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Backplane revises IBASE sales targets

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Backplane Systems Technology has been appointed the Australian distributor for Taiwan-based embedded module manufacturer IBASE, but says the sales targets set out in the agreement are “unrealistic”.

Despite expectations the Australian market could be worth US$1 million ($1.69 million), Backplane’s technical sales manager John Estreich expects sales to be closer to $600,000 over the next 12 months.

“Foreign companies look at Australia in square metres, compare it to the [geographical] area of the US and think they can make lots of money,” Estreich told Electronics News. “But they don’t compare the population sizes, [leading to the formulation of sales targets] I believe are unrealistic.

“It’s always difficult to quantify sales targets when you’re only just introducing a product into the market,” Eastreich continues. “IBASE have a range of products that we haven’t really dealt with before, so without a track record it’s difficult to say whether the sales targets can be achieved.”

While it is common in an exclusive agreement for local targets to be set by the supplier, other distributors such as North Bayswater, Vic-based Adilam Electronics favour a closer one-to-one approach.

“If we’re exclusive with the supplier it goes without saying the relationship is strong,” explains Adilam general manager Mick Marcic.

“Our approach is different in that we sit down with the supplier and set the targets jointly to make them more realistic and achievable. At the end of the day it all comes down to negotiation.”

Key product lines from IBASE include ETX modules for industrial and embedded applications. ETX is an emerging industry-standard building block module aimed at achieving scalable processor systems. Other companies dealing with this technology include Advantech and German company Jumptec, which is distributed locally by Mayer Krieg Embedded.

“IBASE is also one of the few manufacturers of industrial PC motherboards retaining ISA slots,” Estreich continues. “It’s all about enabling backwards compatibility.”

The new products are expected to complement Backplane’s current range of embedded boards, PC/104 modules and industrial keyboards. But Estreich all but ruled out further additions to the line card this year.

“Backplane has a very focused marketing view. We recognise that we can’t be all things to all people, so we’re trying to be really good at embedded control,” Estreich explains. “Unless new complementary products are developed, I can’t see further product line expansions in the short term.”

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