Innovation and growth
Innovation enhances growth and competitiveness
Reunert applies its research and development spend to develop new products and services and reduce costs.
Reunert creates new market opportunities by introducing new and improved products and services. New technologies allow for a shorter product development cycle, and technology is also used to deliver products and services more efficiently.
These are a few of our most notable innovations for 2022 across our three segments, and our focus areas for next year.
Our innovation and growth 2023 focus areas
Strategic acquisitions, developments and expansion
Reunert acquires businesses where these align with its strategy, segments and core competencies. Reunert has a dedicated merger and acquisitions team that follows a stringent due diligence process to understand the targeted business and its operating context, risks and opportunities.
Reunert’s strategy aims to reduce its South Africa revenue concentration risk and revive top-line growth. Acquisitions have been a core component of this strategy, and by September 2022, the Group has invested a cumulative R959 million into acquisitions. These strategic acquisitions contributed R3 290 million in revenue in 2022 (2021: R2 736 million).
In line with our strategic intent, divestment was undertaken in non-core assets that were not achieving the required returns. Reunert reduced its exposure to its Zimbabwean cable assets during 2021 and 2022 with the sale of 46% of its shareholding in Cafca. CBi Telecom Cables was placed under business rescue on 2 March 2022.
Introducing a new building energy management solution
Launched in September 2022, CBi: Energy’s Building Energy Management solution is a powerful energy control system developed to reduce electricity bills and manage business operations better. The solution provides facility management and automation features for any business on a time-of-use tariff plan that wants to manage its electricity consumption to reduce energy expenditure. It gathers granular and accurate utilisation data from a range of robust, standards-compliant hardware devices to provide visibility into electrical loads and to allow for the automated control of discretionary loads. Unlike other solutions, it requires minimal business disruption to install, configure and operate.
In 2022 Nashua launched new product offerings to meet the needs of its customers and grow its range of complementary products.
Nashua enhanced its range of connectivity solutions by adding a new software-based virtual private branch exchange (VBX). As an affordable solution
The business unit introduced a new range of phones, headsets and speakerphones that can be used at the office or in employees’ home spaces. The range is competitively priced and integrated with Microsoft Teams. Some products incorporate the use of antimicrobial plastics.
+OneX is helping companies to excel by using innovative technologies to solve their digital transformation problems. Through its subject matter experts and acquisitions, in 2022, the business unit launched an optimisation-as-a-service offering that follows a holistic approach to drive IT value for its customers.
Companies rely on technology to meet changing customer expectations, deliver better employee experiences and keep up with evolving compliance requirements. This requires modern IT infrastructure and applications and a drive to optimise the technology. Optimisation-as-a-service identifies and implements methods to make the customer’s technology more effective. Benefits include streamlining operations, lower costs and increased agility in challenging business conditions. These benefits drive IT and business value and improve user and customer experience.
+OneX has rolled out an internship programme to upskill recent graduates and young ICT workers. This is part of +OneX’s broader strategy to strengthen its skills pipeline and contribute to building South Africa’s digital economy.
The business unit has recruited five interns into its software, data and cloud divisions, with plans to accommodate another ten. The business unit aims to help interns build their technical abilities and soft skills by working alongside mentors on client projects. The programme exposes interns to engineering, design, user experience, user interface, project management and data science.
In addition, +OneX has placed several graduates from We Think Code in the business unit’s cloud division. These graduates will complete a two-year bootcamp at We Think Code to upskill them in the basics of software development.
Reskilling existing employees is also a focus for the business unit. +OneX has trained some of its IT engineers in Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to develop them into cloud engineers. These engineers assist enterprise customers to reduce their cloud costs.
In September 2022, Applied Electronics secured Competition Commission approval for the transaction where Reunert acquired 100% of the issued shares in Etion Create for R202 million.
Etion Create is an original design manufacturer founded in South Africa in 1993. The successful acquisition of Etion Create in October 2022 will increase the segment’s export footprint and enhance the total solutions offered to customers. In addition, Etion Create will bolster the segment’s original design capability across advanced technology in the mining, industrial, defence and aerospace sectors. The manufacturer also offers specialised IoT, sensors and cybersecurity.
Etion Create’s defence product suite includes advanced signal processing platforms for radar, signal processing units for control systems, military standard communication interfaces, mission computers and display electronic units, secure communications and test equipment. The manufacturer developed camera sensor electronics for an optical helmet tracker solution for fighter jets used by the South African and European air forces.
The manufacturer also develops, manufactures and supports several products and systems for mining and industrial applications. In partnership with a global and local mine safety systems supplier, Etion Create provides the electronics for gas monitoring devices and various subsystems for a collision avoidance system.
Nanoteq partnered with Q Link, a leading system integrator in the debit order processing arena, to provide a secure data-focused solution to protect the transmission of sensitive information, as required by the Protection of Professional Information Act. The solution was implemented through the customisation of Nanoteq’s cloud-based NetQrypt service suite and was successfully integrated into the Q Link service offering to several large customers. NetQrypt offers a world-class service for securing data both within an organisation and beyond the security perimeter
Reutech Communications, pioneers in high-frequency radio communications, developed a novel high-frequency communications architecture for resilient data communications. Named the Resilient HF Networking System, this architecture achieved 24/7 connectivity in a multi-month trial in a naval application. The architecture works hand-in-hand with the business unit’s TR3000 radio transceiver. In 2022, a leading navy in the Sea East Asia region became the lead customer of the TR3000 and is currently operating both the TR3000 and the Resilient HF Network.
In 2021, Reutech Mining, in partnership with other technology providers, responded to a customer need for improved mine safety by developing the Berm Monitoring System. The innovative system has been well-received by customers, with sales to several mining houses.
In open-pit mining, dump-point accidents can result in casualties, equipment damage and productivity loss. Berm monitoring is a critical safety aspect in open-pit mining, and safety berms must comply with required height standards. A berm is a level space, shelf or raised barrier (usually made of compacted soil) separating areas vertically, especially part-way up a long slope. Typically, berm monitoring is done through periodic observations, leaving room for error and non-compliance between observations, creating the demand for automated, continuous monitoring.
The Berm Monitoring System detects non-compliant berms rapidly, efficiently and reliably. With 360° scanning, the system allows for continuous height and position monitoring. This is critical in open-pit mining, where berms constantly change as the waste dump advances. A laser scan computes the measurements in three-minute intervals. Communication to the control room is via Wi-Fi. When a non-compliant berm is identified, an alarm is automatically triggered. An instruction is provided to the dozer operator to repair the berm.