Nothing augmented about reality of WA tech awards

22/06/2015 - 06:17

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The Incite awards showcase that the state is putting its brainpower to work in the technology sphere with great success.

WIZARDRY: Becky Tunks' Virtualiis app displays what a building will look like at an upcoming construction project. Photo: Attila Casszar

The Incite awards showcase that the state is putting its brainpower to work in the technology sphere with great success.

An application that uses augmented reality to view advertising as a 3D walkthrough, and a product that picks up spare network capacity to cut the cost of roaming mobile calls were among the winners at last week’s WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance Incite awards.

Virtualiis, which won the startup category, can be used to display products in 3D on a mobile device after scanning an electronic marker.

An example would be an apartment development, where a potential buyer walking past prior to commencement of construction would scan a small code on a sign and be able to view the future complex in three dimensions on their phone or tablet.

In a tight race, Virtualiis won its category because founder Becky Tunks (nee Lee) is already commercialising the app, according to category judge (and Business News chief executive) Charlie Gunningham.

“What I was impressed with … when she came and did her presentation, it’s the way she’s commercialised it and she’s thought out of the box,” Mr Gunningham said.

“And it’s got so many applications in advertising, beyond property.

“A council, if they’re going to develop a shopping strip, could get the Virtualiis software to show people what it’s going to look like when finished.”

Ms Lee funded the startup from the deposit she had been saving for her first home.

Mr Gunningham said the two other category finalists, Tap into Safety and Today We Learned, were worthy finalists and offered excellent presentations to the panel.

However, augmented reality was in vogue in the technology industry, he said.

“Collaborative consumption, the sharing economy, Uber, AirBnB, that’s a big trend; augmented reality is another big trend,” Mr Gunningham said.

“As is wearable tech.”

Roaming

Another winner, Norwood Systems, is representative of the sharing economy trend.

The company, which has created the WorldPhone product to cut call costs for travellers, won the Incite development award and the society award.

Its product, which it said would disrupt the personal cellular roaming experience, uses spare network capacity in mobile networks to provide a lower service cost.

White Knight Business Consulting principal and chief judge, Bob Cross, said Norwood had a very competitive product.

“Norwood were a major winner last year, and they did it with a corporate offering,” Mr Cross said.

He said this year it had a product, similar to Viber, but not relying on the same back-end systems, voice over internet protocol (Voip), such as in Viber’s case.

Business News reported last week that Norwood had undertaken a backdoor listing on the ASX through Monteray Mining, and enjoyed a strong opening day of trading, up almost 50 cents a share.

Another major winner was Radlink, in the regions and industry category.

Mr Cross said the Malaga-based business had developed wireless technology that reduced costs and improved safety on mine sites.

Where a traditional WiFi system might be prohibitively expensive on a large site, Radlink has developed a product that enables remote control of devices around the mine site.

Other winners included government award winners Ajilon Australia and WA Police for the Mobile HQ product, and services award winner Health Engine.

Curtin University student Anthony Phan won the student award for his design of a robotic hand exoskeleton.

Some of the industry’s high-achieving professionals were acknowledged too, including Landgate chief information officer David Dans, entrepreneur Clinton House, and Radlink Communications chief engineer Simon Chan.

Mr Dans has worked in the IT industry since 1984 and held leadership roles in several leading IT organisations, while Mr House created his Inhouse Group business in 2009.

Inhouse uses a tool, called iinsights, for offline bricks-and-mortar businesses to derive real-time intelligence on walk-by visitors’ potential, engagement, conversion, and loyalty.

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