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Announcements Design Experience Innovation

AWS APN Awards 2020 Winner

AWS APN Awards 2020 Winner

ARQ Group wins Social Impact Partner of the Year Award at Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) annual Amazon Partner Network (APN) AUNZ Awards. 

ARQ was named AWS’s Social Impact Partner of the Year in recognition of its Fires Near Me mobile app. The digital innovation provides a critical service to millions of Australians during bushfire season, changing the way the public and authorities respond to bushfires, while saving lives and protecting property. 

On its busiest day the app supported more than 700,000 active users and sent more than 12 million notifications within six-hours. Throughout the bushfire season the app served over 500 million sessions, with more than 1.9 million individual watch zones created.

The APN awards recognise Amazon’s top performing partners across Australia and New Zealand who have helped customers build business-critical solutions and drive innovation in the AWS Cloud. Winners demonstrated how they pushed boundaries in technical capability and innovation by delivering positive impacts for customers.

Speaking on the winners, award host and AWS ANZ channel chief Davinia Simon said,

“Earlier this year we had a real challenge around bushfires. The Fires Near Me app changed the way consumers were accessing information about the fires in Australia. ARQ Group were able to deploy that solution to production in a matter of weeks.”

ARQ Group CEO, Tristan Sternson said,

“That given the scale of bushfires over the 2019/20 summer period, the app played an important role in protecting brave firefighters and those impacted.

 “I’m incredibly proud of the team at ARQ that developed the Fires Near Me app. Australia should be looking to invest more heavily in digital infrastructure and the Fires Near Me app is the perfect example of how digital solutions can be rolled out quickly, cost effectively, and can save lives in emergency situations.

“I’m particularly proud as this technical award for the Fires Near Me app comes less than a week after the app won a Good Design Award – Australia’s highest honour for design and innovation – in recognition of innovation, positive social impact and functional design.

“This has been a transformative year for ARQ Group with the COVID-19 pandemic prioritising business leaders’ focus on the importance of building robust technical solutions for tangible business impacts. We’re proud to be working with AWS and other partners delivering digital solutions that make a positive impact for our customers. 

“We’re 100% onshore, proudly Australian owned and operated, and growing quickly. ARQ’s the name behind many of Australia’s most loved household brands and government projects. We’re passionate about leveraging technology to solve organisational challenges – both public and private – no matter how complex.”  

In early September the Fires Near Me app won the Good Design Awards Social Impact gong and was highly praised by the deciding Jury. The Good Design Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards, which has been promoting excellence in design and innovation since 1958. 

Google Play and iOS
The Fires Near Me app is available for free download on the Google Play and iOS app stores with a national fires monitoring service within the app coming soon. 
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Digital Innovation People

I Built a Digital Twin of My Home in Lockdown

I Built a Digital Twin of My Home in Lockdown

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James Litjens

James Litjens

Associate Director of Emerging Technologies Arq Group. james.litjens@arq.group

I Built a Digital Twin of My Home in Lockdown

I'll Show You How...

Hi, I’m James. I live in Melbourne, Australia and we’re currently under stage 4 lockdown. It means curfew restrictions limit my movements and the majority of my time is enjoyed at home. On the plus side: life under lockdown means zero time lost in commuting to work. Lockdown has created new efficiencies, giving me back time I’ve never had before, or thought was possible. Now I have time for other things, and this got me thinking.

I work for an Australian tech company (ARQ Group) as Associate Director of Emerging Technologies. It’s an awesome job, given I’m paid to research and anticipate what’s coming around the corner in tech. The Arq Group Emerging Technology practice sits between cutting-edge innovation and mainstream technologies. I’m tasked with identifying and adopting technologies that progress into the growth stage. Think bleeding edge innovation way out on the fringes, followed by cutting edge technology, that evolves into the mainstream growth stage. This is where the technology has been validated and deemed commercially viable.

