One plus one is greater than two, Cantabrians told

Collaboration and other themes discussed at conference

Collaboration is emerging as a major industry theme, promising benefits in product development, idea generation, and the creation of new revenue streams, according to the “1+1>2” conference, held last month by Connect Canterbury, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Canterbury Software Cluster (Canterbury Software).

Despite media attention, however, collaboration remains hard to do, and finding suitable partners can be almost impossible. In a region such as Canterbury, which is dotted with numerous hidden pockets of expertise, collaboration might be a bit easier to undertake, and could make a profound difference to companies operating there, according to Peter John, Don Rae and Hamish House, respectively of Connect Canterbury, Trade and Enterprise New Zealand, and the Canterbury Software Cluster.

The three organisations are all tasked with similar objectives. After meeting together on a number of occasions, they came to the conclusion that they themselves needed to work together around the topic of collaboration. From this came the resolve to hold the series of “1+1>2” conferences to bring together Canterbury’s active and diverse software development community.

While the traditional wine and nibbles provided some inducement, what really brought in participants from around the region was the emphasis upon collaboration, and the opportunity to network. The topic area of Monitoring Solutions was supported by four succinct presentations of companies within the region working together towards a common goal.

These were BlackBay and Indigo Systems, delivering a mesh network-based vineyard management and monitoring system; Bootstrap IT, providing a remote equipment monitoring and control solution, and seeking partners; Intranel, providing a digital video management solution, with opportunities for collaboration in vertical markets, and Feedback Sport, providing its Feedback Football video performance management system, in conjunction with Lincoln Ventures.

“When the three sponsoring trade organisations got together a view emerged amongst us that there were many more opportunities for collaboration than were taking place,” says Connect Canterbury’s manager, Peter John. “Given that we are a very small and intimately linked community, we were surprised that levels of collaboration were not as high as might be imagined. Earlier showcases put together by Connect Canterbury had led to collaborations, so we thought that something similar would benefit the software community. The cooperation between Connect, Trade and Enterprise, and Canterbury Software was tremendous. The combined effort made everything so much better and easier, and has developed a relationship between the individuals involved that will be beneficial to industry-building efforts in the future.”

During the networking session, John was approached by a number of different firms with ideas for collaborative projects. If even a few of these are successful, the event will have more than paid for itself. Meanwhile, two more conferences in the “1+1>2” series are being planned, one on mobile systems and one on multimedia.

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