Five minutes with Adam Forsyth, CTO of TZ

We spoke to Adam Forsyth CTO of TZ, an Australian start-up at the forefront of electronic locking device development and one of our newer residents at the Oxford Centre for Innovation.

As Adam says, “TZ is a 20-year old start-up” that has just set up office in the UK. It all began in the early 2000s with TZ 1.0, an R&D business focusing on solid state locking systems with over 130 registered patents. Their intelligent, remotely-actuated locking devices were deployed in aerospace and they worked for clients like Boeing and Airbus.

TZ 2.0 commercialised their patented ideas to develop intelligent lockers and locking systems for the Apples and Googles of this world as well as “government bodies with long acronyms” says Adam. The resulting patents in this phase were mainly around device design.

TZ 3.0, started in 2017, integrates and solves process problems for organisations requiring complex locking systems. As Adam explains, “we are now a smart solutions provider – evolving the technology to develop the software and electronics between different locking systems to create an integrated, high availability system.” Their applications are used in retail, industry, health, the workplace and homes too. The internet of things (IoT) will enable virtually all objects around us to exchange information and work in synergy. TZ 3.0 is at the forefront of this development with their smart locking devices and their aim is to become the global leader in intelligent locking technology.

Unlike conventional electronic locks, TZ’s SMArt devices use shape memory alloys (SMA) which allow for innovative design and packaging. If you want to get into the detail, they breakdown into rotary, flex and linear actuations. Their leading locking device is the TZ Radial but they also produce the TZ Beamlock for indoor applications. Their intelligent CabLock is intended to replace conventional cabinet locks and they have a number of designs for data centre cabinet security. With national compliance mandates for greater levels of data protection, IT and security managers are increasingly having to look for new levels of security so this is definitely an expanding market.

The company started in Brisbane, Australia and the name TZ is an abbreviation of “tele” meaning remote and “zygology” latching or fastening. Adam joined in 2016 as Chief Technology Officer (or as he likes to say “head of skunk works”) and now runs the European business from a large swivelly chair in our Oxford Centre for Innovation. TZ has 65 employees based in Australia, America, Singapore and now the UK too. As Adam says, “we like to employ people who think out of the box” and their team have amazing job titles like ”mechatronics engineer” – that’s a mashing of electronics and mechanics to you and me.

TZ is currently working on a growing number of locker solutions for university, commercial and retail projects. Their business model is based on developing new solutions in collaboration with key clients which TZ then commercialise and market worldwide. They now have over 300,000 of their SMArt devices deployed around the globe.

We are pleased to welcome them to the Oxford Centre for Innovation. For more information about TZ, see here. For more information about the Oxford Centre for Innovation, see OCFI and for information on sister centre the Wood Centre for Innovation, see WCFI.