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How automating pricing with MS PowerApps saved a major telco client time and money

How automating pricing with MS PowerApps saved a major telco client time and money

Steve Avery

Steve Avery

Director
ARQ Group

Matthew Conquest

Matthew Conquest

Principal Consultant
ARQ Group

Swetha Veeranna

Swetha Veeranna

Senior Consultant
ARQ Group

Swati Kute

Swati Kute

Associate Consultant
ARQ Group

Evelyn Mieu

Evelyn Mieu

Associate Consultant
ARQ Group

How automating pricing with MS PowerApps saved a major telco client time and money

Project Background

In the telecommunication industry, price plays an important role in the consumer purchasing decision process. Therefore, it’s essential that telecommunication providers have access to efficient financial modelling tools to be able to swiftly price products and react to competitor pricing changes.

ARQ Group worked with a major telecommunication provider to solve the challenges they had been facing with automating their product pricing process for mobility solution sales through a custom Microsoft PowerApps solution.

The Challenge

ARQ worked with the major telecommunication provider to understand the key challenges they were facing with automating their product pricing process for mobility solution sales.

Summary of the key challenges:

Multiple manual data processes

The organisation was using a spreadsheet-based tool for financial modelling which required numerous manual platforms and spreadsheets to assess the commercial impacts of pricing changes and deals. Subsequently, this resulted in lack of visibility on the status of pricing changes and made it more difficult for employees to quickly price products.

Pricing automation

ARQ understood the clients need to automate the pricing process for mobility solution sales with a custom pricing application, reducing time, costs, and the possibility of errors. The automation was particularly important to the client as they had attempted this twice before with no success.

Solution

ARQ successfully delivered a custom pricing application for our client in only six months using Microsoft PowerApps, which enabled the telecommunication provider to complete all pricing changes and assessments for mobility solution sales in one platform.

This solution was delivered in two phases:

Phase 1 – Proof of concept

During this phase we collaboratively worked with the telecommunication provider to streamline their data processes and deliver a proof of concept for one of their four product portfolios using Microsoft PowerApps. The proof of concept was a great way to showcase the capabilities of Microsoft PowerApps and demonstrate how it could meet the pricing requirements of the telecommunication provider.

Phase 2- Delivery

The success of the proof of concept enabled us to proceed with the full delivery scope for the other products. The delivery plan was executed in fortnightly sprints to optimise efficiency and enable key stakeholder feedback. ARQ was able to successfully deliver the custom pricing application for all four-product portfolios in six months using Microsoft PowerApps.

Results

Through the partnership with ARQ Group, the major telecommunication provider has been able to automate their pricing process and improve the speed and efficiency to which they can make pricing changes for mobility solution sales. Additionally, they can now easily generate reports to swiftly identify the impacts of pricing changes.
 
Operationally this has enabled the organisation to increase their speed to market with pricing changes for mobility solution sales, save costs and maximise resource efficiency.

Team

  • Steve Avery (Director)
  • Matthew Conquest (Principal Consultant)
  • Swetha Veeranna (Senior Consultant)
  • Swati Kute (Associate Consultant)
  • Evelyn Mieu (Associate Consultant)
If you’d like to learn more about how ARQ can solve your business challenges with custom Microsoft PowerApps solutions, contact us today at sales@arq.group
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How we gave back 2 days of work per week to our administration officer with MS Power Automate

How we gave back 2 days of work per week to our administration officer with MS Power Automate

Valerie Sandford

Valerie Sandford

Project Manager
ARQ Group

How we gave back 2 days of work per week to our administration officer with MS Power Automate

At ARQ, we are aware of the negative impact that repetitive tasks can have on our employees. It affects their motivation and mental wellbeing. That’s why we strive to reduce repetitive manual processes wherever possible. 

 

We decided to experiment with Microsoft Power Automate to improve our internal processes, and timesheet reminders appeared to be a perfect use case for us. In this post we will explain how we automated our timesheet reminders with Microsoft Power Automate.  

 

As in many companies, employees must submit their timesheets at the end of each week. For us, a timesheet records the number of hours worked on each project, client, and any leave taken. But a number of us forget to submit our timesheets, and our administration officer sends hundreds of Slack, Microsoft Teams, and emails messages each week to employees and their managers to remind them to submit their timesheets. Our objective was to automate these reminders with Microsoft Power Automate and save valuable time for our administration officer and employees.  

 

The first step was to read a Salesforce report that lists all missing timesheets. It appears that it was easier to read data from Sharepoint than directly from Salesforce, so we automatically exported the report into Sharepoint instead. 

