Rob Gamlin is a former electronics and software engineer who turned his passion for technology into a thriving business. His company, Strongbyte, has invented a product that helps businesses supercharge team communications. VoCoVo is used by the likes of Tesco, Primark and Asda, enabling shop floor staff to stay in constant contact and provide the most efficient service. Beyond headsets, smart devices, call points and more, VoCoVo also harnesses data that can be used to drive further efficiencies.
Gamlin came up with the idea for the original product in 2003. “That year was monumental,” he says. “That was when we got an open invitation from a customer to work with them. I knew we were on the right track then.”
VoCoVo was borne out of understanding the challenges faced by retailers, who have been under increasing pressure in recent years. “We are a listening business,” says Gamlin. “But we also innovate. We knew we could do voice communication a million times better than it was being done. And, ultimately that is helping retailers to be more efficient, improve throughput and safety at the checkout, and provide great customer service.”
Strongbyte, which is based near Chipping Norton, has been focused on the UK market since inception but Gamlin reveals he is now setting his sights further afield. “International is a growing piece for us right now,” he says. “It is our intention to push even further into Europe, the States and Canada.”
He is also diversifying into new sectors, such as hospitality, and building even more innovation into his core product. VoCoVo can now integrate with all kinds of systems. Gamlin says: “Our ability to offer wider integration is now limitless because we chose that path, and engineered it for the future."
The company currently employs 40 people. Gamlin hopes that the entrepreneurial culture at Strongbyte will help others realise their potential. “We have a team of brilliant people here in Oxfordshire. They should feel there is no ceiling – glass or otherwise. I want to help empower that 'can do' approach.”
Gamlin has worked for himself since he was 22. “I’m unemployable,” he jokes. “But honestly I love the freedom this gives me.” He credits his drive and ambition to his upbringing. “I come from humble beginnings. We had no luxuries, but that teaches you a lot about values and self-determination.”
Gamlin’s only regret is that he didn’t start Strongbyte earlier. “I wish this had happened for me 10 years before,” he says. “Time is such a finite thing. You can’t scale time. I hope time allows me to continue to enjoy this and do many more things too.”