Telecom is set to invest up to $5 million for a 40 per cent stake in the NZ start-up Vigil Wireless Sensor Technologies Limited. The two firms will be joining forces to introduce health solutions and target other market opportunities.
Vigil is a privately owned biometric technology company founded in 2012 by scientist, Sir Ray Avery. The company uses sensing and digital technologies to provide a range of intelligent biometric medical monitoring and care services. The products and services are run off a cloud-based platform.
“New health delivery models using digital technologies are needed to address worsening macro health-trends and help reduce health-care costs.
"For example, Vigil offers an intelligent medical alarm using a bracelet and base station that will raise an alarm automatically if an adverse event such as a fall or change in heart rate is detected. Smart technologies such as this will enable more effective methods of medical monitoring. The potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous," said Avery, the firm's chief scientific officer.
Telecom's Digital Ventures CEO Rod Snodgrass said, “Vigil offers medical monitoring solutions with many potential applications and with global potential.
“It’s a great fit with Telecom’s digital innovation arm Digital Ventures. Vigil has market-leading digital technologies that run across telecommunications networks and the cloud – areas where Telecom has obvious strengths.
"Digital Ventures is all about delivering connected digital experiences, and we see the health sector as having significant potential for the introduction of new and commercially viable digital services with high growth potential," he said.
Vigil's commercialisation has been aided by funding from Callaghan Innovation, the Government’s high-tech HQ for Kiwi businesses. It already has partnerships with St John and Plunket NZ, and is targeting more across the health sector.
“Vigil’s integrated response and biometric technology will be trialed by St John in early 2014 to assess its potential to complement our existing technology and to benefit our more vulnerable clients,” said St John's commercial director Peter Loveridge.