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Innovations for Global Change

SUMNET’s legacy is built on a heritage of delivering breakthrough solutions.  The inventions they deliver result in new products that companies can offer to consumers or that bridge a gap so that businesses can expand into markets and across borders.  Over the years, SUMNET developed a reputation not only for innovative solutions, but for developing products and processes that significantly influenced global economics.  The company’s current focus is supporting the Cable television industry conversion from analog to digital broadcasts across HFC (Hybrid fibre-coaxial) networks.  This also positions them to support Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project by providing product design and engineering solutions.

A History of SUMNET Innovations

Paul Jackson forms his first company, Summit Communication Pty Limited, in 1970.

The 70’s

Paul’s first global contract was with Kodak to design specialised darkroom timers.  The darkroom process was streamlined by the creation of a timer that could be controlled in a totally dark environment.  The solution was a “touch timer” operated by feel.  This timer was subsequently sold by Kodak to photographers and photo labs around the world.

Dutch dredging companies require a reliable way to instantly know the depth of water caused by tidal fluctuations.  The answer: Paul’s Radio Tide Gauge which was deployed throughout the world.  Eventually, the Radio Tide Gauge was augmented to automate the operation of dredging vessels.

One of Paul’s early joint ventures with Telstra was to improve the reliability and availability of TELEX transmissions.  The success was evidenced by a facility for Elders allowing farmers and agents to monitor and bid on cattle sales.  Shortly after, the Paul and his team developed a revolutionary range of standard converters which allowed for the mixing of components from the world’s biggest computer companies:  IBM, Univac/Unisys, Burroughs, and Honeywell.

The 80’s

The airline reservations industry took a quantum leap forward when Paul, in collaboration with Qantas, developed a solution for direct computer-to-computer messaging between reservation terminals located around the world.  The technology eliminated paper tapes and the operational overhead tied to managing the paper trail.   This breakthrough in computer-to-computer messaging developed for the airlines industry allowed banks, government departments and other large organisations to offer online applications instead of just massive batch overnight processing.  Partnering with global companies such as CBA, Ansett, TT and TTA, Paul developed digital splitters, long distance cables, and matrix switches (SUNS) for data transmission.  This was the precursor to local area networks, LANS, and wide area networks, WANS.  There was a global demand for the SUNS matrix switches selling for up to $1,000,000 each.  Eventually, Paul sold Summit Communications to a public company, Datacraft Ltd., which was purchased by a South African company, Dimension Data.

In the 1980’s, video conferencing was offered to business as an alternative to travel, but this new technology required expensive equipment and high speed communications.  In those early days of the Internet, high speed links were rare.  Consequently, there needed to be a way to combine a collection of standard-speed data streams into one high-speed stream.  Summit developed a product that offered this convergence.  This design was accepted as the international standard for combining many data ISDN streams into a single higher speed stream.

Paul invented a star wiring system linking CTOS bank teller terminals (the larget supplier of banking terminals in the 80’s) into a local network.   Previously, this local networking was accomplished with expensive custom cabling.  The largest customer was the US Coast guard purchasing over 1,000 units.

The 90’s and Today

In the 1990’s, as the personal computer was mainstreamed into banks, followed by ATMs, there was a call for a Bank Grade Alarm System.  Once again, Paul was at the forefront developing and installing these high-tech alarms systems for Australia’s major banks.

Recent innovations are related to Cable Television Networking in close collaboration with SingTel Optus and Foxtel. Quality assurance solutions are designed for network testing equipment, as well as for use as safety devices during onsite customer installations.

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