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Touchscreen Industry Veterans Unite To Form Touch International
Poised to Challenge Tyco/Elo TouchSystems, 3M Touch Systems
ROUND ROCK, Texas, and TRIER, Germany (February 20, 2002) - Three touchscreen industry veterans today announced the launch of Touch International, Inc., a worldwide supplier of high-quality touchscreen components and touch-enabled displays. Company founders Michael Woolstrum, Gary Barrett, and Robert Senior -- with more than 40 years of combined experience in a relatively young industry -- have set a goal of capturing a double-digit share of the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar touchscreen market.
"Touch International can be characterized as a flexible supplier, one that provides faster delivery, more attentive service, lower prices, and greater application expertise than the current dominant players in the touchscreen market," said Michael Woolstrum, chief executive officer. "We are confident that our business model enables us to offer customers extraordinary value and greater return on their investment, and we have the collective experience, resources, and resolve to compete successfully on a global scale."
Capitalizing on the deep experience of its executive team, Touch International is building momentum on a solid foundation of business acquired from TouchSystems, Inc. Touch International has acquired TouchSystem's component business including applications engineering, sales/marketing operations, and established customer base. In addition, Touch International has already developed product for and is currently in contract discussions with several of the world's leading suppliers of point-of-sale (POS) terminals, self-service kiosks, tablet PCs, and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
High-Growth Market Opportunity
Ross Young, president of DisplaySearch, the world leader in flat-panel display market research and consulting, said: "Touch International's entry to the market is beneficial for touchscreen customers. Its unique multi-sourcing ability makes it possible for customers to select a solution that best fits the need, not simply settle for what's available. And with touchscreen demand currently exceeding supply in certain segments, Touch International has an excellent opportunity to demonstrate it can scale up quickly and gain a significant share of an expanding market."
Market researchers predict continued expansion in the touchscreen market, with some experts forecasting global demand for touch-enabled displays will reach US$4 billion in 2004. Researchers also estimate current market supply to be less than one-third to one-half of projected demand.
Multi-Source Partnership Strategy
The new, privately held company has secured partnerships with leading flat-panel (LCD) display manufacturers and touchscreen component assemblers, including eTurboTouch, a developer and manufacturer of computer-input and image-capture devices, with state-of-the-art, high-volume production plants in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
This multi-source partnership strategy enables Touch International to offer a wide variety and rapid delivery of lower-priced, high-reliability touchscreen products. This approach also enables Touch International to use its extensive intellectual capital to provide added-value services helping customers integrate standard touchscreen products or create customized solutions. The company will introduce its flagship product line March 13 at the international CeBIT technology exhibition in Hannover, Germany.
Touch International is targeting original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), systems integrators (SIs), and value-added resellers (VARs) who integrate touchscreens and touch-enabled displays into systems used in industrial automation, retail point-of-sale, hospitality, banking, medical equipment, gaming and entertainment, military, transportation, public-access kiosks, and education. Touch International will also focus on makers of a wide range of portable electronic devices: PDAs, e-books, tablet PCs and signature-capture devices, hand-held PCs and Internet devices, geographic positioning systems (GPS), and mobile phones.
Touch International's executive team has broad and deep industry experience. As individuals, each executive has been instrumental in advancing the touchscreen industry from novelty technology in the '80s to niche application in the '90s to mainstream business solution today.
Michael Woolstrum, chief executive officer, is a recognized industry leader with a proven sales record and extensive technical expertise. With more than 10 years of touchscreen industry experience, Woolstrum has held several top management positions, including president and CEO of touchscreen manufacturer TouchSystems, director of worldwide resistive sales for MicroTouch Systems (now 3M Touch Systems), and founder of the MicroTouch Systems Specialty Products Division.
Gary Barrett, chief technology officer, has been a pioneer in the touchscreen industry since 1981. He has held executive staff/director positions at Touch Technology, Carroll Touch (now part of Elo TouchSystems), Gunze Corporation, and The Graphics Technology Company. Barrett holds five key patents related to analog resistive and capacitive touch sensing technology, and has consulted in the development of touch panels with companies around the world. He has founded two touch development companies, which he later sold. AMP (now Elo TouchSystems) acquired his first company, and MicroTouch Systems acquired his second.
Robert Senior, managing director, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, is a start-up specialist with 10 years of experience in global business development, foreign acquisitions, joint ventures, initial public offerings, and distributorships. He has served as the managing director and vice president for MicroTouch Systems, where he created and led five European subsidiaries and established the company's entry into the Asia-Pacific region. As vice president of worldwide sales at MicroTouch, Senior oversaw that company's record growth to more than $200 million in revenues.
Rick Ward, vice president, sales, is well known in the touchscreen industry and brings more than 10 years of experience organizing and leading sales efforts on a national and international level. Most recently, he was vice president of sales for TouchSystems, responsible for overseeing international sales. Prior to that he was vice president of international sales Digital Inc./Gunze USA, where he led this touchscreen sales organization from start-up to maturity. Previously, he held regional and national sales management positions at Carroll Touch, where he specialized in aerospace and defense electronics markets.
Touch International has established headquarters operations in Texas and Germany, and 19 sales and support offices across four continents. "We have united a formidable team of touch-industry professionals and built a solid infrastructure around the world," said Robert Senior, managing director of the company's European operations. "We are taking orders and stand ready to meet customer demand for uninflated prices, repeatable high quality, rapid delivery, and expert technical support."
More information is available at the company's Web site: Touch International