The world of communications has changed a lot in the past 40 years, but Canada’s Jannatec Technologies remains a leader in providing safety solutions and service to mining and other sectors.
Soon after the company was founded in 1983, Jannatec released its first product, an innovative Radio Cap Lamp solution. Known as the Johnny Light, the combined lamp/radio remains a best-seller, incorporating the next radio offering from telecommunications giant Motorola being released in mid-2023.
A platform integrating a radio, proximity system, and third-party Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip, it was Jannatec’s first Internet of Things (IoT) device long before the term ‘IoT’ was widely used in the mining community.
Today, the Johnny Light works hand-in-hand with Jannatec’s vehicle platform to create a safe and proven system to safeguard personnel and vehicles.
Continually growing its product line, Jannatec has emerged as one of the world’s foremost mining safety technology specialists. Besides a range of smart helmets and cap lamps, collision avoidance systems, communications devices, and Mesh intercom products from Sena Industrial, the company is becoming known for its SmartView line.
Described by Jannatec as “the most advanced underground wireless communication system (in mining), SmartView enables mining and other industries the ability to monitor their equipment in real time, enhance worker safety, and help achieve a solid return on investment.
“Our SmartView platform is where the company is going in the future; that is the driver for us,” says Rey Boucher, who was recently promoted to President, with Jannatec’s co-founder Wayne Ablitt becoming Chief Executive Officer.
For customers, SmartView is ‘evergreen,’ suggesting it will have lasting appeal, and other products can be easily incorporated, such as a vehicle backup camera, proximity system, or other modules which have value propositions. With five existing modules, the company has plans for future modules which can be sold alone or integrated with SmartView.
“Jannatec has many new solutions that can work autonomously, or be added to the SmartView platform, such as tire pressure monitoring, fatigue management, and onboard weighing,” says Sales Manager Marc Brunet.
“We’re working on a SmartView 2.0 platform, which will be dockable, and we’ve been able to add to our Jannatec Advanced Warning System (JAWS) clientele list. We’re in conversation with many mines about how the implementation of a CAS system would look—like doing a traffic assessment before deployment—to minimize slowdowns or stoppages.”
Growth through acquisition
Seeking to expand Jannatec’s services and coverage saw the company acquire Hamilton, Ontario-based Mobile Communications Services Ltd. (MCS) last July, increasing its staff to 27. Previously, Jannatec had an office in Saskatchewan but closed it in favour of agents and dealers.
Recently, re-evaluating and refocusing Jannatec, part of the Schauenburg International Group, the team decided that growing by acquiring similar companies made more sense. “This allows us to have a springboard to sell all our wares, including the other product the company had before,” says Boucher.
The move is paying off, with the company expanding into Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, including Hamilton, Toronto, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls. The company also has plans to grow into mine-rich Sudbury, and expand its sales, service, and manufacturing capabilities.
“With Jannatec MCS, we’re expanding our B2B (business-to-business) into new customer segments and a new area,” says Ablitt. “We’re moving into the B2C (business-to-consumer) space, as until now our core business has been in the development and deployment of security and communications equipment for heavy industry, particularly mining in mines.
“With the new location in the Greater Toronto Area, we can reach new customers there in the industrial and service sectors and offer them our systems for collision avoidance as well as other communication solutions for distance measurement.”
A partner in MineConnect
For years, Jannatec has enjoyed an association with MineConnect, previously known as SAMSSA (Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association). The relationship has helped the company provide products to MineConnect USA, which is based in Elko, Nevada, and mining players worldwide.
Sudbury and Elko are home to multiple mines, making for a natural fit with mining-related service, supply, and solution companies like Jannatec wishing to connect to the American market. Additionally, Jannatec added a well-connected third-party representative to get out the word about the company’s many essential products.
“MineConnect has been great, giving us contacts and knowing about events going on that we should participate in,” says Brunet. “Last year was the first year of MineConnect USA’s existence, and we’ve been invited back for a second year.”
Having a presence at MineConnect USA’s headquarters in Elko, including an office and banners, is helping Jannatec enlarge its customer base and increase orders for its leading safety and communications technologies and products.
“It’s all about awareness,” says Boucher. “Nevada companies became aware of Jannatec. They were somewhat aware before, but it was basically B2B, and just happened through contacts. It was very difficult to work that way, but through MineConnect, they’re aware of us all the time.”
A mission of mining and more
Refocusing the company mission, the executive team at Jannatec plans to see the business grow fourfold. Firmly established in mining, Jannatec is eyeing sectors outside of its current vertical—including construction, paving, and shipyards—that can benefit from state-of-the-art safety solutions like SmartView, supported by the recent Jannatec MCS acquisition.
“We want to be that IoT company that’s there for communication safety in different verticals, and I think we’re well-placed in what we offer,” says Boucher.
Besides mining, many other industries will benefit from Jannatec’s products, such as tire pressure and temperature monitoring, which make work safer and can save customers time and money.
“It’s expensive to change a tire on a machine, so giving the operator that information, or having him relate it to the mechanic, makes sure no safety issues occur,” says Brunet. Tire monitoring is especially important when drivers are transporting heavy loads on roads.
To make hauling more efficient, Jannatec’s technology includes onboard weighing, so drivers don’t have to wait for a truck scale to know exactly how much they are moving. Through a small in-cab or Smartphone display, drivers can find out the precise weight of loads, even the amount per axle, so trucks can be loaded optimally and are not overweight.
“If you give permission to the loader, he can see your data and how much he’s put in a truck that’s equipped with the system,” says Boucher. “Anything that will help the operator and feed him data to make better decisions.”
Decades of innovation have seen Jannatec become the leader in safety communications for mining and other demanding sectors. Although they’re not mandated yet, the company hopes that one day Jannatec’s Johnny Light, SmartView, and other products will be required on mine sites.
“That would be the ideal outcome, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be our solutions in place,” says Boucher. “As long as it adds to the safe operation of equipment and workers are out of harm’s way, we’ll support any initiative brought in by mining governing bodies.”