 

To do this, we subscribed to this report twice a week from Salesforce. This allowed us to receive an email containing CSV data regularly during the week. Microsoft Power Automate’s integration with Outlook allowed us to read these emails and copy any attachments into Sharepoint. We could then access any Sharepoint file using the site address and file path: 

The next step was to read each line of the CSV report. The reason we chose to export the report into CSV instead of Excel, was that Power Automate requires the Excel file to have data organized into Tables. We tried to create some tables via Power Automate but we faced other issues (the file got blocked or we couldn’t retrieve the last updated data). However, reading a  CSV file required writing a small amount of code. This step could be daunting for users who are non-developers, which Power Automate clearly targets. Better support for this use-case in the future would help keep Power Automate apps as low-code as possible. 

The third step was to send missing timesheet reminders to the employee. For each missing timecard we were able to send email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams reminders. In order to send Slack messages, we needed to ensure that a slack username format (`firstname.lastname`) was consistently applied across the company. 

The last and final step was to send reminders to an employee’s manager. If your Office365 employee profiles are up to date, Power Automate allows you to retrieve the user profile which includes details of their manager.

Although, we faced a few challenges along the way, this experiment with Microsoft Power Automate successfully allowed us to automate timesheet reminders across the company. Each week more than 200 emails, Slack and Microsoft Teams reminders are sent automatically to employees and managers. It gave back 2 days of works per week to our administration officer who can now focus on what really brings value to the company.

We enjoyed Power Automate’s tight integration with Office365 user profiles, Outlook, Sharepoint, and Microsoft Teams. It also helped highlight areas across the company where we needed to ensure our data was up to date. 

 

If you wish to know more about how we automated this process using Microsoft Power Automate, feel free to contact us at emerging.technologies@arq.group

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Digital Twins are here, we’ll tell you what they are!

Digital Twins are here, we’ll tell you what they are!

Jaysen McGuiness

Jaysen McGuiness

Platform Engineer at ARQ Group

Digital Twins are here, we’ll tell you what they are!

The pace of change and accelerated arrival of Industry 4.0 has forced many areas of business and society in general to forcibly (and quickly) adjust to this new digital way of working. COVID takes some responsibility, but the movement was already underway.

‘Digital Twins’ as a buzz-word is being used across all industries, so this brief introduction to how we see it being used now and into the future will help explain what it really means, and how it can add tangible business value to you.

Digital Twins as a term was most notably used by NASA in the early 2000’s as “a virtual representation in virtual space of a physical structure in real space and the information flow between the two that keeps the former synchronized with the latter” when designing future rockets, before so much as a screwdriver was picked up to design and model how various systems would best work with each other.  

The most simplistic explanation for a Digital Twin is that it can allow you to have a dashboard-level view of your plant, process or operation wherever you are, as a digital overlay of those components. More than just remote camera or sensor monitoring, a Digital Twin becomes an engaged agent, following rules you set to look out for issues even before they happen, to continually learn from and advise on your whole connected ecosystem, and (potentially) actively intervene to avoid dangerous and/or costly issues from occurring.  Further, that intelligence can be used to model ‘what-if’ scenarios to help build better, more economically viable, safer and environmentally cleaner processes.

While still evolving, in more recent implementations it is being used at very small scale levels of cellular analysis by biochemists right through to city and country-wide scales where everything from water and power utilities are using man-made structures and naturally occurring features are being modelled and tracked with IoT sensors, along with what is becoming the most typical type of implementation in manufacturing process monitoring or facilities management.  This type of ‘smart’ integration was the first step into developing a Digital Twin, and when combined with the often significant amount of historical and streamed data that has become so prevalent in our modern world, Digital Twins is the collection and aggregation point to begin to make sense of that ocean of data and real-world telemetry that is now at our disposal, and begin to make it work for us. 

Data on its own is, however, ultimately useless if it is not used, and the art of knowing what is relevant is where the true value of Digital Twins lies. It is more than just having the set of every sensor out there, it’s knowing which ones are providing that useful insights or giving you that critical early warning.  

