Advanced analytics to a winning bet

Ignia hits the front in the business of IoT

There’s something really satisfying about making an early call on a trend and seeing your informed hunch pay off in a spectacular fashion.

That’s the case with Ignia, the rapidly-growing, multi award-winning consultancy which has recently expanded to Sydney and Melbourne from its Perth base.

As director Joshua Boys explains, around three years ago, Ignia “backed the right horse.”

“We saw a need among our clients for mobility and cloud solutions and were delivering on this even before Microsoft went to market with its cloud first, mobile first strategy. Because of this alignment, Ignia developed a great reputation and references in the market, winning a large share of the mobility and cloud work in WA over the last 12 months.”

The early adoption attitude paid off in a big way, with the company doubling in size over each of the past two years, going from 25 employees in 2013 to 42 last year and now 80.

Now, Ignia’s made another early call, this time on advanced analytics, which are part and parcel of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

“We see advanced analytics as a natural evolution of IoT and machine learning, with the data science aspect wrapped around it. As with our previous big bets, we’ve invested heavily into this capability, bringing on in in-house data scientists along with expanding our data analytics and cloud teams,” Joshua said.

“We have some great case studies in the analytics space which is a precursor to the IoT play; for example, we’ve done real-time reporting using sensors for Fortescue Metals. The project was based on a near real-time reporting platform and has won a number of industry awards for Ignia and Fortecue.”

The Fortescue project involved collecting and aggregating data from just about every facet of a mine site – conveyor belts, ore crushers, trucks, “the whole end to end process of digging iron ore out of the ground” – and producing that data in any format necessary: phones, tablets and screens in the operation centres. Fortescue claim the changes are saving the company $30 million annually from just one mine site.

Now Ignia are working with Scancam, one of the year’s hottest start-ups and a company that is seeking to counter the hugely expensive international problem of drive-away fuel theft from service stations.

Though the use of video cameras and licence plate technology, Scancam has developed a system that brings a triple resolution to fuel theft – deterrence, identification of wrong-doers and recovery of money.

“The problem they’re solving is a real problem and with Scancam the only ones working on this, I can see them dominating the market very quickly,” Joshua said. “It is a really cool end-to-end process, with a lot of integrations points.”

Scancam was originally developed with AWS but later decided to move to Azure, with Ignia performing a full port to Azure within two weeks. The team also re-wrote the whole IOS front end in Xamarin, creating a 100% .NET solution. In addition, the team deployed all the IoT devices along with associated applications. The whole project took six weeks, with the team crediting Azure with the speed to market.  

“Using Azure makes our application development really rapid for us. You can build 90% of the solution quickly, with just some fine tuning required at the end. Normally, people don’t build the last 10% or 20% of an application because they’ve already spent all the budget or time getting to the 80%.”

“I think that’s what the Ignia guys get really excited about they actually get implement the features that normally get left off because of budget or time constraints.”

Joshua is anticipating more excitement for the Ignia team as the next wave of advanced analytics starts to break upon the business world in a manner that even the most visionary can’t anticipate.

“What we’re realising every day is that we don’t even know what the possibilities are yet. Every day we come up with a new ideas to innovate existing products and processes. We’re getting new products every week from Microsoft and keeping up with it is a challenge, but at the same time it’s also really exciting,” Joshua said.

“So in the future we’re going to get to a point, and we’re not far off, where everything’s going to be connected, we’re going to be able to get data insights from everything we do. And then it’s about what we decide to do with that data. What new applications can we create to drive more efficiencies?  It depends on your industry, but whether it’s greater efficiency, greater customer experience or greater user experience for your own staff, I think we’ll be seeing lots and lots of opportunities,” sums up Joshua.



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