INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
Imagine you are walking past shops after business hours and something in the shop window or real estate office catches your eye. You touch the outside of the window and find that you can instruct technology inside the business to provide you with the information that you require to make a decision. You can browse inventory, place an order, organize delivery and pay for it - all from outside the shop front.
Labyrinth’s new interactive technology is transforming retail precincts, real estate and retail customer buying experiences. The company now offers next-generation, customer-driven touch window technology that allows customers access to the most up-to-date information on products and services from outside the store, and then give delivery instructions and purchase.
Orewa based Labyrinth Solutions is the first Kiwi business to develop this high-level, through-glass technology allowing customers to browse, send enquiries and purchase goods from outside just by touching the glass on the storefront.
In addition, Labyrinth Solutions is developing two new exciting features that will make this technology far more intuitive. Their next development is facial recognition using monitor on-chip technology that will adjust the information displayed based on who is looking in the window and identify significant customer traits such as gender and age range, and then present related categories and options to the customer.
The second new development uses artificial intelligence (AI). Vaughan Reed, managing director of Labyrinth Solutions, envisages Labyrinth’s AI as being the ‘Siri’ of touch window technology. These new developments will provide a whole new innovative marketing platform for customers to experience.
Real estate and retail are booming industries and the Labyrinth has already captured major New Zealand real estate clients. They have recently completed a nationwide rollout of Labyrinth’s interactive and innovative technology.
Coherent Solutions makes amongst the world’s highest performing test and measurement instruments for high-speed optical communications for research labs and component manufacturers. What comes hand in hand with the world inter-networking is the need for immense data storage. The arrival of the Internet of Things brings Coherent Solution’s big opportunity. “There are huge data centres being built all over the world. Originally all of the connections in these data centres were electrical, but now they need to use optical connections, and each data centre has hundreds and thousands of fibre optical cables” Andy Stevens the CEO of Coherent Solutions, said in a statement.
“Each optical component, including the actual fibre-optic cable needs to be extensively tested during the manufacturing process in order to make sure it achieves the high specifications required for these applications. Our equipment can be used to support production testing along with being used extensively in the development of the technologies being developed for future data centres”.
The explosion of data centres around the globe means that Coherent Solutions is now on-track to surpass their five-year business objectives. The company initially grew organically, thanks to a small amount of capital that came from their first purchase order. Now five years on, Coherent is on track to becoming a $30M business. The company has established a very strong reputation in an expanding niche market and they are known across the world. Their five-star reputation has enabled the company to sign large, very successful, global clients and they now have customers in over 20 countries including North America, UK, Europe and China which is now their largest market.
Coherent Solutions has its headquarters located in Auckland North’s smart innovation district where the business is surrounded by a multitude of technology companies making a worldwide impact that Stevens says provides his team with the daily inspiration to be the best of the best in their industry. Their international team of engineers and developers has global experience, knowledge and capability and can build bespoke solutions backed by worldwide support and high-level customer service.
With the help of a Callaghan grant the company has successfully launched two new products in the last few months with two more products set to be put on the market in upcoming weeks. The high-tech, manufacturing, exporting company has the vision of becoming the world’s leading test and measurement company. Coherent Solutions is on their way to achieving that goal.
It has long been acknowledged that the government’s vision to make New Zealand’s digital network one of the most complete and fastest in the world depends on laying a completely new network of fibre optics that runs to every home and business across the country. Laying fibre optic cable in streets and connecting to buildings does not fully deliver on the government’s vision because the devices inside homes and businesses still use decades old technology between the users of data and the fibre optic network. Many of the huge benefits promised from using fibre optics can’t be delivered because data streaming is choked immediately on entering the building.
White Cell Networks (WCN) has created a solution to this problem at their Greenhithe innovation lab. Before Anthony Ardelean the CEO of WCN brought this optical technological solution to life, only a small number of people had full access to the wide-ranging benefits of fibre. Now everyone can have access to all of the benefits promised from the fibre optic network.
“I have taken a traditional technology and converted that into a very advanced platform that has then been simplified to a process that is easy for anybody to be able to assemble and connect themselves and see immediate increase in data speeds as high as 80%. In addition we have been able to keep our product at a level that is affordable to most of the population.”
What Anthony and his team at WCN have created is technology that will help increase business productivity within New Zealand wherever it is connected. The business also has a big opportunity in the global residential market where the everyday consumer uses technology for living, entertainment and working from home. With WCN’s innovative technology, the government’s vision for a high-speed internet connected nation is now possible.
The business is growing offshore and now has a regional office in Australia. WCN has customers in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and aims to push into the residential market in Australia, US, Canada and Europe over the next five years however the best place for WCN’s innovation laboratory and headquarters will be in Auckland North’s innovation district.
It is common knowledge that it is becoming more expensive to live and higher living costs have driven the need for two working incomes per household. Around the world an increasing number of children are being cared for during business hours and within rapidly growing industries comes different standards of childcare.
One Auckland North business has stepped back and taken a fresh look at the childcare industry. By listening to working parents concerns, aimy Plus (correct spelling) has identified gaps in the current childcare model. aimy Plus is creating a complete childcare platform that helps satisfy both parents concerns and their childcare centre’s needs. This 18 month old company is attracting attention. They have recently secured a contract with a large international firm, instantly putting their product in seven countries.