 

 

The anatomy of a Digital Twin requires consideration of the following points:

  • Understand the business questions/values that are being answered
  • Determine what existing sensors/data is in place, and identify any more that may be required
  • Examine all levels of the business to understand methods of engagement
  • Scope definition to be kept small for first-time implementation
  • Work to deliver tangible business value as early as possible once implemented

There is a catch: attempting to build a large number of complex processes and capture points can take a very long time. While keeping that end-state in mind, the first approach should be to build a thin sliver that has a discrete, demonstrable positive impact and show value, and integrated into existing work practices and environments without significant disruption. This limiting is what will help provide the relevant template for your business or industry and help move the Digital Twin concept from being one that is heavily bespoke and specific to its implementation, to become a question of patterns that can be re-used, the more examples are realised. This will have the effect of commoditising the approach, making it more common while democratising the intelligence and deep knowledge that continues to evolve as your business does.

For most cases, this initial implementation is a 3-6 month window where an outcome can be proven, at a cost around $50k. Once this value is clear, the options and possibilities for further enhancement and prioritising them as relevant becomes clearer, and allows for taking advantage of any new advancements in what is a highly dynamic and changeable digital space.

James Litjens is the 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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Digital Experience

5 Proven Strategies to Achieve Rapid CX ROI

5 Proven Strategies to Achieve Rapid CX ROI

Measuring and communicating the business value of CX initiatives is a top priority. It’s also a challenge for leaders across organisations. There is widespread acknowledgement that customer obsession and improved CX has a direct positive topline impact on your organisation. But the CX process is still evolving when it comes to elevating and communicating this impact. Without a strategic approach, this can become a beast to manage, especially for larger enterprise organisations 

 

Behold the five proven strategies we’ve seen work with our enterprise partners. These strategies transcend beyond transforming your CX through award winning products and services – successfully capturing and communicating measurable business impact. When done right, CX reimagination can be a fun and exciting journey with fascinating commercial benefits for the organisation. But beware – the risks can be high if it’s not thoughtfully planned.  

 

01 Who is Your Ultimate Customer?  

 

The first port of call is achieving an intimate understanding of your customer(s). Who are your customers and will you need to target specific segments? Hint: These might be existing in your business as customer segmentation, personas, or customer clusters, but the common pitfall is having multiple definitions of these for the different parts of the business.  

 

Consolidating and reviewing any available analytic insights across the different customer touchpoints (such as digital products, sales interactions, and customer care channels) help form prioritised views on different customer segments. Having insightful optics across all your customer segments goes a long way in knowing optimal CX initiatives to accelerate quality outcomes.  

 

02 Establish Your Unified Customer Voice 

 

One of the key lifecycle artefacts powering the continuity of your CX roadmap is the visualisation of end-to-end business lifecycle (from your customers’ perspective). Methods such as journey maps and service interaction maps help establish a common source of understanding, enabling your entire organisation to appreciate not just what works well in the current systembut more importantly, map pain points, gaps, and opportunities. When extended to overlay customer feedback, UX metrics such as struggle scores and drop off rates help prioritise high impact CX initiatives.  

 

In a way, such unified mapping of the current state establishes empathy within the organisation and goes a long way in evolving a customercentric mindset.   

 

Such collaborative activities reinforce the internal cultural evolution of CX within the organisation. More importantly, it breaks down the silos that may exist across design, engineering and product teams across numerous business units. CX is beyond design, given technology is your direct enabler for any new capabilities you’ll build. And what better way to unite the right people from the cross section of the organisation to define your future!   

 

03 If You’re Not Solving the Right Challenge, Forget ROI  

 

Most organisations have one (or other forms) of customer personas and journey maps, but the real value of the customer research comes to life when you leverage the CX magic word: “alignment”.  The true value of CX outcome not realised until we deliver business outcomes. Having a clear grasp of the organisational north starboth tactical and long term – now helps identify and prioritise the right challenge to combat first. Techniques such as JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) help strike this balance between user needs and business goals.   

Clarity on CX priorities means a razor-sharp view on the ‘what’. This facilitates the ‘how’ which is all about creative ways of problem solving. The last decade has seen a good evolution in the space of design thinking methods. With the right lean and iterative techniques, it’s all about finding the right solution fit for purpose for both the business and your customers.  

 

By identifying core CX challenges needing solutions, and adopting a user-centred design approach, the order fulfilment unit of a retail partner achieved 40% time savings and 20% reduction in call volumes.  

  

04 Embrace Metrics  

 

CX initiatives without a quantification mindset will result in being at squareone. Quantifying a range of parameters for the product, service, customers, and the business, means you not only get better at prioritising problems to solve, but also better measure and track outcomes, post rollout 

 

Organisations with growth mindset have successfully adopted methods such as A/B testing frameworks. The result? Empowered teams able to continuously improve and enhance the customer experience across the board. This testandlearn mindset also means organisations can take data informed decisions for future investments.     

