Hi I’m RB from allaboutairsoft.com here with Mark from BL, bringing you infos about the guys behind B.L. Tech NZ
and one of the most talked about new developments in the Airsoft market today. First of all thanks a lot to B.L. Tech for this opportunity to conduct this interview and giving us an insight into the company, products and people that will hopefully make this dream a reality.
Who are the people behind the company?
Shane and Mark, two brothers who are very passionate airsoft players.
Are the staff regular airsoft players and how is the overall scene in New Zealand?
We have been playing airsoft for the past three years and had no idea how big Airsoft was in NZ and around the world until we were introduced to it. Once in, it suddenly become apparent to us how big Airsoft really is.
How many guys are involved on the gun sound simulator project?
Just the two of us, but we have had some fantastic help from those around us. We’ve been working with various businesses and people to assist us with the development of the project.
Who came up with the idea of gun sound simulator?
We both knew very soon after we started playing airsoft that the sound was a serious element missing from Airsoft. However, we weren’t exactly sure how the sound could be produced to sound authentic. After some trials and experimentation over a year and a half, we ended up at the point we are at now.
How long did it take you to produce a working and functional prototype? How much research was put into the simulator? What processes were involved?
We have put a huge amount of time into this project outside of work and weekends. We’ve essentially been working a 60-70 hour week (including working our full time jobs) each week for the past year and a half testing and developing the product. We did a lot of research using our knowledge in programming and engineering into how we could make the product sound like a real gun; that was the mammoth task. We also did some field trials to gauge reactions and feedback from airsoft users and made some modifications based on those trials. Then we released our video onto the web and it went viral, which we really didn’t expect!
I understand BL TECH is the one of first companies with plans to commercialize a realistic gun sound simulator for Airsoft use. Where did you get your inspirations from for this product?
Commercialisation only really occurred once we revealed it to Auckland airsoft players and seeing their reaction, also when we added up the amount of money we had invested and we needed to recuperate it.
Since you have introduced it via your youtube videos to the Airsoft community, what was the response you received? Does it put a lot of pressure on you to deliver this to them now?
We have received a huge amount of feedback, which at first we were totally blown away by, but at the same time really excited as it proved to us that our product was something that would be viable in the airsoft market. It’s certainly put a lot of pressure on us to deliver!
99.9% of the feedback has been positive with some concerns which we also think are well justified and need to be seriously looked at. It may be a good time to review them now to prevent any further harm to the sport even without owning a sound simulator. We have strong views that in order to own an airsoft gun, the user should be registered to a club. This will help airsoft clubs and weed out owners who just want the share thrill of owning a replica weapon which often leads to miss-use.
What are your other product lines, aside from gun simulator? Please give us a brief description of each and if you plan to expand that selection in the future or solely concentrate on the simulator?
Funny enough, our very first challenge was to place a quick spring change system on the ICS SIG range as it’s a very popular gun here in NZ for CQB use. The challenge was set and we achieved it, however installation is rather labour intensive but once installed, the spring can be swapped out in seconds.
The next challenge was the sound simulator and we have come a long way with this. I’m sure we will find other areas of airsoft to invent in order to make the game that much better.
Which major export markets have you planned to sell it to once the R&D is completed?
It’s hard to say at this point as each county will have its own set of compliance issues to overcome but we would think the US and UK will be some of the first markets pending what restriction we come up against.
If I am an airsoft retailer, what will the requirements be to become a distributor of your products or will you perhaps sell the license to a major manufacturer?
It’s too early to tell at this stage. Right now our focus is to produce a reliable product in multiple form factors to suit the majority of users.
How long will it take you to complete the R&D and have a product ready for the market and which other products do you have in the pipeline?
We are going as fast as we can, it will be the red tape that will hold things up. We are hoping to be able to get the gun sound simulator onto airsofters guns in 2014.
Thanks to Mark and Shane from B.L. Tech!
We were lucky to get Mark on the phone recently and spoke in depth about their product and company,
Which we will release very soon at allaboutairsoft.com!