INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
Student designed robots provide eyes and ears for electricity providers meaning a lot less time with the lights out
When there is a power outage in remote areas it can take hours for technicians to travel, find and fix the problem. Technicians often have to return to base to pick up gear or send a second technician.
Transpower New Zealand has 174 substations nationwide and 25 of those are in remote locations. On average, a Transpower technician travels 90 minutes to reach a remote site.
Transpower and Massey University have been working together on a built-for-purpose robot that can quickly diagnose remote substation problems. The project began as a final year student ‘capstone’ project at Massey’s School of Engineering in Albany. Robotics student engineers worked under Professor Johan Potgieter and with Transpower’s Mark Ryallto come up with two robots they have named Wall-E and Eve.
The robots feature a hydraulic neck and wheels that allow them to travel both inside and outside substations to observe the state of vital power equipment. They can be remotely controlled by a Transpower operator or engineer anywhere in New Zealand using a modified Xbox 360 controller or a laptop, says Transpower's Mark Ryall. These robots have the potential to be our eyes on the ground.”
Transpower and Massey have recently begun a four-week trial at their Albany substation in the Grow North Innovation District. The trial will see the robots put through their paces to test their capabilities, then all going well the robots will then live in charging sheds at some of Transpower's most remote substations.
Manapouri is one of the first sites Transpower have in mind given its significance to the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter and it can take a technician six hours to organise a boat trip across the to the site.
Looking towards the future, Transpower and Massey can see potential for these robots to learn and carry out other tasks such as making regular inspections around each site to identify the progression of terrain erosion. Robots like Wall-E and Eve don’t replace employees, instead they enable Transpower’s people to solve problems quickly and restore power a lot faster to their customers across the country. Massey School of Engineering
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The B:HIVE has been designed from the ground up for one purpose - to provide a place from which to grow lots of innovative Kiwi businesses.
Walk into any shared-work space building in any modern city and you’ll find yourself in a high-energy environment as entrepreneurs go about commercialising their business start-ups.
In New Zealand shared-work space tenants are likely to be ambitious technology enterprises with export aspirations. Even small amounts of success can see staff numbers grow, requiring more desks and space. Moving is expensive and disrupts businesses so fixed-space fixed-term rental contracts bring challenges that entrepreneurs would rather avoid.
What makes much better sense is a flexible environment that allows businesses to evolve and grow in one location without disruption. Research shows that co-located businesses become more goal-focused when they rub shoulders with similar businesses. When owners hear the lessons learned from others who are ahead of them, it helps keep them on-track and focused, speeding up their journey which helps reduce business risk.
The B:HIVE is a purpose-built ecosystem that actively encourages the cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration with complimentary fast-growing pioneering businesses.
Inspired by an altruistic vision for a human-centered work environment, B:HIVE developers visited many of the world’s successful innovation districts before developing a vision for a building that stimulates innovation, delivers the benefits of co-locating, and also incorporates many latest technologies that create a very healthy and productive place to work.
Award winning architects BVN and Jasmax, together with builders Leighs Construction have created a new sort of building within which to innovate and productively build businesses and the occupation rates at the B:HIVE and feedback from tenants would suggest that they were right.
While it’s still possible to work within an exclusive business environment, the co-working premises are tenanted by business people keen to explore the synergies of working alongside others. Companies aren’t locked in to traditional leasing arrangements. The rental includes fit-out, furniture, power, high-speed internet, cleaning, security, a concierge service, kitchen and the use of any of the shared meeting spaces on any of the floors.
Home to more than 1,000 people the B:HIVE is NZ’s largest co-working space. It offers unparalleled flexibility for tenants with the adjustable partitioning systems developed specifically for the B:HIVE allowing space to expand or contract based on business ‘flex’ creating a building that keeps adapting to future demands.
By the end of 2018 5,000 employees will work on Smales Farm. This will make Smales Farm a critical mass business centre and a hub of innovation at the heart of the Grow North Innovation District, able to positively impact the future New Zealand economy. The B:HIVE
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Just as the athlete with a highly skilled and knowledgeable team is steered to international success at AUT Millennium – so too can businesses be guided to excel and become global players in the international arena.
Today, dominance in sport runs much deeper than the fortuitous combination of talent and a good coach. It’s not just about training harder than everyone else.
