2009-10-23Ondernemers 16 October 2009

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Ondernemers 16 October 2009
Nearly endless possibilities

Home automation is gaining ground als in industrial buildings. It's in that niche where Duotecno, from Bruges, profiles itself. The company of Burt Eeckhout and Peter Gitsels started out as a small player which has grown into a firm SMB with a field of activity far beyond the borders of Belgium.

The general managers of Duotecno: Burt Eeckhout en Peter Gitsels know each other from their former employer DDL Design in Ruddervoorde. Because of bad investments the company went bankrupt but Burt and Peter seized the opportunity to create a second beginning form the home automation applications for one's own account. With the Duotecno products you can control all the functions of your home or office: lighting, electrical appliances, roller shutters, audio, video, alarm and video intercom.

Steady grow
Eeckhout (35) and Gitsels (41) laugh :"Like a typical enterprising West-Flemish person we started out in a garage," five years ago the partners moved to an office on the Krakeleweg at Bruges. Duotecno has grown and now works with 11 employees. "Four persons are responsible for engineering: two for software and two for hardware. This engineering team has been with us for eight years. We'd love to take extra people but those white crows are not easy to find."

The yearly steady grow show it's going well with this company. "We offer a broad array of possibilities. The basic are switching and dimming the lights and controlling sockets, curtains and heating. The possibilities are almost limitless beacause the more applications you connect the further you can go in covering the system." Now you can use the internet to open the entrance gate at your home from a distance or turn on a light and look who is in the building.

Next to assignments for homes Duotecno also provides solutions for companies. It develops applications for industrial buildings, office buildings, hotels and showrooms. The company from Brugge has worked for Allia and Modular at Roeselare and d-hotel at Marke. Burt Eeckhout: "This fall we'll introduce the Smartbox which is perfectly suited for apartments, service flats, hotels, ... The standard configuration has 12 outputs and 16 inputs. These smartboxes can be placed in cascade. We already have a contract to use this smartbox for 100 apartments in Ghent."

International ambition
Peter tells us: "Installers who collaborate with us can easily connect and install our home automation system. We have different levels of installers. On the fourth level they have no responsibilities, at level three they do. After following a basic one day course the can install small systems. At level 2 the installer has a democase for free to show the clients how the system works. Our level 1 dealers are real Duotecno dealers. We have about 25 level 1 dealer across Belgium.

The ambition of Duotecno also lies abroad because next to the activity in Belgium the company has dealers in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania and even Nigeria. With a couple of other countries negotiatons are pending." Burt Eeckhout concludes: "To explore the international market better we have hired an export manager. In some countries we conclude a contract with Bose dealers. The great strength of Duotecno is that it approaches the quality of the best systems but at a lower prices." (SVV)