“It’s true,” Stephen licked his lips.

A deathly silence descended over the boardroom. Seven pairs of eyes stared back at him. Some of them disbelieving, all of them shocked.

STI Engineering has developed a prototype Split Port.” This was an abbreviation for UHF Split Port Half Duplex Data Radio. The most advanced data communication yet. Until now considered impossible to produce. Data-Radios1

“Are you sure?” Sidney, Chief of Electronics R & D asked. “It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been fed a ruse.”

“It was trialled this morning, three hours ago to be exact, at a mine in Rosenbury. Data telemetry was transferred 80 kilometres from the bottom of the A5 mine. That’s through 80 kilometres of solid rock. The data transfer had an almost zero loss of information.”

Sidney put his face in his hands.

“There goes electronics,” Gerald, from Sales, whispered spitefully.

“No,” the company’s CEO snarled at Gerald. “There goes the company.” He turned to look down the long table at Stephen. “What can we do about this? Have we anyone in STI we can lean on or pay-off?”

“They’re solid,” Stephen replied. “The only way I got this info’ was by having someone at the trial; a mine exec’ who is friendly with us.”

Head of Finance Lisa Montgomery cleared her throat. “Excuse me gentlemen, I don’t have the same industry background as yourselves. Please explain why we can’t just buy one of their Split Ports and reverse engineer our own version of it?”

There was a bit of shuffling amongst the board. No one liked Lisa. No one even knew why she came to these meetings. She was Finance, not Operations, with no background in the products or the technical aspects of the industry.

th_projects“Ma’am,” Stephen replied, “STI Engineering is keeping this very close. The Split Port is not available for public purchase. It has been exclusively designed for and marketed to the mining industry and they are the only ones with access to it.”

The CEO spoke up again, “How long do we have?”

“I imagine,” Stephen rubbed his forehead, “high-level production is already underway. The word of this trial is already hitting mining internet forums around the world. It’ll take 24 hours for most companies to work out whether it’s better to stick with what they’ve got or upgrade. Either way from that moment our sales are in trouble.”

Gerald stared balefully at Stephen.

“Twenty four hours,” the CEO rumbled. “Even if we had one of those Split Ports we couldn’t reverse engineer it in that time.”th_design

A horrible silence followed these words as everyone grasped for answers that just weren’t there.

“Can we buy into STI Engineering and squash the product?” Sidney asked.

“Too late,” Gerald replied. “If the news has hit the forums everyone is expecting the shares to rise, which they will. We’ll go broke trying to buy them.”

Another silence.

Lisa Montgomery cleared her throat again. “You’re right about the STI shares,” she said to Gerald, “but what about the mining shares?”

Everyone looked at her baffled.

She turned to the CEO, “With your permission I’ll throw money into the mining company that trialled this morning’s Split Port. They’ll obviously be the first ones to adopt it. We mightn’t be able to recreate the Split Port (she looked at Sidney), yet. But we can benefit from the efficiency it will produce in the mine.”

Eveyone spoke at once.

“Stephen,” the CEO spoke over them. “Find out the parent companies of this morning’s mine. Sidney, push R & D out of data telemetry; we can’t compete with this. Throw everything into logistics. Greater mine efficiency means greater yield. And if they are mining more they’re moving more, which means they’ll be looking for efficiencies in logistics – let’s provide those efficiencies. Gerald, get your team to identify the most likely purchasers for this Split Port …”

About The Author