Partnering with a global airline to develop a real-time service health dashboard for a newly launched automated customer connect platform. Providing business teams with valuable insights on the key CX metrics. Enabling ongoing refinements and leading a data informed service decision making.”  

 

05 Design for Business Outcomes  

 

As much as organisations strive to be customer centric, ensuring that we are designing for the success of the business is the single biggest void in the current industry CX workflow. This offers the opportunity for the UX and Design community to evolve from designing just for users (and being the voice of the user in the room) to designing for the needs of both users and the business. 

  

Teams that are able to strike this balance will make all the difference when it comes to successful CX outcomes. The recent rise of UX metrics, design measurement and strategic design roles (beyond UI design and interaction design) are a result of this need. It’s envisaged this space is slated to mature and strengthen in the next two to three years.  

 

To capitalise upon the trend, leaders need to assemble the right CX team to lead the change. Assembling teams with a mix of skills across customer empathy, behavioural science, service, and product design, with strategic business acumen.  

 

Globally, only 17% of design teams are actively measuring impact.”  

Forrester Business Impact of Experience Design 2020  

 

Finally, Tell Better Stories 

  

Results speak for themselves. Show action through iterative roll outs. Have a cadence of CX ROI reporting. Elevate the impact. Demonstrate value. Highlight the business stats. Delight the execs as well as customers. And this will go a long way in advancing the focus on CX.  

 

Read more about how we partner with brands to transform customer experiences by combining the best of design thinking, user centred design and data and analytics 

 

  • Digital channel experience strategy and design: Aware Super   
  • CX reimagination for a new business line offering: Transurban  

 

Want to lift your game in CX while booking measurable business outcomes?  

Let’s talkor connect with me on LinkedIn

 

Shriman Kalyan  

Director, Digital Experience 

ARQ Group

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Announcements Design Experience Innovation

ARQ Group Awarded AWS Cloud Migration Competency

ARQ Group Awarded AWS Cloud Migration Competency

ARQ Group Awarded AWS Cloud Migration Competency.

ARQ Group has been recognised as one of Amazon Web Service’s trusted cloud migration partners and amongst a select few Australian companies holding AWS’ Cloud Migration Competency.

ARQ Group has been working with AWS on cloud migrations since 2013, designing processes optimised and tightly aligned to AWS best practices. This recent competency is a testament to ARQ Group’s success in continually raising the bar for full stack migrations and optimisations.

ARQ Group is Australia’s full stack partner of choice with AWS capability competency in managed services, consultancy, mobile, data and analytics, and now – cloud migrations.   

The AWS Migration Competency is highly coveted by digital transformation agencies, demonstrating AWS has tested and validated a company’s processes, practices and outcomes. AWS awards competency when satisfied cloud migrations by partner organisation’s offer best-in-class value for customers.

The Coffee Club’s migration earlier this year is just one example of delivering excellence in migration to the AWS Cloud. ARQ migrated the majority of Coffee Club’s data and processes from a physically constrained data centre with multiple manual processes. The cloud migration unlocked access to a suite of industry-leading data and analytics options offering leaders a deeper understanding of the business, their customers, and the sharpening of data-driven decision making.

Tristan Sternson, ARQ Group’s CEO said,

“This has been a challenging year for many Australian businesses, but also a major wake up call for all business leaders to take full advantage of cloud technologies.

“With approximately 43% of Australia’s businesses in the cloud, there’s an abundance of untapped opportunity to accelerate digital transformation – but more importantly – it’s no longer sustainable for many businesses to simply consider ‘if’ they should migrate to the cloud, but ‘when’. I would urge all business leaders, not just CIOs and tech workers, to consider cloud in their 2021 digital strategy.

“As one of Australia’s first AWS Premium Consulting Partners, and for over 7 years, we have delivered best practice in cloud, data, digital and AI. Achieving this major milestone with AWS migrations competency is just another step in our commitment to helping Australia’s businesses take full advantage of cloud technologies, unlocking new data insights and customer centric applications.”

Steve McCormick, ARQ Group’s Chief Customer Architect, leads the company’s cloud migrations team and said,

“The competency was a key part, demonstrating ARQ Group’s excellence in all aspects of digital transformation.

“I’m immensely proud of my team for the hard work they’ve contributed over the years, for ARQ Group to be recognised as a leading Australian cloud migration specialist by AWS. Cloud migrations are just one part of many that we provide customers.

