Edoardo Barzasi recalls the story of Comelit in the column “Geni Lombardi” of the Italian newspaper Libero
A very interesting interview of our CEO Edoardo Barzasi published in the column “Geni Lombardi” (“Lombard Genes”) of the Italian newspaper “Libero” (edited by journalist Dino Bondavalli). It talks about the story of Comelit, from the origins to the conquer of international markets.
Comelit Group, headquartered in the heart of the Orobie, is an international leader of video door entry systems. It created the world’s biggest system in Manhattan and systems in the most luxurious skyscrapers at every corner of the planet.
In 65 years of history, Comelit got from Rovetta, in the heart of Val Seriana (province of Bergamo) to New York and Singapore’s skyscrapers and more. Their technological solutions have revolutionised the video entry system sector and let them realize the world biggest system, the one that links StuyTown’s eleven thousand flats, a big residential area in Manhattan, to more than 110 towers and different surveillance stations. Yet, even though today Comelit Group has become an international industrial comapny with 750 employees, 17 branches all over Europe, US, Far East and Middle East and customers at every corner of the planet, the spirit and passion are still the ones of a family business, born in a garage, then reconverted in a bakery.
Early years and radio production from third-parties
Officially founded on the 28th June 1956 in Bergamo with the name: Compagnia Elettrica Italiana Srl, then shortened in Comelit, the business is actually run by the second generation of the founding families. “My father Giovanni and the other founders, family Lazzari and Guglielmo and Antonio Brasi, came from different experiences, but they all fell in love with the cause”, tells Edoardo Barzasi, the group’s CEO.
After the first years dedicated to the radio production by third party orders for the Italian business Prandoni, the partners thought that it would have been more strategic to specialize themselves in a product with a higher added value. Therefore, they decided to capitalize the expertise they matured until that moment to launch themselves in office intercom systems that made it possible to communicate on speaker between offices.
From origins to leadership
Thus began the fortunate adventure in a world that still nowadays sees Comelit as one of the leading brands on an international level. From there to the study of systems that were able to communicate between a house and the home gate, the peace was brief. And it was also accompanied by very unique strategic choices.
“We’ve always believed a lot in research and development, in the commercial approach and in customer service”, explains Barzasi. “From the production point of view, right from the beginning we’ve made a very particular choice by relying on partnerships with businesses already having a very high know-how given that today we are creating systems that are just complex like a smartphone”.
That strategy has been really effective. So much that, thanks to the possibility to rely on research, between the end of the 80s and early 90s, the group was protagonist of a revolutionary innovation.
The idea that revolutionised video door entry systems
“We were the first in Europe applying a digital technology to video door entry systems in an era in which they were still analogues. If until that moment the transmission was based with an axial cable that distributed the signal and a copper wire that was connected to each flat, our solution made it possible to build up a plant for 100 apartments with just two wires”, recalls the CEO.
A technical detail that, practically speaking, meant that we would have been able even to install video entry systems in all the buildings of the 50s and 60s, in which cable channels didn’t let such a thick cable like the coassial one pass. In other words, news brought to a completely new market made up by millions of buildings in all Europe and it created the basis for projects of unthinkable dimensions, like the ones realized for Stuy Town complex in New York or in the luxurious skyscrapers at every corner of the planet.
The conquer of international market
An additional period of development was during the early 2000s “when we focused on the expansion abroad with the creation of commercial offices”, goes on Barzasi. “Thanks to the big effort, now the 70% of revenues comes from international markets”. A strategic choice that, associated with the willingness to innovate, lets Comelit, nowadays specialized even in videosurveillance, antiburglar, access control, fire detection and home automation systems, to handle the competition with the biggest multinational groups. And to give importance to Made in Italy in a highly competitive technological sector.