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Armidale Tech-Company Taps Into The Local IT Talent Pool

Neil Dunstan (UNE I.T), Peter Sniekers (NSW Trade & Investment), Nathan Axelsson (RDA Northern Inland), Michael Forster & Peter Cull (ICT International).
Neil Dunstan (UNE I.T), Peter Sniekers (NSW Trade & Investment), Nathan Axelsson (RDA Northern Inland), Michael Forster & Peter Cull (ICT International).

The 2013 Northern Inland Innovator of the Year, Armidale-based ICT International has just reaped the rewards of tapping into the expertise at the University of New England. Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) and Trade & Investment NSW facilitated a project which brought innovative minds in the two organisations together. The win-win outcome means enhanced service delivery for the high-tech exporter and the chance for current and recently graduated university students to apply their I.T skills to a real-world application. Academics believe such collaborations will even add to the appeal of UNE to prospective students.

“RDANI, NSW Trade & Investment and UNE have a number of similar projects in the pipeline for 2014, this is all about building the Digital Economy in Armidale and across Northern Inland NSW,” RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson said. “Our region needs to move forward hand-in-hand. Win-win, collaborative partnerships not only yield top results, they are just common sense. Helping to make these connections is one important role that we can play.”

ICT International essentially involves scientists creating precision moisture measuring or thermal efficiency monitoring and associated remote data logging equipment for fellow scientists, generally for important environmental projects. Susan and Dr Peter Cull, who head up the cutting-edge operation, have directed about 20 percent of annual turnover into research and design over the past eight years. ICT International exports to 45 countries each year. Staffing levels have grown from 6 to 21 in the past four years. “It was great to produce a better service for our customers, while giving I.T students a chance to apply theory to practice,” Dr Cull said. “This small application can make a big difference and we have already passed it onto a client for trialing.”

Now, with the know-how from UNE students, building thermal efficiency data can be seamlessly integrated into a spreadsheet and automatically fed through formulas, with results displayed as clear charts and graphs and reducing the need to manually crunch large amounts of data. Software automation of information recorded by ICT’s equipment saves a lot of time for customers around the world.

Former Armidale local and UNE Graduate, Stuart Davies got a lot out of the project. “I wanted to help both the environment and UNE. I am also very interested in information technology being applied to local agricultural and environmental companies. Working together, we could build a real future for Australia in this field,” he said.

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