Olympics call-up for Perth technology

11/06/2012 - 15:45

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Sensear boss Justin Miller.

Perth company Sensear is celebrating the selection of its high-tech headsets for use in the London Olympics, adding to the six-year old company’s increasing success in global markets.

“It’s just fantastic for us,” managing director Justin Miller said.

“They put us through our paces; for us it’s a great reinforcement.”

Sensear’s core product is a headset that cancels out background noise, especially in noisy work environments, but allows users to talk to each other.

At the Olympics, officials in the stadiums will be using Sensear headsets with built-in two-way radios.

 “It’s a redesign of our previous product with smart software, and that was all done in Perth,” Mr Miller told WA Business News.

“It’s a proud moment when you think that six years ago this was WA university research, and is now a device used in the London Olympics.”

The Olympics deal reflects Sensear’s wider market focus.

Its headsets were originally promoted as an industrial safety product; and while that is still an important part of its market, they are now promoted as a device that can increase workplace productivity.

“Our pitch has changed to headsets being sold to increase productivity,” Mr Miller said.

“You can stay in a noisy place and communicate more effectively.

“They [people who trial two-way radios with Sensear headsets] go ‘wow, I can finally hear’.”

He said an explosive-proof version offered even more growth opportunities.

“One product that has changed our business dramatically in the past 12 months is the intrinsically safe product.”

Mr Miller said the company had identified market opportunities worth $100 million, and about 70 per cent of this was in the petrochemical or oil and gas sectors using the ‘intrinsically safe’ product.

“It’s changed our business enormously,” he said.

Mr Miller said this opportunity opened up only because the company invested in expensive research and development over 12 months.

It also had to go through a challenging certification process with the industry body in Europe.

“It was one of the most complex certifications they have ever undertaken, but we got there so the barriers to entry (for others) are really high,” Mr Miller said.

Mr Miller, who was a 2004 WA Business News 40under40 award winner and is a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, said Sensear’s products had been used by hundreds of companies.

“We’ve spent a lot of time seeding a lot of customers that we’re now starting to get repeat business from,” he said.

The major challenge facing the company was educating the market about its product.

“It’s difficult when the market doesn’t understand what you’ve got; for a small business that is very difficult,” Mr Miller said.

In light of this, Mr Miller welcomes competition from global heavyweights Honeywell and 3M.

“I say bring it on because I want them to go and educate the market. I know we will trump them with our product and our capability, and we are nimble enough to respond to customer needs.”

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