Discussing the future with Redline’s Managing Director

Redline Telecommunications SA is a South African based company which specialises in wireless infrastructure and does manufacturing of Free Space Optic products, as well as the design and deployment of wireless broadband solutions to clients.

“If you want reliable, high speed broadband connectivity based on sound availability and quality assurance, then Redline is the company to approach.”

Charl Basson, Managing Director of Redline Telecommunications SA, discusses the history behind the subsidiary company, as well as its future going forward.

What is the story behind Redline?

Redline was established in 1999 while founding member, Johan Steyn, was in the process of rebranding and reselling an international FSO product called PAV. Out of that came the urge to develop a unique South African Free Space Optic (FSO) product. The first Redline FSO product was developed by Steyn and his engineering team Mike Moyes; Joubert Cilliers and Ian Roulstone. The product has since then been altered and modified to what it is today..

In 2006, I came on board with the focus to change the Redline product portfolio and decided we shouldn’t just focus on FSO but also on other broadband products. It was a year later (2007) when Johan Steyn decided it was time for him to step aside and he sold his shares to Parsec. This provided Redline the opportunity to focus on selling and integration of high quality broadband solutions as it had the backing of Parsec’s high tier quality design, development and manufacturing team to support Redline and its clients.

What does Free Space Optics (FSO’s) mean?

Free Space Optic is a point to point wireless device that works with laser technology, commonly referred to in the industry as ‘fibre through the air.’ It’s basically a data communication medium / wireless communication device.

Parsec Holdings is an umbrella company for Parsec (Pty) Ltd and Redline Telecommunications SA. How do you understand the two subsidiary companies to differ from one another?

Parsec is basically a design, development and production company which is more focused on turning out products, whereas Redline is leaning more towards the services industry where we sell and support these products. We are a wireless services integrator and Parsec is a manufacturer.

What makes Redline unique in its market?

We are the only FSO manufacturer on the African continent and most probably ranked in the top 10 worldwide of Free Space manufacturers. Additionally, I believe that we understand the wireless market and can provide quality support and services.

What was the highlight of 2012 for Redline?

Our greatest highlight was a contract that we engaged in with the Department of Defence via one of our integrators, resulting in a new market that opened up for us. Also, the
trial launch, as opposed to commercial launch, of our gigabit product.

How does Redline see the future – any special plans, operations or projects for 2013?

I cannot answer the question completely for confidential reasons, but we are hoping and confident that Redline will gain momentum with regards to our diverse product portfolio, included in this is the RF combined with the Free Space Optic products. We feel there will be an increase in momentum as broadband in Africa has been lagging compared to Europe and America. Furthermore, we have noticed with the launch of new submarine cables, there are a lot more possibilities in the market. Initially, we thought that all the fibre would diminish our market but rather, it seems to have complemented it.

As Managing Director of Redline, what is your vision for the company going forward?

Within the next 2 – 5 years, I see Redline’s behaviour going through quite radical changes in the sense that we are engaging in a different model. We can provide a great deal more when it comes to our product portfolio options; and not just FSOs but wireless. We want to expand into infrastructure as well, specifically fibre, LAN and WAN deployments. That will be our main focus area that we want to achieve. Furthermore, we would like to pursue a future development strategy in the FSO product portfolio in order to complement the growing demand of data. As it stands, we currently have two products, typically high end and low cost. And we want to become world market leaders in the high end product space.