This article was originally posted on Startup Daily, 18 April 2019. Words by Cec Busby.
It’s been four years since Dr Anthony Collins launched Cruiser Interactive, a spinoff of a technology research project developed at the University of Sydney.
Cruiser Interactive delivers innovative solutions for meeting spaces, operations centres and cultural spaces offering organisations the ability to connect and collaborate at scale in real time. Collins tells Startup Daily the research project put the startup in a position where they had some really interesting technology they could see would benefit a range of industries.
“We had some early success in the real estate space, that helped us prove up the technology.” Collins explains. “It was a natural extension that we took what we learned in the real estate space, and then further developed the technology to organically create a business, launch the company and start commercialising and selling the tech.”
Since launching in 2014 Cruiser Interactive has grown to have a wide footprint across Australia.
“It’s used currently by about 50 clients, across a range of industries. What we do is we create a new way for people to collaborate in meetings.”
Utilising large touch screens, Cruiser Interactive is able to create meeting spaces of the future, where every surface in the room can become an interactive canvas.
“We’ve never been able to contribute information by simply flicking content between devices in the room before. Our technology provides a new way for people to be able to work together in a range of industries, from the large corporates to emergency services and also retail.”
It’s the unique way the technology allows devices to connect that makes Cruiser Interactive such a compelling collaboration solution.
“It changes the dynamics of how people meet. Instead of one person presenting at the front of the room, it’s about everyone being able to work together around shared displays. Like interacting tables and walls. To really move away from one person driving the conversation, into a more egalitarian discussion and that everyone can contribute,” Collins explains.
While Cruiser Interactive’s technology may seem like the perfect solution for the board rooms of today and tomorrow, its use in the first responder space is what really showcases its potential for collaboration.
“The technology we have makes it seamless to access information from a variety of sources, and to be able to access and act on that information quicker.
In the emergency services space, every second counts when they’re trying to access information that’s coming from the field.
“What our technology enables is that they can bring all that information together. Have everyone around the table looking at a common operating picture of the situation. And they’re able to move more quickly and make informed decisions with that information. I think technology has really strengthened the sorts of emergency responses possible within these organisations.”
Collins believes having emergency services as one of their early clients has assisted in Cruiser Interactive gaining interest from corporates.
“I think it’s certainly helped validate the technology. When approaching other industries, they see that as a validation that the technology works, and it’s proven to work in a very demanding environment,” Collins says.
Similarly, Collins says their relationship with ACS (they did the fit out of the organisation’s space) allowed them to develop a relationship with River City Labs which has seen them become one of the first startups to take residence in the group’s new Harbour City Labs space at Barangaroo.
“What it enabled us to do was to actually co-locate with one of our clients. We could not only understand how they’re using our technology but also be able to demonstrate that to our future clients. It allows us to show them a real live use case, of seeing our technology in situ. It enables us to be able to demonstrate in a really high-tech environment how it works.”
Collins says the move to Barangaroo made “a lot of sense” for the business.
“We’ve built our business to a healthy startup servicing the Australian market. But at the moment we’re looking at the next step and branching out overseas, to try to really scale the business.
“Being at Harbour City Labs will enable us to co-locate with similar startups who are like-minded in where they are in their businesses. But also being able to tap into expertise that ACS and RCL are setting up in the space will help us to provide advisory to the startups, to really grow.”
Further appeal lay in Harbour City Lab’s location, with its close proximity to many of the city’s major corporates.
“For us, when we promote the technology, it really requires a client to have a hands on experience with it. People don’t really understand the technology until they can use it. That relies on people coming into the office to play with the technology and get to walk through. The location of our business is critical. We need to be located close to the major corporates. And the majority of our clients are based in the city. So being able to have them easily pop across from their offices to experience the technology, is critical for us.”
Collins says he is looking forward to seeing how Harbour City Labs ramps up in the coming months and he tells Startup Daily he is enjoying collaborating with the other startups.
“There’s an opportunity for us to jointly promote our technologies and think about how they could work together. I think that from a business development perspective being a part of Harbour City Labs at Barangaroo is providing some really interesting avenues.”
Expressions of interest for residency at Harbour City Labs are now open visit: www.acs.org.au/labs