Downes Group at cutting edge of AR

AUGMENTED reality (AR) is about to metamorphosise the surveying industry and Queensland Leaders 2016 executive member, Downes Group, is at the sharp end of its adoption.Downes Group is as the cutting edge of using augmented reality to make a quantum leap in surveying.

“Surveyors are spatial data experts,” Downes Group operations manager Tony Vella said.

“We work in centimetre accurate GPS, robotic and scanning environments. Innovations in emerging spatial and measurement technology are where our industry leaders are found.

“At Downes, we see that (AR) devices – headsets, tablets, and glasses – may soon allow us to access real time professional data as we move and work, bolstering quality management in field,” Mr Vella said.

Mr Vella said state governments across Australia were developing strategy for an augmented reality vision of land data management. 

“As this vison becomes real, what we as surveyors do in the field will be very different to how we work now,” he said.

“Live real time reality, enhanced by computer aided technology, is about to burst into our lives professionally and socially,” Mr Vella said. “Think Tony Stark, Iron Man, the super intelligent flying suit – that’s augmented reality.

“Interpretive sight and sound sensory tech with you live assisted by ‘spatially accurate’ GPS (global positioning systems),” Mr Vella said was Downes Group’s vision for future surveying in the future.

He said AR was not to be confused with virtual reality (VR), where reality is replaced. AR lays useful information across the top of real views.

“Augmented reality has potential across many industries including education, medical, search and rescue, sports and entertainment, marketing, tourism, mining, the list is endless,” Mr Vella said.

 “We utilise cutting edge technology now, like our 12d modelling software, our robotic and GPS/GNSS equipment, but this alone does not equal success.”

Downes Group said there were many factors beyond the technologies they have developed that drive the company’s success.

“So what else helps us succeed? Our internationally accredited Integrated Management System does,” Mr Vella said.

“Ensuring seamless quality spatial data and communication does. Good response times, continuous improvement, and our titling and consulting expertise does too. 

“Our passion for the delivery of outstanding results for our clients is essential,” Mr Vella said.

“This all allows us to work across the development industry, assist design of state roads and national infrastructure projects, spatially control construction projects, work with all levels of government, and do what we do.”


Entrepreneurs on board with entrepreneurs

THE lack of business confidence evident across Australia is a likely result of indecision from business leaders and lack of skilled support for true entrepreneurs.

That is the view of Louise Broekman, founder of the Advisory Board Centre, who realised through her own business experiences that the wisdom and support of a well-chosen board could positively transform a business.Louise Broekman

Having established an advisory board for her own business, the advisory board concept grew organically and now has more than 135 offices in 8 markets.

“The advisory board changed my business and my life,” Ms Broekman said.

“Since 2012 we have developed and implemented advisory board models into businesses, achieving significant results.” 

Ms Broekman said today’s business leaders were striving to find access to current ground-breaking thinking that can help their businesses elevate to the next level. 

“They’re demanding innovative, cutting-edge business intelligence and strategic insights from the very best minds,” Ms Broekman said. “They want deep engaged partnerships based on mutual respect and committed two-way support over the long-term.  Long term confidential partnerships with other entrepreneurs who are current in the market can be that ground-break they need.

“That’s exactly why the Advisory Board Centre was founded.”

The Advisory Board Centre aims to meet this need at a new level. Ms Broekman said consultants traditionally engaged on a project basis, Accountants and lawyers react to deadlines or crisis and traditional boards manage risk and governance at the big end of town. 

“Directors can be paralysed by the threat of personal risk when making decisions around filtered information,” Ms Broekman said. “Governance boards can struggle to be relevant in changing commercial environments.

“Traditionally advisory boards have been adhoc and inconsistent. Real value from an advisory board comes from structure, facilitation and access to quality-committed advisors selected specifically for the priorities and needs of a business.”

Ms Broekman said declining business confidence in Australia was largely a result of boards and business leaders not making confident decisions.

A shocking fact was that number of businesses in Australia that employed more than 20 people had declined. 

“It is one indicator of businesses’ lack of confidence, right-sizing their businesses and reducing their risk,” Ms Broekman said. “In times of uncertainty, this is prudent.  If, however, these same entrepreneurs were supported in the right way, significant value may be either unlocked or created with a high level of economic impact.”

The Advisory Board Centre has developed as a network of certified chairs, approved advisors and recognised experts.  It is a community of like-minded business professionals working together and using a common methodology to support entrepreneurs in building greater value in their businesses.

Ms Broekman said the Advisory Board Centre was recruiting for entrepreneurs who want to give back and build a board portfolio.

The Advisory Board Centre is a Queensland Leaders Executive Member.


