Oki begins to develop communication equipment
At the beginning of the 1970s, Oki's main exports were telecommunications systems to countries in the Middle East and over time, exports of telecommunications systems to Central and South American countries also gradually picked up. As a whole, Oki earned itself an excellent reputation overseas for producing quality work, although it had yet to embark upon the channel of individual product exportation, this was to follow.
Furthermore a great deal of progress was made in developing communications equipment with integrated electronic automatic exchange and information functions which saw the invention of the thermal-type facsimile for use with general telephone circuits.
In the same year that IBM Corp. began charging separately for hardware and software, Oki Electric established a software department. Until then the various separate divisions had been writing their own software. The two principle aims of integrating the software operations: (1) to improve efficiency by concentrating the software engineers in a single division; and (2) to raise the overall engineering level of the software.
A newspaper publisher who visited the Oki Data Communications Equipment Exhibition some time earlier in November 1972, was unusually interested in the print head of a thermal printer on display and later requested Oki Electric to develop a thermal-type facsimile machine. This provided Oki with the incentive to produce one utilizing a thermal head.
Oki launched the DP100 line printer as a peripheral for medium-size and smaller computers.
As a result of the facsimile developments made in 1972 the OKIFAX600 was delivered in 1974 when approximately 20 Japanese companies were competing in the domestic market.
Oki developed an electronic switching system called the KC series. It entered the private sector in 1974 when it was installed in the Fuji Bank Business Centre and went on sale in 1977 and received a great deal of popularity in Japan. Following its popularity Oki developed a multi-function electronic switching system called OMNIPAX. An entirely original system, it was developed using equipment already widely used in Oki Electric terminals. OMNIPAX made it possible to construct leased line networks connecting telephones, facsimiles, and data communications inside companies. Its broad appeal was for users concerned with cost saving and rationalising measures in the backdrop of the long-term recession following the first oil crisis.
Oki successfully established product superiority in the facsimile market with the introduction of the digital OKIFAX 7100 which went on sale in 1976. The product had unsurpassed high growth potential due to its ease of use and low operating costs. The thermal-type soon became `the' essential standard facsimile, used throughout the world.
After favorable sales in the US of the DP100 line printer Oki gained additional confidence in this arena which led to their resulting exportation across Europe. This significant move marked the first export of complete printer units to European countries.
Oki, realising the potential profit behind the export of single products to overseas markets went on to develop the serial impact dot matrix printer type MT100 teleprinter, boasting microprocessor control. This was subsequently exported to countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The latter made a fundamental contribution to the improved reputation overseas of products carrying the Oki brand.
Oki had already gained a strong reputation in the marketplace for its printing business and from 1979 onwards, printer exports to the US increased. This favourable turn can be directly attributed to Oki's introduction of the MICROLINE 80 at the National Computer Conference in New York City, the world's largest industry trade conference (June 1979). The model generated a great deal of attention at the show as this impact type dot printer was half the size of its competitors while still equaling the level of performance.