News & Media

US exports icing Commtech cake

2 October 2002

This is the second in a series of articles featuring finalists in the 2002 Western Australian Industry and Export Awards to be announced on October 18. ELICIA KENNEDY reports.

OSBORNE PARK-based company Commtech Wireless is exploiting a decade of experience developing wireless communication systems to secure export deals in the booming industry.

Commtech’s export sales in messaging systems for institutions such as hospitals or casino and resort sites have grown 1500 per cent over the past financial year.

Chief executive and founder Nathan Buzza said Commtech had spurred this growth by opening an office in the United States, in Florida, in March and concentrating on the Middle East market.

“We were very much focused on the domestic market until two years ago,” Mr Buzza said.

“In the last three months the US firm turned over more than it did for the last financial year.” He estimated US-generated revenue was 65 per cent of Commtech’s Australian revenue during the September quarter.

Commtech’s BasePage was the first system to move from programming for expensive onsite paging systems to developing applications suitable for widely available wide area paging equipment.

BasePage allowed employers to communicate instantly with employees, gave customers instant service using touch screen equipment to page staff or could be used to issue alerts to emergency service workers.

Mr Buzza said most hospitals in Australia had installed BasePage and Commtech recently introduced the system to 14 hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

Commtech systems had also been adopted in other overseas areas such as petroleum plants, hotels and resorts.
“Fortunately for us, email became popular and SMS took off so well, the concept was easily accepted,” Mr Buzza said.

“Because we have been doing wireless messaging for so long we have 10 years of product development on other companies.”

Mr Buzza, 31, has had 17 years IT research and development experience to build on.

As a 14-year-old recovering from the removal of a brain tumour, he developed one of the first computer games for the PC — Q*Bert, which was bought by electronics giant Philips.

At 17, he developed the laser combat game Quasar and sold the system to the band U2, which established it worldwide.

Commtech averaged 60 per cent annual growth for the past seven years and last financial year turned over $5 million.

The West Australian is a sponsor of the industry and export awards.