01/10/2008 - 22:00

IT firms wired to the world

01/10/2008 - 22:00


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THE state's information technology and communications export businesses are getting a foothold in international markets, according to the WA Business News Book of Lists.

IT firms wired to the world

THE state's information technology and communications export businesses are getting a foothold in international markets, according to the WA Business News Book of Lists.

While the list shows only a handful from the sector having an impact globally, local IT and integrated communications solutions providers are finding a place for their products and services abroad.

Commtech Wireless is one of the state's leading providers of wireless messaging infrastructure internationally, from integrated communications solutions and wireless telephony, to desktop and restaurant call systems.

The global company, which has an office in Osborne Park, began life in 1992 as a partnership trading as Commtech Paging Systems, when it was founded by previous WA Business News 40under40 Award winner Nathan Buzza.

Since then, the company has sold solutions into more than 5,000 sites across "virtually every country on earth", reaping in export sales of $6.1 million.

Mr Buzza is also the chief technologist now heading up the company's US office, and is responsible for strategic planning, technology and development of Commtech's affairs.

During 16 years at the helm, he has overseen the growth of the company from a small business to a multinational corporation with offices in Perth, Sydney and Jacksonville in Florida.

The key markets for Commtech Wireless have evolved to incorporate healthcare, hospitality, casinos, emergency services, the military and government.

Its solutions across these markets range from the slot machine management at Wynn Casino in Macau and the nurse call monitoring at Epworth Hospital in Victoria, to the patron call system at Utah-based casual dining chain TGI Friday.

In 1999, director Zane Lewis joined the company and became the national marketing manager and three years later Commtech Paging Systems was renamed to its current trading name.

Mr Lewis opened the Florida offices in 2001, which quickly expanded to 15 staff members with $US5 million revenue in 2006.

Another WA export success story, Telvent Almos, delivers IT and value-added products, services and integrated solutions in the energy, transportation, environment and public administration sectors, as well as global IT services.

The company, which in 2003 won the CY O'Connor Award for Excellence in Engineering and Technology in the WA Industry and Export Awards, enables secure real-time management of operational and business processes for industry-leading companies worldwide.

In 2005, Telvent acquired Osborne Park-based leading meteorological solutions provider Almos Systems, providing a further 45 staff that specialised in automatic weather stations and airport meteorological systems.

"This transaction fits well with our strategy of building our portfolio of fully integrated products and solutions in our core sectors," Telvent chief executive Manuel Sanchez said at the time.

Following its penetration into WA, Telvent made three more acquisitions in 2006 - in China, Spain and the US - expanding the company's expertise in the traffic and transportation sectors.

In 2007, the acquisition of US-based Caseta Technologies moved the company into the development of electronic toll systems.

With WA export earnings now exceeding $6 million (down from $11.8 million in 2005-06), Almos has become a leading exporter in the engineering and technology of meteorological systems.

These products, manufactured in Osborne Park, include automatic weather stations, low-level windshear systems and satellite processing systems.

Other successful WA exporters of communications and IT solutions include Fremantle-based L-3 Communications Nautronix Ltd, Bibra Lake-based Barrett Communications Pty Ltd and Wavenet International Ltd, based in Burswood.

L-3 Communications Nautronix provides acoustic systems and solutions to the navy and maritime sectors, particularly in the areas of through-water communications and portable tracking and positioning ranges.

Over the past 20 years the company has grown to export more than $4 million of its products to South-East Asia, the UK, Canada, the US and Europe, representing about 20 per cent of total revenue.

Barrett Communications is a manufacturer of long distance high frequency communications equipment for the commercial and military sectors.

About 94 per cent of the company's products are exported internationally.

Wavenet International provides wireless modems and modules to the UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden and the US and exports 90 per cent of its products.



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