Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Aug 2011

INTERNET: Nology Celebrates Ten Years Of Growth and Change


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The company now known as Nology has grown substantially over the past decade. From humble beginnings as Commenicate, a one man operation run from a home office, it now currently employs more than 40 permanent staff members in two branches in Centurion and Cape Town.

In 2001 when the company was first launched by founding shareholders Riaan and Andries Leuschner and Willem Venter, the Internet was something of a new phenomenon in South Africa, and ISDN was the fastest available connectivity option. When the founders themselves applied for an ISDN line, they realised that the specialised modems needed were in very short supply, and immediately identified a gap in the market.

"We realised that the Internet was going to boom in South Africa as it had in the rest of the world, and we wanted to be in a position to take advantage of this growth," explains Riaan Leuschner, CEO of Nology. "We signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Billion and began to import their modems, but our focus was not yet on the distribution side as it is today."

How Nology Began

Nology began as a consumer operation, applying for Internet services on behalf of customers, ensuring lines were installed correctly and supplying the modems their clients would need. This full service philosophy has continued at Nology even though the focus shifted in later years towards a hardware distribution and solutions model.

"In 2003 broadband was introduced to South Africa and again we saw a gap in the market for supplying ADSL modems. We were the first independent suppliers of ADSL modems in the country, thanks to our existing relationship with Billion. Because of the nature of broadband, we also identified a demand for networking products to complement our offering, and so we added the Airlive brand to our stable," Leuschner says.

As a distribution house, Nology's first big customers were MWEB Business and Internet Solutions. Although not a mandatory requirement, Nology also began testing its modems with Telkom, and gained Telkom accreditation, something which stood them in good stead in their business, enabling them to supply the national provider with modems when the company experienced stock issues.

"There have been several key milestones on our journey, including the signing of these first big customers as well as our Telkom testing and approval. We are also very proud of being one of the first companies to gain ICASA approval on our ADSL modems in 2003, and of helping Billion to build a name in the South African market," says Leuschner.

Nology now stocks and distributes not only Billion and Airlive products but also Peplink Internet link load balancing routers, Yealink IP telephony products and their own brand of connectivity solutions under the VKOM banner. With their focus on providing solutions, Nology also introduced a device management solution in the form of Work System's TR069 system called OneMS. In addition, Nology also introduced the patent pending "ViBE"

software solution which is designed to maximise the use of bandwidth for simultaneous Voice and Data applications across bandwidth delivering higher density of voice calls, security, QOS, resilience and more.

The Services Nology Provides

This added focus on services sets Nology apart from typical distributors, and the distribution model from the outset was designed around building partnerships. The original focus was to supply service providers with the hardware they needed, customised and rebranded to their specifications.

When the company decided to also adopt a main stream distributor role in addition to its existing focus, the business grew rapidly, and in 2010 a decision was made to split the company into two separate, yet interconnected entities: Nology Solutions and Nology Distribution.

"Although both of the business arms focus on the same products, the sales, marketing and procurement procedures differ, and the split enables each Nology division to have a more refined focus and provide better customer service," says Leuschner.

As the technology space has evolved and changed, new opportunities have presented themselves and Nology has achieved its success by harnessing these opportunities and providing products and services where gaps in the market were identified. The plan for the future of the company is to continue with this philosophy and maintain its growth and evolution in line with the new markets that technological innovation opens up.

"Convergence is the name of the game in the future, and convergence of broadband technologies is no different. Broadband is so much more than Internet and email, and connectivity is becoming a part of everyday life. As service providers begin to build on the core of broadband and technologies that make it possible to roll out new services, Nology will be there to supply them with the necessary hardware, infrastructure and peripheral devices," Leuschner says.

"We will also be there to supply the back end services service providers need to deliver their services. Our aim at Nology is to play a significant role in this growing space, and increase the value of broadband in South Africa. We will grow with the market," he concludes.


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