Hi John, can you introduce yourself and tell us something about what you do?
Hi, my name is John Salerno. I’m an experienced business owner specialized in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and embedded software based out of Adelaide, Australia. I’m the Managing Director at Dedicated Systems, a leading supplier of embedded system software, firmware, and hardware in Australia and New-Zealand. In addition to my professional life, I’m a family man.
What industry/industries do you focus on?
We cover industries with complex or critical hardware and software requirements. This means a good proportion of our business is in aerospace and defence, but we also supply to segments of the rail industry, medical device suppliers, and niche industrial technology.
How do you contribute to your industry? Who does your company work with?
Our work requires us to engage with the scientific and engineering communities to understand their complex requirements. The solutions we recommend are a mixture of COTS hardware, embedded software, and expert services.
What do you love about working in your industry?
We work primarily with engineers, and it is highly enjoyable when a customer’s enthusiasm for a particular technology aligns with our own enthusiasm for a related technology. We also love that many of our customers are motivated by a desire to deliver results which make the day-to-day tasks of their customers easier. This could be by the accurate operation of a medical device or a slick embedded human-machine interface. In this way we are enabling our customers to have a huge impact in their industries. It is this combination of cool technology with practical problem solving that we find particularly rewarding.
What inspires you?
For me it is a combination of great people and quality technology, with people being the higher priority. The emphasis on people shows that we have a workplace, which is fun to be around despite the pressure of complex technical problems and deadlines. It’s a bonus that the technologies we select to partner with are inspiring and all have compelling and often unique value propositions.
Do you have any idols? Who are they and why?
My heroes are drawn from sport and movies. The stories of sporting icons like Greg Chappell (a cricket legend) and Michael Jordan inspire me. There are a few actors who I admire including Chevy Chase, Sean Connery and Robin Williams. They truly own the roles in which they are cast.
If there is one thing people should know about your industry, what would that be?
The field of complex and critical systems is a tough place to work because you need to understand a broad range of topics and deal with lots of people, both suppliers and customers. It is important to remember that the goal you are working towards is not technical per se. The goal is to help people achieve an outcome, which might be successful completion of a project or the commercial launch of a new product. This of course involves working with lots of cool technology, but is much broader than just technical because there are all kinds of business concerns woven in.
“Tools like xyzt.ai provide an important technical contribution because the insights they provide show companies where to focus their commercialisation efforts.“John Salerno, Managing Director of Dedicated Systems
What would you like to see differently in your industry?
Australians are great at coming up with ideas, but not always good at commercialising them. Historically, there has not been sufficient support for innovative individuals to bring their ideas to market. It has been great to see recent advancements in these initiatives, such as innovation grants and incubators. Tools like xyzt.ai provide an important technical contribution because the insights they provide show companies where to focus their commercialisation efforts.
How did you end up partnering with xyzt.ai? How did you get into contact with each other?
We have known the owners and key staff of xyzt.ai for many years. They have always demonstrated a high level of integrity and expertise, and have been fun to work with. Given this background, we had no hesitation in partnering with them in their new venture. Like most in our industry, we are seeing the massive amounts of data being generated by COTS hardware solutions which combine performance attributes with spatial location, an example being our work in vehicle data collection and transmission. Our relationship with the founders and position as a trusted reseller was an ideal foundation for partnering with xyzt.ai.
What makes xyzt.ai stand out to you? Why do you think its product is important for the industry?
There are two things that make xyzt.ai stand out, and both come from its unique architecture. Firstly, the platform can ingest a huge volume of data. Today everything is moving and generating data, and considering this data holistically – as a single data set, not discrete shards – is crucial for revealing trends. Secondly, the speed of the platform. Analysts and engineers are asked to achieve more in less time. Therefore, a platform that can interactively display answers to your questions in real-time is invaluable.
It’s always nice to end these interviews with something more about you. What are you passionate about outside of work?
I am currently mentoring small businesses as part of my role on the board of Entrepreneurs Organisation. I learn as much from this process as I believe I give to the companies.
If you could listen to only one music album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
A Kind of Magic, by Queen.