TTWCP-838-05 Cutting Edge Devices, Giovanni Tomaselli of iON Camera: Giovanni Tomaselli, CEO of iON Camera

On This Episode…

Giovanni Tomaselli is founder and CEO of iON America and its sister company, World Wide Licenses Ltd. (WWL), which he formed in 1993. For more than 20 years, WWL has been involved in the design, development and manufacturing of digital imaging products for leading brands worldwide, including Kodak, Disney and Polaroid.

In 2012, Giovanni launched iON and unveiled the company’s first fully-waterproof and Wi-Fi-enabled HD sports video cameras. The iON line is designed to make it easy to shoot and share action content.

Prior to iON, Giovanni developed Disney-branded computer accessories and cameras for WWL throughout the 1990s and helped to create Polaroid’s next generation digital camera in 2001. In 2002, WWL secured the exclusive rights to design, develop and distribute Polaroid digital cameras worldwide, and became the first company to put a digital camera into a video camera format. By the next year, WWL had shipped more than two million Polaroid cameras to 30 countries worldwide.

In 2006, Giovanni sold WWL to a leading consumer electronics manufacturing specialist, Flextronics, where he led the CE design group before acquiring WWL back in 2009. Since then, WWL has been focused on the design and development of portable, connected, consumer devices including inkless printers and portable video cameras. In 2009, Giovanni re-launched the Polaroid brand again, working closely with Lady Gaga, who served as Polaroid’s creative director.

Giovanni and WWL were the focus of a Harvard Business School case study, documenting the company’s success as a foreign entity penetrating the Japanese market with imaging products.

Giovanni began his career in real estate development and sports marketing, where he struck a massive, global licensing deal with the Soccer World Cup 1994. He is an Australian native who lived in Hong Kong for two decades before relocating to the United States for iON in 2013.


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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.


Giovanni Tomaselli – iON Camera

Airing Date: October 31, 2015


Craig Peterson: A lot of people have very active lifestyles and are looking for a way to kinda remember them. To keep that memory going for years. I have a couple of kids that love to go hiking and they’ve brought cameras, taken pictures as they’ve gone up some of these hills and mountains. Of course that’s the extreme side. Then there’s the rest of us, right? Well, we’re gonna talk right now about iON Camera. They’ve been on the show before. They have some phenomenal technology. We’re gonna talk right now about what they’re doing with their latest technology as well, with their CEO Giovanni Tomaselli, welcome!

Giovanni Tomaselli: Hey Craig, how are you?

Craig: I’m doing really well. You got something right there on your chest that says iON on it. It looks like a little camera.

Giovanni: Yes it is.

Craig: What’s going on?

Giovanni: Well, we announced here at the show the iON Snapcam.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: Which is the moving on from mountable to wearable, to be a wearable camera, and that’s what we have here.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: We have a camera that takes still photos, takes HD video.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And also can livestream HD video.

Craig: Now it takes, what is it? 8 megabit, 8 megapixel picture?

Giovanni: Yes, it can take… it takes 8 megapixels. It takes 720p HD video.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: It can record for 2 hours in HD, and livestreams for an hour.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: The great thing about this product is it’s a connected device.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: So you, you can program all the rules you want on your phone. You can say, you wanted just to stay on the camera. You wanted to go to your phone. You wanted to go to Instagram, Facebook.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And the product does that. We will… And the way we do that is just very simple. You just swipe it, tap it, and it snaps a photo.

Craig: Oh, nice! Now you have another feature that I like, which is to kinda recording the events of your day.

Giovanni: Yes.

Craig: Right? So you can set a timer on it and have it take a snapshot every once in a while?

Giovanni: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just to give you an idea, I can just program this to take a photo every two minutes. 

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And it’ll take 5,000 pictures before the battery runs out.

Craig: Ah…

Giovanni: So that’s 7 days of snapping away if that’s what you wanna do.

Craig: That would I, (________) CES.  That should be phenomenal. Won’t it?

Giovanni: Yeah, it will be. You’ll catch some things for sure.

Craig: You really would catch a few things.

Giovanni: Yeah. But I think, I mean what’s really interesting is that there’s no device that we have today.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: That has the ability to take that mo… that picture in that moment, or that v… or start recording that video when you really want it to. You got to pull up your phone.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: You got to turn on the app. You’ve got it…

Craig: Yeah.

