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How we created our immersive metaverse experience

How we created our immersive metaverse experience

Sowmiya Selvakumaraswamy
Sowmiya Selvakumaraswamy

Associate Consultant, Emerging Technologies

How we created our immersive metaverse experience

How do you bring together a geographically distributed workforce across the world for a major corporate event?

Metaverse – the latest buzzword proved to be a perfect solution to solve our problem.

On the 30th of August, we launched NCS NEXT, a global powerhouse of digital capabilities and innovation. To celebrate this milestone, we hosted an immersive launch in three locations – The Lume in Melbourne, Marquee in Singapore and the Metaverse. The Metaverse launch was beyond any of our expectations with more than 100 people attending the virtual event.

This blog post explains how our team of experts created the Metaverse:

1. Creating the metaverse world

Our Emerging Tech team of experts was tasked with creating a metaverse world for employees and clients to virtually experience the launch of NCS NEXT and interact with each other.

With only a few weeks to prepare the metaverse world we got to work quickly on the design and user-experience.

Whilst, there is an option to create a custom world from scratch in Unity we decided to choose a predefined template provided by Altspace, which was more suitable for the event. We personalised the virtual world by changing the sky to align with the theme of the event happening in real life.

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Our virtual world designed in Unity had three spaces: the first being the main stage where the real event was being streamed. We also designed two different rooms, with each room showcasing a specific domain area and related demonstration and information videos.

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2. Let’s play!

In the main space, we created a gaming area. It included a basketball court, interactive games like dark games, and a quiz.

These kinds of fun activities are especially important in a virtual world as it encourages people to socialise, talk to each other, and promote networking.

Metaverse gaming area

3. Create pre-event hype

Our goal with the metaverse world was to ensure that employees were aware of the metaverse events and create anticipation, so employees were get excited about what’s coming up. As Metaverse is also a new concept, these pre-event activities were a fun way to familiarise guests with this new technology.

Here are a few examples of the activities we utilisedsome pre-event activities to create excitement and anticipation around our metaverse world: 

  • Metaverse meetup:Let’s organise a large metaverse meetup with gaming and music!
  • Metaverse Townhall meeting: Why not host our company townhall meeting in the metaverse?
  • Carrot finding – treasure hunt: Let’s find the carrot hiding in the metaverse!
  • Competition to take the best selfie: Who will take the best Selfie?
4. Don’t forget to host it
 
Like any real event, we needed to have some dedicated hosts in the Metaverse.  
 
Our hosts, role was to welcome the guests, encourage communication and solve technical issues. The hosts did a wonderful job at managing the Metaverse world during the launch and ensuring it’s success. 
 
What do people have to say about this? 
 
Here are some of our employees’ feedback: 
  •  “Was a cool concept to try out. Overall, a fun new experience.” 
  • “I felt like I am actually attending this event face to face” 
  • “Nice carrot trick on getting everyone to set up AltSpace. Loved it!”

Overall the Metaverse world was very successful and a great opportunity to showcase our experts exceptional talent. 

We would like to thank Joshua Henderson, Naureen Mukri, Valerie Sandford, Brent Brentan and Audrey Patricia for their contributions to this event. 

If you wish to know more about how your organisation can benefit from Metaverse solutions, feel free to contact us at emerging.technologies@arq.group

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Digital Twin accelerator, powering industry 4.0

Digital Twin accelerator, powering industry 4.0

John Milligan

John Milligan

Associate Consultant, Emerging Technologies

Digital Twin accelerator, powering industry 4.0

Digital Twin systems enables organisations across multiple industries to extend asset life, manage systems and improve efficiency. ARQ have been working closely with the water utility industry to develop and deploy a Digital Twin system.

In this post we’ll explain why these emerging technologies are so exciting, and beneficial to so many organisations.

Digital Twins: Bridging the Digital & Physical Worlds

A digital twin is in essence a digital replica of a system, including its physical elements. It is to IoT (Internet of Things) what Excel Charts was to raw table data. A human centered, easy to understand representation that helps to rapidly drive decisions. An example many are likely familiar with is Google Maps or Uber, which report to the user where on the road their transportation is.

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These digital representations of real-world systems can be anything from a small smart home setup, a large factory production line or even making a city’s infrastructure ‘smart’. In a smart home, Digital Twins can reduce energy bills, ensure the house is kept in comfortable temperature conditions and more around the clock, all without human interaction. In an industry setting, Digital Twins can significantly reduce operational costs. Fundamentally driven by sensors in an interconnected system, a digital twin has the potential to increase productivity, efficiency, automation and more. Just as powerfully, the substantial growth in data provided by these sensors that was previously unavailable provides enormous opportunity to generate new insights and drive further innovation, backed up by hard data.

