By Bernardette Sto. Domingo, Katie Wong •
1 January 2020
Omar Wahid Hatta, director of ICA | GemLab, shares his latest insights on the future of the gemmological trade as well as his company’s business strategies moving forward.
What are the most pressing issues in the gemmological front today and how is ICA | GemLab responding to these?
Omar Wahid Hatta: One of the biggest challenges in the jewellery trade is lack of accessibility. The core of all our projects and services is accessibility. Only a select few such as gemmologists who attended prestigious institutions have access to knowledge through rigorous training. We want to provide similar information in an application that we are developing. Anyone with a smartphone can download our app and browse through our educational platform to learn about basic gemmology, instruments and inclusions, among others. This information is free of charge. With this platform, we will also provide digital grading reports aimed at bringing convenience to our customers who no longer need to be physically present at our offices to collect reports. Once completed, reports will automatically be issued and uploaded to our client’s account. We aim to launch the app in March. We are also implementing critical features to ensure cybersecurity. We deal with precious goods and a single change in origin or colour can influence a stone’s worth, so cybersecurity is a top concern. Most digital innovations have three core purposes: Resolution, accessibility and simplicity. We aim to follow the same principles in our journey to digital integration, coinciding with the trend of e-commerce trading.
What are your growth prospects in 2020?
Hatta: Over the past year, we saw a 300 percent increase in the number of new customers while our gemstone intake doubled. We expect this success to continue in the year ahead, with growth figures doubling, if not tripling by yearend.
We plan to achieve our goals by focusing more on digital promotion. We will distribute planned and selected content through our social media channels to help educate the public through videos and easily accessible information. This also ties with the launch of our GemCert application and its API as well as other dashboard business applications whereas there will be a platform that centralises and digitalises a sector in the industry. Eventually, we want the gem and jewellery industry to become a paperless, green industry, and that starts with issuing digital reports. One step at a time, we can be successful in that aspect. Besides that, we come up with new ideas each day that benefit the industry while redesigning our products to give it a fresh and trendy look, catering to the traditional trading methods.