Biography: Darryl Katz, co-founder of 4ward-design
Driven by his appetite for all things technical, Darryl Katz has, in the past 15 years, accumulated a wealth of knowledge in the sales, marketing, design and implementation of high-end Audio Video and Control system solutions.
In 1997, Darryl co-founded Sub-Urban Installations. Within 5 years Sub-Urban had gained significant commercial market share and was acquired by ETA Audio Visual. At the age of 28 Darryl sat on the ETA BOD and was responsible for driving automation into the residential and commercial markets in South Africa.
Recognizing a shift in the market driven by rocketing property prices Darryl concluded his contract with ETA and formed 4ward-design with his current business partner Derek Olivier. With this move, the mutual vision was for 4ward-design to enter the very high end of the residential market, where Darryl was once again responsible for sales and sales management.
In the years that followed, 4ward-design developed some of the largest and highest value audio visual systems in South Africa.
During this period 4ward recognized a gap in the commercial market and worked hard to establish a presence with multi-national commercial clients.
In 2005 4ward-design was commissioned by Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs to engineer dedicated and bespoke high definition Video Conference Rooms – taking into account the high cost of bandwidth in SA. 4ward-design successfully designed and completed the first of these rooms at a 3rd of the CAPEX and OPEX that the competition had on offer. Since, 4ward-design has been the leader in similar installations in the commercial field.
In 2010, Darryl and Derek formed an ICASA certified ISP called Flowit. Flowit was formed specifically to service internet connectivity requirements of 4ward-design’s tech savvy bandwidth intensive clients. Flowit offers these clients internet connectivity at speeds that rival cities such as London and Los Angeles.
The 1st project is currently underway in Clifton.
Biography: Derek Olivier, co-founder of 4ward-design
Driven by his passion for technology and the ambition to expand know-how in the field, Derek Olivier (age 36), embarked on a Home Automation entrepreneurial venture in 1997. Some 15 years later and this company is the foremost home automation company in the country.
Olivier is co-founder of 4ward-design, a company specialising in audio-visual home and office equipment, where his strong technical background contributes to the company’s innovative solutions in a specialised market.
Olivier has a fundamental knowledge of video conferencing, audio-visual solutions, home automation and home theatres. This knowledge, accrued through a history in audio-visual staging industries, makes him a multiple-faceted professional in an industry where individuals mostly have limited expertise. In addition, having been involved in two start-up businesses, Olivier also has hands-on experience in various business divisions, including commercial and IT-related segments, making him a particularly strong business leader. Contributing to 4ward -design on all business levels has seen Olivier an active observer of the company’s growth from a start-up to the ultimate home automation company in South Africa.
An ardent proponent for accessible technology for all, Olivier enjoys the wide range of clientele who turn to 4ward-design for their corporate and residential needs. When Olivier started out in the control systems market, which entails the incorporation of all audio-visual equipment in an environment, this was purely a corporate driven service. However, Olivier saw an opportunity to expand this functionality in the residential markets as well, a service which 4ward-design provides to thousands of happy home owners today.
Apart from his sales and marketing position, Olivier also heads up the company’s website management and looks after the important social media aspect of the business. Olivier ensures the smooth running of the company’s technical department, managing teams nationwide. His main focus area remains video conferencing and audio-visual solutions for corporate clientele, and he is also actively involved in the financial department – where his expertise in both sales and marketing areas play an important ‘bridging’ role between departments.
Olivier is focussed on maintaining the company’s emphasis on video conferencing and audio-visual solutions, applying 15 years’ of knowledge to grow the home automation techniques in the industry. Future goals include growing the company’s standing to be one of the top 5 in the corporate and education market within the next five years, whilst maintaining the company’s standing as number 1 in the residential market.
Energy management will play an increasingly important role in the business. Olivier and his business partner Darryl Katz are currently investigating options to make all new video conferencing, audio visual solutions, home automation and home theatre installations as energy efficient as possible.