INNOVATION in action is what high-technology communications developer EM Solutions is all about.

Every step of the way, this Queensland-based company has made the most of its innovative edge. EM Solutions has come from obscurity just a few years ago to seeing its satellite and microwave communication and products lead the world in security and defence communications.

Looking at EM Solutions’ pedigree, perhaps its innovation DNA should not come as any surprise.

Occupying the R&D seats at EM Solutions are some of the world’s most agile technical minds in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).  In the big seat is CEO and managing director seat is Rowan Gilmore, who knows a thing or two about innovation and commercialisation. 

Until June 2011 Dr Gilmore was CEO of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation, where he assisted numerous start-up companies and worked to accelerate technology transfer between research institutions and industry. Prior to this role, he worked extensively in the ICT industry, and was formerly based in London and Geneva from 1998 as vice president of Network Services (Europe) for the airline IT company SITA, now France Telecom’s Orange subsidiary.  His previous experience was with Schlumberger, Telstra, and OTC (Australia).

Dr Gilmore is an engineering graduate and winner of the university medal from the University of Queensland, and earned his Doctor of Science degree from Washington University in St Louis in the US.  He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, chairman of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems, and holds adjunct professorships at the University of Queensland in both the School of Business and the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

“We all know that innovation is the life blood of companies that wish to grow,” Dr Gilmore said.

“Innovation is fostered throughout the economy by a supportive ecosystem that encourages investment – in R&D, venture capital, and the incubation of small growth companies; by nurturing human capital, and education in the sciences and technology; by encouraging collaboration, particularly between research organisations and industry; and by applying new technologies and ideas to meet customer needs.

“An often overlooked requirement is that innovation also requires great (or even heroic) customers, who seek the rewards of innovation but still have the risk appetite to be able to fund and trial innovations that might still be ongoing.”

EM Solutions is the personification of that knowledge and philosophy. Commercial success in the US and Europe has followed – as have the business and engineering awards – and recently the company’s products have finally attracted attention at home.

For many years theEM Solutions was exporting to its overseas customers well before local companies turned to it as a supplier of, primarily, its leading-edge shipboard stabilised satellite communications terminals (pictured).

These terminals require very sophisticated software and hardware, using as many parts as a small car, with motors to compensate for the ship’s motion and powerful transmitters to reach the satellite thousands of kilometres away. 

“Innovation occurs by building on the shoulders of giants that have gone before,” Dr Gilmore said. “But the real giants in the innovation puzzle are those customers who embrace innovation and are prepared to fund its development.

“Such customers push the technology envelope and drive innovation by demanding new requirements, new features, and performance improvements. With a new government-led defence industry policy, the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy are two Australian customers that have embraced local technology as part of their new suite of shipboard tools.

“While defending our shores, these customers are helping to keep the local economy innovating and growing as well.”

EM Solutions won the 2016 Lord Mayor’s Business Award for Innovation.

www.emsolutions.com.au

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LONG-STANDING Queensland Leaders Industry Expert group InterFinancial has celebrated its 30th anniversary by introducing a range of innovations.

Key among those innovations were the introduction of an online valuation tool based on InterFinancial’s three decades of Australia-wide experience, a new business growth consulting business and expansion through a new Sydney office and tapping in to international links through the company’s Clairfield International alliance.

The 30th anniversary celebration took place at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

On the evening, InterFinancial chairman Paul Keehan described InterFinancial entering mid-life as a “period for enterprise”. 

“A time to reflect upon our last 30 years and forge ahead with a new understanding of who we are, what we stand for, where we have come from and how we act,” Mr Keehan said. Mr Keehan  has been with InterFinancial for 20 years and in the industry for more than 30 years. Mr Keehan is now transitioning to a non-executive role with the firm

InterFinancial managing director Sharon Doyle announced at the celebration that InterFinancial was ranked number six in the Australian and New Zealand markets for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the 2016 calendar year for transactions up to $50 million. InterFinancial was ranked number 14 in M&A up to $500 million.

