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In 2017, Aqura Technologies – a specialist in the development and delivery of high-performance industrial wireless communications networks – was set a challenge to provide a communications solution for remote areas. 

 

Less than a year later, Aqura released ARC – Automated Rapid Communications – a high capacity, integrated communications platform that is transportable, rapidly deployable and engineered to withstand the rigours of harsh, remote environments.

 

ARC’s innovation was recognised locally and nationally in the industry, winning multiple Awards, including 28th INCITE Awards’ Most Effective Infrastructure Solution, Finalist for the iAwards and Gold for the ACS 2019 Digital Disruptor Awards. 

 

One year on since their INCITE Awards win, we talk to Alan Seery, Chief Operating Officer, of Aqura to talk about “what’s next?” and also see how their technology is continuing to help communities in the current pandemic. 

 

INCITE Awards: Thank you Alan for taking the time to talk to us. For those not quite familiar with Aqura Technologies, are you able to provide a brief overview?

 

Alan: Aqura’s business is focused on bridging the gap between technology and operations through the use of high-performance connectivity. We believe in the power of fit for purpose  technology to provide positive multiplying effects for businesses. 

 

To deliver the benefits of technology, Aqura offers services that span the design, construction and support of a broad range of communications solutions from LTE (Long Term Evolution), industrial wi-fi through to fibre optic networks. Our team is unique as all staff we utilise, from site to support are in-house employees and based in Australia.

 

Aqura has achieved many milestones in our relatively short three years of operation. Highlights for our team to date include winning an INCITE Award,  executing Australia’s first underground LTE network and we believe, the first integration by an Australian company of Narrow Band IoT into a private LTE network.

 

INCITE Awards: In 2019, Aqura entered and won the INCITE Award for its Automated Rapid Communications technology. Can you tell us more about this innovation?

 

Alan: In 2017, Aqura was approached by a Tier 1 Global Mining Company to introduce speed, reliability, and responsiveness into their field operations – something that many in the industry struggle to achieve as part of the challenges of remote exploration.

 

When the Aqura team took on this project, we soon realised the many challenges we faced – highly remote and harsh terrain with no available communications infrastructure and no on-site IT-support personnel being some of the biggest. 

 

Our team worked to create a solution that blended thinking from across the business from technology to infrastructure to create a unique platform that we call ARC – Automated Rapid Communications.

 

ARC essentially is a fully integrated satellite backhaul, edge compute and 4G LTE communications system in an easily transportable platform. The technology enhanced remote area communications through features such as:

  • Automated satellite backhaul that allows for communications data transfer 
  • A local compute platform that supports bandwidth optimisation, security, routing and localised processing of data
  • A Fully integrated 4G LTE network that provides broad area, high-speed wireless access. 

 

The ARC solution delivers many benefits for remote workers over and above what they thought possible – high speed local wireless network, reliable coverage and low, to no-touch IT support which means mining operations can be mostly self-sufficient and independent for their ongoing communications needs.

 

INCITE Awards: Since ARC’s release and winning the INCITE Awards in 2019, where is the technology at?

 

Alan: ARC has been fully commercialised and is now serving a number of customers across Australia. The concept is now evolving to different formats, and customisations to meet the needs of broader user types.

 

The innovation has also continued into the commercial acquisition model with the ARC now able to be rented, leased or bought outright, which considerably increases the attractiveness of the platform.

 

INCITE Awards: What made you enter your technology into the INCITE Awards and what has winning an award provided for Aqura?

 

Alan: We entered the awards to showcase the innovation that our local, in-house team displayed in developing a solution to the sizable challenges that were experienced by a customer. It was clear they needed a smart technology solution to achieve the performance goals they set.

 

We also wanted to highlight the skills and approach our team took to bring together a broad range of technologies in an integrated form which surpassed customer expectations. The INCITE Awards, being the State’s longest running and most prestigious ICT Awards program, which also offer national and international opportunities, was the perfect vehicle for showcasing Aqura and ARC.

 

By being a part of and winning the Awards, we were given a great opportunity to showcase some of the very clever things we do. The acknowledgment we received also gave us awareness in new areas outside of our normal markets.

 

Now, when recruiting for new staff, our Awards reflected very positively on us as an innovator that has been recognised by industry peers.

 

INCITE Awards: What’s next for Aqura or what exciting innovation is in the wings?

 

Alan: We are continuing to innovate our skills in wireless communications to advance the  use of LTE in new markets, including leveraging the security and performance of LTE to integrate with applications such as ndustrial IoT, Push to Talk  voice over LTE, Automation Control and asset tracking to deliver better solutions to the business challenges our customers are facing each day.. 

 

Our Content Access Network product (CAN) is gaining positive traction in the Aged Care market with a number of organisations looking to leverage secure, traffic managed Wi-Fi not only for operations use (Nurse call, wireless access to applications etc.) but also to make quality, managed Internet services available for client use. 

 

We want to make technology easily accessible to older clients who are now more digitally literate and want to maintain, and even grow community connections via social communications applications such as Facebook and Facetime.

 

It’s an exciting time to be in technology and the team at Aqura are looking forward to being at the forefront of it to continue delivering our tech for good focus. 

 

INCITE Awards: At INCITE, we’re big on sharing advice from past and successful winners. What learnings have you got for upcoming entrants and what business advice can you provide for business management during COVID-19?

 

Alan: For this year’s and upcoming INCITE Awards entrants, I would say, focus on the outcomes you are looking to achieve and worry less about plumbing. Make sure in your presentations, pitches and materials you call out the goal clearly and articulate how your tech solution solved the challenge.

 

One important thing we’ve learnt during this pandemic is the importance of digital readiness for businesses. Internally, we completed a migration to a full cloud model for our IT infrastructure in February which was very fortuitous. Our teams have, for a while now, actively embraced the move to remote working and we’re very active in communicating and monitoring the well being of our number one asset – our team. 

 

So use this “down” time to get your ‘house’ in order. Look into that digital transformation, get the jobs done which had previously moved to the side as things were too busy. Rethink processes now we have some clear air. Now is the time to cast aside, and update business processes that don’t add the value they once did.

 

Importantly, continue engaging with customers. Use this time of ‘pause’ to breathe and ‘talk’ to customers about where they are heading and if you can be of use, in a non-sales way. Strengthen the relationship with your customers and be there for them. 

 

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Thank you Alan for sharing Aqura’s INCITE story and business advice during this challenging time. For more information on Aqura, please visit: https://aqura.com.au/arc_success/