ARQ is helping businesses grow through Digital Twins

Digital Twins have the potential to greatly improve both the day to day and long-term operations and the experiences a service, business, or product can achieve. However, there’s a perception that they are complex long-term engagements that require multi-year, multi-million-dollar investments to achieve a return on investment. The perception may be accurate if attempting to develop an all-encompassing digital twin system, so it isn’t surprising some businesses may be hesitant to invest in this area, even with such fantastic potential. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. ARQ provides an accelerated digital twin solution, what we call a ‘Twin In A Box’. By keeping a narrow focus for the digital twin, it is far easier and cost effective to develop, deploy and begin gaining a return on the investment. Both large and even the smallest of organisations can use Digital Twins to gain a competitive advantage and make a big impact – when effective and targeted choices are made.

North East Water engaged ARQ to improve the efficiency of their operations. Rather than attempting to transform their entire network, together we researched which area to initially target to bring them the most value. For North East Water’s network, it was their sewer pumps. Their standard operations were nearly entirely reactive; they would only be aware of an issue with their pumps after they had occurred. Instead of requiring a call out to an engineer at 2 am on a Saturday to resolve a problem, with ARQ’s partnership North East Water could foresee, plan and fix the issue at 2 pm on a Friday. Likewise, without any real time information on their pump’s conditions, maintenance would simply be scheduled on regular intervals, not necessarily when or if it was needed.

With ARQ’s accelerated digital twin, North East Water effectively have a set ‘eyes’ on the ground. This real time data enables the North East Water to determine in advance where and when maintenance of individual pumps is actually required. These are only two examples of the many advantages a single implementation our accelerated digital twin solution can provide. With our ‘Twin In A Box’ solution, we are confident many businesses can achieve a return on investment in as little as six months.

ARQ Loves Innovation

The Emerging Technology team loves the adoption of this technology so much, that they are even using it at home. An ARQ team member has a fully connected smart house that they developed. While fantastic, achieving such a comprehensive, interconnected and bespoke system was not an easy task.

Smart House

The smart house system provides many benefits including cost and energy savings from intelligent and automated air conditioning and climate systems which have saved them upwards of 30% on their energy bills.

A digital twin with a focused capability not only accelerates gaining benefits but can also serve as a foundation for future capabilities. Both our ARQ team member and North East Water are able to build on top of their existing system, and when deploying future capabilities onto a system that is already providing value, the cost in time, resources and complexity are all effectively lowered.

The Nuts & Bolts of Digital Twin Technologies

At ARQ, we implement digital twins using a hybrid design system, from edge to cloud. Operating with cloud and local servers and computation (edge) allows for rapid responses, even when internet connections are interrupted and/or if required for critical areas, such as emergency or safety applications.

Artificial Intelligence integration helps a improve efficiency, which is already providing enormous value in the previously mentioned engagement with North East Water. Through ARQ’s ‘Twin In A Box’ solution, North East Water have achieved an 80% accuracy for advanced warnings. Driven by these accurate predictions, North East Water is more efficient and better able to plan operators shifts.

We also approach data with easy-to-understand simple 3D visualisations, providing a far more intuitive experience compared to SCADA systems. SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a category of software applications for controlling industrial processes. However, even with more specialist knowledge these are often not the most user-friendly systems.

SCADA Systems

Below is an example of a SCADA Alarm alert, versus that of a Digital Twin incident. As you can see even in this simple example how limited the information is, and more importantly, it doesn’t provide the user any real insights. The digital twin is the inverse, more actual data that is also armed with potential insights about said data.

SCADA Alarm

Data on its own is ultimately useless, these more intuitive systems open the data and the insights it brings to everyone. Designing with greater usability in mind ultimately benefits everyone, including specialists.

Digital Twin

With that said, we can build these upon an existing SCADA system if a business already has one in operation, along with their existing sensors or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and have this work within security boundaries. (Programmable Logic Controllers are the hardware that picks up the information from the real world, in use within multiple industries for decades).

Accessible and Reliable

ARQ and our ‘Twin In A Box’ solution also works closely with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud platform, providing greater portability and accessibility by providing users to access our accelerated Digital Twin systems anywhere, and on any device. 

At ARQ we explore, develop, and deploy these cutting-edge technologies in our own offices. The ARQ Officetwin allows us to put into practice the benefits of a digital twin, and acting as a test bed for continuous discovery work in real world conditions.

ARQ’s Digital Twin Vision

Our aim is to make these technologies more accessible to Australian organisations based on the learnings we’ve seen in the North American and European markets. The core of our approach in achieving this quite simple, namely by keeping a narrow focus a digital twin is far easier and more cost effective to develop, deploy and begin gaining a return on the investment. ARQ is shifting this landscape in Australia from playing in innovation, to solving real world problems, through new applications of existing and emerging technologies.