Ms Doyle said it was clear InterFinancial continued to lift above its weight, ranking above competitors “that have more corporate finance offices than InterFinancial had advisors”.

Ms Doyle said InterFinancial remained committed to continuous reinvention, “shaping and re-shaping our offering to deliver our clients what they actually need in order to deliver shareholder value growth”.

Ms Doyle formally announced the development of InterFinancial’s online valuation product,

“We have embedded the 30 years of experience and wisdom of Paul Keehan into a software program that accesses real time market data; applies algorithms based on hundreds of hours of referenceable valuation theory research combined with 30 years of wisdom and experience; and delivers a high-quality, indicative valuation,” Ms Doyle said.

Most significantly, the online valuation tool provides advice to InterFinancial cleints about how they can improve that valuation. 

“We are deliberately putting the power in the hands of our clients so that they can make well informed, higher-impact investment decisions within their business,” Ms Doyle said.

The focus on launching a ‘growth consulting’ business is another imminent InterFinancial innovation.

“Our clients have identified that although they often have incredibly capable senior management teams, they are built to run lean, they manage complex roles and the teams have limited ‘spare’ capacity to define and implement new strategic growth initiatives,” Ms Doyle said.

“In response, InterFinancial has established our Growth Consulting division with specialist skills, and flexible capacity that will assist our clients to define, launch and execute key value-building initiatives.

“We have recruited a team of incredibly experienced consultants who engage on specific, targeted projects including growth strategy development and project management;

buyside advisory services including investment case development, integration planning and synergy identification; and post-merger integration services, including a focus on synergy realisation,” Ms Doyle said.

“This is a natural and exciting extension of our core M&A and capital raising advisory work that will help our clients to achieve more in their business.”

Inter
Financial has recently established a permanent Sydney office with the recruitment of Chris Mundey, who has strong private equity and consulting experience. The group is also engaging even more actively with Clairfield International.

“This has proved an amazingly effective partnership for our clients, with over 70 percent of our transactions across the last two years involving international targets,” Ms Doyle said.

“We are securing incredible access through our partner firms and are currently active with strategic parties out of the US, Benelux and China.  This relationship has continued to strengthen and we are expecting this to continue over the next decade.”

www.interfinancial.com.au

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BUSINESS confidence is underpinned by confident decisions.  Confident decisions are proven to be best made by a motivated group of people equipped with a mix of relevant skills and experience.

These fundamentals underpinned the creation of the Advisory Board Centre, founded by Louise Broekman in 2012 as a result of her positive experience in appointing an advisory board for her – then – small business. 

Ms Broekman is a firm believer in the power of well-sourced advisory boards to offer vital support to entrepreneurs at all business stages – but particularly in those cash-strapped and mission-critical early growth stages.

“Today’s business leaders are striving to find access to current ground-breaking thinking that can help their business elevate to the next level,” Ms Broekman said. “They’re demanding innovative, cutting-edge business intelligence and strategic insights from the very best minds.

“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.”

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE

Business confidence seems to be in short supply in the current environment, Ms Broekman said, as evidenced by the decline across Australia in the number of businesses employing more than 20 staff.

“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 is a response to meet this need at a new level, according to Ms Broekman.

“Consultants traditionally engage on a project basis,” she said. “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.

“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.”

The Advisory Board Centre is a network of certified chairs, approved advisors and recognised experts.  Ms Broekman said it was a community of like-minded business professionals “working together and using a common methodology to support entrepreneurs in building greater value in their business”. 

The Advisory Board Centre came out of Ms Broekman’s experiences in establishing her own advisory board for her business. That was the trigger for growing her business internationally, reaching 135 offices in eight 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.” 

Now the Advisory Board Centre is recruiting entrepreneurs who want to ‘give back’ to the business sector and build a board portfolio. Ms Broekman has developed a free white paper -- Are you Ready for an Advisory Board? – to inform and attract entrepreneurs on to suitable advisory boards.

www.advisoryboardcentre.com.au

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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.”

www.downes.com.au

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.

www.advisoryboardcentre.com.au

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122