“COVID-19 has changed the way business leaders think about their businesses, witnessing years of digital progress accomplished in just a few months. As Australia’s leading digital provider, customer capabilities extend to full-service digital experiences, web and app development, and AI and machine learning solutions.

“Many of these innovative, data intensive solutions ARQ offer customers are cloud-based, so our new AWS competency is a real feather in our cap.

“Getting cloud migration done right is crucial to long-term business success. I firmly believe businesses should insist on the best in the business for crucial IT projects. AWS competency helps achieve this.”

"ARQ Group has demonstrated the highest level of specialisation, deep AWS technical expertise, and proven customer success and we congratulate the team on their achievement of the AWS Migration Competency. We are excited to work with ARQ Group as they continue to help customers across Australia migrate applications and legacy infrastructure to AWS, unlocking the power of data and machine learning to deliver business-led outcomes."

Davinia Simon, Head of ANZ Channel and Alliances at AWS
One of Australia’s Most Award Winning Consulting Partners

In 2020 ARQ Group was named AWS’s Social Impact Partner of the Year for their work building the highly scalable NSW RFS Fires Near Me App – the first time this award has been presented. ARQ Group has presented multiple times at AWS’ global conference Re:Invent and won AWS Innovation Partner of the Year in 2018 for ANZ and APAC.

ARQ Group is one of Australia’s most awarded AWS Premium Consulting Partners, and holds numerous partner qualifications, including:

  • Premier Consulting Partner
  • Managed Service Provider Partner
  • Data Competency Partner (only Australian holder)
  • Marketing and Commerce Competency
  • Public Sector Channel Partner
  • Mobile Competency Partners
  • Immersion Day Competency
  • Migration Competency
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Augmented Reality Innovation IoT Virtual Reality

Digital Twins

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Apollo 13 crew are fighting for survival as their oxygen tanks prematurely explode early in the mission. The world holds its breath as one of the most famous rescue missions unfolds. The new mission: fix life-threatening trouble 320,000 kilometres away in space. But it’s never been done before. Key to the rescue mission: NASA’s digital twin, allowing engineers to test solutions on Apollo 13 from Houston.

Know Everything

From Anywhere

Real-time diagnosis of mission critical equipment located a thousand miles away on a remote outback mine from the comfort of air-conditioned offices in the CBD.

Thousands of sensors: sight, sound, vibration and altitude means you can ‘twin’ anything from anywhere for unprecedented clarity and control over visualisation.

Digital twins enable:

  • Remote Monitoring 
  • Optimise Maintenance Schedules
  • Real-Time Assessments and Troubleshooting 
  • VR Simulations for Technical Support 
  • Staff Training and Onboarding 

See Around the Corner

Smarter, more accurate decision making with the power of foresight through predictive modelling so you can proactively respond to anomalies before they impact your business.

What is a Digital Twin?

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. 

Our very own James Litjens built a digital twin of his home whilst in Covid lockdown.

See the full story here 

 

4 Steps To Your Digital Twin

ARQ’s proprietary process to creating your bespoke digital twin happens in our 4 step methodology:

Identify The Ecosystem

Process mine your operations.

Research and recommend optimisations.

Journey map data flows and interactions between the physical and virtual.

Source the IoT you’ll need.

Map your twin strategy. Unlock new capabilities.

Connecting The Ecosystem

Secure your cloud platform.

Centralise your controls.

Modular configuration so new physical sites can be added without impact to back end services.

Serverless deployment means no infrastructure to maintain. Pay only for what you use.

Edge computing: real-time response and immediate action to events.

Visualise and Impact The Ecosystem

Design your service, placing data and cognitive insights into your people, products and processes.

Identity specific user and task workflows.

Machine learning increases real-time efficiencies, monitoring and optimising response times.

Dashboard transparency of system status in real-time, accessed from anywhere.

Real-time monitoring displays unique data for each user.

End-point heartbeats measure health status.

Searchable log history for detailed analysis.

Prediction and Forecasting

Predictive maintenance monitors real-time sensors to build a cost-benefit maintenance schedule.

Anomaly detection in fleet vehicles identifies non-maintenance related issues.

Near-time schedule optimisation through machine learning (ML). Unforeseen events happen, ML automatically recalibrate schedules and forecasts.

We build rich physical models of equipment and systems for scenario planning and simulation, augmenting your data driven forecasting. Predictive system testing at scale.

New Capabilities

Endless Possibilities

Heavy Industry

Manufacturers 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 industries such as mining.

