Digital View creating innovative LCD technology in Morgan Hill
Company donates its equipment for local events
Published in the September 17-30, 2014 issue of Morgan Hill Life
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By Robert Airoldi
What does Morgan Hill have in common with Knebworth, England and Hong Kong? They are all headquarters for Digital View, a developer and manufacturer of interface electronics for the emerging LCD digital display market
Digital View Chairman and CEO James Henry was looking for something to do other than spend the rest of his life as an accountant. Originally from England, he grew up in Australia then headed back to England to become an accountant. In his late 20s, he went to Hong Kong looking for something different from working in the finance world and found an interest in the display business.
“I realized early on that being an accountant wasn’t what I wanted to do even though I really valued the expertise it gave me,” Henry said. “I wanted to be involved in technology, marketing and above all being an entrepreneur.”
It was a pioneering time for liquid crystal displays back then and people were just coming up with laptops, he said of the early ‘90s. Sharp Electronics bought out LCD technology and that’s what inspired him to start the business.
“I always saw flicker on CRT’s and realized this new LCD technology was the answer, plus it had the other tremendous benefits of thin size and light weight,” he said.
While in Hong Kong, Henry found people to work with the technology to actually make the LCD screens.
“That initial business over the next seven years grew into the idea that became Digital View,” he said.
And that initial business plan is exactly what they still do today, which is making electronic displays for professional use. They don’t normally focus on the consumer market. They focus on the industrial applications used in assembly lines, vehicles for navigation or other indicators, in trains for drivers and passenger information, radar navigation and other uses.
“In Hong Kong in the trains that link the airport to downtown there’s a passenger display in all cars that uses our systems,” he said. “Basically anything you can think of that uses a display in a non-consumer application we have provided their electronics to enable that display.”
Another application is the signage in shopping malls.
“One of these growing applications is the installation of displays going beside escalators where they synchronize the displays,” he said. “They’ve created absolutely fantastic video running down the escalator together with the people.”
Henry said the decision to start the business nearly 20 years ago in Morgan Hill was an easy one. One of the American co-founders lived here, he said.
“One of the things about it was it was ideally situated for our needs and has remained ideal for our needs over that period,” Henry said.
And it has been ideal for his 18 employees who live throughout the Bay Area, he added.
“It’s a very relaxed environment,” Henry said. “It’s out of the heavily built-up areas and has fantastic access for our staff. It’s very convenient and from a personal point of view it has a nice downtown that has continued to flourish with plenty of good places to go for lunch.”
The company prides itself on giving back and does so in several ways. It is involved with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce with Digital View Director of Sales Dusty Perryman sitting on the board, and it contributed its facilities for two local events as well as providing equipment in support of local events. In fact, Digital View will provide huge display screens that will be installed in the wine tent at this year’s Taste of Morgan Hill that display a live stream of the Saturday night concerts across the stage. On Sunday, Taste organizers hopes to show the day’s National Football League games to visitors.
Whether designing U.S. Navy-approved gamma correction utilities, creating compelling digital signage to sell toys at the point-of-sale, or providing displays for local events, Digital View continues to thrive.