In the hot seat: Tuning into the digital home

In the hot seat: Tuning into the digital home

Alloys International's Phil Gibbs talks to ARN

What was your first job?

Years ago, it was clerical work. I worked all over the place. I'm from Albury-Wodonga and moved to Melbourne.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

I started in the IT industry in 1982 selling control program monitor machines; the first operating system before DOS was around. After that, I worked in computer retail and wholesale. No-one would know the companies today as they all went broke.

How did you progress to where you are today?

I have taken on a number of different jobs over the past 14-15 years since I joined Alloys International. I started with the wholesale Epson printers at a time when nobody wanted to do them. We built that up for five years. Then we moved into colour laser printing and developed a nice little business in digital imagery. That's what Alloys is all about today.

What do you like about your curre

I like the computer industry because of the changes. Technology has a five-year cycle and if you pick the right trends, it's enormously rewarding. We have done that on a number of occasions. It's meant I've had a new job every five years. The product mix changes, the market you are trying to address changes, technology changes and the people in the industry change. I haven't been bored yet.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

Still being in it; IT is not the easiest business to be involved with. If you get it wrong, you don't have a job. To date, I have managed to get most of it right. But in five years' time, tell me if either of us will still be around.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

That's a bit hard. I don't really dislike anything about this industry. I would not be doing it otherwise. I know lots of people that don't like going to work but I'm not one of them.

What will be the "next big thing" in the industry?

The CE and digital convergence market. Unless the computer industry becomes a substantial player in the digital home, it risks losing out. Somebody else might wind up doing it better. The digital home market has enormous ramifications and opportunities. Whoever becomes the dominant player in that market will achieve what Microsoft did when they rolled out Windows 95 to home users. Somebody has to make a play for this space: Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, the electronics companies. It's a fragmented market at the moment. You only have to go to retail land and see the nonsense put to the punters.

What is the main focus for your company this year?

Digital imaging is our prime focus. We're also explaining the digital home opportunity. We fit in with the integration and wholesaling of digital smart home components such as touchscreens, intelligent home controllers and IP cameras.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I like to play a bit of tennis and I am personally interested in the digital home stuff we build and sell. The media centre affects many functions in the home: entertainment, security, communications, home automation and comfort control. It can turn on the porch lights or up the temperature. If anybody calls at the front door, I can see them and talk to them at the front door. I can also be at work and control anything at home over the phone. And I live in a standard suburban house.

Do you like gadgets?

I'm a gadget freak. I love my media centre and my iPod.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I didn't know what I wanted to do, I just fell into this. I thought about being a professional ski bum but didn't find it at all lucrative when I skied in the US and Australia.

What is your biggest ambition?

At the moment, just to be a player in the digital convergence market.

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