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SoundScapeIssue 0255making vehicle cylinder-liners for Ford Motor Company and that she knew Sir William (Bill) Batty well, president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders. A week later, after presenting to Sir William a portable demonstration knocked up on the kitchen table, I was presenting a live demonstration on a stand at the 1976 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court. The Brigade Electronics stand showcased a model cab simulator, with gears, wipers, stop lights, reverse lights and indicators which demonstrated the all important reversing manoeuvre. Its sound echoed all round Earls Court, attracting large numbers of delegates and press to the stand. Media attention climaxed with Judith Jackson from The Sunday Times giving a 15-column inch rave review which attracted a veritable fl ood of enquiries.Thus began a period of travelling the length and breadth of the country demonstrating the alarm to potential buyers. But after two years of not selling a single unit, though stalwart I was getting stressed about the future. As environmentalists will still tell you, appealing to social conscience and selling safety is no easy business.All or nothingTo grow, entrepreneurs and innovators have to know when to up the ante and gamble big. I knew this time had come when two years later things shifted up a gear and Peter Schotel, the MD of TTC (Truck and Trailer Components) a national distributor of automotive components, agreed to meet me. This was a one shot deal and I needed to make an impression. Forever the risk-taker, I hired a prized Rolls Royce for the trip to Rugby, because, as any good salesman knows: in order to make a fortune, you need to pretend you already have one! With everything to play for and undeterred by the usual client brush-off techniques, I managed to get Schotel into the carpark to see the demonstration alarm, which, coincidentally, was neatly packaged in the boot of the roller! Suitably impressed, and looking for a ride in the Rolls, the client suggested lunch in a very expensive restaurant. As the stakes were rising, I kept one eye on the bill and the other on the potential prize. My double bluff paid off as that afternoon I drove away with a free lunch and a fuel-injected £10,000 fi rst order! This was the beginning of a lasting relationship with TTC which still remains one of Brigade's major distributors.The rest, as they say is history, and thanks to a full range of reverse-in-safety systems and the Health and Safety at Work Act our roads, mine and construction sites and depots are much safer places.Armed with just enthusiasm and a one-page leafl et, a chance meeting while travelling led to a live demo a week later at the 1976 Commercial Motor Show at Earls CourtBack up to the futureBy the 1990s the public began to complain of the constant 'beep-beep' sound of tonal reversing alarms and local governments were threatening to ban them. Most fortuitously, it was at this time that I came across a press article about an emergency evacuation alarm that used broadband sound (BBS) to guide escapees to the escape doors. This multi-frequency sound is instantly locatable by the listener (tonal sound bounces off hard surfaces, providing false directional clues). Developed by a professor at Leeds University, I went to meet her to see whether I could apply this groundbreaking technology to a reversing alarm. It could provide the vital safety benefi ts of locatability and the gentle but clearly audible Shhhh...Shhhh... Shhhh broadband sound which would put an end to the noise complaints resulting from the traditional 'beep beep' alarms. This was the birth of BBS reversing technology, and the beginning of a long relationship with the Noise Abatement Society, an association of great mutual support, co-operation and benefi t. Today Brigade has offi ces around the world, however, at the heart of all that we do our original purpose remains: helping bring to market schemes and technologies for a safer and quieter future.For more information visit reverseinsafety.co.uk

SoundScapeIssue 02 56