Blade angles for bigger Aussie cut

Over the past 12 months, networking solutions and switch company Blade Networks has been expanding its reach into Australia and has increased its local staff count from one to five.
Written by Colin Ho, Contributor

Over the past 12 months, networking solutions and switch company Blade Network Technologies has been expanding its reach into Australia and has increased its local staff count from one to five.

Blade Networks CEO

Blade chief Vikram Mehta
(Credit: Blade Network Technologies)

Blade today announced the appointment of Dave Humphries as Australia and New Zealand general manager. Humphries was previously managing director of the Australian and New Zealand arm of US-based broadband provider Redline Communications.

"The market here is sophisticated, there's a lot going on, you've got major projects like the [National Broadband Network], e-health and government measures to improve efficiency and infrastructure. All of that requires the type of technology we provide; faster networking, lower latency higher bandwidth and lower costs," Blade's Asia Pacific/Australian vice president Peter Hall told ZDNet.com.au.

Blade's chief executive officer Vikram Mehta was also fascinated by Australia's ability to escape relatively unscathed from the recent economic downturn, which was also a factor contributing to the company's decision to expand to Australia.

"Australia did not get dragged down with the rest of the world, in great part because of the sophisticated systems they had in place that allowed them to spot the trend and say, this is not the right bets to be making," Mehta said.

"It's a logical place for us to be, we've got a lot of customers here because of the sophistication of the IT market. We've even chosen to base our APAC headquarters here," said Mehta.

Blade's Australian customers include Westpac, Fairfax Media, the Department of Defence, the Department of Education, AGL energy, Wesfarmers and the Australian Tax Office.

"We also do a lot of business with IBM and HP, and obviously they've got a large quadrant in Australia," said Mehta.

The core Australian operations consists solely of Peter Hall's home office in Melbourne and utilises partnerships with technology company NEC, distributor Dicker Data, Netezza, Infotech and Juniper networks to deliver its products and services.

"You don't have to build a big office or get expensive people to go out and try and sell your product. The focus is on meeting with the customers, talking to them about their solutions, helping solve their problems and making sure they're satisfied with the product," said Hall.

"All our products are warehoused at the distributor. We talk to the customers about the opportunities and they order the solution through our reseller Dicker Data," said Hall, adding that the focus of Blade was consultation, support and marketing.

The Australian team also works as a channel for customers to directly contact Blade's R&D department in California.

"You know the internet has changed everything from acquiring brick and mortar and I spend a lot of time on the road. With a laptop and an internet connection you don't need the big warehouse or the big building," explained Mehta. Hall also joked about the "green" aspects of working from home.

"I'm not wasting fuel," said Hall, "we're [helping] the environment, and since I'm on the road three weeks a month — to be physically paying for an office is ludicrous."

"We'd rather be putting money we pay for an office into people, developing more product or conducting more training sessions," Mehta said.

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