The CEO of aimy Plus Dean Payn says “Our passion is families and we’ve talked to many parents from many different cultures who all share the same childcare concerns. As busy parents ourselves, we wanted to improve how families are run within the society that we are creating”.
Dean, his business partner Ray Lu and their team, have designed this solution at their base in Albany. aimy Plus offers childcare providers a business management system where the entire childcare business can be run on one smart programme no matter how many centres the business runs. This software is integrated with a finder app for parents, allowing them to have easy access to an abundance of information about everything and anything childcare-related in their local community, becoming the ‘booking.com’ of childcare for parents.
A third exciting planned product is under development. Fambam is a secure, family social network. “We all know that it takes a village to raise a child. That village historically has consisted of parents, grandparents and family relatives. With parents working that village has expanded further. There’s the soccer coach, the dance teacher, the afterschool care teacher or perhaps the neighbour, and all are helping to raise your child. With Fambam you have a private and secure social network where parents have information over who is in your village with up to date information allowing more control” says Dean Payn. aimy Plus directors have recently demonstrated Fambam in China and there has been a high level of interest.
The thriving market of childcare has brought forth a big opportunity for aimy Plus and the business has experienced rapid growth. With their product now rolling out into seven countries and many more countries with expanding childcare services, this company’s vision and long-term objectives are very clear.
Abel Software specializes in enterprise resource planning software (ERP) that is fully scalable to suit mid-sized and growing businesses, through to multinational corporations. International customers are running Abel ERP in multiple languages and currencies across thirteen countries. Abel ERP provides integrated core business management software that allows businesses to manage and automate many functions such as manufacturing, distribution, and financials.
What sets Abel apart is its true scalability and its multi-database capability, enabling businesses to easily expand to multiple countries while maintaining a global view of their whole operation. This Kiwi grown innovation has created big opportunities for Abel Software. True to the vision of its co-founders Allan Baird and Jane Mattsen, Abel’s architecture has delivered a functionally rich, fully scalable and affordable product that provides a long-term solution for customers as they grow.
US based Alsco Inc., a global leader in textile rental services, originally chose Abel for its robust operational and financial capability, its ability to grow with the company’s requirements, and to manage all operations long-term. Fifteen years on, Alsco Inc continues to expand its use of Abel ERP, adopting new functionality within its U.S. and international operations. They now run over 150 databases in eleven countries that link to their corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Abel’s ERP software is also helping other mid-sized and growing businesses. Many of Abel’s customers are business innovators who are expanding internationally. Abel’s team understands the challenges of global expansion, and that makes Abel ERP an ideal choice to meet customers’ needs both now and in the future.
Abel Software was founded on Auckland’s North Shore in 1996, and they chose the Auckland North Innovation District for their company headquarters because it’s a good location to attract fresh talent and support their future plans. Abel’s vision and innovation is keeping them on track to become a $500 million business and a major global provider of ERP software.
Solutions Plus is one of many businesses within Auckland North that are enriched with the spirit of Kiwi innovation which is saving lives. The small business provides specialized healthcare software solutions in the maternity, gynecology, surgery and anesthesia sectors. Evidence of their visionary innovation can be seen in their achievements, from having their Gynecology Plus product installed in every hospital in New Zealand to contributing to New Zealand’s fine reputation for maternity care. Their well-proven products Gynecology Plus and Maternity Plus are spearheading their export drive. The company has established a large share of the NZ market and has recently become a serious competitor across the Tasman. Many Australian hospitals are choosing Solutions Plus to provide their operating software.
Carol and Malcolm Briggs, the directors of Solutions Plus, believe that their ability to be highly responsive to practitioners needs is what sets them apart from competitors. Their philosophy is end-user driven where the software is designed with immense detail in order to be intuitive to use.
This Kiwi innovation has introduced a huge opportunity in China. With the phasing out of China’s one-child policy occurring in 2015, there is now an urgent need for better maternity care for women and their babies. Solutions Plus is currently working with the Chinese company Qingdao HuiKang Midwifery Training School who searched the world and found Solutions Plus.
Together they have created the common objective to improve maternity care in China. “Our innovation is a key tool to improving maternity care in China as it is seen as bringing a deeper level of care where the woman and baby is looked after during and after pregnancy. “Our solution will play a big part in improving women’s healthcare in China”, said Malcolm Briggs. This pioneering partnership will be a health first in China and will aid in Solutions Plus’ mission to becoming a world leader in women’s healthcare solutions.
The business has seen the benefit of employing a diverse team. It was Solutions Plus’s own Mandarin speaking Dakuan Cui who realized that the initial enquiry from China was important. The Massey graduate then became the NZ/China interface as they pursued this huge opportunity. Solutions Plus have since added other Mandarin speaking graduates to their team.
Carol and Malcom Briggs, 4th and 5th from the left, with members of their team, partners and officials in China
Grow North articles are written by those who work closely with businesses, incubators, accelerators, academics, investors and business interest groups within the Auckland North Innovation Corridor.
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