AgTech a winner at iAwards 2017

Aimee Chanthadavong
Senior Reporter

Another year and another group of Australia’s most innovative companies have been recognised for their excellent work at this year’s Australian Information Industry Association’s prestigious iAwards.

AgTech startup The Yield Technology Solutions took out the top gong in the startup of the year category. The company, which was founded by Ros Harvey in 2014, was awarded for an end-to-end Internet of Things solution for the agriculture and food industry.

The Yield aims to reduce waste, increase yield, and mitigate risk and costs associated with bad weather for farmers. These technologies include farm sensors, analytics, and apps such as micro climate sensors and predictors.

Another big winner on the night was LiveHire in the business service category. It was awarded for developing a cloud-based recruitment platform. The six-year-old technology is used by the likes of Bupa, General Pants, Telstra Health, and Wesfarmers.

Co-founder and growth director Mike Haywood said the technology allows companies to build a “reserve army of talent” within their talent communities, reducing the length to fill a role from two months to as short as two days.

Mr Haywood said it’s now turning the recruitment process from being reactive to proactive.

“It is basically turning whole of Australia into a fluid workforce and everyone is working more and don’t have holes in their business anymore,” he said.

Meanwhile Balconi Telecommunications won this year’s AIIA Innovation of the Year iAward. Balconi was chosen for the Balconi Smart Torch – Global Live, a hand-held two-way video conferencing system primarily developed for remote telehealth care.

There was also special recognition for Fastbrick Robotics, which was handed the Victorian Government Inspiration of the Year Award for designing a robotic bricklaying system to speed up construction work.

Industry minister Arthur Sinodinos said the awards mark not only Australia’s fast adoption of technology, but also the sophistication of technology design.

“It gives me great pleasure to help celebrate the achievements of these creative minds and risk-takers who continue to invest their resources, time and energy to keep Australia at the leading edge of technology,” he said.

AIIA Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO, AIIA, agreed: “Innovation, risk-taking and exploring new horizons are embedded in Australia’s DNA and the work of the finalists is an inspiration to us all.”

“The iAwards show innovation is happening in all quarters of our economy, from start-ups, private enterprise, community services, academia, and even in the public sector,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“Some of our major winners are well positioned to transform traditional sectors such as construction, agriculture, and healthcare, which will be crucial if Australia is to remain globally competitive over the coming years.”.

Starup of the year

  • Winner: The Yield Technology Solutions, which has created end-to-end farm sensing, analytics and apps such as micro climate sensors and predictors for agriculture and aquaculture for faster, more-informed farming.
  • Merit: Life Whisperer, which applies non-invasive artificial intelligence driven image analysis to improve the selection of viable embryos for IVF.
  • Merit: SponServe, a cloud-based sponsorship management platform which both rights holders and brands use to gain complete oversight and management of their relationships.

Business Service

  • Winner: LiveHire enables employers to create live talent communities and shift from expensive and lengthy reactive recruitment to 100% proactive recruitment and positive candidate experiences.
  • Winner: Corona Compliance Management’s Norwood Systems allows organisations in finance, healthcare and government sectors to capture and retain SMS messages sent between their staff and customers, clients and patients.

Community Service

  • Winner: Balconi Telecommunications for the Balconi Smart Torch – Global Live.
  • Merit: Ionata Digital and Beacon Foundation for eBeacon, which facilitates online communication between teachers, industry experts and students in regions of high youth unemployment and disengagement to allow the Beacon Foundation to reach, connect and inspire young Australians.


  • Winner:Baja Board, a powerful off road, all-terrain electric powered skateboard.
  • Merit: Prezzee Digital Gift Cards, a gift card app so you can buy, send, store and redeem gift cards instantly.

Industrial & Primary Industries

  • Winner: Fastbrick Robotics bricklaying system.
  • Merit: SensaData and La Trobe’s Centre for Technology Infusion for Smart-r-Tag, which can be used with food and other condition-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals, to provide complete information on a product’s journey and its environment from its origin to end-user.

Public Sector & Government

  • Winner: NSW Health ACI/Institute of Trauma & Injury Management’s NSW Trauma App provides clinicians with rapid, effective and efficient access to standards of trauma patient care and information.
  • Merit: SenSen Networks’ SenSIGN uses a world first automated platform to provide councils with a comprehensive and fully accurate report of all road signs and line marking assets.
  • Merit: University of Tasmania’s eResearch Ecosystem delivers both a high performance compute and secure research data storage platform for local, national and international research collaborations.

Big Data / Machine Learning Innovation of the Year

Infrastructure & Platforms Innovation of the Year

  • Winner: DST Group & Data61 for the Cross Domain Desktop Compositor, an appliance that allows isolated computer networks to be securely accessed and viewed through a single user interface.
  • Merit: Conduct for HMR Referrals a cloud-based national solution for timely and secure Home Medicine Review (HMR) referrals between clinic-based GPs and outreach healthcare practitioners.

Mobility Innovation of the Year

  • Winner: Prezzee a gift card app and aggregated platform so people can buy, send, store and redeem gift cards instantly.
  • Merit: Smileyscope, which uses virtual reality to keep kids still and calm, allowing clinicians to insert needles safely and successfully.
  • Merit: Balconi Telecommunications for the Balconi Smart Torch – Global Live.

Research & Development Project of the Year

  • Winner: DST Group & Data61’s Cross Domain Desktop Compositor.
  • Merit: Data61’s Vision Processing for the Bionic Eye takes images from a head-mounted sensor and converts these to stimulation patterns on a retinal implant, improving outcomes for implanted individuals.

Junior Students

  • Winner: PowerShot, developed by Elliot Bairstow, Cory Dent, Hamish Howieson and Jessica May, is an app that combines technology, sport and games to measure how fast you can kick, hit or throw a ball.
  • Merit: Table Talks, invented by Declan Predavec (previously an iAward Winner in 2016), is a versatile and effective tool that listens to a conversation, and displays what is being said to those who can’t normally hear it at the dinner table.
  • Merit: Reading Republic, developed by Claire Lau, Sophia Gianotti, Sabrina Stitt, Angelica Talevi and Isobel O’Brien, , an app that encourages kids to read in a child friendly environment where they can read and write book reviews.

Senior Students

  • Winner: An Aspie Life, developed by Bradley Hennessey, an interactive game that allows the general public to understand the challenges of those with living with autism.
  • Merit: The Mass Platform, invented by Rory Wade and Joseph Fergusson, solves the suspension issue faced by many 4 wheeled robots. The mechanism enables the robots to maintain 4 contact points with the ground when maneuvering over obstacles one third of the robot’s height.
  • Merit: Tolka, created by Eito Kito, Quincy Kusnady, Ahmed Al-Dulimi, TaeYoung Ham, Matthew Van Bueren and Raj Pandya, a web and mobile application which allows speakers of two or more languages to become an interpreter and to interpret for anyone.

Undergraduate Tertiary Students

  • Winner: RMIT University’s VICHyper Hyperloop Team have designed an innovative transportation system that offers travel speeds similar to aircraft speeds (560 km/hr), but maintains the benefits of rail transportation.
  • Merit: University of Tasmania’s Digitran team developed a unique mobile platform that digitises the capture, collection and collation of sustainable transportation survey data via two mobile applications, that feeds into an online database and portal.


Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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