It’s about training smarter…
At AUT Millennium, the game for New Zealand’s elite athletes has changed - with world-class facilities and services grounded in the latest sport science research. Athletes are supported and guided by a highly skilled and knowledgeable team from school age through to the world stage.
In the past, the expert support network for athletes was spread across a wide range personnel and venues, which wasn’t optimal
That’s not the case now, according to CEO of AUT Millennium and President of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Mike Stanley., With High Performance Sport NZ we have been able to provide an environment where experts including trainers, nutritionists, physiologists, coaches and medics all collaborate and focus jointly on an athlete’s success quickly. Athletes are getting the very best people 100% focused on them, their achievements and how to optimise their performance. It’s accelerated the rate of improvement and were seeing the results in international competition”
Located on the North Shore in the Grow North District, AUT Millennium is home to a diverse range of organisations, from sports clubs and national sporting associations, to medical services and programmes for the community, local schools and sports groups.
AUT’s Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand’s (SPRINZ) is also located at AUT Millennium. Their team of internationally-renowned experts gather and use sport science and health information from high performance athletes and the wider community.
Mike Stanley describes AUT Millennium as, “a community of expertise and athletes at various stages of their development, from children who are learning to swim, to some of New Zealand’s very best athletes.”
In addition to preparing athletes for international competition, AUT Millennium addresses national, regional and local needs in sport, physical activity and community health, with the aim that New Zealanders may live healthier lives by excelling in sport and fitness.
Mike Stanley believes that although training for a sport at an elite level is very specific to that particular sport, there is a lot athletes can learn from other disciplines.
For example, rowing is renowned for its gruelling endurance training while shot put is explosive in nature. Both sports and their athletes can take elements of the other’s training into their own discipline with great results.
How does this relate to business?
In today’s competitive economic climate, businesses can face similar hurdles and challenges.
If experts can meet regularly, establish trust and share knowledge from their own business disciplines, Mike Stanley believes that it is possible to move beyond the current level of difficulties. Similar teething problems and the same costly time-consuming mistakes can be avoided.
Just as the athlete with a highly skilled and knowledgeable team is steered to international success, so too can businesses be guided to excel and become global players in the international arena.
The Grow North Innovation District ethos is to translate what AUT Millennium has done for the sport ecosystem into the innovative business ecosystem; to build an escalator that nurtures companies from start-up to scale-up faster and build sustainable businesses on the world stage.
If you’re an innovative tech business located on the North Shore and want to benefit from shared knowledge from peers and those who have successfully built global businesses - join our community portal - go to www.grownorth.co.nz to find out more.
The key to AFT Pharmaceuticals' success has been creating the intellectual property behind many of their products through patents and trademarks.
Husband and wife team, Dr Hartley Atkinson and Marree Atkinson, started AFT Pharmaceuticals (AFT) in their home garage.
Last year financial year the NZX and ASX listed company earned revenue of NZ$81.9M* and has a market capitalisation of around NZ$250M.
This proves that Kiwi companies can become global players in their respective industry while being headquartered in the Grow North Innovation District.
Dr Atkinson reflects on AFT’s small beginnings, “When we started in 1997 it was just Marree and I. Twenty years later, we have 92 staff, offices in Auckland, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, our painkiller Maxigesic is licensed in 124 countries, with a strong product pipeline. We’re running all of this out of Takapuna and frankly, why not because this is a beautiful part of the world to live in.”
The size and reach of the big international pharmaceutical companies makes pharmaceuticals a very competitive business. Dr Atkinson says that the key to AFT’s success has been creating the intellectual property behind many of their products through patents and trademarks.
“We exploit niche opportunities that big pharma companies can miss, we invest heavily in our R&D and while we manufacture and sell globally, we’ve managed to keep the intellectual property here in New Zealand.”
AFT believes the key to improving people’s health lies in innovation.
R&D in pharmaceuticals can take two forms: Developing and licensing new drugs and devices and making existing products better. AFT does both: Having produced new products like Maxigesic and the Maxiclear range that have been licensed around the world. Existing treatments like Crystaderm has been improved upon and is now the market leading first-aid treatment product in New Zealand.
Despite the international success, Dr Atkinson is quick to acknowledge the role local support has played for AFT.
