New Zealand companies are turning to clever technologies in order to do their business smarter.
Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s Innovation Agency, is running a series of lunchtime sessions as part of Techweek 2019.
Techweek is an annual nationwide festival, which is a week-long opportunity for connection and cross-pollination to amplify New Zealand’s unique and inspiring innovation stories to the world.
As reported, The Agency has listed areas where tech is making a difference.
Advanced materials – upcycling and adding value
New Zealand needs to get smarter when it comes to using resources because the world is experiencing an increase in resource constraints due to population increase, climate change and depleted natural resources.
Add to that how consumer expectations in terms of the performance, quality and sustainability of products are on the rise as well.
One way to address this is to improve on the waste streams by turning trash into treasure, which a Kiwi company is literally doing by extracting gold from electronic waste.
Another approach is to use technology to add value to traditionally low-value commodity products. An example of which is using the wool off the sheep’s back to create high-performance air filters for application in a huge range of environments and industries.
Machine learning and AI in food and beverage
Around 70% of fast food sales in the US were made at the drive-thru.
Quick service restaurants (QSRs) are rapidly embracing machine learning and AI in order to predict more accurately who is about to pull up at the window and what they are going to order.
By using digital solutions provided by Kiwi smart companies, QSRs are gathering and processing data in increasingly sophisticated ways.
These data include the type of car a customer drives, what their drivers order and when they actually order.
This is helping fast food firms deliver better service, create efficiencies and ultimately, make more money.
Democratisation of space
A Kiwi company has proven that space innovation is no longer the sole domain of national space agencies.
They showed that it is now possible for innovators to form a space technology start-up with a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
Venture capital is increasingly flowing into this area, with whole firms dedicated to funding space tech.
Technology that harnesses “data from above” promises to have far-reaching applications in everything from agriculture and forestry, to fisheries and disaster management.
Industrial robots protecting lives on land and sea
New Zealand has some amazing expertise in robotics and these are being used to meet tough challenges faced in traditional industries.
For instance, a company was able to develop a climbing robot used in the dairy industry to inspect the inside of milk storage tanks, which is an important but challenging and risky task for humans.
Scientists working on projects as part of the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenges, for example, are turning their attention to forestry industry.
They have developed robotic pruning technology that could improve safety in one of the country’s most dangerous industries.
And research projects are also underway to develop robotic solutions for aquaculture, which could be used in environments too dangerous to send divers.