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Rising from the tech wreck

DESPITE launching its signature product just before the tech wreck, Perth-based company Brookstone Technologies is making a name for itself by supplying virtual office technology to small to medium enterprises worldwide.

The company, which employs 12 staff, has recently appointed resellers in Germany and is set to move into Japan, adding to the existing distributor-base already established in the US, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Joint director John Stockbridge, who has just returned from exhibiting Brookstone at CeBIT Hannover, CeBIT Australia and CeBIT America, said the company had worked hard to get reference sites to prove the technology.

He said contrary to others in the IT industry, the company found Australia the hardest country in which to appoint resellers. However, this didn’t stop Brookstone forging ahead with plans to export the software.

Mr Stockbridge said the company was looking to appoint more resellers to achieve growth rather than growing the company by employing more staff.

Beginning life in 1987 as a company called NetSource, which at the time focused on data communications and networking, the company joined forces with a Sydney-based company called Brookstone Technologies in April 2001.

Keeping the name Brookstone Technologies Pty Ltd, the directors of the newly merged company, John Stockbridge and Dr Errol Pollnow, shifted focus to software development and spent 18 months integrating the suite of existing individual software packages into one system.

The result was VirtualOffice, which Mr Stockbridge describes as a paperless-office system that is designed for centralised as well as geographically dispersed and teleworking environments.

Brookstone shifted from premises in Technology Park in Bentley to offices at Central TAFE in East Perth to facilitate a commercial arrangement whereby Brookstone assists TAFE to develop online learning packages and market its course content internationally.

VirtualOffice is designed for small to medium enterprises with between five and 500 employees and is currently used by Clough Engineering, Wangara-based Absolute Balustrade Systems, the Rydges Hotel Group in Sydney and the Queensland Superannuation Board among others.

VirtualOffice is available in nine languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese.

Mr Stockbridge said VirtualOffice was designed for use as a knowledge base and was ideally used with PDAs.

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