DREAMCITY, billed as Australia’s first ‘edutainment’ theme park for children, is set to open in Melbourne in 2019.

Founder and visionary for Dreamcity is Melbourne-based Kajal Pala who has led the Dreamcity project team for close to three years.

To make her vision a reality, Ms Pala has assembled an experienced and passionate foundation team of industry experts including co-founder Michael Hiscock, performance music and production leader Karen Kim, executive director and head of strategy Craig Lovett and an as-yet-unnamed chief operating officer with extensive experience in managing major theme parks. 

With significant research and the foundation team’s strategic input, Ms Pala has developed a unique education-entertainment business model.

Requiring a footprint the size of a city block, Dreamcity is designed as a city “run by kids” according to Ms Pala. The idea was born after she identified a shortcoming in the market and the need for a conventional global edutainment provider.

“From the moment the child arrives, the Dreamcity metropolis comes to life as a kid size replica of a real city, complete with a bank, a supermarket and public transport,” she said of the park, which would provide unique entertainment along with education on managing real-life situations and societal challenges.

Set to open in mid-2019, Dreamcity’s Melbourne CBD location harbours a place for children to be educated, entertained and inspired, according to Ms Pala. She described it as “an immersed edutainment theme park for children between four and 16 years old, where children get an opportunity to experiment with over 80 careers under the same roof”.

“Children have the opportunity to be a pilot simulating a flight, a firefighter putting out a fire and social entrepreneur learning business skills to create the industries of the future,” she said. 

“Tapping into a child’s natural desire to create, explore and collaborate, at Dreamcity they have the opportunity to learn about different careers, the inner-workings of a city and the concept of managing money, through assuming common professions in a role play setting.”

At the forefront of the entertainment side of Dreamcity is Karen Kim. Ms Kim has had an enviable 25-year career primarily in education, media and music production. She is the founder and CEO of Hello Music Studios and is LiCKs5D Productions’ CEO.

LiCKs5D Productions has had touring seasons in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and New Zealand. Ms Kim is also a board director for International Women’s Federation of Commerce and Industry and the Korean Women’s International Network.

On the financial side of Dreamcity, Mr Hiscock is a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) specialist with a strong track record and more than 28 years experience in managing high-profile, complex and time-critical transactions across a broad range of industries and jurisdictions. 

Mr Hiscock has advised on more than 90 transactions with an aggregate value exceeding A$85 billion. He is the co-founder of Orion Corporate Finance, previously the global head of M&A for ANZ Investment Bank and head of M&A for Merrill Lynch in Singapore and Melbourne. He has been a director of Centaurus Corporate Finance – acquired by Merrill Lynch in 1997 – and co-founder and chief financial officer at Judo Capital Australia.

“One of the most effective ways to learn is by imitation and immersive activities,” Ms Paja said.

“Dreamcity has tailor made 35 ‘pods’ or miniature businesses, designed for children to develop important life skills and abilities, which will challenge and inspire them to explore a world of opportunities and empower them to become better global citizens.

“Did you know that 40 percent of university graduates are working outside their field of study?  One-third of university students drop-out after the first year and at the same time parents are becoming more and more concerned about their children’s future. 

“Studies into learning habits have shown that the most effective method of teaching is ‘practice by doing’ as 75 percent of information is retained compared with less than 50 percent in other methodologies such as ROTE learning,” Ms Paja said.

“Dreamcity will provide children and adolescents an enjoyable way to learn.”



VICTORIA-BASED startup eHatsystems Pty Ltd is leading the way in the new sector of ‘industrial strength wearables’ with its unique eHat product.

The eHat is worn by staff on job sites to communicate through video and sound in a live link with supervisors and expert instructors. 

By using the eHat, staff have their hands free to conduct work while advisors watch the process and provide advice utilising the common vision and sound link.

This real time interactivity offers a common vision of the job at hand and improves safety, according to eHatsystems inventor and founder, Terry Lancaster.

“This improves the quality of the job, speeds up decision-making and avoids unnecessary re-work costs,” Mr Lancaster said.

“With the eHatsystems platform, we want to empower field workers and will change the way they work with the inclusion of augmented and artificial intelligent systems.”

The eHatsystems operational space is part of a new industry being called Industrial Strength Wearables, Mr Lancaster said.

“We have a specific interest in using this class of wearable in the application of knowledge transfer services,” he said.

“The problem we are solving is brought about because of increasing skill shortages.This problem is well documented as an emerging one and is already having an effect on productivity.

“This is particularly true for ‘in-field’ operations. A job cannot be completed due to lack of specialist knowledge; a completed field job does not meet quality expectations; or, a job in the field takes longer to complete than it should,” Mr Lancaster said. 

“The resultant costs are enormous: extended repair and maintenance downtime, dispatch of senior technicians or experts, missed opportunities for junior staff to learn on-the-job, and sometimes, unfortunately, accidents.”

The eHat solution to this problem allows field staff  to communicate with a ‘live’ link, hands-free with supervisors and experts, at the work face. It allows both parties to engage interactively and safely with a common vision of the job at hand.

“This improves the quality of the job, speeds up decision-making and avoids unnecessary re-work costs,” eHatsystems acting general manager Benjamin Jacobs said.

“With the eHatsystems platform, we want to empower field workers and will change the way they work with the inclusion of augmented and artificial intelligent systems.”

Mr Jacobs said the eHat was a certified, lightweight and balanced hard hat with integrated video camera, lights, headphones, microphones, batteries and a control panel, 

The eHat communicates through a dedicated smartphone app and is embedded in a private cloud-based network that enables live streaming of video and audio over thousands of kilometres.

