Sysnet looks for revenue boost with digital pen


Sysnet, the Glasgow-based data management provider, is aiming to secure partnering deals with 20 technology companies throughout the UK as it rolls out a new digital pen product.

The company will act as the UK distributor for the pen, created by Swedish company Anoto AB and manufactured by Sony Ericsson.
The pen uses bluetooth wireless technology and enables anything written or drawn on paper to be sent via a mobile phone to any computer. It works by using digital paper with a unique pattern of dots.

These are illuminated by the infrared light in the pen, making them visible to its digital camera. The camera takes 100 snapshots of the pattern per second.

The deal represents a significant coup for Sysnet which hopes to position iteself as the hub for the Anoto technology in the UK before other pens come on the market.

Sysnet managing director Peter Burtwistle said the projected revenues from the pen for this year were 500,000, a substantial boost to its 1million turnover.

"Our strategy is to sell through other software companies to get to their custmers," he said. "We have our first partner signed up and we have at least a further 12 ready to sign. We need to be able to do reasonable numbers a month but we can bring all the services back to Sysnet."

The linked Standard Services Light technology, was launched last month. It used a digital pen with 3M Post-its or Esselte digital notepads and a mobile phone with GPRS to send graphical information in the form of digital notes or an e-mail. It is thought to be suitable for a range of applications from doctors to sending their prescriptions direct to pharmacies and having their signatures verified electronically, to police sending information from their notebooks direct to the station.

Sysnet has been working on the technology with Anoto since 1999 and developed the iScribe digital organiser which allows personal information to be transferred to managment tools such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook.

Sysnet is working with American company Franklin Covey to market the product, which was launched in the US last month, and sales are already exceeding expectations according to Burtwistle.

"The feedback from Franklin Covey is that it is exactly what the market is looking for. The concept is very strong and everyone that has seen the pen can think of at least 12 applications they can use if for."

Sysnet, which was started by Burtwistle in 1989, employs 20 people. It is working on digital pen solutions for Marks & Spencers, Oaksmere and Morris and Spottiswood in Glasgow and has partnered with Walker Martyn software in the city to help them develop their own products for several clients.

"Effectively we are growing another business on the side of Sysnet and it gives us a whole new lease of life." said Burtwistle.

This article was prepare by Mike Woodcock on behalf of the Sunday Herald