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Data provider aims for the complete package

FROM humble beginnings 25 years ago as a joint venture between Ray Godley and the University of WA, data logging equipment maker Unidata has become a multinational.

It shunned the traditional path of providing industrial monitoring equipment to tackle the niche market of environmental monitoring.

The company exports to the UK, the US, Europe and Asia and is investigating opportunities in South America.

It is also expanding its operations to become a one-stop-shop for companies’ data collection needs.

Along the way Unidata bought out the UWA’s interests and acquired Automated Lab Equipment, before being taken over in 1999 by UK data logger manufacturer Milieutech.

Unidata has transducers in the Swan River, which provide the Waters and Rivers Commission with data on water temperature and salinity.

It operates weather stations monitoring solar radiation and wind velocities.

Unidata managing director Robert Apps said Milieutech’s takeover of Unidata fitted well with what Milieutech was aiming to do.

Milieutech traditionally has been involved with energy and dust monitoring equipment, cashing in on the market created by the European Union’s stringent environmental requirements.

“The Unidata factory here makes things that were previously made in the UK,” Mr Apps said.

“It also came at a time when Ray Godley was looking for a way to take his business into the next stage.”

Mr Godley remains involved with Unidata.

Mr Apps said the company planned to grow its business by offering total data collection services to its clients.

“At the moment we put the data logging equipment into boxes and sell them,” he said.

“Our clients have traditionally bought our equipment and hired staff to run it.

“We’re moving towards building, installing, maintaining and collecting the data for our clients. In some cases this involves installing data loggers in rather remote locations.”

The company has data loggers sitting off the Australian coast monitoring tide depths. People can phone these monitors and receive up-to-date tidal information.

Mr Apps said Unidata was considering expanding on this technology in its full service operations, alluding to using third generation telecommunications technology to conduct data transfers.

“A lot of the sites data is required from are often away from telephone networks,” Mr Apps said.

“Instead of putting an ordinary telephone system in, we’re linking into data communications systems.”

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