“In many ways, AFT only exists today because pharmacists supported our products when Marree and I were on the road selling them back when we started the business. That support has remained in place. Of course efficacy and price are important, but anecdotally we know there is a lot of support for us because we’re a Kiwi company and we develop our own products here. That means a lot to us and we’re really grateful for the support.”
With the guiding principle to do things better than they have been done before AFT will continue to develop innovative products that help people.
*Current revenue was NZ$81.9M with 66% being ex NZ
Fuel50 empowers leaders with employee-driven data and tools to engage and motivate their teams by having better quality coaching conversations.
The workplace landscape has changed and the world of HR has to change with it. Today, employees want more – with work satisfaction and overall career experience topping the list.
Deloitte named career pathing a key area of focus for organisations in this current workforce climate. More than 80 percent of companies want better talent mobility in their organisation, while 70 percent of employees leave due to a lack of career development and growth opportunities.
As talent turnover costs rise, companies need to adapt or risk losing key talent. It’s that simple.
At the forefront of this shift is Fuel50 – an award-winning, gamified, cloud-based platform that addresses these critical gaps with innovative solutions that directly impact engagement, performance and retention on all levels within an organisation.
“The way talent traditionally climbs the career ladder and develop skills is broken, leaving talent frustrated and companies lacking the levels of engagement and performance required to move at the pace of business today,” says Anne Fulton, CEO and Co-Founder of Fuel50.
Launched in 2012, Fuel50 resides in the Grow North innovation district with headquarters in Takapuna. Its aim is to reinvent the career management wheel. This is no small task especially when you’re competing in a global market.
Fuel50 empowers leaders with employee-driven data and tools to engage and motivate their teams by having better quality coaching conversations. Employees are given the keys to fast-track their career trajectories. By highlighting what they’re good at and what they need to work on, employees are matched with internal opportunities linked to their roles.
Fuel50 is currently in use by 75+ Fortune 500 companies, deployed across 33 countries and in 28 languages.
Fuel50 is continually innovating. They’ve been described as being ahead of the curve with new product releases that leverage their world-leading artificial intelligence and role matching capabilities such as FuelGig™, FuelMentor™ and FuelSuccession™. On their product roadmap are tools to transform performance management systems with future-focused performance enablers and visibility for HR into their workforce capability and talent trends.
Fuel50 boasts several global accolades, including the Brandon Hall Gold Award for Best Career Management & Planning Technology. They’re a company that wholeheartedly practices what they preach, with a close-knit company culture where their Fuellies truly feel part of a family that is changing careers all around the world, for the better.
EKanoo racing's world record-breaking Porsche 911 Turbo tuned by ESMotor. It did the 1/4 mile in 8.99 sec at 160mph using a Dodson Motorsport PDK clutch.
For the average person a car is an object, a mode of transport, something to be used, admired but not modified. For motor enthusiasts (a unique subset of society) - a car is more like a child, something to be developed, a passion, a project, a piece of ‘you’ the owner.
Much like how parents will spend thousands of dollars to fulfill their child's potential, the multi-million dollar aftermarket car modification industry is based on a simple question, "How can we make it better?”
Dodson Motorsport has established itself as a world leader in the production of dual clutch transmission systems by providing answers to that very question.
Based in Auckland’s Grow North Innovation District in Wairau Valley on the North Shore, Dodson Motorsport was founded in 2000 by automotive engineer Glenn Cupit and Harry Dodson of Dodson Autospares.
Having built a name for themselves in motorsport tuning, fabrication and development, the company now offers a wide range of transmission upgrades for high performance and high-end vehicles.
The company is now one of New Zealand’s top exporters. With a global network of over 200 dealers in 50 countries, enthusiasts can access performance parts worldwide.
Dodson’s patented components are renowned for handling higher horsepower and torque, reducing heat, and improving grip and reliability.
“As the car manufacturers rolled out dual clutches more than ten years ago, Dodson found unique ways to redesign and modify the transmission," says Dodson Motorsport General Manager, Steven Parker.
“We concentrated on high strength and high performance and developed a niche market. We were not driven by reducing cost but providing the best possible outcome.”
One may wonder how you improve on parts that have been meticulously designed by large car companies? Where do you begin to redesign and upgrade?
When designing aftermarket parts, Dodson engineers start by focusing on the weakest points and providing strengthening to withstand higher loads.