“Knowledge transfer is therefore made easy,” Mr Jacobs said. “We intend to produce another model, which will be developed with all the smartphone facilities built-in.”

As an application developed within the Internet of Things (IoT), Mr Jacobs said the value of the eHatsystems offering was enhanced further by services generated from storing job information, visual analysis and environmental server data.

Examples of such services include video recording and analysis, the transmission of documents, as well as alerts for workers.

In the future, he said, eHat would be used to provide ‘augmented visual assistance (AVA).

“Eventually, we believe an eHat wearer will receive live instructions from an intelligent machine in the cloud through visual analysis and storage data techniques,” Mr Jabobs said.

“We are an Australian startup company in process of commercialisation of its product and with the help of further investment, will have an international product very soon,” he said.

The eHatsystems team is an executive member of the 2018 Victorian Leaders group, part of the International Leaders organisation that is helping to develop Australia’s next generation of leading companies.. 



THE growing sophistication of business security systems has driven the transformation of Victorian company Centec Security Group to both meet current demand and better equip companies for the future.

Centec Security Group managing director Peter Hinton said integrated security systems played a vital role in areas as diverse as energy efficiency and employee safety for progressive modern businesses.

“Many times I have been asked ‘are you the alarm guy?’ In years long gone by the answer to this would have been yes,” Mr Hinton said. 

“Although we still use the three systems we have traditionally used (alarm, access control and CCTV) these days with continual development and integration into third party devices we find ourselves being more of a technology company rather than just an electronic security company,” he said.

One of the biggest changes has been the development of closed circuit television (CCTV) to not only protect premises from external threats, but also as a way of enhancing a business’s workplace health and safety systems.

“Now we all know the primary purpose of CCTV is to capture and record images, but for business owners there are now added benefits to these systems,” Mr Hinton said. 

“Occupational health and safety (OH&S) has become a major part of business practice over the last decade. CCTV systems can help business owners not only manage their staff, but have footage should an incident occur, limiting their liability.

“Cameras are now helping many sectors of society,” Mr Hinton said. “CCTV images are helping police in their investigations and councils are implementing street schemes using wireless mesh networks to help keep our streets safe.”

Another fascinating use of CCTV is in tracking and managing customer flows and behaviour, obtaining data about customer buying patterns which has never been available before.

“Retail stores are using people counting to see how many people come into their store and heat mapping to see where they spend their time while in store,” Mr Hinton said. “All of this helps the marketing departments in terms of store set up and product placement.

“Thermal cameras are being used for anything from wide area perimeter protection, fire detection, plant management, employee management to horse care in stables.”

Although the primary function of business security systems remains, there are increasing variations on how access and alarm technologies can be applied to benefit businesses in other ways – even to help save money.

“These systems are now integrated and can be used as a very powerful platform to manage and secure business premises,” Mr Hinton said. “Utility costs keep going up and up.

“If your alarm system is on, that means there is nobody in your building. So why would you leave your lighting, air conditioning and non-essential power on or leave it up to your employees to switch them off?

“With third party integration we can simply turn off all these system when the alarm is turned on. In the event of an alarm we can switch on lighting to further deter intruders.”

Mr Hinton said access control could also be used to track employees and restrict their movements.

“And we can also download this information into payroll systems,” Mr Hinton said.

“Science fiction movies used to show finger print and retinal scanners opening doors … and people would sit there and imagine the day that these would become science fact. That day is today.

“As you can see technology is quickly advancing and helping business owners manage theirs.”




START-UP businesses looking to follow the ‘Lean Start-up’ approach currently favoured by Silicon Valley should pause and think it through carefully, advises Australian start-up specialist Evan Shellshear.

In Dr Shellshear’s experience, the Lean Start-up imperative may be more of a hindrance than a help to many Australian early-stage businesses. In fact, he has identified three specific situations in which the Lean Start-up approach works against a fledgling business. 

“We’ve all heard about the Lean Start-up and how it’s transformed Silicon Valley and the start-up world,” Dr Shellshear said. He is the CEO of Simultek, where he works with start-up businesses in all phases.

“However, as you would expect, it turns out the Lean Start-up process is not a perfect fit for everyone.

“The Lean Start-up approach to product and service development is all about discovering what your business assumptions are and testing the assumptions with experiments,” Dr Shellshear said.

“You create a hypothesis, run a test and then use the result of that test to improve your product or service and then keep iterating using the learnings to improve.”

Dr Shellshear’s research has identified three cases in which the lean methodology should not be used: when people’s lives depend on your product; when other people rely on your product to build theirs; and, as he put it, “when there are simply no hypotheses to test”. He is an Australian innovation thought leader and has recently published a best-selling book on Amazon: Innovation Tools.

“The problem with the Lean Start-up is like all new management trends: it gets hyped to the point of hyperbole and people try it in the wrong situations and become disillusioned,” Dr Shellshear said.

“Choosing the right service and product development model is unfortunately something you only get one shot at, so you’ll want to make sure the first iteration is correct …

“Before blindly using a lean methodology, ask yourself first, is lean right for you?” 



When people’s lives depend on your product. “You don’t want to bring a product out on the market to test a hypothesis if people can be fatally injured due testing it,” Dr Shellshear said.

When other people rely on your product to build theirs. “Constantly iterating on a product which people rely on will mean that they will stop relying on it.”

When there are simply no hypotheses to test. “If you know the market conditions, the demand for your service and/or are simply providing a commodity, then get it out there and don’t waste time,” Dr Shellshear urged.

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