|Source: Tredan. Chia holding two USB Traveller Plugs.|
"Their problem is how to ensure that all their devices are fully charged before they leave the hotel. Most hotels comes with a single power point and some are located in obscure places that you have to move furniture and dangle your device while charging," said Chia. "Even if you have adaptors with multiple USB ports, the USB capacity is insufficient to charge more than two devices at one go as the same USB capacity is shared by four USB ports. Some folks set an alarm to wake them up to charge their devices and worse if you have companion in the room, it's double the devices, who gets to charge first?"
The problem has become even more pressing with the latest news that devices on international flights must be charged. Singapore Airlines has already advised that phones must have some charge in them on Frankfurt to US flights, or they will be confiscated. In a travel alert dated 8 July the airline said: "Customers travelling on flight SQ26 to New York JFK are advised that electronic devices, including and larger than a mobile phone, must be switched on at security screening to show functionality. Failure to do so will result in the device not being permitted for travel from Frankfurt."
Chia's answer to making business travel better is the USB Traveller Plug, which features two multi-standard sockets, two USB ports and an extension wire, all stored in a charger the size of a smartphone. The gadget allows travellers to charge multiple devices from a single wall socket unit.
"Based on our research and feedback from clients, their frustration when they travel is having to charge their multiple devices. Some bring extension plugs but it's bulky and the wire is messy and obstructive, and they do not have USB ports. Our USB Traveller Plug is small and compact; there is an extension wire that can be coiled, and the universal socket can be used in any country. With the USB ports you don’t need to bring another USB adaptor, thereby cutting down on your items to bring and weight," he said.
Chia spent a year doing research, getting user feedback and tweaking the product to get it right. The plug has been launched at the Singapore Gifts Show 2014, and he hopes to add to his corporate orders. He has already signed up corporate customers and have patented the design in Singapore and China, and is applying for more patents in other countries.
According to Chia, the plug is in production now and will be available for sale around end-August at the Qoo10 online retail site as well as at other retailers. Reservations are accepted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.