2013 Finalist: Innovation In Information And Communications Technology Sponsored By TELUS

New Technology Makes Life Simpler For Musicians

An Alberta company is reinventing the way musicians make music by designing and manufacturing innovative hardware.

“We’re taking a data management approach, rather than the traditional wiring approach to making music,” explains Mr. Michael Loh, co-founder and CEO of iConnectivity™. The company’s innovative MIDI products have created new ways for musicians to access and create their music, contributing to personal creativity and encouraging growth in the music industry.

Revolutionary Technology

iConnectivity’s product platform – comprising five MIDI-interface products – has revolutionized digital music management for musicians by creating hardware that allows them to add mobile devices and computers to their toolset. The company is working on its AUDIO-interface product line.

“The music industry has had a sleepy approach to technological advances,” Mr. Loh explains. He compares the technology that the industry uses to the rotary phone era. However, musicians are becoming more technologically savvy and want to connect multiple USB devices and instruments together.

iConnectivity is an early entrant in the music device space with the first Apple-certified, CoreMIDI-compliant product in the market. It allows multiple connections of MIDI instruments and iOS devices at the same time and allows the iOS device to be used as an instrument or a recording device.

The Power of Convergence

The ability to integrate mobile devices and to customize the iConnectMIDI to personal settings gives musicians access to all of their music in one or many places. Gear, controllers, synthesizers, computers and iOS devices work together simultaneously. And with new Ethernet network standards for streaming audio and video, the result is what Mr. Loh calls ‘The Networked Musician’.

“Musicians can now use their iPad as a low-cost application to connect with their musical gear for any type of music in any music production, home recording, studio recording, band venue, or for a garage band,” Mr. Loh says.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Mr. Loh says the products are rugged and small, enhancing portability, making set up easier and eliminating the need to carry around a huge load of gear and wires. “We’re replacing the music industry’s multiple function boxes that are designed to perform only one function, with one box that performs multiple functions,” he explains. “Our ultimate goal is to make life simpler for musicians, so their work is less about the set up and more about performance.”

iConnectivity has received rave reviews, several awards and its products are featured on multiple musical and tech websites.

Mr. Loh quotes one professional musician as saying “My iConnectMIDI will be replaced only when it’s pried from my cold, dead hands.”

Those words are music to the ears of Mr. Loh and his team of eight innovators as they tap into a lucrative global market of $17-billion-a-year. They take pride in creating a successful technology company that breaks from the tradition of energy-focused entrepreneurship in Alberta.

“I see this as a great way to show the world that Alberta can do more than energy services,” Mr. Loh says. “We can use all of the technological skills in the province to develop new industries. I see the work we are doing as a potential growth sector for the province.”