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Senses Working Overtime: Optical Fibre Innovator Dr Mark Englund Receives 2022 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Announcement posted by Pearcey Foundation 31 Oct 2022

The Pearcey Foundation today announced founder and CEO of FiberSense, Dr Mark Englund, as the recipient of the 2022 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

Founded in 2015, FiberSense provides SONAR-like sensing capabilities to be switched on over existing optical fibre telecoms cables both on land and at sea. This SONAR sensitivity is continuous over the entire length of the cables, providing awareness of objects and events in the vicinity of the fibre cable infrastructure. Real time object and event data is delivered by location and time and is acquired by customers "as a service". The FiberSense service is being taken up by the world's most valuable companies including Amazon, Google and Meta.

The NSW Pearcey Awards recognise outstanding ICT professionals who have demonstrated innovation, taken risks, made a difference and are an inspiration to others in the industry and the wider community. Finalists for the award this year alongside Dr Mark Englund were Rupert Taylor-Price, Siobhan Savage, James and Robbie Ferguson, and Justus Hammer.

"Our judging committee was impressed by Mark's ability to leverage his own domain expertise both to commercialise deep technology and bring technology research to life. The solutions he and his team have developed at FiberSense are positively impacting society and inspiring technologists," said Benjamin Chong, partner at Right Click Capital and chair of the NSW Pearcey judging committee. 


Dr Mark Englund, BENG PHD MAICD 

Darwin-born and raised, Mark has always been fascinated with technology and in the last 20 years he has built two international deep tech businesses that have taken him around the world in areas like sonar, optical fibre networks, cloud, data centres and submarine cables.

An engineering graduate of Charles Darwin University, who says that he was "fortunate to have parents who promoted the value in education, thinking big and backing yourself", Mark relocated to Adelaide to work at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), before moving on again to Sydney to complete a PhD at the University of Sydney. Mark is now based in Sydney as the founder, executive director and CEO of multi award-winning sensing as a service company - FiberSense.

FiberSense has recently won a series of awards for its asset protection products in the 2022 CommsDay Edison Awards and the peak telecoms industry annual Acomm Awards. FiberSense was runner-up for Best Subsea Innovation at the 2022 Global Carrier Awards. FiberSense has also released functionality that can identify speeding vehicles, earthquake early warning alerts and high-resolution seismic measurement and tsunami detection. Mark and the FiberSense team have raised a total of $55 million in funding from high profile US and Australian investors, including Bevan Slattery. FiberSense has grown rapidly and is valued today at around $250 million with teams and deployments across 15 cities and 8 countries.

FibreSense recently announced a three-month field trial with nbn® exploring the use of FiberSense DigitalAsset sensing services to detect certain vibrational frequencies on fibre, along with artificial intelligence to determine whether the activities causing those vibrations are likely to cause accidental damage. 

"We are thrilled by the rapid growth in demand for our sensing capability amongst telecoms operators. The nbn trial marks a further step forward in meeting our aspirations to scale globally.  We aim to be operating on all the world's preeminent fibre networks and Australia's nbn is certainly recognised as one of the 'best of the best' amongst other national operators," said Mark.   

Mark's first business, founded in 2001, developed and manufactured novel optical filtering technology that enabled both terrestrial and submarine telecoms cables to function over very long distances. The company was acquired by the US submarine telecom cable supplier TE SubCom in 2010. 

Mark has also been a mentor to first-time start up founders and undergraduate engineering students over the years. His commitment to rewarding high-quality academic achievement is seen directly in the almost 20% of the FiberSense team having masters or PhD qualifications. Mark's passion for commercialising the opportunities arising from focused research is notable.

For more information about previous NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipients, go to https://pearcey.org.au/nsw.

Other State Awards

ACT Awards: the ACT Award was presented to Instaclustr co-founders Ben Bromhead and Adam Zegelin at an event in Canberra. See the full announcement at: https://prwire.com.au/pr/105462/delivering-more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts-instaclustr-co-founders-ben-bromhead-and-adam-zegelin-receive-2022-act-chief-ministers-pearcey-entrepreneur-award.

QLD Awards: Rebecca McDonald, founder and CEO of Library for All, and Sarah-Jane Peterschlingmann, managing director and owner of ATech, were announced as joint recipients of the 2022 Queensland ICT Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The original press release is at https://prwire.com.au/pr/105489/2022-queensland-pearcey-ict-entrepreneur-award-recognises-two-award-winning-female-entrepreneurs.

South Australian Awards: nominations can be submitted at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/nominations/state-nomination-form.

Tasmanian Awards: held in conjunction with the national awards, the Tasmanian Awards are on 11 November 2022. Nominations can be submitted at https://www.pearcey.org.au/awards/nominations/state-nomination-form.

Jason Lohrey, CEO and founder of Arcitecta was announced as the 2022 Pearcey Victorian Entrepreneur Award at an event in Melbourne that also featured the 2022 Pearcey Oration, which was given by The Honourable Ed Husic MP, Federal Minister for Industry and Science. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/105051/technology-achievement-inspired-by-the-arts-arcitectas-jason-lohrey-receives-the-2022-pearcey-victorian-entrepreneur-award.

The 2022 Western Australian Pearcey Award was presented to Global Drone Solutions' Mahmood Hussein as part of the 31st WAITTA Incite Awards on Friday 12 August 2022. More information here: https://prwire.com.au/pr/104607/global-drone-solutions-mahmood-hussein-top-gun-in-western-australian-pearcey-awards.

National Pearcey Awards

The recipients of the prestigious 2022 Pearcey National Awards - including the Pearcey Medal, Hall of Fame and National Entrepreneur Award - will be announced at the TasICT Gala Dinner in Hobart on Friday 11 November. More information on the event and registration details can be found at https://www.tasict.com.au/event/2022-gala-dinner.


About the Pearcey Foundation

The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past, present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global, high technology sectors of our nation.

Web: www.pearcey.org.au

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