INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
EROAD’s journey is one of predicting the future and then backing themselves.
EROAD offers road user charging, safety compliance and fleet management services on one fully integrated platform. Key to its accelerated growth is its team’s ability to look forward and ask questions about how technology will transform the global transport sector.
EROAD’s purpose - solving complex problems, delivering intuitive solutions that help its customers succeed - is behind its strategy to invest heavily in R&D to ensure it can develop and deliver the solutions to problems facing the transport sector in the future.
Its vision and courage has positioned EROAD to seize big opportunities. “We looked at the world and reframed a problem in a way that allowed us to enter a new market through regulatory disruption,” says CEO Steven Newman. “We came up with an electronic solution for a hard-to-solve, real-life problem. People had never taken such a complete future-industry view before, so that immediately made the solution we developed different.”
The team at Albany developed and implemented the first nation-wide electronic road user charges (RUC) solution, effectively disrupting the existing system, which led to new government regulations.
EROAD’s focus on predicting, investing and transforming didn’t end there. Implementing disruptive technology led to uncovering more challenges and new opportunities, which required more skilled staff and R&D investment. This has led to a number of successes:
Back at their Albany HQ, EROAD’s 250-strong team continues to ask questions about what changes the transport industry will undergo in the future, and what the innovative solutions needed to respond to those changes will look like.
Straker Translations is a New Zealand business success story. In 2000 the company employed a handful of tech-savvy employees but after identifying a big worldwide opportunity, the company then experienced accelerated growth due to the development of a unique translation technology platform that is now disrupting the traditional translation industry.
Straker Translations’ translation technology surpasses legacy translation technology by automating time-consuming functions and simplifying the user-experience resulting in a drastic decrease in turnaround times, improved accuracy and increased profit margins. Now with 50 people in their Albany head office, the born and bred Kiwi company also has production centres in Barcelona, Denver and Dublin, further sales offices around the world and more than 10,000 customers. Employee numbers are expected to double again over the next 18 months due to Straker Translations’ rapid growth in the global translation industry.
Straker’s unique Kiwi approach has created business opportunities for this North Shore company. The company has recently acquired two businesses on different sides of the world and converted them to the Straker Translations platform. There is an opportunity to acquire more legacy businesses throughout the world and to build a highly-effective global translation platform that creates a new standard for millions of translation customers.
The company's innovative efforts have not gone unnoticed. Straker has claimed a spot in the top 60 of the huge $40 billion translation industry and have set their sights on the top five. The company has won national innovation awards. They have been finalists in the special categories ‘Excellence in Innovation’ and ‘He kai kei aku ringa’ for Maori Excellence in Export. The CEO of Straker Translations, Grant Straker, has founded the company on Kiwi values and believes that Straker Translations’ success can motivate other Maori to choose technology as a valuable and rewarding career path.
Grant and Merryn Straker at Straker Translation's head office located in Albany within the Grow North innovation district
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.
Grow North articles are written by CEOs that call the Grow North Innovation District home. Edited by Kel Marsh. A free service.
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