Through careful analysis, designers can modify the structure and select manufacturing processes and materials to cope with high performance loads.
Products are prototyped and then undergo meticulous testing before being released to the market. The end result is that car owners can push their vehicles to the limits and utilise the extra power developed from aftermarket modifications.
To promote their products, Dodson sponsors some of the fastest cars in the world including the fastest BMW FX8, Porshce PDK, Nissan GT-R and MK7 VW Golf drag racing cars.
Their products are regularly tested in track and time trial racing environments as well, to ensure reliability and durability.
Dodson’s accolades and achievements are growing.
In their quest to further develop manufacturing technologies, the company has partnered with Auckland University of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering to develop advanced induction hardening methods for complex steel parts.
Dodson has been awarded a three to five year Callaghan Growth Grant for Research and Development. It’s recently been named a Finalist in Westpac Business Awards 2016 and 2017 – International Trade. The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has also provided backing recently to promote Dodson in the 2017 PRI (Performance Racing Industry) trade show in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Where to next
Having upgraded the clutch systems on a range of high performance vehicles including Nissan, Mitsubishi, VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Lamborghini, Parker is confident about the company’s future;
“We are releasing more products, we have a design pipeline running for the next five years and we are diversifying into other brands of vehicles and new markets.”
In the race to push limits in performance and innovation, Dodson Motorsport is only just gearing up.
Shore Junction will foster youth innovation and cater to high school and tertiary learners, including students that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional school mould.
In an ever-changing world that’s complicated and at times confusing, as a young person the pressure to make the right decisions and succeed can be overwhelming.
Shore Junction is being designed and developed in direct response to the needs and challenges of today’s youth. It’s an exciting new project that really gets young people and will measurably improve their wellbeing.
Shore Junction was initially conceptualised and developed by YOUnite which is the local youth board for Devonport-Takapuna. Construction is currently underway to transform the former Takapuna RSA into ‘two levels of amazing’. It is set to open in January 2019.
The centre will cater to high school and tertiary learners, including students that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional school mould.
The aim is to provide a space where creativity and self-expression is celebrated and everyone is accepted. Students are encouraged to try new things and meet new people.
Shore Junction will provide technical facilities, integrated courses and events that encourage young people to successfully transition to further education, enterprise and employment. It will allow them to develop the critical skills, connections and networks to innovate and succeed in a modern economy.
Community Director, Melanie Barr explains, “My personal objectives are to ensure that Shore Junction creates a positive imprint on the community and provides a safe environment for students to create, collaborate, innovate and learn.”
The Shore Junction community is made up of individuals, businesses, youth, parents, schools and government representatives all working towards a supportive and youth-friendly community.
“Takapuna has so much going on, the whole North Shore does. We are spoilt by the number of engineering and tech companies based in Takapuna, the business expertise available on our front door and the atmosphere of the community is always positive and upbeat,” says Barr.
Pioneering tomorrow’s generation of change-makers, Shore Junction is set to become another important player in the Grow North Innovation District ecosystem. An ecosystem that will foster talent, validate ideas and take them to the global market quickly.
BEP Marine designs and manufactures an extensive range of high quality electrical components for the harsh marine and mobile automotive markets. Performance and reliability are critical to withstanding the most extreme and unforgiving conditions at sea and on land.
Technology has and continues to transform our outdoor experiences.
As the need for safer and more extreme pursuits on land and at sea increases, so does the demand for reliable high-quality electrical solutions that support this ever amounting technology and its functions.
Leading the charge with their award-winning range of electrical solutions is BEP Marine Ltd.
BEP Marine was founded in 1995. Its headquarters are located in Albany in the Grow North Innovation District. BEP and CZone brand products have become a New Zealand success story and the go-to power management and digital switching solutions across the globe.
BEP Marine is owned by Power Products LLC, a global manufacturer and supplier of electrical products for construction and maintenance, recreational marine and specialty vehicles, industrial power, and transportation – global sister brands Including Ancor, Blue Sea Systems, Marinco, Mastervolt and more.
BEP Marine designs and manufactures an extensive range of high quality electrical components for the harsh marine and mobile automotive markets under the BEP and CZone brands. For BEP’s range of power management products, performance and reliability are critical to withstanding the most extreme and unforgiving conditions at sea and on land.
