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How Vidicode was built on the success of programmable modems and sophisticated Call Recorders.

1983 - 1986 In the beginning

Vidicode started as a hobby project of Rik H.E.H. Eppens MSc. in 1983. He designed software for the Acorn BBC home computer such that it could be used as a terminal for Viditel (a system to retrieve information through a telephone line and display this information as text on a television). All a customer needed was this software and a modem. Within a year it became apparent that the PTT (importer of the modems) could not supply anymore and mr Eppens decided to start importing modems himself.

The next step was to put the software on an Eprom rather than a cassette tape. The business moved from the backroom to a small office and a student was hired to answer the telephone and send the packages to customers.

Several other modems, imported from the United Kingdom, were added to the program and business was really getting started. In 1986 Leo Gareman was hired as a sales man on a full time basis. Vidicode had become a real business.

Within a year three full time employees were importing modems, writing software and designing data acquisition and remote control equipment.

1987 - 1990 Argus

The business was now aimed on developing unique equipment for data communication. In 1987 the first Vidicode product was the “Intelligent Controller” a system for remote measurement and tuning.

In 1988 the “Argus Intelligent Controller” (data acquisition and remote control ) and the “Argus Communicator” (a mailbox in the days that very few people knew of the existence of the internet), were the next step.

Both products were stand-alone applications combined with a modem. The company was still depending on imported modems. The idea was born to develop a line of highly sophisticated modems that could be used as a front end to the computer. It took over two years to meet the specifications and design a housing.

1991 - 1995 Argus Text fax

Parallel to the development of modems, a multi line version of the “Argus Communicator” was built. In 1992 it was replaced by a network of joined intelligent modems that served as an electronic mail server.

Vidicode moved to a larger building in an industrial area and started its own production division. The modem market was booming. New applications emerged every day. With so many years of modem experience our modems had to be better than other products. The “Argus Programmable modem” had extra intelligence and could work as a front end to computers with limited capabillities for communication.

The most successful application was the “Argus Text Fax”. This modem could send text messages from a computer to a fax. In addition, the message could virtually be placed on the company’s stationary. The fax then looked just like any paper fax sent on an actual stationary. The Argus Text Fax, although developed in 1992, is still being sold in 2008.
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The ”Stentor”, a generic modem with professional features, was the top selling product at the time. In these days type specifications for modems were different in each country. Vidicode met the standards of several European countries. The EU however harmonized the standards in its countries. With that, the market became open to cheap modems from Asia and de USA.

 

1996 - 2000 Call Recorder

Vidicode almost hit rock bottom when the modem market collapsed and the new “Argus Call Recorder”, an application to “Argus Programmable Modem”, was not quite ready yet for a market launch.

Vidicode invested in developing several different voice and fax recording applications. As it turns out, this spreading, rather than specializing, rescued business for Vidicode.

Once released, the “Argus Call Recorder” was an overnight success. There were no comparable small recorders on the market. In the following years Vidicode has been profitable and growing. The concept of the Call Recorder has become more sophisticated over the years. The market for this type of Call Recorder is that of smaller businesses or smaller units of larger businesses. The largest Call Recorder Vidicode manufactures nowadays is one with 24 lines, of which of course any number can be in parallel to serve larger businesses.

1999 was the year of release of the first Network Fax Server. A logical next step after the success of the “Argus Text Fax” and a the success of the Call Recorder.  
With the success of the Call Recorder Vidicode set out to establish a network of distributers all over the world. In the beginning, with a limited product range, finding distributers abroad was hard, but over the years, as the product range matured, so did the distributers network and the trademark "Vidicode " was established.

Business was going so well that plans for a larger building were made in 1998 and in 2000 Vidicode moved to its new modern building.

2000 - 2008 Distributors in over 40 countries

In the past few years Vidicode introduced two new product lines. The “Business Recorder”, a high quality digital audio recorder equipped with hard disk, network, USB and CD, for business meetings, in 2006 and the “Voice Server”, an innovative voice response system for digital telephone lines in 2007. With the expansion of the product range it became easier to find distributers in different countries. At the moment Vidicode has distributers and partners in over 40 countries around the globe.

A new era

In March 2008, the founder of the company, Rik H.E.H. Eppens MSc. stepped back as owner/ director. In a combined management buy out, buy in, the company now has a staff of four owners,  two of whom stood at the cradle of the company. The new general director is Mr Jan Straver PhD.