Avantis Plc, the UK multimedia network storage developer start up, has expanded its product range and is heading towards the commercial sector. The Luton-based company responsible for the tower killer CDServe – a hard disk-based direct network attached device that enables multiple users to access the same CD-ROM information which resides on the server (CI […]
Avantis Plc, the UK multimedia network storage developer start up, has expanded its product range and is heading towards the commercial sector. The Luton-based company responsible for the tower killer CDServe – a hard disk-based direct network attached device that enables multiple users to access the same CD-ROM information which resides on the server (CI No 3,162) – has developed an audio version of the product, its main objective being to replace mechanical juke boxes in pubs, clubs and bars. Existing CDServe users will be able to take advantage of the technology on the desktop, the product enabling true 16-bit CD recordings alongside existing software. The machine can be accessed via the traditional slot machine method, but Avantis is keen on installing smart card readers with the device, enabling customers or drinkers to purchase pre-charged cards across the bar, loaded with a set number of play locations. Owners of the equipment will be able to have an ISDN connection, enabling them to download new music as frequently as they wish. A mechanical juke box holding some 50 CDs costs around 5,000 pounds, without speakers and so on, compared to around 3,000 pounds for the Avantis offering. It’s not just juke boxes that the company has in its sights with this new offering. Avantis sees major potential for the device being installed in larger music stores enabling shoppers to listen before they buy. Currently there are facilities in place in such stores to listen to a CD on a set of headphones, with one CD player and one set of headphones serving one person. Avantis intends to install the CDServe device in shops, enabling around 20 sets of headphones to be connected to one server that will contain up to around 100 CDs, enabling shoppers to pick and choose what they want to listen to. Avantis will have the product installed in the commercial sector within the next six months, and is looking for companies to partner with to develop the front end. If all goes to plan, Duplock anticipates the commercial side of its business will account for 50% of its revenue. Existing CDServe products will be upgraded free of charge. Avantis started trading in January and since then has been busy raising venture funding, with tremendous success both in the UK and the US. Staff numbers have grown to 17. Duplock anticipates that figure will rise to 50 and above by the middle of next year, and the company is likely to float within three or four years. Plans are well under way for the establishment of a US branch of the company, but it is not yet known whether the operation will be based on the east or west coast. Since the release of CDServe in May, Avantis has managed to attract customers that include Barclays Bank, Ford Motor Co and the US Airforce. If the company remains on track, Duplock believes it will be generating between $50m and $100m within three years.