BEP has been a quality brand in the market for over two decades, trusted by industry leading boat builders and the product of choice for electrical installers.
CZone’s digital switching solution offers leading innovation in simplifying control and monitoring for complete onboard electrical systems and integrated products. With one touch CZone's intelligent management simplifies operation by combining multiple circuits through Mode selection, offers effortless Monitoring oversight of key systems and components while retaining advanced Control of specific circuits and functions.
Following on from the ongoing success of CZone digital switching innovations, BEP Marine continues to engineer innovative products that simplify the installation of electrical systems and provide value to their customers. Products that are user friendly, reduce assembly time and save space.
Their product line has expanded to include a broad range of circuit protection, batteries and battery management, power distribution panels, monitors and digital switching technology.
With a global sales and a support network that stretches across the APAC, EMEA and the Americas, all technical, support and installation queries can be resolved quickly and successfully to ensure the customers remain confident in the product and problem free.
BEP and CZone have been stacking up the accolades, most recently with the Boating Industry recently naming the CZone's Combination Output Interface (COI) one of the top 50 products of 2017.
Building on the BEP legacy, BEP Marine and the wider Power Products company will continue to leverage new technology and innovate new products that are technically excellent and commercially competitive.
Today every business must address the challenge of internal and external data movement and sharing.
The principal challenge of digital transformation is integration — disentangling the technologies of databases, hardware, platforms, mobile devices and operating systems of wildly varying vintages and keeping them all talking to each other.
There’s a specific software niche devoted to helping companies integrate their technologies for production, distribution, marketing, ecommerce and everything else – Middleware.
Middleware was traditionally the realm of large Enterprise companies and Government. Albany, North Shore based Flow Software began in 2005 with the aim of bringing Middleware capability to the mainstream and into the hands of every business.
Flow Software developed its ‘Flow’ product which offers a different approach to data integration and B2B data movement. Its Middleware is capable of being quickly implemented on limited infrastructure, thereby reducing upfront capital expenditure and ongoing implementation costs while providing Enterprise level processing power and scalability to suit the needs of any size organisation.
It reduces the time, cost and risk of traditional bespoke integration and delivers a solution that can be configured to perfectly fit a business’s needs, providing immediate return on investment.
Flow helps companies keep older technologies that do certain jobs well while embracing innovative newcomers. “Technologies like middleware are designed to enable businesses to leverage existing investment in legacy systems as well as bring on new best-of-breed technologies rapidly and with low-risk”, explains David Masters, Flow Software’s CEO.
Flow has grown to over 500 recognised customers across New Zealand, Australia and abroad, integrating hundreds of different business applications and trading partners across different industries.
Read more about how Flow Software has helped companies like Lewis Road Creamery and European Motor Distributors achieve digital transformation.
Follow Flow Software on Linkedin or visit their website.
Getting scaling knowhow into the hands of startups is imperative for our economy. In order to grow a vibrant ecosystem that helps ventures like yours, we need to know more about our upcoming pioneers. If you are selling innovation and have a bold plan we want to hear from you.
Our early pioneering innovators took decades to forge paths into the world’s markets. The scale-up knowledge accumulated by these pioneers along the way enabled them go on to successfully scale other global businesses.
The fierce independence that made these business pioneers successful means that while ‘what’ they have built is widely known, it is ‘how’ they are able to repeatedly start and quickly scale businesses that is not widely understood.
These people have laid a foundation of scaling knowledge that exists across New Zealand and that is not being fully tapped into, and (it happens that) a large amount of this scale-up knowledge is concentrated within Auckland’s North Shore.
Grow North is intent on connecting innovative start-ups into this seam of rich scaling experience to help create a vibrant ecosystem in which hundreds of start-ups will find themselves immersed, surrounded by the knowhow and connections needed to accelerate business growth into international markets.
Thanks to the efforts of research firms like TIN100 we now know a lot about NZ’s top pioneering scaling businesses. However, we need to gather more data about the next tier of upcoming innovators.
We need your help. If you are a business that is located in Auckland North and you are currently selling innovation and have bold plans for growth we would love to hear from you. If you are a supplier providing highly specialised products and services for pioneering innovators we want to hear from you also.
Connect and collaborate to accelerate growth and compete.
Contact the Grow North Innovation District firstname.lastname@example.org
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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