 

And while I’m neck-deep into cool tech like AI, machine learning, augmented reality, the internet of things and chatbots (to name a few), there’s a new buzzword in tech that’s gaining the limelight…

“Digital Twins”

Remember the name, for you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more of it.

What is a Digital Twin?

As the name implies, it’s a digital replica, a virtual model of a physical (real-world) thing. That “thing” can be a process, product or service; be it a building, a vehicle, a train line network, or an entire city.

The term was originally coined by Dr. Michael Grieves (University of Michigan) in 2002 and NASA was one of the first to use digital twins in space exploration missions. Maintaining and repairing systems in space when you’re on Earth was the first use of the technology by NASA. Digital twins was how NASA rescued the Apollo 13 mission.

Today digital twins are considered the next big thing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the development of new products, processes and the optimisation of existing.

Digital Twins: How Does It Work?

Digital twins connect the real and virtual world by collecting real-time data from installed sensors. The collected data is stored in the cloud and simulated in a virtual copy of the asset. Information from the simulation is then applied to the real asset.

The integration of data in real and virtual representations helps optimise performance of real assets.

Remember the countless times you’ve seen entire city office floors illuminated at 1am?

With a digital twin, lights can be programmed when not in use and ambient temperatures regulated for optimal comfort and cost. But it’s not only cost-savings…

Digital twins technology enables the manufacturing industry to simulate machinery (yet built), by replicating real-world physics (and wear and tear) to determine which parts would likely fail first, and when. This opens-up a world of preventative maintenance intelligence helping avoid costly downtime for the mining industry.

Remote monitoring is a big advantage made possible with digital twin technology. It allows accurate, real time monitoring, reducing the need for travel and increasing safety. Consider use cases like mining sites: underground or high elevations requiring safety equipment, telecommunication and utility companies.

Digital twins are hot, and they are only getting hotter…

In this mini-series of emerging technology trends, we’ll be covering:

  • Digital twins in real world examples. Practical applications and case studies. 
  • How you can build your own digital twin for your business for less than $50K AUD. 
  • ARQ’s four phase approach to implementing Digital Twins, improving performance and efficiency at every stage of the value chain.

Digital Twins: In Lockdown

Back to my story under lockdown…

Introducing my digital twin one bedroom apartment in Melbourne.

If you’ve ever played The Sims computer game, it looks and feels similar – but so much more. I recorded a video walkthrough you can watch to see the interactivity and functionality live. It’s next-gen stuff that brings The Sims world right into your living room.

In this video you’ll discover:

  • How I built a digital twin in 6 weeks. 
  • What I needed to build a digital twin.
  • How to save running costs. 
  • Which machine consumes how much power and when. 
  • How to use lights to notify family I’m on a video conference call. 
  • How I know exactly when the plants need watering. 
  • How the weather forecast automatically prevents over-watering the garden. 
  • How the home knows when we’re cooking and adjusts ambient temperatures. 
  • How I’ll never leave wet clothes in the washing machine again.

Digital Twins: What's Next?

In the next series we’ll delve into real-world examples and case studies on how digital twins help enterprise and government with city planning, managing airport traffic, to emergency management and underground mining.

I welcome your comments or questions below. If you found value in this post, please share within your network. Likes are also appreciated – thank you.

At the end of this mini-series I’ll be hosting a live webinar on digital twins and welcome your participation. Reserve your spot below.

James Litjens is the Associate Director of Emerging Technologies at ARQ Group. When James isn't leveraging tech for clients or delving into what's hot, he's building his own mobile apps, competing in triathlons and playing the drums in his apartment (at 1 am). Ever-so-considerate, James wears headphones when playing his electric drums. James' real drum kit is stored in a secret location with no neighbours. You can reach James at: james.litjens@arq.group

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Announcements Design Experience Innovation

Good Design Awards 2020 Winners

Good Design Awards 2020 Winners

Congratulations to NSW Rural Fire Services and First State Super – proud winners of Australia’s peak international design awards – the highest honour for design and innovation in the country: Good Design Award®.