This doesn’t just benefit individual projects but enables our fundamental methodology to be far more easily transferable and repeatable across different engagements. This efficient and cost-effective approach benefits both ARQ and our client partners, enables rapid development, providing far more immediate value, reducing the cost, and streamlines the deployment of any future capabilities.

ARQ’s ‘Digital Twin In A Box’, provides an end to end implementation for one use case on a scalable platform, to rapidly achieve a return on investment, and build a business case for further strategic adoption. It is difficult to state just how much opportunity there is across numerous industries and applications to bridge the physical and digital worlds. ARQ is delivering this opportunity better, faster and more efficiently, and we want to help more companies, organisations and people, join us in this exciting and evolving landscape.

We would like to thank Yuchong Li, James Litjens and the rest of the Digital Twin team for their amazing contribution to this project.

If you wish to know more about how your organisation can benefit from Digital Twins, feel free to contact us at emerging.technologies@arq.group

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5 essential tips to create an Augmented Reality Experience that even your grandpa would love!

5 essential tips to create an Augmented Reality Experience that even your grandpa would love!

Sowmiya Selvakumaras

Sowmiya Selvakumaras

Associate Consultant, Emerging Technologies

Valerie Sandford

Valerie Sandford

Project Manager
ARQ Group

5 essential tips to create an Augmented Reality Experience that even your grandpa would love!

A successful Augmented Reality (AR) experience integrates the digital world and physical world seamlessly and any interaction should feel like you are interacting within a real-world environment. This makes the concept of traditional navigation design patterns redundant and leads us to develop a system that blends the digital and real world.

As per recent data, by 2024 there will be an estimated 1.7 billion mobile augmented reality (AR) users worldwide, a rise of 1.5 billion from the 200 million seen in 2015. In 2022, there will be an estimated 1.1 billion mobile AR users worldwide.

In this blog, ARQ’s Emerging Technologies experts will share five essential tips to creating a successful AR user experience.

1. Bridge the gap between real and virtual

For a seamless AR user experience, the transition between the real and virtual world must be smooth. The more virtual components simulate real-life objects, the better the end user experience.

We recommend considering how an object’s appearance changes as you get closer and re-evaluating if you need to make it sharper and clearer. Especially when the object is tethered to a real-world object like in a tracker based AR scene or a plane tracking AR scene.

There are certain features like casting shadows, simulating real world physics like gravity, acceleration of an object, adding right lighting, and reflection which have a significant impact on AR scenes.

Furthermore, you need to determine whether the user will be attempting to use the AR app from an indoor or outdoor environment. As, this will impact how you set up the environment texture and lighting. For reference this image shows how lighting and textures can have a significant impact on these two 3D models with the same polygon count.

Object Texture

2. Add 3D objects and animations to the experience

With recent technical advancements, incorporating 3D models into your AR experience has never been easier. 3D elements add a sense of depth and realism to the scene. The challenge is keeping it to an optimal size while also making it look realistic. One way to get around this is reducing the number of polygons and focusing on the textures and materials. Many 3D modeling softwares like Blender have plug-ins to perform this at a click of a button.

We also recommend you avoid including too many 3D elements as it can overwhelm the user and clutter up the screen space (real and virtual).

Polygon Reduction Effect
Polygon Reduction Effect
3. Choose the right digital and physical spaces
 
As augmented reality experiences are spatial and always interconnected with the real world, the environment plays a key role in the design process. The environment can be broken down into four zones, based on the distance from the user.
Users Level of Space
Most AR experiences incorporate intimate and personal space like face filters for example. While Pokémon Go is an example of AR experience used in social and public space. Thus assess the zones in which the AR experience will be used when curating it.
 
Your mobile phone acts as a portal to the AR world. The UI of the mobile phone needs to be such that it guides the user. The most prominent region of the mobile screen is the center. It is easy to overlook areas near the camera icon and corners.
 
The green zone in the figure below displays the best location for your virtual element. Hover over the image to find more details.
4. Guide the user through the experience 
 
Since many users are still new to augmented reality, it is essential that simple and clear instructions are provided to assist them through the experience.
 
Animated micro instructions and visual instructions should guide the user through the following steps to successfully launch and run an AR experience.
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It is important to note that the instruction should not overshadow the experience and should be as subtle as possible
 
When it comes to target tracking, adding visual cues of the target image will help guide the user through the experience.
Click and drag the hand to find the target
5. Keep the user engaged
 
To make it more engaging, get the user to be a part of the experience by including their input.
 
Make sure not to overload them with too many inputs. Simple gestures like screen tap, object tap, facial expression changes are ideal to be included. The image below shows the most actionable areas on the mobile screen, which are easily accessible with a swift movement of the finger. 

Through following these five tips you can ensure that your Augmented Reality experience is a success.

If you wish to know more about Augemented Reality Experiences, feel free to contact us at emerging.technologies@arq.group

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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  Enterprise.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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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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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.

Categories
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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Categories
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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