Ian Oppermann is first to admit that his new foray isn't exactly a household name - but he believes that could be just a matter of time.

The former director of CSIRO's Digital Productivity and Services flagship - a $44 million a year digital economy research effort - is now CEO of RoZetta Technology, a homegrown big data firm.

"One of the things that really surprised me about RoZetta is that there's a company down at The Rocks [in Sydney] with 80-odd people that no one has ever heard of," Oppermann tells Information Age on the sidelines of the CeBIT 2015 conference.

"It's an amazing Australian success story and it has the potential and the reach to go completely global."

Although RoZetta is a fairly recent rebrand, the firm's previous name - Sirca Technology - perhaps also suffers a similar lack of recognition.

(It was, until November 2014, the technology arm of Sirca, a conglomerate of 30 Australian and New Zealand universities that provides products and services to aid academic research. Sirca remains RoZetta's parent company).

Oppermann was introduced to RoZetta while at CSIRO, where he was working on a more well-known project called Sense-T.

A collaboration with the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government, Sense-T is about using sensors in agricultural environments to collect data that can be used in decision-making - by everyone from governments to oyster farmers and vegetable growers.

CSIRO's interest in Sense-T was "in the wet science" of the project, according to Oppermann - including "coming up with new sensors, different models and different ways of engaging with the natural world".

"[CSIRO were] also interested in the "research part of the ICT components" backing Sense-T but went looking for a partner to handle what Oppermann calls the "middleware layer" in the Sense-T architecture.

"RoZetta found CSIRO," Oppermann said.

"I went for a partner meeting which became a CEO interview and I have to say it was an offer too good to be true so I said, 'Absolutely fantastic'."

Six months into Oppermann's tenure as CEO, the company has launched a pair of "toolsets" - Hercules for big data and Athena for analytics - and used last week's CeBIT technology trade show in Sydney to officially launch them into the market.

A version of these "toolsets" sits under all of RoZetta's existing deployments - in the agricultural and financial services markets - and Oppermann's hope is to see use of the toolsets expanded into adjacent industry sectors.

He sees transport, logistics and insurance sectors as particular targets. The toolsets would not be provided out-of-the-box but rather customised for use in these vertical industries.

"Typically in the big data space there's no such thing as a product that satisfies customer needs, so it's always going to have a strong component of customisation," Oppermann said.

"We're positioning Hercules and Athena really as toolsets that get you to market faster."

Back to its roots

Aside from finding an agricultural use, Hercules owes its roots to the financial services industry, where it was initially used to collate historical market trading data sets that academics used to develop algorithms and test their hypotheses.

"But then around about 10 years ago there was the introduction of algorithmic or high-frequency trading, and once you've got a high-frequency trading algorithm you need to backtest it," Oppermann said. "The best thing to backtest it on is historical market data."

The platform collects around two million records per second and about a terabyte of data per day. Its output is fed to hedge funds, algorithmic traders, regulators and to the academic community.