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Loud and Close: How this Malaysian Start-up Creates Sound Solutions

Finding a way to blast brand messages from ear to hand

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 07 Mar 2017

sound solutions

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Imagine going to an event and a song starts blaring on the speakers. Suddenly you get an alert on your smartphone with a link to buy the album, or just the song on iTunes. Or while watching a football match, you get a discount voucher for the featured football shoes through your phone.

Malaysia-based VAV is a sound media solutions company that uses inaudible sound waves to transmit digital content to smartphones.

“The solutions can be adopted wherever there is sound. And can be used to deliver actionable messaging to any VAV-enabled smartphone app over existing audio or audio-visual content, across any broadcast medium like TV, digital radio, websites, Facebook, YouTube, and more. All without the need to install additional hardware,” says chief strategy officer Alden Leong Qi Wen.

Its technology solutions include: VAV Tone, an inaudible audio signal that can be embedded into any music or video soundtrack to trigger a call-to-action to multimedia content in a mobile device; VAV SDK, a software development kit that can be plugged-in into a mobile application on either iOS or Android operating system; and VAV Online Control Panel, an online management software system to edit, manage, schedule, and track any VAV Content to be triggered by the VAV Tone.

The technology offers more opportunities for brands to engage their customers. “We are changing the nature of sound by using it to deliver digital content to the smartphone,” says Qi Wen.

VAV was founded in 2015 by: Wan Kamarul Zaman Bin Wan Yaacob, a banker, lawyer, and corporate consultant who now serves as the company’s executive chairman; chief marketing officer Addie Leong Qi Jie, a former creative in an advertising agency whose forte is in creative communication, user interface, and graphic design; and chief strategy officer Alden Leong Qi Wen, the elder twin of Addie and a former strategic planner and brand strategist for a global advertising agency.

“We wanted to start VAV because we believe the world should be more interactive and sound should be used as a two-way communication platform,” Qi Wen says.

The company has recently raised RM2.5 million or about $562,000 in funding from Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF), which is managed by Intres Capital Partners. The company intends to use this to accelerate the technology’s commercialization in Malaysia and to explore overseas markets.  

“We believe VAV has the right team to kick-off the business. Furthermore, with the investment and partnership from ADIF, VAV would be able to take its first steps to go regional with its innovative media technology and solutions,” Amin Shafie, partner at Intres Capital Partners, says in a statement.

Qi Wen sees this kind of technology becoming a big trend in Southeast Asia. “Sound is all around us and now brands will be able to use it as a means to increase their sales and revenue, while consumers can now interact with speakers, PA systems, TV, websites, or even digital radios through our sound media,” he says.

VAV is currently partnering with Malaysian broadcasting companies, shopping malls, brands, and events companies. As for future plans, the company is taking steps for regional deployment of the technology, and eventually to go international.

“Our ultimate plan is to exist wherever sound exists,” he says.

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