Health Care

Hospitals track infection agents via real-time epidemiology data identifying who is at risk by contact. Patient organs digital twins allow doctors to test different care delivery approaches and prevent conditions that are years apart, enabling patient-specific surgery training to prepare for complex invasive procedures.

Farming

Data collection detects deviations in normal farming practice. Dairy monitors on cattle detect heat and health analysis, visualising dairy production inconsistencies, enabling action plans to correct diary flow.

Natural Disasters

In times of natural disasters like hail or floods, digital twins provide real-time information on flood levels and hail damage in precise locations. Predictive modelling alerts the infrastructure in jeopardy, allowing immediate action by deploying resources exactly when and where needed.

Book a Free Digital Twins consultation today

Digital Twins: Industry 4.0

The next big thing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here: Digital Twins – powering the development of new products, processes and the optimisation of existing, enabling:

  • Proactive Planning
  • Operational Efficiencies
  • Reduced Costs

Finding a Grain of Rice in a Big City

Woolworths Smart Deliveries

Woolworths smart delivery platform allows real time tracking of orders, trucks and baskets through a combination of physical sensors, smartphone apps for drivers, intelligent middleware, and a visualisation dashboard for Customer Support Agents. 

Finding a grain of rice delivered across any big city in Australia is child’s play with digital twins for logistics. 

Posties See the Unseen

Virtual Reality, Alexa and the Unreal Gaming Engine

Parcelbot

Providing address intel for improved CX and delivery optimisation

A proof of concept (PoC) explored in partnership with Australia Post using VR, Amazon’s Alexa and the Unreal gaming engine. 

The PoC: create a digital twin environment for Posties to capture and surface important information along their delivery routes, including customer preferences like: safe to leave parcel unattended, locked gate, and protective dog.

Global Mining Giant

(We'd love to tell you who, but we signed an NDA)

Reduced Downtime

Methane release means downtime, and downtime costs millions when you’re one of the world’s largest mining companies. The mission: investigate factors leading to methane release to reduce downtime. By creating a digital twin we unified data assets, consolidated and cross-linked geospatial and operational mine data. The outcome? Significant reduction in unplanned downtime resulting in substantial ROI.

Route Optimisation

In an open cut mine, efficiency improvements of a shovel-truck circuit can lead to significant ROI. ARQ implemented a new way to model circuit operations, based on cross-linking disparate vehicle, shift, sensor and operational data, resulting in improvements in circuit efficiency and supervisor decision making.

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Announcements Design Experience Innovation

Helping Australians Get Back to Work

Helping Australians

Get Back to Work

ARQ Group Helping Australians Get Back to Work

The National Careers Institute has launched the Your Career digital platform to provide clear and simple information to help people of all ages and circumstances plan and manage their careers. 

As part of the project, ARQ Group, Australia’s leading digital provider, helped design and build the digital platform which brings together career advice and other information from a multitude of sources to create a one stop shop for those looking to find a job or undertake a career change.

The role of the Your Career is to:

  • Help people find clear careers information and advice
  • Create a single trusted source of careers information
  • Curate and publish transparent employment and education data
  • Strengthen careers information and research through collaboration

Amanda Milin, ARQ Group’s Director – Government and project lead said it was a key part of the Australian Government’s response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“We’re immensely proud of this digital platform which ARQ Group has designed and built in collaboration with the National Careers Institute. Your Career provides an end to end solution and is redefining how the Australian Government interacts with job seekers and those looking for a career change.

“COVID-19 has changed the job market and many people have spent time reconsidering their career paths. That’s why it is so important they have access to the right information to make informed decisions.

“Your Career is a one-stop-shop, and by utilising our expertise in building user-friendly digital platforms, we are making sure people have easy access to the information they need.

“It has been a significant undertaking and I am so proud of the entire team at ARQ Group who have made this a reality. Whether we are working with a major corporation, a new enterprise, or a government entity, we are driven by our goal to make a positive impact. Your Career will benefit tens of thousands of Australians for years to come,” Amanda Milin said.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, said this website will serve as Australia’s authoritative source of careers information.

“As we deal with COVID-19 and the impact on the economy, everyone should have access to reliable and accurate labour market data, and information on the skilling or re-training options available to them.

“To do that, we need to ensure everyone has access to information about how to transfer their skills to jobs in demand, upskill, retrain or start to plan for their longer-term goals,” Minister Cash said.

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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 & Purpose

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? 
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Case Studies

Aware Super App

Aware Super App Manage your super anytime, anywhere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9CnKlZ4KR8 “This is a solid app that is out there making a difference. Great attention paid to

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