GPAC from concept to market

A TECHNOLOGY Park start-up claims to have produced a world first in its field and is preparing to take its solution to market at a fraction of the cost of current market offerings.

Embedded Technologies, or ETCorp as it is known, has developed technology in the relatively new area of programmable automation controllers (PAC) and has been trialing the system on an aquaculture project.

The GPAC (General Purpose Automation Controller) system is designed to provide monitoring, security and reporting capabilities to industry and research projects.

ETCorp CEO and WA Business News 40under40 winner, Martin Cebis, said the GPAC system had a wide range of applications in plant and factory automation, horticulture, agriculture and aquaculture, and environmental monitoring and security.

The technology is the brainchild of company founder and chief technology officer Sahid Sesay, who devised the idea when working in Silicon Valley at the height of the IT boom.

Having developed a PAC system with the capability to extract impurities and heavy metals from water, Mr Sesay relocated to Perth where he was closer to family and could establish a company to develop the technology further.

Six months later, in May 2003, Mr Cebis joined ETCorp, having left a well-paid job to work for no salary while developing the new business.

A proof-of-concept of GPAC was undertaken in October 2003 on an aquaculture project in conjunction with a Curtin-Muresk Institute researcher, which involved treating water to optimise the conditions for developing prawn aquaculture.

“The researcher was looking at how the water should be treated in order to best culture prawns,”

Mr Cebis said.

Having completed the proof-of-concept, Mr Cebis said the company was now ready to launch the product to what he believes will be a receptive market.

“We needed to show people what we were talking about,” Mr Cebis said. “Right now, if you want automation, it is a long tendering process and is very expensive.

“You can get the basic [GPAC] system for under $10,000.”

ETCorp was recently awarded a $50,000 AusIndustry COMET grant to commercialise the technology.

“We are an early stage company and we will be seeking first round venture capital in the latter half of the year,” Mr Cebis told WA Business News.

“We think we have a bright future.”

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