Knighted in 1999 for his contribution to electronics, company founder Sir Angus Tait lived and breathed radio communications all his working life.
Returning to New Zealand in 1947 he was soon in business designing and assembling mobile radios. This small enterprise was the forerunner of Tait Electronics Ltd, formed in 1969, in Christchurch, New Zealand, with a staff of 12 people.
From school he went into a radio store, before joining the RNZAF at the outbreak of World War II. He was then transferred to the RAF in England where he worked on airborne radar.
This team produced a new generation of lightweight compact mobile radios that secured a majority share of the New Zealand market within a few years.
An unswerving commitment to research and development enabled those initial products to be developed into the award-winning Miniphone series of mobile radios by the mid-1970s.
By its tenth anniversary, Tait had launched a range of portable radios and base stations, and was exporting over 25% of its production. The first wholly-owned subsidiary was opened in the UK in 1979.
The years immediately following saw further subsidiaries established in the USA and Singapore, and the first of many export awards. The new series of synthesised Miniphones and the new range of T300 base station equipment were released around this time.
After a move to a larger manufacturing facility, the T500 series of mobile radios was released in the early 1980s. The success of the T500 triggered major new investment in advanced production technology and the opening of a fourth subsidiary in Australia.
Tait maintained this momentum, in terms of both innovation and growth, and in the mid-1980s a key strategic decision was made to move into trunking technology. Substantial investment followed in a broad range of trunked products and TaitNet systems based on the MPT 1327 standard.
The acclaimed T800 series of modular base station and repeater equipment was on the market by 1990. In that year, the T700 series appeared and two years later advanced SMD techniques saw the release of the new generation T2000 mobile radios.
Additional offshore subsidiaries were opened and in 1993, the T3000 series of hand-portables and the Quasi-Sync base station/repeater systems were introduced, followed in 1994 by a family of rural telephone products.
The first in a series of mobile data despatch products for use with the T2000 radios was also launched in 1994. That range now includes sophisticated mobile data solutions including Automatic Vehicle Location, using GPS, and the use of electronic fund transfer terminals in vehicles.
The momentum of mobile radio development continued, and in late 1996 the T3000 Series II, an enhanced version of the popular portable series, went to market. Early 1997 Tait's top selling T2000 range was also updated with the launch of the T2000 Series II.
In 1998 Tait released its most sophisticated portable radio range, the Tait Orca series, the product of advanced software design and a highly automated manufacturing process. Additional base station and system enhancements followed, including the cost-effective T1810 single-site trunked channel controller, before the release of Tait's portable radio range, the Tait Orca 5000.
In 2003, Tait celebrated the release of the 8000 tier of base stations and mobiles, which replaced the T800 base station and T2000 mobile. In 2008, the new TP8100 replaced the Orca as a formidably tough portable radio.
Tait entered the digital era with its 9000 tier of P25 radios and network solutions. Based on open standards and open interfaces, Tait digital equipment is truly interoperable; offering choice and value for buyers.
In August 2007, Sir Angus Tait passed away at the age of 88. His legacy is carried on by the business he created, which continues to contribute to its employees, the community and our clients.
Where we are today
Tait launched its DMR Tier 3 platform in 2012, which features spectrum doubling capacity, improved voice and coverage, data and automatic vehicle location. The same year saw the release of P25 Phase Two.
Tait is growing its expertise in software and services to complement the design and manufacture of radio hardware we're famous for. Today, services makes up around 25% of revenue and Tait is focused on developing software solutions that integrate with its radio platforms to deliver added value to our clients.
The last few years have been driven by innovative new solutions. 2013, Tait partnered with Zephyr to co-create BioLink, a physiological monitoring device that helps ensure workers safety. In 2014, Tait went to market with GridLink, a distribution automation solution for utilities, as well as the Tait Enable suite of network tools management tools. In 2016 we introduced the world to UnifyVoice, our PTToC solution. And 2016 saw the release of UnifyVehicle, which creates a vehicle area network, improving connectivity and processing power in our mobile radios.
Today, Tait has offices in six countries and a network of distributors and dealers in another 150 nations. In 2016, we announced a partnership with Harris Corporation to be our sole distributer in North America. We employ over 650 people around the world and export around 95% of products from our Christchurch, New Zealand base.