Built by ARQ, NSW Rural Fire Services Fires Near Me app and First State Super’s mobile app take home the coveted Good Design Awards in the categories: 

1. Social Impact
NSW Rural Fire Service Fires Near Me app received a prestigious Good Design Award Winner Accolade in the Social Impact category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation. Real-time fire tracking with live alerts down to the smallest active ember. Digital solutions saving homes and lives. ARQ Group’s Fires Near Me app built for NSW Rural Fire Services provides Aussies a navigational beacon of digital light amidst the darkness of smoke from the raging infernos in one of Australia’s worst natural disasters.

2. Digital Design
First State Super’s app for members received the Good Design Award Winner Accolade in the Digital Design category for recognition of outstanding design and innovation in the superannuation industry. A first-of-its-kind superannuation app engineered backwards. An app built by members, for members. Traditional design is typically driven by business needs first and characteristically features heavy.

But doing normal things achieves normal results. So we turned the approach upside down. We threw away the rule book and started from scratch. Months invested interviewing the people that matter: members. We asked them what they want. We studied their digital lifestyles and prioritised how they chose to interact with their superannuation fund. Customer-centricity from the bottom-up – on their terms. The results shaped the design process – and for our troubles – the app has won several design awards for a simple, practical and intuitive customer experience including ‘Gold in Digital – New Service or Application’ at the Sydney Design Awards.

Good Design Australia is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards in the world, promoting excellence in design and innovation since 1958.

The competition was fierce. We competed against 835 design projects judged across 11 specific design disciplines; spanning 28 categories. Meticulously scrutinised by more than 55 Good Design Award® Jurors, evaluating entries according to a strict set of design criteria covering ‘good design’, ‘design innovation’ and ‘design impact’. To win, our tech solution needed to demonstrate excellence in good design and convince the Jury our innovation is worthy of recognition.

 

The Good Design Award® Jury praised NSW Rural Fire Service Fires Near Me app, commenting:

“A very thoughtful and technologically appropriate solution to the real and ever present danger of bushfires in Australia. The positive benefits of the app are clearly evident and presents a highly functional solution to the problem of communicating the location and movement of fires quickly.”

For our winning digital design for First State Super’s members app, the Jury said: 

“This is a solid app out there making a difference. Great attention paid to those rare-but-significant moments in the relationship between a person and their superannuation. Beautifully executed, well thought through and extremely useful. Nicely resolved visuals, well-executed visual hierarchy of information and typography. The jury was impressed with comprehensive co-design process. This entry is great reflection of how Superannuation is a category where good design can really make an important difference to the customer outcome.” 

Dr. Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia said: 

“Australia’s Good Design Award is more than a symbol of design excellence – it represents the hard work and dedication towards an innovative outcome that will ultimately make our lives better. These projects showcase the shear brilliance of design and the potential it has to improve our world.” 

 

First State Super

Humble When You’re Hot – The Real Heroes
And while the awards, accolades and the 571 technical certifications we’ve amassed are nice to have – it’s never about us. The real heroes (and true winners) are our customers who enhance the lives of their customers through innovations in technology, making life easier and convenient. 
We delight in the awards, as they serve as confirmation of our consistent ability to deliver an industry-vetted calibre of expertise. It’s independent affirmation of our award-worthy excellence for the most important project in the world: yours.
Choose The Right Partner For Capabilities Unlimited
If you’d like to conquer cloud, digital and data and need a consultancy specialist with award-winning expertise across the entire gamut, we should talk. For 25 years ARQ Group has been the leader in digital technology with a proud history of pioneering-firsts: the first company to bring the internet to Australia and the first to register domain names. ARQ created the first websites and developed the first apps. Imagine what we could do for you? 
View these full case studies below
Case Studies

First State Super App

First State Super App Manage your super anytime, anywhere https://youtu.be/Ay4IMs8p2vE “This is a solid app that is out there making a difference. Great attention paid

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