Giovanni: All these things here. I mean this is a…

Craig: It’s just a swipe and tap.

Giovanni: Yes.

Craig: It makes it easy.

Giovanni: And it’s the fastest start up time in the business.

Craig: So, Giovanni, what are people using this for primarily?

Giovanni: What I think… we’ve done some focus groups…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And for us, we see the opportunity with the, what we call, the now generation, the millennials. And you know, there’s one thing about storytelling, a number of imaging brands have done a phenomenal job in storytelling and…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And it’s created, you know, an amazing brand for themselves. But the point of co-authoring a story…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: Is where this really comes into play.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: I mean you can have this, you know, you could be in a concert, and you could have a singer and a drummer and one have you wearing one of these, and they can invite their fans to their world.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And then I can, I can wear, you know, I can wear one and I’ll pick the singer and then the drummer and myself and my friend and then we’ll do a four-way video.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And create a story that’s been co-authored. And we know that there’s, there’s a lot of good thing that will come out of that.

Craig: That’s phenomenal. What a great idea.

Giovanni: Yeah.

Craig: Now. It’s stylish. I see you’ve got a few different colors here.

Giovanni: Yeah.

Craig: You’ve got bands to go around it. So it’s gonna match whatever you’re wearing as well.

Giovanni: Yeah. I mean, when we kicked off this project, for us it was very simple. Four keywords: lifestyle, culture, music, wearable.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And that’s what we’ve meshed into this. I mean…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: We’ve actually put out a video for the trade a couple of days ago and we have 5,000 views in the first 2 hours, which is phenomenal. And so for us…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: When you look at this, you look at its touch-sensitive. That’s a brushed metal. We’re doing it in whites and blacks and silvers.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And then we’ve got all of these wonderful color bands. But then also we have what you got there Craig is… that’s the model that’s not connected.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: Right, it doesn’t have the wi… wifi and Bluetooth chip for the [??] conscious consumer.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: And that product there is… you can put on a clip, you can put on your phone that’s what I got right iON me.

Craig: Oh, right on the wristband.

Giovanni: Right on the wristband.

Craig: Looks like a watch.

Giovanni: I can do iON me, iON you. iON me iON you. So we could really have a lot of fun with that sort of stuff. So…

Craig: That’s… Yeah.

Giovanni:  And that’s where, where, where we’re pushing that out. It’s $79.00 for the non-connected version.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: $149.00, you know… and you know… If I… If I’m having

Craig: For the fully…

Giovanni: I’m having a red day today, but I may have a pink day tomorrow, so I can just interchange it. It’s wonderful.

Craig: It’s gonna fit no matter what you’re wearing.

Giovanni: Yeah that’s right.

Craig: You have a bunch of different colors.

Giovanni: Yeah.

Craig: So where are people gonna find these new iON cameras?

Giovanni: Well, that’s, that’s one of the great… great stories to tell for these if you’re familiar. We mean that, we mean that this time last year…

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: We had 1 national account which was, you know, we had the Best Buys.

Craig: Right.

Giovanni: And the national account.

Craig: Right.

Giovanni: And but in the Q3 of 2013, we only had a couple hundred storefronts.

Craig: Uh huh.

Giovanni: We finished off the year with six and a half thousand storefronts.

Craig: Oh wow.

Giovanni: And the industry is telling us that in the sports camera world, we have taken the number 2 position. So we’re very proud of that.

Craig: Yeah. In the sports cameras that you have had, do you still have those?

Giovanni: Oh yes, very much…

Craig: Those are the kind of tubular ones, metal, that you’ve seen before.

Giovanni: That’s correct.

Craig: Almost completely indestructible.

Giovanni: Yup.

Craig: Really nice little cameras. Those have been very popular as well. 

Giovanni: Yeah.

Craig: So you could go online to ioncamera. That’s to find out more. A lot of information there including some videos. Of course look for it in, now your favorite retailer. Sounds like you’ve really made some progress. Congratulations.

Giovanni: Thank you very much.

Craig: And thanks for being with us today.

Giovanni: Have a great day.

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