TechnologyOne floats higher on the ‘cloud’

ENTERPRISE software innovator TechnologyOne is reaping the benefits of its ‘cloud first’ approach to meeting the needs of its customers, exceeding expectations when it recently announced strong half-year global licence fee growth and profit results to the market.

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:TNE) listed TechnologyOne reaffirmed its mantle as  Australia’s largest and most innovative enterprise software company, announcing half-year revenue up 13 percent, profits before tax (PBT) up 10 percent, and research and development (R&D) up nine percent. Excluding the impact of the company’s Evolve customer conference, which gathers staff and clients from all over the world every three years, PBT would have been up 41 percent.

TechnologyOne Cloud Services fees continued to grow strongly in the half, with annual contract value (ACV) now $19.9 million, recurring each year, up from $10.3 million, an increase of more than 93 percent over last year. As at March 31, 2017, there were 199 customers committed to the TechnologyOne Cloud.

“We are on track to achieve ACV of $28 million by financial year end,” a TechnologyOne report highlighted. “We expect this strong momentum to continue in the years to come and this business to generate ACV of $143 million of annual recurring revenue by 2022.”Adrian Di Marco

An important goal for TechnologyOne in recent years has been to move away from perpetual licences and to move new business to subscription licences, to create a strong longer term annuity business.

“This half we achieved over 80 percent of all new business being subscription licences,” a TechnologyOne spokesman said.

A major factor in TechnologyOne’s success, from founder and executive chairman Adrian Di Marco’s first day – and increasingly as it operates through offices across six countries – has been its deep focus on R&D.

TechnologyOne continues to invest heavily in R&D, spending $23.6 million for the half year, an increase of 9 percent.  

“R&D represents 21 percent of revenue, outstripping our competitors’ average spend of 12 percent of revenue,” the spokesman said.

TechnologyOne is Australia’s largest enterprise software company and one of Australia's top 200 ASX-listed companies – and a founding and ongoing Industry Partner with Queensland Leaders.

The company participates in only eight key markets: government, local government, financial services, education, health and community services, asset intensive industries, project intensive industries and corporates. Within those markets TechnologyOne develops and supports its preconfigured enterprise solutions which reduce time, cost and risk for customers.

“For 30 years, we have been providing our customers enterprise software that evolves and adapts to new and emerging technologies, allowing them to focus on their business and not technology,” Mr Di Marco said. “Today, our software is available on the TechnologyOne Cloud and across smart mobile devices.”


Telstra takes digital initiative

QUEENSLAND LEADERS Industry Partner, Telstra has won in international IDG Enterprise Digital Edge 50 award for leadership in digital commerce.

The award specifically acclaimed Telstra’s 24x7 customer self-care app which allows customers to select their own on-demand service mix, control their mobile account in real-time, and manage budgets and data consumption. The app is based on digital management software technology developed by US-based Matrixx Software.

This app won the award because it allowed Telstra to service its customers in the same way as big digital brands, and is a result of Telstra’s early adopter strategy to become one of the world’s first digital full service providers. 

In 2011, Telstra launched its ‘Digital First’ strategy, priming the business for the on-demand economy by providing customers with the Telstra 24x7 for personalised shopping, customer support and account management.

Since the launch of the strategy, data average revenue per user (ARPU) has grown several percentage points, and 58 percent of all customer transactions are now conducted through digital channels.

Telstra has said its strategy continues to make impressive steps with data service monetisation and improving net promoter system (NPS) scores through greater customer satisfaction.

“Telstra continues to be ahead of their market because they aggressively challenged themselves to reinvent the customer experience,” said Matrixx Software founder and vice president of marketing Jennifer Kyriakakis.

“They now own some of the most satisfied customers in the market, growing revenue for the company and pointing the way to further digital dividends.”

Ms Kyriakakis  said Matrixx enabled real-time customer engagement so Telstra could “deliver a superior experience to all their customers by enabling the purchase of products and services, account management and support features on-demand, 24-hours a day”.

“The result is a new brand of customer service that has turned neutral consumers into brand advocates,” she said. “Across the industry, these customers are happier, more loyal and have a deeper trust in their service provider. They are worth more in terms of net spend, buy more products, and recommend Telstra to their family and social networks.”

The Digital Edge awards are judged by a panel of IT and business executives, based on innovation. Global winners are selected based on highly significant projects, impressive business results and superior collaboration among stakeholders.

Award recognition came at the AGENDA17 conference and awards gala on March 20-22, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.


EXTRA >> Sources: Telstra annual report, 2014.  Telstra annual report, 2016 (PDF page 10).

Read more about Telstra’s Digital First strategy here.