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July 8, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Systems Designers Plc’s Finance and Communications group has a contract with British Telecom International for an X400-based store and forward messaging system, which the systems house will now market to public telecoms authorities, banks and large organisations worldwide. It also expects to announce a contract with another European PTT soon and the two deals are expected to amount to UKP1.2m. System 400 is an X400 kernel with application specific software surrounding it, designed to interface to other messaging systems, such as facsimile, telex, view-data and existing messaging standards, including the International Air Traffic Association-designed format, which Systems Designers says is the most commonly used standard for messaging today. The X400 kernel, incorporating user agent, message transfer agent and directory services is supplied by Sydney Development Ltd of Vancouver, Canada, which is now 30% British-owned with the company’s takeover of LDR Systems in 1986. Systems Designers is running the software on Tandem fault tolerant NonStop computers. The first packaged configurations are aimed at banks and the aeronautical market. System 400 starts at UKP250,000. British Telecom will use System 400 on its Primex service – a type of facilities management service it offers to its largest customers. ISDN links are now being developed for a European PTT, as well as a voice mail interface. Systems Designers expects the market for integrated messaging systems of this kind to be worth UKP1,000m by 1991. It reckons the communications side of its business is growing at 20% to 25% per year and suspects the market for X400-based integrated systems is growing even faster. Integrated messaging systems of this kind are not expected to overtake the telex market until 1988. British Telecom forecasts that there will be 166,000 telex subscribers in the UK by 1990 and that there will be 425,000 electronic mail subscribers by the end of 1991. Sydney Development’s list of customers includes Ferranti, ITL, Siemens, Olivetti, Nixdorf, Northern Telecom and the Canadian public telecoms authority, C&CP. Systems Designers finance and communications division deals with public telecoms authorities and commercial organisations. The company’s scientific division deals with government business, its industrial division deals with manufacturing organisations, process control and manufacturing automation, and its software technology division develops and distributes software tools and artificial intelligence products.

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