business is natural, because in those days, all these phones are for the car.
There was no laptop until six or seven years ago.
Who is best to install a mobile phone on a car?
The person who installed the radio.
They have facilities. -
I 've always thought that cars and communications are the two favorite things for Americans, and here's a perfect setting.
So we went to Japan and built a relationship with Toshiba.
In 1985, they began offering mobile phones under the brand audio Vox.
Now we are working with Toshiba and other overseas manufacturers. Q.
How many Americans have mobile phones? A.
There are currently 45 million users, and this number is expected to reach or exceed 50 million by the end of this year.
90% of the phones sold today are portable, not car phones, although we still have these two products. AdvertisementQ.
How much do they cost? A.
At first, the price of the phone was about $3,000.
They quickly dropped to $1,500, then $1,200.
Today, we sell some mobile devices at a low price of $115.
The mobile phone is the only product in the world with a retail price lower than the manufacturing cost, because the phone company is willing to subsidize the price and let you sign the contract --year contract.
So they will buy a phone for $150 and offer it to you for $49.
99, as long as you sign the contract. Q.
Does the owner not pay for the call time for outgoing calls and incoming calls? A.
Yes, although the average cell
Telephone charges are less than $50 per month.
However, we are trying to change the industry.
In some countries in South America, the caller now pays for the call time and they find that the use of the call time has become more frequent.
In this country, people do not dare to say their mobile phone number because they do not want to make too many calls.
Now, I think it would be more advantageous to cancel roaming charges, which is what you charge when using your phone outside of your home.
You don't pay 50 cents a minute, you pay 50 cents a minute, plus $1. a-
Minutes roaming fee.
It becomes very expensive and it prevents a lot of people from using their phones.
But many companies are working to eliminate this phenomenon.
I think roaming charges will disappear in the next few years. Q.
Do you have anything to do with the phone on the plane? A. No, we're not. Q.
How small will the phone become? A.
Technically, you can use the old Dick Tracy watch as two watches.
Listening to the radio now.
We have technology.
But in fact, the size of the phone is limited by two factors.
The key must be large enough so that you don't press two numbers at a time, the battery is the most important part of these phones and must support a reasonable call time.
Our smallest model, MVX-800, weighs 5.
4 ounces, 5 inch high, 1.
7 inch wide 0. 90 inches deep.
It used to be the smallest mobile phone in the world.
But Motorola has launched a slightly smaller one.
Basically, I think the phone we have now is the smallest you can see.
They are light and fit right in your pocket or wallet.
The survey shows that they have enough talk time, which is very important for people.
I really don't think they need to be smaller. Q.
What do you think of the connection between the car phone and the increased car accident? A.
If you're going to pick up the phone and move your eyes off the road, then, yes, they can be dangerous.
But if you have a phone with a car kit
This is a different story.
I have been using it and I think it is very safe.
It should be installed as close as possible to the height of the dashboard so you don't have to move your eyes off the road.
They are safe if the installation and installation are correct.
But you have to use them correctly. Q.
Where will the communications industry go? A.
Some interesting new products are being developed in the automotive safety field.
Car tracking is very exciting.
When the car is stolen, the owner can simply contact the monitoring center, which will receive signals via satellite indicating where the car is.
Just started introducing this now.
It has other features.
If you lock your key in the car, you can call the monitoring station and ask them to pop the door lock out.
All done by satellite.
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A version of this interview was printed on page LI13 of the National edition on September 7, 1997, with the title: carefully observe the trend of electronic products.